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March 13, 2008
Sachin Tendulkar has said the current Australian team is more defensive than its predecessors. "In 1991, they did not go on the defensive if an Indian batsman played a couple of shots," Tendulkar told the Hindu.
"In the recent series, however, they immediately posted a deep point. This did not happen in 1999 or in 2003. This was the first time they set a scattered field."
However Tendulkar, who has toured Australia four times since 1991, said it was nice to play them as the game always moved at a different pace altogether. "I have not had a look at their juniors, but from the look of it that's how they play. The bowlers like to challenge the batsmen even in their domestic competition. There were verbal exchanges as well."
As a batsman, the defining moment of the tour for him was his two shots over the wicketkeeper off Mitchell Johnson.
Assessing the Australian bowlers he has faced over his career, Tendulkar put Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne at the top of his list, followed by Brett Lee, who, with 24 wickets, was the leading wicket-taker of the Test series, and Craig McDermott. But Tendulkar said Australia's batting had been more of less the same as before and it was the Indian bowlers on this tour who had challenged them more often. "On various occasions their [batsmen's] temperament was tested. We created and sustained the pressure and the intensity was great.
Though he praised younger cricketers like Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma and members of the victorious Under-19 squad, Tendulkar said there was a need to look back to find out how many youngsters made it to the Indian team as teenagers and then went on to play for a long time. "Ishant had a terrific tour, his future looks very good. But it's equally important not only for him, but everyone else not to get carried away.
"We need to strike that balance between staying in the present and also looking at the future. But one cannot forget that the Test team has also tasted success. We should not forget that what the seniors did in the Tests laid the foundation for the tour."
Yuvraj Singh and Wasim Jaffer were in poor form during the tour but Tendulkar said this wasn't because the two have trouble playing on bouncy seaming tracks. "Australia is not the only place in the world where there is pronounced seam and bounce and both these batsmen have scored runs on those tracks. It's a case of ups and downs and it was just a coincidence that it happened in Australia."
Tendulkar said this tour was the most special of all four he'd been on because of India's win in the Perth Test. "If one looks back at the series we challenged them more than they did us."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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