Whom is Sachin Tendulkar waiting to watch at the World Cup?
Indian legend hopes the long gap Virat Kohli's team has between the warm-ups and the tournament opener won't affect preparations
Sachin Tendulkar wants Rashid Khan, one of the players he is "really looking forward to watching" at the World Cup, to look for wickets at all times and bowl as he would in Test cricket.
"I think he's going to be instrumental in creating those upsets in this tournament," Tendulkar, making his commentary debut on Star Sports, said on the first day of the tournament, at the innings break in the match between England and South Africa. "If I have to tell him something, I would say, 'Look, treat this like a Test match. Because even in the T20 format, you've been able to pick wickets because the batters have not read what you've done with your wrist. And you do that, back yourself, have an attacking field, and challenge batters to hit over mid-on and mid-off.'
"Of course deep midwicket has to be there in today's format. But I would say challenge the batters and you won't disappoint the Afghanistan fans."
Among other players Tendulkar was eager to see - apart from those in the Indian team - he picked one each from two of the other tournament favourites - Australia and England.
"It has to be David Warner, because I saw him in the IPL and he made a huge statement there," Tendulkar said when asked about the batsman he was most excited about watching. "He looked hungry, determined, focussed and fitter. Warner was anyway fit, but he looked unbelievably fit (in the IPL). In extreme conditions, he pushed himself and ran hard. He looks determined so I think he's the batter to watch out for.
"I am looking forward to Jofra Archer bowling for England because I know, in crunch moments, England are always going to look at Jofra Archer to bowl those tight overs. Or if you need a breakthrough, you need Jofra Archer to come and give that breakthrough."
"Look, treat this like a Test match. Because even in the T20 format, you've been able to pick wickets because the batters have not read what you've done with your wrist."What Tendulkar would tell Rashid Khan
Tendulkar knows a thing or two of playing at the highest level, and has been one of the star performers at the World Cup in his six appearances. He was the top run-scorer in the 1996 and 2003 editions, and was part of the side that made the semi-finals in 1996, the final in 2003, and became champions in 2011.
For the 2019 semi-finals, his thoughts were largely in line with the popular sentiment - India, England, Australia, and... "I'm slightly confused between New Zealand and South Africa, but just possibly New Zealand is ahead of South Africa".
India had a lukewarm start to their World Cup programme, losing their first warm-up game to New Zealand by six wickets, but then rode on centuries from KL Rahul and MS Dhoni to beat Bangladesh by 95 runs.
"I thought the game against New Zealand was a tough one. But Virat (Kohli) won the toss and batted first in spite of knowing that the wicket was on the greener side and overcast conditions. It was always going to help the seamers. He possibly wanted to get that practice of playing out the first spell and then slowly building an innings," Tendulkar said. "The second match, I think the batting looked good. KL Rahul and Dhoni made big statements there. So all in all, I think good preparation before a tournament like this."
The game against Bangladesh, however, was on May 28, and India's first game in the main tournament is only on June 5 - by which time every other team would have played at least one match each.
"The only thing is, they have to wait and watch. See the first match, India play South Africa. They would be watching this [England v South Africa] game. They would have figured out that, 'Okay, these are the bowling changes, and this is how they are going to chase the target'. All these strategies are being planned, and then you don't want to wait for too long, you know," Tendulkar said. "You ideally would want to play against them in literally two days, and say, 'Okay we are going to execute our plans, whatever we saw two days ago'. But when there is too much gap, I just hope they don't forget!"