Pietersenís form will decide Englandís fate
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A character at the height of his powers and a legend winding down his career will be the people to watch out for over the next six weeks. Kevin Pietersen and Sachin Tendulkar have more in common as batsmen than is immediately apparent but it is the manner in which they have chosen to live life that they tread different paths.
Tendulkar admitted recently that he doesn't have a lot of cricket left in him. We knew that and so do his ardent fans; they speak as if they are in denial but even they know. But for him to admit it just draws it closer. Watching Tendulkar has been the one constant in our lives over the last twenty three years.
Much has changed. Nations have been created, the world economy has gone boom and bust and boom and bust again, music has evolved, young people drawn to him when he started might have children who are now married.....he has been a wonderful habit, spreading cheer when gloom is the market leader.
And we don't know how much longer we will see that walk down the ground, the push through cover, the flick through square leg, the straight drive, the quirky problem with sightscreens, the boyish smile, the occasional legbreak....we don't know. It could be this series, it could be another, it could be longer.
But suddenly Tendulkar the cricketer feels finite. And so I am going to go to the next four tests and just enjoy watching him bat. I hope he is nimble on his feet and chooses to play shots rather than drop anchor, though who's to say he isn't the best judge of his own cricket! But his best batting in recent years has been when he has sought to dominate, whether it was the tussle with Dale Steyn in South Africa or against the Australians at Melbourne and at Sydney.
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