February 21, 2012

'One of the best sessions of my life'

Sachin Tendulkar goes over his epic battle with Dale Steyn and Co in Cape Town in 2011, the winner of ESPNcricinfo's Test Batting award for the year
70

You've played for so long and seen a lot. After so many long years, what does it mean to be honoured by some of the most respected cricket pundits in the world?
It's always a great feeling. Doesn't matter how long you have played. When you are appreciated for something you have been able to achieve, it is a satisfying feeling.

I remember the match in Cape Town. That morning session was an eventful one. I remember, I went in to bat on the second afternoon. I think just before tea I played an on-drive to Dale Steyn, and the way I positioned myself to play that shot, I knew I was moving well. That one shot gave me a lot of - you know, you need that kickstart for a big innings. That was the one which sort of put me in a frame of mind that I was seeing the ball well and getting a lot of time to react. From there on I built that innings.

That eventful session on the third morning was one of the best sessions of my life in Test cricket. Morne Morkel was bowling to Gautam [Gambhir] at one end and at the other, Dale Steyn was bowling to me, and for 56 minutes or so the strike was not rotated at all. We scored runs in boundaries. It was quality fast bowling, and we had to give due respect to the seam movement and play out the session. That first hour was really enjoyable and challenging - something I will always remember.

In terms of the challenge of conditions and bowling, Dale Steyn on that pitch, in that form - is that some of the toughest bowling you have faced?
It is definitely one of the best spells I have faced. There was good movement off the seam, in the air. Dale Steyn moves the ball consistently. Also something that was alarming was the off-the-wicket movement. Even if you felt the ball was coming straight to you, off the wicket it was moving significantly. That was something one had to be aware of.

Can you tell us a bit about the adjustments you had to make to get through the spell?
I don't know. There is no one particular formula as such. I am a batsman who goes by the feel. If I feel like doing certain things, I just do them. In that particular innings, in the middle of my innings I felt I could stand outside the crease, and I did that. Just to cut the movement and bounce. And I felt comfortable doing that. Against any good, high-class seam or swing bowling, one needs to stay as still as possible and play as late as possible. Whatever the movements are, they need to be precise. Sometimes too many movements can complicate things, sometimes not moving enough can also get you in trouble. Whatever is needed to play the ball, only that much movement is important. That is what I was focusing on.

"I am a batsman who goes by the feel. If I feel like doing certain things, I just do them. In that particular innings, in the middle of my innings I felt I could stand outside the crease, and I did that"

One thing we noticed, looking on from the outside, was that you were standing outside the crease, and you had just made up your mind that you were not going to play at anything outside the line of your head. I have covered for the ball that is coming in, and I am going to play just under what is my head.
It is to do with sessions. There were certain shots which I felt I should not be playing in the first hour, and there were certain shots which I felt, maybe after that, I could go ahead and play them. If you observe that innings, there are certain shots I played around lunch time, and the same length deliveries I let them go in the morning. It is the freshness of the wicket in the morning. Just the first spell, as you expect, at that stage I felt that first spell was going to be decisive in which direction the Test match goes. Both of us survived that first spell. The important hour, as we say, we won that, I felt.

It was an eventful one. We were beaten on occasions, but to actually be there and play out that spell was really important, which put us in a decent position.

You were beaten on occasion, as you said. How important is to forget those balls? You are made to look a little ungainly, which you are not used to as a batsman.
It's not one-way traffic. It's not that only the batsmen are supposed to go out and score runs. The bowlers are also supposed to get wickets. Sometimes we end up hitting brilliant shots, sometimes bowlers bowl brilliant balls. We have to respect that and forget about it and focus on the next ball. But also remember what the wicket has done, or what the ball has done off the wicket or in the air. Keep that in mind and focus on the next ball.

Those two Dale Steyn spells. The morning spell and the one soon after lunch. Out of those ten overs - 60 balls - you faced 48. In the other 12 balls he caused havoc all around. He got Cheteshwar Pujara out, he got Dhoni out, and he could have got Harbhajan Singh out (the bail didn't fall). Was it a conscious thing to take most of the strike when Steyn bowled?
Not really. Because I had batsmen on the other end. There is no conscious effort to do that when you have a proper batter at the other end.

I guess that's the only reason I say it was an eventful session. The strike wasn't rotated. Fielders were pretty tight. Those quick singles were not available. Also, one had to play a little bit outside the line, which we did not want to do. Many balls were left. We got beaten. A few balls we managed to put away.

What did you tell the batsmen at the other end?
We were enjoying it. Gautam was at the other end, and we just said, this is a beautiful session, enjoy this challenge. On not many occasions do these things happen in your career. I remember a similar thing happening to me in Mumbai, when we played Australia [in 2001]. I was batting with Rahul [Dravid]. From one end Jason Gillespie bowled, and from the other end Glenn McGrath. And I played all the overs of Glenn McGrath, and Rahul played all the overs of Jason Gillespie. We hardly must have rotated strike. Similar situation, but those are the moments you never forget in life. This is definitely one of them.

During this tense spell of play, there was a time when you shared a big laugh in the middle of the pitch with Harbhajan. What was that all about?
Harbhajan walked in and he started to play like a proper batsman - wanting to move his feet and all that. And I said, "Don't do that. You need to play your shots and play whatever you feel like. Whenever you pick the line and length early enough, play your shots." Because he was looking to play like a batsman and it wasn't working for him. The moment he got back to normal Harbhajan Singh, he was able to play some big shots. That sort of disturbed the field setting, and that is what we wanted. We needed to score those crucial runs.

Then, of course, he hit Steyn for a six
Yes. It was an important partnership in the Test. We scored about 50-60 runs. Those runs were really important.

There are different kinds of challenges in cricket. One is the occasion - for example, when playing Pakistan. Two is the match situation - you might down be four down for 30. But this was a pure cricketing conditions challenge. How different is the approach when you face these different challenges?
There are different challenges as you go. Different oppositions. Different strengths and different stages. In the last 20 years that I have played, I have had oppositions that have had different strengths. You have to plan your strategy accordingly. The challenge here was to deal with the steep bounce of the Cape Town wicket. That wicket had spongy bounce. I wouldn't call it a fast wicket as such, but it really had steep bounce and lateral movement. That was one challenge we had to deal with.

This was the first Test of the year. Until this year, for the last four years you have been getting centuries in the first Test innings of the year…
It's news to me. But I know that normally new years greet me well. Something nice. Good habit to get into.

There are grounds and there are grounds. Newlands is a different setting. Table Mountain in the background. What does that do to a player? Does it inspire or distract?
It helps when you have had a long day's fielding. You look at the mountain and appreciate the beauty. Nature has done something absolutely fabulous. Otherwise you are focused so much on the game you don't notice all those things. Only when you have long fielding days. That's when you look at these things.

When batting through these tough sessions, do you not notice anything else? Are you in the zone?
Not really. No, no, you notice all that, but there is not much time. You are constantly focusing and thinking also, even when on the non-striker's end, thinking what the other batsman should be doing. As a non-striker, I like to make observations. If I feel that there are areas where he has to be cautious, or where he is really doing well, share that with him and tell him, "You have been batting brilliantly. Just continue." Sometimes you feel a player needs to change his game or tighten up a bit. As a non-striker you are making those observations. Sometimes in between overs, or after the over, you are constantly exchanging opinions. Your views. That becomes critical in a partnership.

Any interesting observations you remember from the innings, with, say, Gautam?
I thought we were really going well. All we needed that time was for the non-striker to come and say, "This is perfect. Continue. Keep it tight. Don't play loose shots." Which is normal in partnerships. Let the non-striker know what you think of that particular over. Or if he is in any doubt, or if I am in any doubt - we discuss all those things.

Of late we don't see such innings where the batsman goes through sessions with such disciplined cricket. Batsmen nowadays feel the need to find a release. A boundary from somewhere. How difficult has it become to bat through sessions without finding that release? As you said, the singles were not available, and the boundaries were few and far between.
There were boundaries. First over, Dale Steyn. Bowled brilliant balls but I managed to hit boundaries. It is about when you feel you should be able to press the pedal. And counterattack occasionally. Sometimes you need to respect that particular spell.

"Somebody sitting in the stands or in the commentator's box wants me to hit a boundary. Why should I do it? I have to score runs, I need to make my decisions. You have to play according to what you feel. That's what you have been picked for"

It's also to do with how well a batsman is moving. What is his frame of mind? It is not about repeating the same thing every day. There are times when a batsman feels he is not moving well enough to take charge. And there are times when you feel, "I need not do this. I am in control. Why should I just do it for the heck of it?" Somebody sitting in the stands or in the commentator's box wants me to hit a boundary. Why should I do it? I have to score runs, I need to make my decisions. As long as you are confident of your own decision and your gameplan, it is fine. You cannot keep 25 people happy in one innings. You can't have 25 different shots for one ball. You have to play according to what you feel. That's what you have been picked for.

Did you target any of the bowlers for runs?
Not really. That wasn't the kind of surface where you could target someone. There was constantly something happening.

So it was more a case of the wicket losing some of its freshness towards lunch?
And also, you know, the bowlers… the first spell and the second spell are not the same.

After the day's play, Dale Steyn said in the press conference that bowling to Sachin Tendulkar when he is batting like this is a waste of time. It's better trying to take somebody else's wicket. After the game did you and Dale chat about that day's play?
No, we didn't. I am hearing his reaction for the first time, from you. But my reaction would be the same. It was fantastic playing against him. I had to respect him for what he was doing. Somebody is bowling well, you have to respect it. You try to be over-smart, you go back to the dressing room.

Does facing bowlers like Dale Steyn... and there was also Jacques Kallis, who scored a century in the first innings despite the rib trouble, and he would go on to score another. Does facing these players spur you to give a little extra on occasion?
No. It's not between two individuals, it's between the two nations. I play for India. It's not what an individual feels. It's about what an individual can bring to his team. That is more important.

When we walked out of Newlands that day, most of us felt we had seen the best day's cricket we had in a long time. Did you as players feel that it was one of the best days of cricket you had been in?
I didn't share much with my team-mates. But definitely, looking at Gautam's reaction, we both felt the same. That this is one of the best sessions that we have been part of.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kool_Indian on February 24, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    Sachin will do what he does best - he scores runs and gives immense joy to the cricket lovers and his fans. We Love You Sachin, no matter what!!! To all those bashers, keep it coming and The GOD will answer only with his bat and you guys try to get well soon - so much hatred is not good for the health. When the panel of ex-cricketers think this is the best test innings, why is it so hard to understand in that context? - cheers!

  • vk6848 on February 23, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    There is no doubt that Tendulkar's batting has given more pleasure to cricket fans of today than any other batsman. He also conducts himself in an exemplary manner, and even opponents treat him better than many anti-SRT fans who write here! One cannot do it for ever, but that does not take the greatness away. Thanks Tendulkar, for the good times-- from a Sri Lanka fan

  • on February 22, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    yes ricky ponting scored 500+ runs in the recent concluded series because he was facing a toothless attack, and tendulkar was facing one of the best pace attacks of recent time, if tendulkar was to play again indian bowling attack he surely would score 500+ l runs in a series like rickey did!

  • on February 22, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    Somene in the above commented Sachin as most ovr rated player. Can you explain why is hat so? I shall give you the recent example of it: IN the world cup he was he person along with yuvraj managed get succes to Indian team in almost every match. If you talk about his succes stories then it would never end. A man who played for 23 years can't win each and every match and the kind of teams India had he was lone performer in majority of games. Please remember that cricket is a team game and Sachin is not only one player in the team. If you mention Ricky and others no one had the kind of pressure Sachin had and no one has the attitude he has. Ricky failed for 2 years and only could breakthrough because of our idiotic bowling, but Sachin never had that. He scored almost 5 centuries per year, maintaing this average is no joke and we need to remember his missed centuries too. He always played for the country and will do so. Whr did u all go whn he won matches. He needs to learn nothing.

  • stark-truth on February 22, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    @ankursachin Only if Sachin played with such dedication and devotion in the last harrowing five months that you are showing towards the guy, Indian Test pride won't have been bashed so severely. BTW, history will also bear testimony to how often Sachin has failed India in testing conditions against high-quality bowlers as compared to his successful outings. If 8-0 drubbings don't make your day, nothing ever will.

  • Integrity1 on February 22, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    @Adithya Raghunathan. "some guys are talking about lara????this place is for sachin!!!" And what about the Sachin comments on articles written on Kallis, Ponting or Lara?

  • on February 22, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    FOR THIS "LITTLE RECORD TUMBLER" LOTS OF LOVE FROM PAKISTAN.. PPL CRITICIZE THIS LEGEND NOT 4 SCORING "JUST 1 CENTURY" I MEAN WHERE DO ALL THOZ 99 OF HIS WHOLE LEGENDARY CAREER GO ??? HOW UNGRATEFUL PPL R WE ... SUCH A SHAME ... THANKU SACHIN 4 PUTTING SO MANY GR8 MEMORIES 4 THE FANS ALL OVER THE WORLD .. N 4 GOD-SAKE STOP COMPARING HIM WITH SIR VIV RICHARDS OR SIR DON BRADMAN OR BRIAN LARA OR ANY ONE ELSE .. ONE CANT COMPARE PINK DIAMONDS WITH BLACK DIAMONDS .. DIAMONDS ARE DIAMONDS, NO MATTER WHAT COLOR THEY HAVE ...

  • stark-truth on February 22, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    Yah, right! Last year has also been the best year of his career...

  • Aniruddha_K on February 22, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Still remember it as if it happened yesterday...And I was fortunate enough to watch this session and the one that Sachin refers to live....In Mumbai in 2001, Sachin and Rahul batted out a session and a bit and tried to bail India out of dire straits...Mcgrath and Gillespie were unbelievably good and Mcgrath managed to keep Sachin quiet on a 3rd day Mumbai pitch...Something very few can even dream of...Sachin unfortunately got out pulling Mark Waugh with the ball ricocheting of Langer's shoulder and Ponting taking a brilliant catch...I still remember it being the most disappointing moment as the two were looking good for a miraculous comeback.... But as we were to find out, that was meant to happen in the next test match.

  • stark-truth on February 22, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Sachin is God? Is that why he is part of the immense 8-0 humiliation bandwagon and painting a glum lost picture, dragging on and not letting younger players a chance? Honestly, hero-worship is ridiculous given how many times the guy has let India down...lost count. Cook, Clarke and Ponting showed the guy how it's done.

  • kool_Indian on February 24, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    Sachin will do what he does best - he scores runs and gives immense joy to the cricket lovers and his fans. We Love You Sachin, no matter what!!! To all those bashers, keep it coming and The GOD will answer only with his bat and you guys try to get well soon - so much hatred is not good for the health. When the panel of ex-cricketers think this is the best test innings, why is it so hard to understand in that context? - cheers!

  • vk6848 on February 23, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    There is no doubt that Tendulkar's batting has given more pleasure to cricket fans of today than any other batsman. He also conducts himself in an exemplary manner, and even opponents treat him better than many anti-SRT fans who write here! One cannot do it for ever, but that does not take the greatness away. Thanks Tendulkar, for the good times-- from a Sri Lanka fan

  • on February 22, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    yes ricky ponting scored 500+ runs in the recent concluded series because he was facing a toothless attack, and tendulkar was facing one of the best pace attacks of recent time, if tendulkar was to play again indian bowling attack he surely would score 500+ l runs in a series like rickey did!

  • on February 22, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    Somene in the above commented Sachin as most ovr rated player. Can you explain why is hat so? I shall give you the recent example of it: IN the world cup he was he person along with yuvraj managed get succes to Indian team in almost every match. If you talk about his succes stories then it would never end. A man who played for 23 years can't win each and every match and the kind of teams India had he was lone performer in majority of games. Please remember that cricket is a team game and Sachin is not only one player in the team. If you mention Ricky and others no one had the kind of pressure Sachin had and no one has the attitude he has. Ricky failed for 2 years and only could breakthrough because of our idiotic bowling, but Sachin never had that. He scored almost 5 centuries per year, maintaing this average is no joke and we need to remember his missed centuries too. He always played for the country and will do so. Whr did u all go whn he won matches. He needs to learn nothing.

  • stark-truth on February 22, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    @ankursachin Only if Sachin played with such dedication and devotion in the last harrowing five months that you are showing towards the guy, Indian Test pride won't have been bashed so severely. BTW, history will also bear testimony to how often Sachin has failed India in testing conditions against high-quality bowlers as compared to his successful outings. If 8-0 drubbings don't make your day, nothing ever will.

  • Integrity1 on February 22, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    @Adithya Raghunathan. "some guys are talking about lara????this place is for sachin!!!" And what about the Sachin comments on articles written on Kallis, Ponting or Lara?

  • on February 22, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    FOR THIS "LITTLE RECORD TUMBLER" LOTS OF LOVE FROM PAKISTAN.. PPL CRITICIZE THIS LEGEND NOT 4 SCORING "JUST 1 CENTURY" I MEAN WHERE DO ALL THOZ 99 OF HIS WHOLE LEGENDARY CAREER GO ??? HOW UNGRATEFUL PPL R WE ... SUCH A SHAME ... THANKU SACHIN 4 PUTTING SO MANY GR8 MEMORIES 4 THE FANS ALL OVER THE WORLD .. N 4 GOD-SAKE STOP COMPARING HIM WITH SIR VIV RICHARDS OR SIR DON BRADMAN OR BRIAN LARA OR ANY ONE ELSE .. ONE CANT COMPARE PINK DIAMONDS WITH BLACK DIAMONDS .. DIAMONDS ARE DIAMONDS, NO MATTER WHAT COLOR THEY HAVE ...

  • stark-truth on February 22, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    Yah, right! Last year has also been the best year of his career...

  • Aniruddha_K on February 22, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Still remember it as if it happened yesterday...And I was fortunate enough to watch this session and the one that Sachin refers to live....In Mumbai in 2001, Sachin and Rahul batted out a session and a bit and tried to bail India out of dire straits...Mcgrath and Gillespie were unbelievably good and Mcgrath managed to keep Sachin quiet on a 3rd day Mumbai pitch...Something very few can even dream of...Sachin unfortunately got out pulling Mark Waugh with the ball ricocheting of Langer's shoulder and Ponting taking a brilliant catch...I still remember it being the most disappointing moment as the two were looking good for a miraculous comeback.... But as we were to find out, that was meant to happen in the next test match.

  • stark-truth on February 22, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Sachin is God? Is that why he is part of the immense 8-0 humiliation bandwagon and painting a glum lost picture, dragging on and not letting younger players a chance? Honestly, hero-worship is ridiculous given how many times the guy has let India down...lost count. Cook, Clarke and Ponting showed the guy how it's done.

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 22, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    The most over-rated batsman of all Time. He never was, and never will be, a match winner like Kevin Pietersen, Adam Gilchrist, Viv Richards, Javed Miandad, etc. In fact, SRT holds the record for playing in highest number of losing matches.

  • on February 22, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    god of cricket..... we are waiting for ur 100th ton........

  • on February 22, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Sachin has carried the burden of criticism & expectation for more than 2 decades. He is playing for our country..that is sad ( I feel now)..

    Criticism is there for every sportsmans life but sachin is disrespected from our country. That is insult to cricket.

  • ankursachin on February 22, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    I believe that no sportsperson play for records and most sensible and balanced person will understand that. He has valued his career in most spirit way and his moral conduct cannot be questioned. His humility and soft nature is something to to emulate. Sachin is the reason, when he plays good everything fall in place. For me and for all Sachin fans he is GOD; and he will remain forever. We have been so unkind to him in these 23 years, may he spend rest of his life without any pressure. He is near to the end of his career and we wish him all the luck in life.

  • ankursachin on February 22, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    History is testimony that whenever a person rise to the pinnacle he gives birth to the ginormous haters and critics; and Sachin is no exception. and someone given the fair play award to Gilchrist and Ponting; you just saw an incident one or two and honour Gilchrist with fair play award...LOL. When you people started watching cricket? Yesterday.hahaha. Remember Sydney 2008 test, where was the fair play of Gilchrist and please don't talk about Ponting, he is one of the most dispirted cricketer. In fact he has admitted in one interview that he will not walk off the field unless the dismissal looks obvious. He has cheated countless times. Gilchrist too have appeal for the caught behind on countless occassion. But I still count Ponting and Gilchrist as a great cricketer, don't like you people who hate Sachin for no reason.

  • ankursachin on February 22, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    LOL!!! Pity on you guys. Someone suggested why he can't play like Viv Richards or he don't seem to dominate bowlers. So, go back to that 10 year period when Sachin started to open the innings, he was part of a team where a single win was treated like India have won the series, Indian team known as one man army and the fact every one knows the value of Sachin's wicket, if he is out early in the innings then there is hardly any hope of India winning that match; despite this reality he was the most devastating opener at that time, as risky as ever. He might be not a ruthless hitter like Sir Viv Richards but he was no less devastating then any other batsmen in the world. He is unarguably the best improviser in World cricket, he overcome innumerable injuries, doctors advise him to restrain from playing 6-7 shots after 1998 chennai test injury, he tweaked his style started to came across the stumps to work out the ball. The greatest batsman the cricket has ever known, he has nothing to prove

  • on February 22, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    Respect for the little master from Sri Lanka.....

  • testcricfan24 on February 22, 2012, 1:26 GMT

    @3liteindia

    Yes he did edge that but it wasn't a clean catch. Replays later showed that the ball bounced before reaching Boucher. He did the right thing by not walking. I am against walking anyways, You can't stay on if you are given out wrongly(no DRS), these things average out over a period of time.

    On the innings, it was probably the best test match session I have ever seen. Steyn was at his absolute best, the ball was swinging from leg to outside off, Sachin with a bit of luck which was required played out that spell. Test cricket rules !!!

  • on February 22, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    for the critisism he faced for 100th ton, he shud purposly dont score a 100, when he reaches 99 he shud walk away out of the ground

  • on February 22, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    some guys are talking about lara????this place is for sachin!!! lara is a wonderful player!!!! its all about team management ,whether he shud walk or not walk!!!!it is not in the rule!!!!so criticism is also not in the rule!!!!

  • on February 22, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    Im sorry but how did this innings win best of 2011? It was a good innings but the best? Did u see M.Clarkes 150 vs steyn on a swinging deck? That was a masterclass ....next highest score was 44 and couple of 20's.

  • on February 21, 2012, 23:11 GMT

    People always say that Sachin plays for personal records. Had it been the case he would have gone to West Indies tour before the tour of English and he might have scored his 100th hundred there. He didn't even play the one day series played against WI in India. He is playing now because the team needs him. More over, any one who plays professionally knows that playing for records is just impossible, even if some one want to. Its a sport and it should be played only like a sport, no other way ..... @Jasonpete is unbiased as he dont have any expectations on Sachin, but we all expect him to play well in all the matches. People call him God, but the fact is that he is only a Human being and so he also has some weakness's just like every body else.

  • playitstraight on February 21, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    Great spell by Steyn and although Tendulkar made a great century, if you look at 50.2 before he made his half-century, he edged a ball from Steyn but he did not walk. If he had walked, then not only would he have not got that hundred, but the result of the match would have also been changed.

  • on February 21, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    To be honest, this innings wasn't even the best of the match, let alone the best of 2011.

  • on February 21, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    @MaruthuDeft,

    You conveniently took Viv's best years between 76 till 81 to carry your case. Have you seen Sachin of youth and how he dominated some of best bowlers of all time ? Sachin is definitely a greater batsman than Sir Viv since he can play all types depending on the situation.

  • serious-am-i on February 21, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @blaster.pk: Every player goes through a lean patch. It happened to every one not just Sachin. But I do agree he performed way pathetically in Aus and Eng, I seriously think he needs to consult a doctor to over come his nerves of this 100th, 100 which is eating him day by day. He is a human as well. Well, the only reason I find Sachin ahead of Kallis on this award is, India did not have such a threatening bowler like Dale Steyn who were ripping apart the batting team.

  • kenishah on February 21, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    i realy feel sorry for sachin wen people say that he scored this 100 in easy batting conditions n that if it was seamer friendly then y coudnt he save matches in eng n aus . well the answer is that form is temporary n class in forever. he wasent in form in eng n aus n he dont play for his own gud. luk how many matches he has saved for india n all i can say is that 10 yrs ago ind relied on srt n 10 yrs later its still the same it jus proves that no1 can ever be equal 2 SACHIN TENDULKAR the indian legend

  • on February 21, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    As someone here had mentioned, I too grew up watching Sachin and will forever be indebted for all the wonderful memories over the years... I can understand the current generation's frustration (after all, tolerance, as a virtue, is non-existent now) seeing him under perform, but they probably grew up on a different diet...

  • Integrity1 on February 21, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Sachin is GOD. Sachin is GENIUS... A BRILLIANT innings...Yes, thats why he knicked the ball to Steyn on 49 and would not walk.

  • on February 21, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    @stark-truth Stop day dreaming. There was NO EDGE ,If it was, then the ball also did not carry to Boucher. Kepler Wessels also acknowledged that. Tendulkar has suffered a lot of bad decisions in his career,HE DOESN'T NEED TO WALK.he walked in the WC match and many times before. LARA AND WALKING? THAT HAS TO BE A JOKE. LARA WAS MISERABLE VS DONALD , WASIM, WAQAR. HIS FANS IGNORE THAT BECAUSE HE HAS 'FLAIR' DESPITE THE INCONSISTENCY. SRT WAS THE 2ND BESTBAT IN BOTH FAILED TOURS , DRAVID FAILED MISERABLY IN 2ND INNINGS EVERY TEST , NO ONE NOTICED THAT, 3 TONS OVERSHADOWING HIS FAILURES.

  • ravichakra on February 21, 2012, 16:53 GMT

    VVS' 96 was in 2010. So my question then is what about Rahul Dravid's innings after innings in England. He was the only one to score in England from Indian team. Once again, what stems is bias, plain bias. It would be difficult to believe that there was no other innings worthy of this award in 2011.

  • ravichakra on February 21, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Bias as mentioned earlier if the post went through moderation. Why was Laxman's 96 in the previous Test with a winning cause not selected for the award? I think we were playing the second Test with SA in India and then again went back to SA to play the third. Come on cricinfo get some element of fairness in your judgements. Don't eloque favouritism as you have been doing for Sachin, Yuvraj and Dhoni. Give credit to others as well who have carried the burden umpteen number of times with a better result.

  • StatisticsRocks on February 21, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    @Hasan: These awards are for 2011 series and not 2012 test series unless I am missing the fact that Azhar Ali did play a gr8 innings agnst England in 2011.

    Having said that even I don't agree this should hv been selected as the best innings of 2011. Just for arguments sake, from Indias point of view Rahul Dravids one of the 3 centuries agnst England, even though for a losing cause, is better than Sachin's. Not saying RD's centuries shd have been selected as i have not looked at all the gr8 innings of 2011 so I am in no position to judge who's is the best innings but I am sure there are many for example Ian Bells double century, KP's double century etc.

  • ravichakra on February 21, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    I am sure this is not going to be posted. Someone pointed out that if he is scoring a ton despite getting to a personal milestone it also adds to the team's total and hence scoring runs to win. How about looking at it in this perspective that you know the result of the match and you are no Laxman or Dravid to change the outcome by yourself, so all you do is accumulate personal milestones and once acheived pass on the strike to the tail ender to finish the match. Add to your tally of runs in the series and call yourself to be a great player. I am sure there would have been many more innings from other players in much more difficult circumstances and with varying results that would have got the award. Bias to the core. I am an Indian by the way. When Sachin failed in England, there was no call for seniors to retire because Dravid was the only one to play. The moment Dravid and Laxman failed in Australia, clarion calls are made for them to retire. That is bias at its best.

  • bigdhonifan on February 21, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    @ stark-truth Sachin walked off from the filed more than any other cricketers.., And Gilchrist??? He is one of the biggest cheater in cricket( yes because, he is an Aussie). You can call Lara as a true sportsman. Spirit of Cricket is not for Aussies, Lankans, English.

  • ankursachin on February 21, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Guys, stop this Sachin bashing; no player in this world cricket has drawn so much flak than Sachin. Remember cricket is a team game and if a player scores century in a losing cause than the blame lies to the rest of the players and not on the player who scores century. People raising doubt without digging into the stats, please revisit India's winning percentage in 1990s before questioning Sachin contribution in winning cause. I still remember ppl watch cricket because of Sachin, the only ray of hope in the team for 7-8 years in 1990s. Players records speak and not just minor hither and tither contribution; Rohit Sharma is a great talent and pleasant to watch his style and flare but he don't have the runs to gain confidence of the selectors and the reason he was rested in this match. Viv Richards or any player style of play cannot be compared to others. 23 year of career and still we expect him to score century in every match. Only player to got the sobriquet of GOD; not in a flash.

  • Ducard on February 21, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    Its well known that Sachin never meets the press/gives interviews when there's a crisis. He didnt come out even once during the washouts twice in Eng & Aus. He will give interviews only when the story is going to positive and full of praise for him. Guys like Monga dont have the balls to ask why he didnt walk when there was an apparent nick to the keeper. Or what are his future plans particularly in ODIs when it's apparent that he'll not play in the next world cup. He didnt tour West Indies last year because he wanted rest after World cup. But turned up for IPL within after World cup. Because he doesnt want to upset ambani and he doesnt respect West Indies as a good enough team. He's mentally weak & cant face tough questions. Can only talk when we praise how great his achievements are. Frankly, he's not half as strong as Sourav mentally. Despite being a great player, he doesnt care Indian cricket and its future. Guys like Monga are reponsible for creating hero-worship in our country.

  • stark-truth on February 21, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    I'm amused at the timing of the interview. someone has the temerity to gloat after letting a billion people down spectacularly match after match after match when the going got tough and there was a need to rise to the occasion. Broad, Bresnan, Siddle, Starc etc....all have exposed how truly over-rated the player is. On thing though surely goes for him - longevity. Apart from that, there are quite a few who are better than him.

  • BelieveMe on February 21, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    Sachin wins while India looses ! The whole Indian Team looks disinterested in their on going current game. Fire the non performers. Stop Cronyism and Pandering.

  • jasonpete on February 21, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    @blaster.pk ,your post is bit of a ridiculous one to say the least.I am not an Indian but I admit his century against dale was good.Every player goes through lean patch.Recently concluded series of England and Australia,he is looking way out of form.But I remember he was second highest run getter till world cup matches.Being an Aussie ,our best batsman Ponting looks out of form till the Indian summer,but he got the form back.Are you really joking by saying SA pitches are like subcontinent? Seriously you need to watch more cricket.By saying that tendulkar is a great player along with the likes of Lara and Ponting.To sustain high quality for 22 years requires more talent than some useless criticism.

  • stark-truth on February 21, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    Indeed. Where was his sportsmanship when he stayed on despite nicking the ball? Puts a big question mark on him being called a great ambassador for the game. He ain't a Gilchrist or a Lara for sure.

  • rk_ks on February 21, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    To all who are questioning about the selfishness of Sachin. Since he only plays for his own good, 33000 runs are scored only on batting surfaces, 33000 runs are scored only against minnows, these many runs are scored only when there is no pressue? Does any one remember how heavily India used to depend on Sachin during the 1990s. Pity all the guys who always try to criticize Sachin.

  • kallis2015 on February 21, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    srt wasn't up to the mark kallis fought much well in the same match despite in immense pain

  • blaster.pk on February 21, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    If sachin has played dale styen so well , why could he not score a single century against England and Australian.

    Does that mean England bowlers and Au bowlers are much better than dale steyn ?

    The answer is simple, the pitches in SA ( in last 5-7 years ) like Westindies are like INDIA. Steyn was trying to bowl lot of deliveries to sachin's strength which is middle and leg. When he bowls offside he bowled WIDE and sachin ( EVEN ASHWIN ) could cut it .

    Sachin has failed very badly against some good pace and swing bowling in England and Australia.

    If he was so great ASK URSELF , why could he not save a single match for INDIA in AU and england both in TEST and ODI.

    YOU BLIND SACHIN FANS.

    He is not willing to sacrifice his place to any youngster, always he wants to open, What do u call this person who is so selfish.

    Everyother person needs to sacrifice for him .. ALL HE DOES IS PLAY 50 OVERS BECUASE HE OPENS AND SCORES 100, BECAUSE HE PLAYS FOR THAT 100.

  • crick_wizard on February 21, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    @NanoTechnology..you are right in the sense that scoring a hundred, even for personal glory, will only help and not harm your team's prospects, especially in test cricket..but the point here is that runs scored when under pressure and runs which ultimately results in a win carry twice the same value as runs scored otherwise..true that this cape town innings was played under tough bowling conditions and pressure..but sadly for a player who is regarded as one of the best batmen ever, he has not played enough match winning innings under pressure...

  • agupta429 on February 21, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    @hasan ali

    If you're talking about the England Pak tests that just concluded.. I believe it comes under 2012 cricket calendar...

    Just because Its Sachin or India, means its biased??? Grow up! .. really!

  • agupta429 on February 21, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    "Sachin only plays for personal records. Never scored big in victories"

    Whats wrong with that??? your perception, thats all.

    The way I see it is logical. He scored centuries in lots of losing causes. means that when the rest of the team failed, he stuck in there and gave India a fighting chance.

    What would you have the team or a player do in a losing situation anyways??? Would you want them to give up as soon as they sense defeat just because people would use his failed heroics to undermine their effort??

    EVEN IF he were going for a personal record, which is to score runs, I cant see how it counters the main goal of 'SCORING RUNS TO WIN'...

    Some people really need to use the god given brain before they hate.

  • MaruthuDelft on February 21, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    But a great batsman should attempt to dominate the bowler even if he is firing. Like Viv richards did consistently between 1976 to 81. Tendulkar just defended. He may be close to being a great played but 100% not a great player. He doesn't have the dominating mind.

  • harshthakor on February 21, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    Tendulkar simply proved why he was classed as a true batting genius.He proved he could tackle the greatest pace bowling on seamer-friendly tracks and brilliantly tackled the most hostile paceman of the modern era in Dale Steyn.Inspite of having lost his early reflexes Sachin displayed the true greatness his batting bestowed.No batsmen in the history of the game has dominated bowling to such an extent combining such technical excellence as Tendulkar,with the possible exception of Barry Richards.This innings slapped the face of the critiques who alleged that Sachin could not perform against true pace.

  • kantipur on February 21, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    You forgot to ask one question? Why didn't Tendulkar walked when he nicked it? It just makes mockery of an award.

  • NanoTechnology on February 21, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    @ enthusiastic

    How about this match?

    It's not like a batsmen can go out and say "I hope we lose this match. But hope I score a century". You face one ball at a time. You play to the conditions (except Afridi, Sehwag, Gilchrist, etc), and hope that you can put your team in a better position than when you came in.

    Even if you're only playing for personal glory, a 100 is a 100 right? I'd rather have Boycott only thinking of himself, making 150, than Collingwood thinking of the team and making 34 (sorry Paul, I really do love you. As a friend... unless you... uh... yeah... as a friend...)

  • on February 21, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    and what about the Azhar Ali innings in the England test series?? If its sachin its the best? :S

  • on February 21, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    Again on a different note, before proceeding ahead, let me make myself absolve from the felony that I might be going to commit(for some people at least) by declaring that I am not a Tendulkar basher or someone of the somewhat same creed. As a batsman, there is no sleight of doubt that he belongs to the unsurpassed lot. I, however, have my own eureka regarding his humility. Whisking through the entire tete tete, I again found further reinforced my suspicion regarding his lack of "sharing the dias" with other deserving blokes. Has anyone ever witnessed Sachin conceding even a single word of praise for Kallis, humdinger of an allrounder. When asked for, if presence of other stalwarts like Kallis and Steyn in the opposition motivate him to do better, Tendulkar did not even try to prevaricate, nor did he deny, however, what did he do was even more ominous beacon of his self-effacing and media-acclaimed humilit: he almost bluntly pleaded dismissal, as if Kallis or any oth

  • on February 21, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    @enthusiastic-India would hav lost that newlands match had it not been for sachin n gautham

  • enthusiastic on February 21, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Sachin only plays for personal records. I can't recall if any of his recent hundreds or other scores saved a test or won a game for team India!

  • Sumeet.Gupta on February 21, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    It really was an awesome spell from Steyn, and an equally awesome batting from the little master. The real pleasure of cricket lies in watching epic battles like these and, unfortunately, such battles are very few and far in between. Test matches give the real pleasure.....long live test matches.

  • ROLAYH on February 21, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    I don't know...Inning was not enough to earn him man of the match award, yet it is selected as best of the year.... :S

  • on February 21, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    Not only it confirms that sachin is one of the best batsmen ever,it also proves that steyn is up there with the greatest fast bowlers ever.

  • on February 21, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    I had the honour of watching him play live on Day 2 and Day 3 of that memorable Test Match in Beautiful Cape Town. It was Test Cricket at its very best. However accolades should be showered on on Gautam Gambhit too. Sachin and Gautam played one of the most remarable and gritty innings. I still remember they put India on track to win the match before Kallis ruined the party. Long Live Sachin.

  • jonesy2 on February 21, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    this award should have gone to michael clarke or michael hussey for their innings against sri lanka and south africa.

  • on February 21, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Great & honest interview by Great & honest man

  • on February 21, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Truely a genius. Lets everyone know what humility is.

  • Sudhakar86 on February 21, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    SACHIN IS GOD! Nothing more to say:)

  • winwin5 on February 21, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    Dear Sachin, when you were producing this masterful innings i was sleeping because of time zone differences, but yes I watched most of you from when I was 15 years old boy(1996) world cup till now, in this tour I am actually staying up till 3 AM eastern USA timings just with a hope u would play a cover drive. and go to work tomorrow refreshingly. you are the reasons my grades were low and mediocore when i was a kid. but I am very fortunate to have born during your playing years. after my family and friends you are the best thing ever happened in my life. thank you for entertainment. I respect everything you are I am aware of. Good luck and plz continue as long as you can DO NOT give up unless you really feel it not coz of frivoulous remarks on u r batting by others

  • narahamanithan on February 21, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    it is really very sensational. Sachin will always respect top bowlers first and then score runs,thats why sachin is playing still now.He won't care about others comments.Sachin will soon bounce back in this ongoing CB SERIES.And some of them are talking about his retirement due to his poor scores in this series and they have to note that others too is not in form.Rotation policy should be restricted,its totally utter waste opinion.It won't help our Indian team to win this series.Our captain MSD told that seniors fielding is some what poor thats why i'm using rotation policy.But Sachin is always at his best in fielding.

  • Stevo_ on February 21, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    Strange that the "best" innings of the year is selected from a drawn test and the first innings at that. It's not like it saved the test

  • on February 21, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    yes,i watched that battle,dale was unbelievable & so was sachin

  • on February 21, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    Congrats !!Sachin keep playing like that forever ...i don't know what i will do once you stop. May God fulfill all your dream.

  • on February 21, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    I have been searching for this phenomenal session of play all over the internet but can't seem to find it. I remember seeing it live and thinking, "Wow, this is surreal!". Its great to hear him talk about it. It almost creates a mysterious aura around that brilliant session of play.

  • nzcricket174 on February 21, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    That spell from Dale Steyn is the best I have ever seen.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • nzcricket174 on February 21, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    That spell from Dale Steyn is the best I have ever seen.

  • on February 21, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    I have been searching for this phenomenal session of play all over the internet but can't seem to find it. I remember seeing it live and thinking, "Wow, this is surreal!". Its great to hear him talk about it. It almost creates a mysterious aura around that brilliant session of play.

  • on February 21, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    Congrats !!Sachin keep playing like that forever ...i don't know what i will do once you stop. May God fulfill all your dream.

  • on February 21, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    yes,i watched that battle,dale was unbelievable & so was sachin

  • Stevo_ on February 21, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    Strange that the "best" innings of the year is selected from a drawn test and the first innings at that. It's not like it saved the test

  • narahamanithan on February 21, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    it is really very sensational. Sachin will always respect top bowlers first and then score runs,thats why sachin is playing still now.He won't care about others comments.Sachin will soon bounce back in this ongoing CB SERIES.And some of them are talking about his retirement due to his poor scores in this series and they have to note that others too is not in form.Rotation policy should be restricted,its totally utter waste opinion.It won't help our Indian team to win this series.Our captain MSD told that seniors fielding is some what poor thats why i'm using rotation policy.But Sachin is always at his best in fielding.

  • winwin5 on February 21, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    Dear Sachin, when you were producing this masterful innings i was sleeping because of time zone differences, but yes I watched most of you from when I was 15 years old boy(1996) world cup till now, in this tour I am actually staying up till 3 AM eastern USA timings just with a hope u would play a cover drive. and go to work tomorrow refreshingly. you are the reasons my grades were low and mediocore when i was a kid. but I am very fortunate to have born during your playing years. after my family and friends you are the best thing ever happened in my life. thank you for entertainment. I respect everything you are I am aware of. Good luck and plz continue as long as you can DO NOT give up unless you really feel it not coz of frivoulous remarks on u r batting by others

  • Sudhakar86 on February 21, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    SACHIN IS GOD! Nothing more to say:)

  • on February 21, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Truely a genius. Lets everyone know what humility is.

  • on February 21, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Great & honest interview by Great & honest man