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The Heavy Ball

SR Tendulkar 200 not out

Yes, it was a first in the game but he could have done better, couldn't he?

Alex Bowden
A touch excessive for an innings with a strike rate of 136  •  Getty Images

A touch excessive for an innings with a strike rate of 136  •  Getty Images

Stuart: Well, I'm quite breathless after that. It was so exciting that my slice of battenburg is still sitting in front of me, untouched. Sachin Tendulkar has become the first batsman to hit 200 in a one-day international. A staggering performance, Ash.
Ash: Very impressive. I mean there's a few things he needs to work on, but today he's come good. On his day, he's a top, top batsman.
Stuart: It's a bit odd to qualify your praise at a time like this, Ash.
Ash: I'm just being honest. He's not the complete batsman and I'm sure he knows that. There's one or two holes in his technique, but if he works on them he could become a real force.
Stuart: You don't think that scoring 200 in a one-day international constitutes being a real force?
Ash: Take nothing away from the lad, it's been a great knock, but his limitations were highlighted by Dhoni's innings at the end there.
Stuart: Okay, I think you'll have to elaborate on that. I'm not quite sure what you're driving at here.
Ash: He's got a flaw in his technique. If he can do something to address that, India can really start to put up some challenging scores.
Stuart: They've scored 400, Ash. The game's as good as theirs.
Ash: It's a stiff total, yeah, but ask yourself whether they could have got more.
Stuart: Not really.
Ash: They could, Stu. The best players in the world, they don't set limitations on what they can achieve. The lad Tendulkar's got to aim a bit higher - figuratively and literally.
Stuart: Oh no, this is the six thing again, isn't it?
Ash: It's such a crucial and undervalued part of the game, Stu. I'm sorry to keep banging on about it, but it matters.
Stuart: I think you're blinkered.
Ash: I think you're the one that's blinkered. Two hundred off 147 balls. Come on, that's nothing to write home about. A few more sixers and that would have been a real innings. Dhoni's been in for 35 balls and he's cleared the ropes four times. The lad Tendulkar's hit three sixers in 147 balls.
Stuart: As soon as we get on to this topic, you lose all perspective.
Ash: I don't. I'm simply pointing out a technical flaw.
Stuart: A technical flaw.
Ash: Yeah, a technical flaw. Look how many fours he's hit. Imagine if they were sixers and then do the maths. All he needs to do is make one technical change and he'd be 50% better than he is right now.
Stuart: Go on then. What's this one technical flaw that's proving so costly?
Ash: Look at the lad Tendulkar when he plays a drive. What do you notice? Foot to the pitch of the ball, threads it to the boundary along the deck.
Stuart: Yes. Excellent batting.
Ash: But technically flawed. Watch the greats of the game and see how they do it.
Stuart: How do they do it, Ash?
Ash: They clear the front leg, Stu. That's what it's all about. That's how they get the elevation.
Stuart: To hit sixes.
Ash: Sixers, Stu. They're called sixers.
Stuart: They're really not.
Ash: If the lad Tendulkar spends a bit of time watching video footage and masters clearing the front leg, I'd say there's no limit to how good he could become. I don't say this lightly, but he could become the next Kieron Pollard.

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket.
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?