No misgivings over dismissing Tendulkar - Mohit
Mohit Sharma, the Haryana fast bowler, said he had no intention of letting Sachin Tendulkar ease into his stride in his farewell domestic match. Mohit breached Tendulkar's defences off the seventh ball faced by the Mumbai batsman, forcing a mass exit from the stands at Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium in Lahli, near Rohtak. The visitors had the upper hand though, having dismissed Haryana for 134 in an extended first session and ending the first day trailing by 34 runs, with six wickets in hand.
"Not even for a fraction of a second. It was a huge opportunity in my life as well, you don't get the chance to dismiss Sachin too many times," Mohit said. "Personally, I did not feel bad. Any wicket you take gives you happiness, especially if it is sir's wicket, you have no words to describe the moment."
Mohit said the plan was to make any new batsman play when he came in, and that is what he tried against Tendulkar. "It wasn't as if I was thinking that it was his last match. I just bowled to my strengths, thought of bowling wicket to wicket, that will be good for me. At the start, they left well and we did bowl a bit wide. It feels nice [to have taken his wicket].
"We wanted to make him play, as on this wicket it is difficult for any new batsman. Usually the old ball, with the seam raised a bit, it kicks after it pitches. That is what happened, it bounced a bit, hit his elbow and the stumps."
Haryana were aware that maintaining a disciplined length was key in luring a batsman to make mistakes on the Lalhi pitch. "If I had bowled it at the face, it would have become easier for the batsman. But if you bowled it just back of a length, it would go in the air on this wicket," Mohit said. "That is what we were trying to achieve with the short cover point, short mid-off or short leg, that if it goes in the air, we had a chance.'
Mohit denied his side had decided to try something different against Tendulkar. "It was not as if there was anything special about the day. It was just like any other day when you go to play a match. It is in every player's mind that he is going to play a match with Sachin. You come to a match having thought something specific that you are going to bowl to him, what you will do, what you will not do. We all have seen how he bats.
As captain Ajay Jadeja had mentioned, Haryana were not concentrating on the hype generated by this being Tendulkar's final appearance in Indian domestic cricket and directed their energies on their own performance. "Everyone was normal in the dressing room," Mohit said. "Even before the match we were told that do not think about who you are playing against, work on your strengths which you have been doing for the last eight to ten years. If we start looking at others' strengths, then we might end up pulling ourselves down.'
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo