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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

Tendulkar's wicket is crucial: Ian Smith

Faisal Shariff in Centurion | March 13, 2003 21:28 IST

Former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith has warned fast bowler Shane Bond to be wary of Sachin Tendulkar when India and New Zealand face-off in the Super Six match at the Centurion SuperSport Park on Friday.

"There will be a lot of respect involved, but Shane needs to be careful because Tendulkar does not fear any bowler these days. Shane will have to produce a magical delivery in his first few overs to get Tendulkar out. If Shane does not strike Tendulkar before the ball loses its shine then New Zealand will lose the game.

"Sachin Tendulkar is the mental key in this game. If he gets out early then it will lift the Kiwi side; if he stays on and scores freely it will lift the Indian side. His wicket is crucial to the game's fortunes. New Zealand must get rid of his involvement early. If they do that then they can remind the rest of the batsmen of the ghosts of the New Zealand tour," he says.

Smith is sure about Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming using the 5-2 series victory over India on the New Zealand tour as a psychological tactic.

But he warned Fleming that the wickets and conditions in South Africa are different from those in New Zealand and batting is a much easier proposition in the African continent.

Smith believes that with India having qualified for the semi-finals they will be sliding mentally and it won't be surprising to see a sharper New Zealand unit on the field.

The pitch promises to be a belter. With a total of 270-280 possible, a desperate New Zealand team will ensure a stiff contest.

Smith's assessment of the Indians:

Sachin Tendulkar: He is an exceptional player and no plans to counter him ever reap benefits. Tendulkar in this mood can counter any attack. Yet the Kiwis should make the new ball count and crowd the slip cordon and bowl short of length outside the off-stump to force Tendulkar to play the ball. If he lasts when the shine is gone then he will be very dangerous to handle.

Virender Sehwag: Though he got runs in the last innings against Sri Lanka he is not in vintage touch. Bowl outside off to him; give him a gap, because he loves to drive, and hope for an edge to slip or gully.

Sourav Ganguly: His form has helped him lead the side better. There is more effort and a huge improvement in his captaincy. He seems happy with life at this moment. I remember John Wright told me after the defeat in New Zealand that he would not worry too much about it because the team would peak at the right time for the World Cup and he was so right. Ganguly likes to play the ball in the air behind point. Shane Bond's extra pace could worry him a bit.

Rahul Dravid: It is always hard to bowl to a technically equipped batsman like Dravid. It is difficult to get through his defensive patterns. He won't tear the bowling apart but he will bat time to kick you out of the game. You can just bowl a decent line and length to him and hope he makes a mistake.

Yuvraj Singh: I would tell my bowlers to try and get him in as early as possible. Just like the Australians, the Indian batsmen also need to be exposed to the new ball.

P S: Just make sure to keep off the pads of all Indian batsmen.

"Amongst the Indian bowlers, I would caution the Kiwi batsmen to be very careful and watchful of Javagal Srinath. He is the spearhead and picks early wickets to shift the match India's way. Just deny him early success. Like Glenn McGrath of Australia and Shane Bond of New Zealand, Srinath is the one bowler who needs to be denied early wickets.

"The left arm seamers are always a handful with their good pace. But against better teams they will have to try harder to get their wickets.

"India has more depth in their spin department that has proved to be quite important on the slow tracks of South Africa. The ball has turned more and the combination that India have can work well.

"New Zealand has a very good attack but they fail to finish the job they have begun. They do 90 per cent of their job and leave the 10 per cent unfinished.

"I don't think it is ideal for Rahul Dravid to keep wickets but he is doing the job and though he does not enjoy it he has been competitive. I think he should not be pushed beyond the World Cup because it will affect the quality of his batting.

"New Zealand should maintain the same team that played Australia, except that I would bring back Craig McMillan at the top of the order in place of Lou Vincent."

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Number of User Comments: 6

Sub: Nehra deserves to be mentioned too...

Dont forget Nehra. When nehra spits fire , he can as well doom any side.

Posted by Karthik

Sub: Its seems to be good observation

This seems to be good observation by Smith. It is well know to the world, if first 15 over India will not loose any wicket, ...

Posted by Rathi Kanta Kumbhar

Sub: ian smith comments

i think this message by ian smith was posted wrongly to our media. After reading that i thought it must have gone to new zealand ...

Posted by baskar

Sub: Sachin should be careful

Sachin should ensure that he sees off Bond. He has a better combination of discipline and pentetration than Shoaib Akhtar & the ageing Pakistani fasties, ...

Posted by Shariq Tariq

Sub: Come on my fellow Indian batsmen (not Tendulkar)

While there is not even slightest doubt on the genius of the little maestro, it is almost a shame on the "other" batsmen that the ...

Posted by Sree


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