Harsha Bhogle
Harsha Bhogle Harsha BhogleRSS FeedFeeds  | Archives
Commentator, television presenter and writer

Look out for KP and Sachin

Their particular circumstances and their manner of playing make two cricketers especially worth watching in the India-England series

Harsha Bhogle

November 9, 2012

Comments: 96 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar played some good-looking strokes, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 4th day, January 6, 2012
Tendulkar: will not go quietly © Getty Images
Related Links
Players/Officials: Kevin Pietersen | Sachin Tendulkar
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Teams: England | India

A character at the height of his powers and a legend winding down his career will be the ones to watch out for over the next six weeks. Kevin Pietersen and Sachin Tendulkar have more in common as batsmen than is immediately apparent, but it is the manner in which they have chosen to live that they tread different paths.

Tendulkar admitted recently that he doesn't have a lot of cricket left in him. We know that and so do his ardent fans; they speak as if they are in denial, but even they know. For him to admit it just draws it closer.

Watching Tendulkar has been the one constant in our lives over the last 23 years. Much has changed. Nations have been created, the world economy has gone boom and bust and boom and bust again, music has evolved, young people drawn to him when he started might have children who are now married. He has been a wonderful habit, spreading cheer when gloom is the market leader.

And we don't know how much longer we will see that walk down the ground, the push through cover, the flick through square leg, the straight drive, the quirky problem with sightscreens, the boyish smile, the occasional legbreak... we don't know. It could be this series, it could be another, it could be longer; but suddenly Tendulkar the cricketer feels finite. And so I am going to go to the next four Tests and just enjoy watching him bat. I hope he is nimble on his feet and chooses to play shots rather than drop anchor, though who's to say he isn't the best judge of his own cricket? But his best batting in recent years has been when he has sought to dominate, whether it was the tussle with Dale Steyn in South Africa or against the Australians in Melbourne and in Sydney.

You can tell the fire burns bright, as it always has done. He batted against Railways with food poisoning, and the Mumbai coach says he faced 300 balls an hour in the nets. That second fact is quite something. In a match situation you get at best 90 balls an hour, of which you might face 50. It will always be quicker in the nets because every bowler is at the top of his mark waiting for the one before him to deliver, but to play five balls a minute for 60 minutes means Tendulkar is on to something. He won't want to go quietly; that's not him.

It will not be like Pietersen to grind out a hundred. He will attack, he will seek to dominate, and it is the thrill of that contest that could well define how England go in this series

It will be fun. And if after four Tests he has made enough, the next four will be fun too. The thespian will be delivering his lines and you won't know which will be the last. Isn't that enough to grab your attention?

Meanwhile a slightly younger man with a much more stormy existence will also seek to dominate this series. I was in an airport lounge recently, grabbing a quick breakfast, when the highlights of Pietersen's 149 against South Africa came on. The idli stayed in my spoon for two minutes. It was breathtaking batting and it reminded me of two Tendulkar hundreds: one at Edgbaston, when he was but 23, and another three years later, in Melbourne. Remember, there are at least ten inches separating the two; the stride therefore is different and the bounce affects them differently. But in both instances the batsmen were looking to attack, cutting and pulling, not afraid to go down the ground or to hit in the air. It was gladiatorial. If you wanted an innings from the last 12 months to showcase cricket, it would be this one from Pietersen; and maybe Michael Clarke's in South Africa.

But India will be very different for Pietersen. He cannot camp on the back foot and get on top of the bounce. He will have to crouch, he might have to advance towards the ball rather than watch it come quiveringly towards him. The ball will snake its way around, and those darn left-arm spinners will be swarming around him. I've never understood that: a batsman so astonishingly gifted, so brutal, and yet so transfixed by little fellows who toss a ball up to him left-handed.

It will not be like Pietersen to grind out a hundred against them; a Gongura chutney might more likely find its way onto a delicate pasta. He will attack, he will seek to dominate, and it is the thrill of that contest that could well define how England go in this series. On the last four occasions they have toured India, only once, back in 1993, when Graeme Hick was playing, has a player scored more than 300 runs in a series. If Pietersen can be the player to erase that sorry number, we will have seen some thrilling cricket.

There will be other stars, and they will demand our attention too, but I can already feel the thrill of the little giant and the massive dueller walking out with bat in hand.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

RSS Feeds: Harsha Bhogle

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

tendulkar is the best and no 1 cn take that away from him. we all know the inevitably retirement is due. lets just let him go with a bang...long live sachin

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

Indian test cricket batting has all about Sehwag at top and laxman in the middle order for the past 5 years. Both these guys have helped India to win matches. Sachin and Dravid have helped to draw or save test matches with the rate in which they play. How can Mr. Bhogle compare Sachin with KP. Sachin has been boring us for a long time now. And Mr. Dhoni without adding value in test side is bent on removing Sehwag and Laxman. Laxman is out and he has taken 4 openers to put extra pressure on Sehwag. Opening in test cricket against new balls and fresh wicket is the most difficult skill in cricket. We have had many middle order great batsman. How many good openers we had Gavaskar, Sehwag ...... May be Sidhu and Gambhir.The last 8-0 has been because Sehwag and Gambhi have not fired. Once openers get out middle order gets exposed to new ball earlier than expected and then it becomes tough for everyone. Its a chain reaction. Openers do well and you will also see huge scores in middle order.

Posted by paps123 on (November 12, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

Absolutely, with Tendulkar we lose 8-0 outside subcontinent and he plays poorly too. By playing well against England in India, what he proves is best known to him only. Nice to see Dravid and Laxman having that sensitivity towards Indian cricket which quite clearly Tendulkar does not have.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

Has Harsha played any cricket?

Posted by Ha8rick on (November 11, 2012, 20:25 GMT)

I used to be a HUGE fan of Sachin while growing up as he is my age. Now, I think he is just a selfish person who is holding up a spot for younger folks and in the process destroying a few careers.

He should have quit all forms of cricket after winning the World Cup and leave the game with his Head held up high.

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (November 11, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

KP yes, but Sachin? not sure...

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

Udayakumar Aravamudhan Sir, that is very very true.... I don't know y these guys are posting worthless comments about our Cricket GOD...

Posted by alarky on (November 11, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

Cont'd: Without any disrespect for the great man, all those who are encouraging him to carry on should instead graciously tell him, "Sachin, please take up your bat and go home".

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

Sachin should have retired 2 years ago. Can't understand why he keeps playing. Sometimes he looks so useless at the crease that it's embarrassing. Occasionally he scores some runs, even Ashwin is more constant than him.

Can't help but feel he's playing for the record books.

Posted by Rajesh_india_1990 on (November 11, 2012, 1:35 GMT)

RANDYOZ is famous for his cakewalk comment...mate i am a big fan of your jokes..i expect many more from you please..

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
Harsha BhogleClose
Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

    An all-round ODI giant

Numbers Game: Few players can boast the sort of numbers that Jacques Kallis achieved in ODIs

    Is being bowled out by Moeen embarrassing?

Polite Enquiries: Is Rahane India's Misbah? Should Rohit be dropped? Jarrod Kimber and George Dobell discuss

    'We were determined to prove we were not an average team'

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Dave Richardson remembers his favourite moment from the Lord's win in 1994

    'A test of Kohli's mental strength'

Bowl at Boycs: Geoffrey Boycott on Kohli's recent form, and Cook's captaincy

How does one 'lead by example'?

Alex Bowden: A captain needs to do enough as an individual to retain respect and control, but exceptional performances may not result in even greater influence

News | Features Last 7 days

The woeful world of Pankaj Singh

Pankaj Singh greeted his most expensive analysis in Test history with the words 'That is cricket'. It was admirable acceptance from an impressive man of a record he did not deserve

Bhuvneshwar on course for super series

Only 15 times in Test history has a player achieved the double of 300 runs and 20 wickets in a Test series. Going on current form, Bhuvneshwar could well be the 16th

Ugly runs but still they swoon

Alastair Cook did not bat like a leading man but the crowd applauded him for simply not failing

Boycott floored by an Indian trundler

When Eknath Solkar got under the skin of Geoff Boycott, leading to a three-year self-imposed exile from Test cricket

Worst keepers, and honours at Lord's

Also, most keeping dismissals on debut, seven-for at HQ, and youngest ODI centurions

News | Features Last 7 days
Sponsored Links

Why not you? Read and learn how!