England in India 2012-13 November 27, 2012

'India need Tendulkar now more than ever' - Dravid


With the series against England level at 1-1, and following the poor performance in Mumbai, India need Sachin Tendulkar now more than ever, former captain Rahul Dravid has said, and he has backed him to perform in the rest of the series.

Tendulkar has not scored a half-century in his last ten Test innings and has managed just 29 runs in the three innings he's played against England so far in which he's been dismissed each time to spin. Dravid, however, said Tendulkar looked better than he did in the previous home series against New Zealand, and "who better than Sachin" to deliver in the next two games.

"I thought he was a little scratchy and looked a little under-prepared against New Zealand," Dravid said of Tendulkar, who prepared for the England series with a century for Mumbai in their opening game of the Ranji Trophy against Railways at the Wankhede Stadium. "Here, I know it seems strange to say after he's had three failures, but he's actually looking quite good.

"He's played a couple of straight drives, he's played a couple of shots that when I was playing with him, you knew he was playing well if he was playing those shots."

Tendulkar, Dravid said, had also been a little unlucky in this series. "He'll be disappointed with the shot he played to get out in Ahmedabad on a relatively flatter wicket, and then to see other people score runs. Here, he was a bit unlucky: the first ball that really spun on the first morning was the one that got him. Until then there weren't too many balls spinning. And then he played for the spin in the second innings and the ball straightened on a track on which every ball was spinning.

"India need him now more than ever. At 1-1 in a tight series, it's going to be very important for senior players to stand up and who better than Sachin to do that."

India went in with three specialist spinners for the Mumbai Test, on a surface that turned from the outset, but Dravid said, given that the conditions in Kolkata would be different, India would be better off with a combination of two spinners and two seamers.

"It's a different kind of soil, it does not break up," he said. "It's black soil, red soil [like in Mumbai] tends to deteriorate very quickly and if you leave it dry, it can turn and bounce a lot more than the black soil does.

"I think that's a blessing in disguise from India's point of view. They might have to work harder for the wins but it'll also give their batsmen a chance to be able to put up big scores, and to be able to show they are good players of spin."

Dravid admitted Dhoni had problems using his spin resources in Mumbai, especially with the availability of two other part-time options. "He's going to have to re-look at his combination, simply because it's going to be difficult to manage three spinners and especially having Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag in the side who can also bowl spin.

"The combination they had in Ahmedabad was the best one, where they had two seamers and two spinners. Hopefully we'll see a normal Kolkata wicket. India have a great record in Kolkata, we've had a lot of success in Kolkata, because it is a typical subcontinental wicket. As it starts off, you can play your shots, there is something in it for the fast bowlers but it does spin."

Umesh Yadav will miss the Kolkata Test due to injury, and Ashok Dinda has been included in the squad having been named as cover last week. Should Dinda be picked in the XI, Harbhajan Singh, who bowled the least number of overs among India's spinners in Mumbai, may be left out.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • stuart on November 30, 2012, 22:59 GMT

    cricket is a team game.Unfortunately Tendulkar is the ulitmate individual and does not seem like the interests of the team are top. Is this a symbol of the fact that the individual is more important in Indian culture and has Tendulkar become the ultimate symbol of where the cricket culture of India has gone wrong.I mean look at the IPL.IS it really cricket or just an excuse for Bollywood stars to be seen.

    Maybe you get what you deserve within your team

  • Mike on November 30, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    This article has more comments than any other. It only goes to show what impact Sachin has had on Cricket globally.

  • A on November 30, 2012, 19:45 GMT

    " ... And then he played for the spin in the second innings and the ball straightened .." Mr. Rahul Dravid, that is a left arm spinner's classic wicket taking delivery .. Nothing to do with the batsman being unlucky, he just did not read it !

  • Nadeem on November 30, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    i just want sachin to keep on playing. these fans are foolish they don't know what legend is and how important it is for test cricket to have legends otherwise no body will watch test cricket at all. ah i still miss the legends of 90s and 80s. test cricket is nothing without legends.

  • Al on November 30, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Sachin is a walking wicket these days. I can't believe even Dravid sold out to Sachin's promoters. A batting average of 15 - even tailenders like Ashwin and Pathan have better batting averages. I am sure that if given a chance, youngsters like Rahane and Tiwary can average much more than that.

  • Dummy4 on November 30, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Ponting had dignity, every employee in life works till a certain age, contributes his part, and then becomes a mentor and lets some young blood take hold of charge for the country's future, every one did it, vivian richards, brian lara, inzamam, shane warne, McGrath, etc.... so does sachin, He has been on the limelight for more than 20 years, its time for a young boy to come and play for his country now, I hope Mr Sachin reads this and decides to let a youngster fight for india, Chapter Sachin needs a closure just like we are seeing Ponting retire today. Thank you for the memories Ponting, Sachin is next !!!!

  • maa on November 30, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    If i am the captain of indian side i would make sachin to open the innings which could provide sachin his own time to regain his formbcoz no.4 position is not giving him time i feel. Either as in 1st test 1st innings where pujara and sehwag scores mounted pressure on him which would have made him to play risk shots.whereas in mumbai all indian batsmens failed. Will wait and watch for next game. I am sure sachin should open the innings with gambhir to answer his critics.

  • Underground on November 30, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Some master batsmen who have played till ages older than Tendulkar's, owing mainly to technical robustness: Bradman, Hobbs, Gooch, Stewart. On the other hand, some other great batsmen who could not survive so long, perhaps owing to reflex weakening: Hammond, Ponting, Richards. There are both possibilities, and going by Tendulkar's technique, I would be tempted to put him on the first list.

  • Dummy4 on November 30, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    legendary performer of a cricket need 2 gain back form soon and shock england

  • giri on November 30, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    Sachin is scared of Jacques Kallis, who will break all of his test records that's for sure. And his ODI records no one will care. Moreover, he is not a T20 player and which is the future. So, once he retires, he will be treated like another sunil gowasker. People will stop calling him GOD.

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