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May 24, 2009
Sachin Tendulkar has stressed the need for adequate rest for Indian players ahead of the World Twenty20 in June, particularly so for the openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, who failed to fire in the IPL. Tendulkar was by and large satisfied with the way Indian players performed in the IPL but pointed out that Sehwag and Gambhir had not been consistent. The pair only managed two half-century partnerships in nine innings together, and struggled with their form. Both batsmen were among the top ten run-getters last season, but Gambhir finished with a disappointing average of 22 from 15 games this year, and Sehwag with 19.38 from 11.
"I think individually the boys are doing well," Tendulkar said upon arrival in India. "Look at Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS [Dhoni] ... In the bowling department, Zaheer was doing well before he got injured and RP Singh has come up in leaps and bounds.
"Only our opening combination of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag hasn't fired," Tendulkar said. "I think the key would be how soon they can shed the fatigue factor. They have been playing back to back for a long time now and it would be difficult to keep up the tempo."
The World Twenty20 is scheduled to begin on June 5 and India face Bangladesh in their first league game the next day. Asked if the IPL served as an ideal preparation for the tournament, Tendulkar said: "… It is. You are playing the same format and you are playing against the best bowlers and also not in home conditions. So, I think this is a good preparation except that the players should take adequate rest between the IPL and the ICC World Twenty20."
Tendulkar was also sure he didn't intend to represent India in the Twenty20 format. "I never thought that I would play the ICC World Twenty20. MS Dhoni and his Twenty20 team have done wonderfully well and I just hope they continue to do so. I have no plans to play Twenty20 for India," he said.
Tendulkar led an unsuccessful campaign as captain of Mumbai Indians, losing eight out of 14 games, and failing to make it to the semi-finals. "We blew hot and cold," he said about his team's performance. "There were times when we could have done better than we did. I think it is a batsman's format and in our case it was the batsmen who let us down."
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