‘Tendulkar of old’ to ‘old Tendulkar’, in space of two balls
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Sachin Tendulkar had his lunch on Saturday, with his score on four. From 41 balls. A week ago in Hyderabad, he had shelled in the first session, unbeaten on 12. From 41 balls. Back then, he would be dismissed shortly after the break for a strenuous 62-ball 19. Today, the runs and the innings took a lot less time to dry up — dismissed for a 50-ball 17.
Sounds eerily similar to be true? The mode of dismissals will confirm so further. Both Trent Boult in Hyderabad and Doug Bracewell here got the ball to jag back in or straighten after pitching, just the delivery that Tendulkar has historically been troubled with. The batsman crouched exaggeratedly once Boult had bowled him last week; today, only the stump stayed down.
Up in the commentary box, the tongues began to wag between former India and Mumbai batsmen, Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar. Apparently, one blamed his age (and with it his poor eyesight), the other his footwork. How then, did neither footwork nor age restrict him from playing the shot of the middle session off the previous ball?
Stroke of genius
A second before he was dismissed, Tendulkar was busy holding his trademark pose that fraction longer for the crowds at the Chinnaswamy to go rapturous about, having just driven Bracewell ever-so-gracefully down the ground for a straight boundary. Bracewell bowled the same ball again, but only this time, Tendulkar looked to open the face of his bat and steer it to mid-on. In a matter of one ball, he had gone from 'Tendulkar of old' to simply 'old Tendulkar'.
To be fair to Tendulkar, the factors could be anything from fresh season rust to plain misjudgment. Also, and a lot more importantly, it could just simply boil down to those deliveries being great ones. Maybe the bowlers were just not given their fair share of credit, considering everyone from Allan Donald and Wasim Akram in the 90s to Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Asif in the 2000s to someone as recently as Mitchell Starc in the 2010s have dismissed Tendulkar will the incoming delivery.
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