26 June 2007

Tendulkar criticised

Much as I hate to even mention the pointless extra games that have been scheduled in Ireland, South Africa won in the final over today, chasing down India's 242. For India Tendulkar opened and scored 99 off 143 balls which has lead to criticism of his scoring rate, not for the first time.

It reminds me of the England New Zealand game in the final group stage of the Commonwealth Bank game in Australia, where Fleming scored 106 off 149 balls and New Zealand came up 14 runs short. The Kiwi media were clear that their skipper was part of the problem rather than the opposite opinion which could have been argued - that he held the innings together.

Tendulkar seems to be getting similar flack. Dravid came in at 4 and the two of them rebuilt the innings after two early wickets so both can be forgiven for scoring slowly - Dravid scoring 74 off 93. I can't help feeling that India are still struggling to understand each player's role in the team - for me Dravid must bat 3 for India or not play. If you look around at the number 4's around the world in ODIs they tend to be free flowing batsman. So Tendulkar did bat slowly, yes, but I don't think he should get all the blame. Dravid needs to step up to 3 and lead from the front.

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