Kapil Dev, the former Indian captain, has questioned Sachin Tendulkar's abilities as a match-winner after failing in the first Test against England at Lord's. Tendulkar scored 37 and 16 in a close draw.
Kapil said that Tendulkar has not been able to perform under pressure and deliver in crunch situations. None of the four middle-order batsmen - Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly - managed a half century as India made 201 in the first innings and just managed to hang on in the second and save the game before bad light on the fifth day resulted in a draw.
"Every time people hope big things from Sachin Tendulkar but often it is only disappointment that we are left with," Kapil told Aaj Tak, a Hindi news channel. "He is thought to be the backbone of the Indian team but many times he has not stood up to the occasion."
Tendulkar found form in the three-match one-day series against South Africa in Ireland which preceded the England tour, winning the Man-of-the-Series award. He went on to score an exhilarating 171 in the tour game against England Lions at Chelmsford, before the Lord's Test.
Kapil felt that Tendulkar was presented with the best opportunity to silence his critics and play a match-winning knock in the second innings with India set to chase 380. Tendulkar fell to Monty Panesar for 16 on the penultimate evening, struck leg before in front of offstump.
"Figures say that Sachin has not been able to perform under pressure," he said. "Sachin has big records to his name but until he wins matches for India in these conditions, people will raise fingers at him."
Kapil praised Mahendra Singh Dhoni's unbeaten 76 in the second innings, an under-pressure knock which rescued India from a certain defeat.
"He has the ability to win matches for India on his own. He was tentative on the last day of the Test match and was not able to play freely."