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Monday, February 28, 2011

Dhoni would like to have Sachin's autograph.

BANGALORE: As a cricket fan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni could never get an autograph of a celebrated player and there's only one cricketer whose signature, the India skipper would like to treasure - his own teammate and legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

"It is not hard to guess.. it is one and only Sachin Tendulkar," Dhoni replied when asked his choice of player to obtain an autograph at a book launch function.

Dhoni launched a book containing pictures, caricatures and autographs of his World Cup teammates.

The book, titled 'Stumped', has been brought out by and would be up for sale, only through website purchase, in a week's time.

India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh received the first copy of the book from Dhoni in the presence of Virat Kohli and Piyush Chawla, who were present at the function at the team hotel.

The caricatures have been made by Shijo Varghese of Bangalore and Andy Zaltzman, an acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999 and also Britain's most infantile satirists, has written the text for the caricatures.

"The idea came seeing people taking autographs on their school note pages and all kinds of papers. That time he was carrying big size caricatures. He suggested that he wanted to come up with a book so that people could treasure it for long years, if it is done in a proper way," Dhoni said.

"We are quite happy doing it. It was real quick job done by them. It is a pleasing thing to see the whole book in stock in less than ten days time. I am sure the players will first have a hearty laugh seeing their caricatures before signing on it. Hopefully, I am sure people will like this innovative way of collecting autographs and having them secured for years."

For Harbhajan his favourite caricature on the book is Gautam Gambhir while Dhoni said Yuvraj Singh's is a nice one.

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Tendulkar’s classic, a lesson for all batsmen

A few days before the World Cup began, Sachin Tendulkar asked an interviewer, at a function to release a CD of his father Ramesh Tendulkar’s poems in Mumbai, if he had any questions for him on the tournament. “None,” the interviewer said, as they stepped on to the dais, where the interview was to be
conducted before a large gathering.

“Good. I want to stay low-key,” Sachin told him.

Even when the spotlight was on the Indian team’s practice sessions in Bangalore ahead of their first big game against England, Tendulkar stayed quie

t while the other Indian batsmen hit the ball hard in the nets. He just took a few inconspicuous knocks, and the only time he was noticed was when he casually clouted a couple of balls into the stands, left-handed.

And then he went out and played an innings that can only be described as a classic.

The innings was pure cricket education. It was a demonstration of how batting is all about four Ps – planning, patience, pacing one’s innings and forging partnerships – and of how controlled onslaught can bring benefits that far outweigh those of uncontrolled aggression, even in this era of T20 cricket.

Tendulkar met the very first ball he faced, in the first over of the Indian innings, in the middle of his broad bat – the same, favourite, bat with which he’s got 15 hundreds. That was a relief for Indian fans, because his partner Virender Sehwag had edged the first ball, and given another half-chance on the third.

Tendulkar had come out with a plan. He was going to bat for as long as possible, while the others batted around him. He allowed Sehwag to dominate, content to take singles, respect the good balls and put away the bad ones (one ball bowled on the pads early on – you never bowl to Tendulkar there – and despatched to the boundary was a case in point).

He was unhurried and steady in the first ten overs or so, a lesson for all batsmen who overly obsess over their runs-per-ball ratio, because he knew he could organise his innings in such way that the ratio could be more than corrected later.

The ball was holding on in the initial overs, so he waited for it rather than reaching for it. After Sehwag left, he focused on building a partnership with Gautam Gambhir and helped Gambhir keep his calm. In one over, Gambhir, having played four dot balls, looked impatient; Tendulkar walked up to him and told him it was fine, he needed to stay at the wicket, the runs would come. The left-hander played out the other two balls too, and went on to get a fine 50.

A straight hit that almost took the bowler Graeme Swann’s hand, and the umpire’s head, was the first sign of deadly intent sent out by Tendulkar.

Then he changed his bat and switched gears – from quiet to destructive.

He picked his bowlers, and Paul Collingwood and Swann were favourites..

The first six off Collingwood over mid-off was pure polish, the top hand and the front elbow in total, stylish control; the second, over mid-wicket, was rugged power, the bottom hand reasserting its dominance.

That six, and the three hits against Swann that went into the stands, had about them the quality of authority bordering on dismissiveness. It was as if somebody had told Tendulkar of Swann’s reputation as the world’s leading spinner today, and he had decided he’d acknowledge it in his own way.

He got to his 50 with one of these sixes, and then into the 70s in no time at all, having executed two lovely strokes, a punch through the covers and a cut through cover-point, along the way. It was now the pacers who were getting the treatment, and they continued to be at the receiving end till well after he had neatly glanced a ball to the fine-leg boundary to get his 47th hundred in one-day cricket and 98th in international cricket.

Tendulkar had got to his 50 in 66 balls; in the next 49 balls he faced, he got 70. I must mention, here, that a television commentator, in the initial phase of the Indian innings, pointed more than twice to Tendulkar’s runs-per-ball ratio in not the most positive way, though not openly disapprovingly; once Sachin had reached his 100, the same commentator spoke eloquently of how he had actually meticulously built his innings. It is odd how people who have themselves played international cricket take so much time to figure out how an innings is being built.

By the time Tendulkar got out in the 39th over, he had established complete dominance over the England attack, forged three critical partnerships (the third one with Yuvraj) and laid a solid foundation for India to build upon.

India not only did not build upon it adequately but made a mess of things when England batted, trying their best, as it were, to cancel out Tendulkar’s classic. But other teams in the World Cup would have taken as much note of Tendulkar’s approach and intent, as of India’s poor fielding, catching, bowling and leadership.

(Vaibhav Purandare is the author of Sachin Tendulkar: A Definitive Biography, published in India and the UK. As a schoolboy, in 1987-88, he watched helplessly as Tendulkar and his partner-in-amassing-runs, Vinod Kambli, got a world record 664-run partnership against his school, St Xavier's, Mumbai. He is currently senior associate editor, Hindustan Times, Mumbai)

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Sachin Tendulkar the great Indian, We salute you.

God of cricket Sachin Tendulkar is gifted with talent and temperament has reached almost top in the record books of cricket. Even today in the last part of this little maestro’s career, there are lots of cricket fans in India who believe that once Sachin Tendulkaris out, India can’t win the match.

We salute the great Indian who single handled carry’s our team’s hopes all these 21 years and many more years to come. Sachin Tendulkar is the Superman for the India Team.

‎”India’s fortune will depend on how many runs the little champion scores. There is no doubt Tendulkar is the real thing” : Sunil Gavaskar on Sachin Tendulkar.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sachin saab, Dil kyu na maange more?

By: Chayan Rastogi
Cheesy Nib
Ever since I gained senses in mid-eighties, no person other than Sachin Tendulkar has ruled my mind, soul and emotions in such a way that many people at different times thought either I was some runaway maniac from a mental asylum or simply an unfortunate one with an under-developed brain!

I remember I was in Class XII when in an ‘All Boys’ party, everyone was asked to write the name of a personality whose poster you wanted to put in your bathroom. The common names that came out of that exercise were those of Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford, Anna Kournikova and even Mamta Kulkarni (Ugggh!) but the answer that stood out and unarguably attracted the most ridicule was mine!

No prizes for guessing, yes, I opted for Sachin Tendulkar’s poster in my bathroom!

And that was not just one of the instances; my craziness for Tendulkar during childhood includes imitating his cropped haircut, his Michael Jackson style of adjusting his guard whenever and wherever I played, looking to skies whenever I scored a boundary (I always knew scoring a century was beyond my capabilities!). I even went to great lengths for clicking hundreds of pictures outside his restaurant ‘Tendulkar’s’ in Mumbai, writing ‘MRF’- his trademark bat logo on my bat with a permanent marker and many more wild things that made me a self-proclaimed number-one Tendulkar fan!

But is it my fault that I am crazy for Tendulkar?

Certainly NOT!

It’s Sachin Tendulkar’s fault!

I mean, who will not get dumbfounded by someone who carries a billion hopes on his shoulders, fields with school-boy enthusiasm at the age of 38, picks up wickets with his magical spin whenever the team needs it most and bats like no one has ever done and no one will ever be able to!

Spare a thought for me, who was just seven at the time of 1993 Hero Cup, watching a match where India was pitted against South Africa in the semi-finals and a batsman won India the match by not giving Proteas a chance to score six runs off last six balls. Kids of my age were crazy about Superman those days and I got my own version of an Indian Superman, a person who could not fly but can certainly make every other impossible thing possible!

From his first ODI century in Colombo against Sri Lanka in 1994 against Aussies, I have witnessed all his centuries and feel immensely proud to be of the generation that has seen Tendulkar batting.

People who have played competitive cricket know how difficult it is to score runs against quality bowling and that Tendulkar has scored close to 100 international centuries is too big a record that even my hands are shivering in disbelief when I am writing it!

I sometimes think that it is our good karma of the previous lives and Tendulkar’s sins from the earlier ages that he plays for India. He has scored these unimaginative runs against the likes of McGrath, Warne, Wasim, Waqar, Bond, Qadir, Walsh, Ambrose, Donald, Pollock, Steyn, Muralitharan and many other such bowlers who were famous for decimating their opponents single-handedly. Just think if a batting maestro like him was pitted against bowlers like Prasad, Mohanty, Kuruvilla, Nilesh Kulkarni, Noel David, Doda Ganesh, Raju, Kaaju, Baadaam etc, his figures might have given A Raja’s 2G-accounts a run for their money!

Sachin has scalped every record-mountain- from highest ODI run getter to highest Test run getter and from most number of international centuries in both formats to play most number of international matches, every run Tendulkar scores update the cricket record book on its own.

Being someone who has earned unimaginative respect from all quarters of world for his magnificent cricketing and personal display, Tendulkar is worth his weight in gold - or onions, whichever today is the greater asset to possess!

But then, is there something which has remained unconquered for this champion batsman in his cricketing life? Critics may say that World Cup triumph still remains elusive for the little master but remember, cricket is a team game and winning World Cup is a team effort. No one player can be accounted for winning or not winning a tournament like World Cup. I mean, Darren Lehmann was a part of two Australian World Cup victories but does that make him one of the best that the game of cricket has ever seen?

But with a clean career like of Tendulkar, even the smallest of doubt on his aura disturbs me and like a five-year old kid who wants every toy he sees in his cabinet, I want him to win the World Cup this time and silence his critics (if, any?).

Yes, nothing less than a World Cup will do this time Sachin Ji, because I don’t want any nerd to confront me with this stat that you were never able to win the World Cup for India. I know you can do it. When people thought slamming 35 centuries was a pinnacle, you made 50 centuries and when the world thought making a double century in ODI’s can only happen in dream, you gave the reason to the world that even the rarest dreams come true!

You’re the reason for higher-than-sky-expectations among Indian cricket fans and even if winning the World Cup sounds like an annoying over-expectation to you, you have to do it.

We know that winning the World Cup is not a stamp to certify your greatness nor it is something that the country has never won. Many countries like England, New Zealand and South Africa have more reasons to win the mega-event than us but then if I had only one line to say the reason for this craziness for the World Cup, it’ll be-

“World Cup haarne se darr nahi lagta saab, tumhaare career me World Cup na hone se lagta hai!"

(We’re not afraid of losing the World Cup sir, it’s the not having of the Cup in your career that hurts!)

By:Chayan Rastogi
Cheesy Nib
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Worldcup 2011 Photos:(27 February 2011)Sachin Tendulkar Against England in Banglore.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Worldcup 2011 Photos:(26 February 2011)Sachin Tendulkar at Nets before Match Against England in Banglore.

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