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Team has goals to achieve in Australia: Tendulkar

Ashish Shukla | November 25, 2003 17:12 IST

Batting ace Sachin Tendulkar says the Indian team has set certain "team goals" for the present cricket tour of Australia and is determined to achieve them.

Playing down his innings of beauty and style against the Victorians on the opening day of the tour on Tuesday, Tendulkar said he is more interested in what the team can achieve on the present tour despite a whitewash being predicted by critics.

"I don't want to discuss what people feel or say. We are more concerned about what we have on our mind. I think as a team we are really geared up to go out and entertain people and play some challenging cricket," Tendulkar told reporters in Melbourne.

"We have a few plans jotted down for us. We have set team goals and as a team we would like to achieve those."

He also did not agree with the long-held belief that Indian batsmen are not too good against short-pitched deliveries.

"Whatever has happened in the past, you cannot always go by that. One can always turn around and start a new chapter," said the little genius.

The two Indian openers, Virender Sehwag and Sadgoppan Ramesh, had contrasting fortunes at the MCG and Tendulkar played with a straight bat while reflecting on the chances of these batsmen in the Test series.

"Sehwag is a very dangerous player. He can turn around and play a big innings, even match-winning innings. He has done that in the past and stroke-players like him are very exciting to watch. Let's hope we see more of him on this tour," he said.

"Ramesh has given himself a nice build-up for the series with this innings. But I can't really comment if he would play in the Tests. It is up to the coach and the captain to decide... I don't take part in that."

Tendulkar was modest about his brilliant two-hour innings against the Victorians, saying the wicket had really eased up after lunch and the ball was coming on to the bat.

"I thought initially the wicket was too slow. It was not coming on to the bat and one had to wait for deliveries. After lunch it became a good strip to bat on and there were more opportunities to play shots."

He also attempted to attach little importance to the fact that he played more hook shots than usual and hit bowlers on the up, straight down the ground, in a bid to prepare for the short-pitched attack which the Australians are planning for him in the forthcoming series.

"It was all because the wicket had become better after lunch. I was letting go similar balls before lunch because the wicket had not dried up. After lunch I just picked the line and length and that is the reason I played so many shots."

But Tendulkar admitted it felt good to fall into a groove so early in the series.

"I think the outing [today's] was very good. I enjoyed it. I have fond memories of Melbourne, where I got a hundred the last time I batted. Hopefully, I will continue with this form and just do it out in the middle.

"We had some good domestic matches for the season's build-up. I'm now feeling in real good nick."

On his personal goals for the series, he said he is only interested in going out and doing his bit for the team and enjoying his cricket in the process.

"I don't know what is in store for me. I just want to go out and enjoy my cricket. I don't want to think what I have to achieve and put any pressure on myself. But I hope the tour becomes a memorable one."

Tendulkar said he does not lack in motivation despite being part of top-flight cricket for 14 years.

"I have always loved this game. It has given me everything. Whatever has happened to me in life is only because of cricket. I am very grateful to the game."

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