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Put temperament above stats - Tendulkar

Alagappan Muthu in Bangalore

August 18, 2013

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar speaks at a Karnataka State Cricket Association event, Bangalore, August 17, 2013
Sachin Tendulkar: "It's about vision" © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Sachin Tendulkar has highlighted factors beyond statistics, particularly the skill to absorb pressure, as vital indicators of fresh talent. Former India captains Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and GR Viswanath were in agreement with Tendulkar, during a discussion on the ingredients that make a good cricketer, at an event to commemorate the platinum jubilee of the Karnataka State Cricket Association in Bangalore on Saturday.

"It's about vision," Tendulkar said. "When it comes to selection, one has to analyse a player. Even if he fails in a few matches, one needs to see if he has the ability to withstand pressure and execute at the international level. I have seen players who are exceptionally good at the domestic level not being able to perform as well in international cricket."

That's a scenario that is not entirely unfamiliar to Karnataka. From dominating the Ranji Trophy in the late nineties, capped with three titles in four seasons from 1995-96 to 1998-99, and at one time boasting six players from the region on the Test side, Karnataka have had no new representatives at the highest level since Vinay Kumar's only Test in January 2012 - though Stuart Binny is currently with the A side on tour in South Africa.

Dravid, the last Karnataka regular in the Test side, identified experience and a desire to learn as remedies to bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket. "Hitting it off the middle in the nets is well and good, but it's different out in the field and under pressure," he said. "Watching the seniors helps. Sachin and Laxman and Sourav, the way they approach the game, the kind of shots they play, the kind of shots they don't play, the way they build an innings ..."

Viswanath continued in the same vein, saying hard work is an ally to talent. "When you look at four or five players, there will be somebody a little better [than the others]. But you can't just sit on your talent," he said. "You have to practice. You have to learn from your seniors. You have to keep working hard. Even Sachin did not become who he is overnight and I'm sure he is still working hard to stay on top of his game."

'Players that played me best'

  • Kumble - My team: Sehwag, Tendulkar, Laxman, Azharuddin; opposition: Lara, Steve Waugh, Hayden
  • Erapalli Prasanna - Chandu Borde, Vijay Manjrekar; Garry Sobers
  • Bishan Bedi - Viswanath; Sobers
  • Bhagwath Chandrashekar - Ken Barrington, because I could never beat him. I've beaten Sobers, Kanhai, but I was always disappointed bowling to him

Ganguly, though, was swift to point out that every player, while picking the brains of his seniors, must trust in his own style of play and be careful not to copy another's game. "No two players' techniques are the same," he said. "It's all about the basics, going back and going forward."

Dravid agreed: "Individuality is important. Everyone has unique skills. You need to build on your game and keep improving. I was never going to succeed if I batted like Sehwag."

The mantle of teacher need not necessarily be limited to one's seniors, Anil Kumble, the current KSCA president, suggested. He said he considered himself fortunate for having high-quality players of spin in his dressing room. "Bowling against Tendulkar, Ganguly, Sehwag, and Mohammad Azharuddin was a great education for me," he said.

Video footage is another useful tool for a young player, the panel indicated, which had not been available before. Tendulkar remembered his debut series against Pakistan in 1989, when practice sessions were not as organised. "Now we have laptops which provide direct access [to match footage] within seconds to help plan better," he said.

Though far from perfect, as evidenced in the recent Ashes series, Bishan Bedi believes the DRS is here to stay. "In due time it will improve and everything will fall into place," he said. "Cricketers of the modern generation could also help eradicate umpiring blunders by being honest with themselves."

"I see a lot more shots in Tests. We are getting more results," Ganguly said, when the conversation turned to Twenty20 cricket. "Scores of 350, 400 in ODIs. There has been innovation in the game, no doubt."

"Captains are also being creative," Tendulkar added. "They are taking more chances [even if it means] going for runs and trying to get wickets with the ball."

But the fundamentals for success in the longer format still apply, Dravid said: "If you look at Chris Gayle, Michael Hussey, AB de Villiers, they are all very good players in Tests. It is easier for a player with good basics to adapt to T20, but it rarely happens the other way around."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (August 21, 2013, 2:52 GMT)

Look who is talking - put temperament above Stats? Tendulkar should be the last person to talk about this subject.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

It is a welcome dialogue between former captains. It is nice to see G.R.Viswanath in the picture. In those days he was the xaviour of test matches for India. All the teams West Indies which was on top with Worrel,Andy Roberts, Sobers, etc., Australians Dennis Dillee, Ian and Greg Chappels, etc. New Zealanders, Hadlee, McDonald, etc. England was not that formidable Viswanath faced them all and played extraordinarily well and his leg glance was super. Probably he invented it. He saved many a tests into a drawn matches. A great man among the great teams. In those days radio is the link for crocket. Vizzy ( Maharaja of Vijayanagaram, Anand Rao etc. were the commentators. We young boys enjoyed those commentaries since Indians like Viwanath, Jai Simha enthralled us with their batsmanship and we were interested a draw which itself was a victory. Likewise youngstgers must develop patience in playing shots.

Posted by Sarfin on (August 19, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

@sundaram530, you should take a look in Vinod Kambli's profile, who had a great stats but a short career. Or may be Laxaman's, who was well short of an average of 50 and total test runs below 10000, but considered one of the finest test batsmen of the last decade.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 5:33 GMT)

It was interesting to listen to some of the legends of the game. One point which stood common was -'ability to absorb pressure'[also read temperament]. Now that has got different inferences. For ex: in tests its about blocking the balls when ur trying to save the game,at the same time not totally getting stuck at the crease. In shorter & shortest formats, its abt hiiting out when ur chasing a big target. But to do both the jobs, u need 2 have technique without which u can't b confident to do the job. But ironically few talented guy's both from yesteryrs[ viv richards] & current[rohit sharma,i am not comparing] believe in dominating the proceedings from the word go. this is bcos they trust their technique. So as the end word of ganguly, dravid was - no 2 players r alike, so temperament[ability 2 absorb pressure] means different to different individuals. So if player gets out hitting a bowler, pls dont comment- he's not got temperament. it just dint work out the way it should have.

Posted by Lodhisingh on (August 19, 2013, 1:44 GMT)

Yay the Sachin bashing club! I missed ya'll. May be have a look at Statsguru for Dravid and Sachin before concluding on consistency over sustained periods. And WISEMAN was talking about TEMPERAMENT not TECHNIQUE.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 1:37 GMT)

@Rowan - Tendulkar averaged about 80 in 2009 and 2010!! Even 2011 was okay; it was 2012 where he played terribly (for his standards especially).

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 1:34 GMT)

AGREED: Bowlers usually get away on pure talent and can return at any stage of the game while even lesser affected by umpiring decisions compared to batters who are battling on number of fronts. New batters build in the company of experienced hands at the wicket and need to be nurished all along like a child untill they are on their own. If you don't have this, and there is a vaccum and it takes time to fill. Pakistan has this problem today, may be Australia? Pressure is natural consequence.

Posted by Snambidi on (August 18, 2013, 22:02 GMT)

The views of the veterans are reasonable.Especially regarding the opinion that the skill in the largest version of Cricket can be adapted to shorter versions successful butvthe viceversa need not be always true. Adapting from shorter version to the shortest version to largest version Ie from T-20 to Test matches may not always work out successfully. The general experience from the players & what we used to view in matches agree mostly right tobthe views expressed by the veterans, Any how,in my opinion any opinion does not matter & should not affect to alter the need for Sachin to play 200 Test matches. It is just a matter of good gesture from the selectors in his Motherland & partly their duty to allow this wish of Sachin if he wishes so.

Any other criterion or decision should not interfere with the opinion that that Sachin should be allowed to retire when he feels himself like retiring from any version of the Cricket.because he is a Unique star.

Posted by sundaram530 on (August 18, 2013, 19:47 GMT)

Not sure what Sachin is saying here. if a player does not score runs or take wickets (resulting in poor stats), how can anyone say he can 'absorb pressure'? Player are always under pressure in international cricket. The ones who handle it well have good stats to show for it. Sachin is a great player, but I don't think he is a very good thinker!

Posted by Sarfin on (August 18, 2013, 17:31 GMT)

I'd love to see Sachin, Sourav and Rahul in the commentary box. Their chat will be as fascinating as their batting.

Posted by Snambidi on (August 18, 2013, 14:33 GMT)

This article clearly indicates the temperament & trend in the longer as well as shorter versions. Those who do well in Longest version viz Test Cricket might be able to adapt well to the shorter versions but not viceversa. test Cricket is the essence of this Glorious Game of Uncertainty..

Once you could establish your talent & Ability in Test Cricket there is no harm done if you try short versionscalso. But the yardstick for measuring talentb rests with the longest Version. In Test matches there is plenty of time to adapt,if one wants to apply techniques & adapt. Sachin,Dravid,Ganguly& Laxman are such.players. The latest example in theworld about players whoncould playball version equallywell is

MS Dhoni..he can adapt& also apply to shine in allbthe versions.

Such playerscare rare.

Anyhow,the need for Tendulktondo play200 Tests getting included in the playing Eleven isbmore beneficial to other cricketers than to Tendulkar himself.

He isa great player of all time indeed!!

Posted by Speedwheels on (August 18, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

These three guys,Laxman and Kumble and have so much to offer Indian cricket in the next few years. Hope they mentor the next generation of players, contribute to the NCA and tour with the age group teams.

Posted by alarky on (August 18, 2013, 12:54 GMT)

Cont'd: Dravid and Ganguly's submission in summation is exactly what the Great Sunil Gavascar has correctly postulated very recently. That is, "technique is overrated"! If all this trite talk that is being made about technique was so important, Virendah Sehwag would not be India's second best opening batsman of All Time in test matches; neither would he have been the high quality world class player that he is, when he's in form! Mind you, Sehwag is not the only player who has lost form with age - only that no such over-hyped negative deal is made with the case of others as is being made with Sehwag's! I really like the wisdom that we got from SRT in his contribution, especially the topic of this article, "Put temparament above STATISTICS". This guy has always been India's 'WISEMAN' in cricket!

Posted by   on (August 18, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

Tendulkar is a champ, but I honestly, would've preferred to See Rohit Sharma played at Tests since about 2009-2010, he's up towards 26 so wouldve been good to debut him earlier at 4. Indian test team looks very strong now, hoping their Seam bowlers get lots of experience in SA, Jadeja as true alrounder. 1. Dhawan 2. Sehwag/Rahane/Vijay(im sure theres anotheropener) 3. Pujara 4. R-Sharma 5. Kohli 6. Jadeja/Dhoni 7. Dhoni/Jadeja 8. Ashwin 9. Bhuvi 10. Zaheer(?) 11. I-Sharma. What other top-notch seam bowlers are available for Test selection?

Posted by alarky on (August 18, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

"... When it comes to selection... Even if [a batsman] fails in a few matches, one needs to see if he has the ability to withstand pressure..." (SRT, 2013). This is good advice from SRT. Yes, dropping some one who "fails in a few matches" must be harsh on that player, especially a young talented one who is just trying to get a chance to show case himself to the world. But an old tried and tested 'has-been' can't impose himself on the selectors to have him playing 2 and 3 consecutive years out of form and averaging in the 20s and low 30s! I guess too, that if "the ability to withstand pressure" was a selection prerequisite used every time the Indian team was picked, surprisingly, one or two BIG NAMES who are now lecturing about PRESSURE would not make the team on most occasions! I think that Dravid and Ganguly together made the most important point; that is, 'a batsman's own style is key to his success; but he needs to always apply the basics and keep improving on his game". Cont'd:

Posted by   on (August 18, 2013, 11:26 GMT)

"It is easier for a player with good basics to adapt to T20, but it rarely happens the other way around." Very well said Dravid. It is obvious from his succes who scored more than 10000 runs in ODI. Look at England, where 25 year olds already have 100 firstclass matches, and they are also a decent ODI team despite not even having a 50 over competition. For me its not Dhoni or Ganguly, but Dravid who is India's best test captain with series wins in England, WI(which was still stronger than now with Gayle, Lara, Chanderpaul, Sarwan), and wins in SA. And this was a side with inconsistent, out of form Sehwag and Sachin, out of from Bhajji. He was also the best player of quality swing bowling although not quite as good as likes of Sachin against pace and bounce, but still very good at his peak. For someone to average 50 in tests and almost 40 in ODI's with gloves on his hand is truly remarkable. Also unlike other two, his consistency meant he wasn't taking credit for what other 10 did.

Posted by Cric_god_Sachin on (August 18, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

Great insight from the Senior pro's. Very good read.

Posted by   on (August 18, 2013, 9:35 GMT)

very disappointed that such gr8 players have so ordinary vision..The future of cricket is only T20..It is the only form of game which can compete with other popular sports like soccer and tennis..Its very easy for cricketers to say test cricket is this..it is that..but what has test cricket given in the last 140 yrs..only 10 teams have got test status till date..By this ratio..cricket will go no where...world does not have so much time to watch cricket for 5 consecutive days..it should be wrapped up with a few hours n only T20 can do that..We want cricket to be popular among 150 countries not just 15. Big countries like USA, Russia, China,, Germany, Brazill need to participate in cricket so that it will become more global..Imagine if India wins world championship amongst 150 countries rather than just 15 countries..Imagine the feeling in the country if a country wins olympic gold medal in cricket..

Posted by timus6778 on (August 18, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

wow...so many icons on one platform..would love to see the video ...u all are genius of the game...Respect

Posted by   on (August 18, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

Good reminder of Vishwanath's glorious innings and overall contribution to Indian cricket, srikanths!

Posted by bhadales on (August 18, 2013, 6:29 GMT)

A nice article that ends on a pin point note.

Posted by Naresh28 on (August 18, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

Valuable inputs from Ex-players will bridge the gap between the old and new. This cycle must continue if Indian cricket must be taken forward. So far this has been done.It will also help

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