World Test Championship final: Sachin Tendulkar says Kiwis had best preparation possible, but India far from underdogs
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has said that while the New Zealand cricket team has had the best preparation possible for the upcoming World Test Championship final, India will be far from underdogs in the clash.
“I don’t agree that India are the underdogs,” Tendulkar told CNN News18 in an exclusive interview. “We have played some terrific cricket to get here.”
The Master Blaster used India’s Australia tour as an example to illustrate his point.
“(In Australia) Almost 10-11 players were not available and the guys who were on the bench were asked to play. Couple of them were actually practice bowlers, they ended up playing and they delivered. That speaks volumes of our bench strength. How we’ve been able to deliver that knockout punch in Brisbane has been truly remarkable. So, by no means I would say we are underdogs.”
The cricket legend admitted that New Zealand have had ideal preparation for the WTC final, thanks to the two-Test series they played against England just before the final against India.
“Yes, we haven’t had enough match practice. New Zealand have had the best preparation possible with a two-Test series (in England) before this game. But that’s how the game is and we have to accept what has come. I would focus on what we need to do next and not what people have been thinking because I don’t think that’s right.”
While media reports have speculated that the pitch for the final, to be played at Southampton’s Rose Bowl from 18 June, could bounce and carry, Sachin said, “pace and bounce would mean more opportunity to score runs. We need to be on our toes for seam and swing.
“If I was asked to play on a pitch that has bounce and pace, I would feel that the good length space has been reduced for fast bowlers. If they falter on the shorter side, I would get under the ball and play maybe over slips or gully or over point. And if they falter on the fuller side, then I have the chance to play them on the rise. I would say when it starts swinging and seaming around that’s when the problem is and that’s a problem for any side.”
Tendulkar heaped praise on India’s bowling attack, which he called formidable.
“I don’t like comparing generations. We have had some great bowlers in the past. With this generation, the difference is they are all playing together at the same time. They all complement each other. Ishant Sharma is tall, Jasprit Bumrah is awkward, Mohammed Shami is skiddy. We’ve got Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj too.
“We have a variety of bowlers. They are different and when you put them together, they are a formidable attack. They have been able to deliver. They have been able to work together as a unit. Bharat Arun has been their coach for few years and he has delivered. He has done a wonderful job.”