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Dravid excited by Sachin's form

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INDIA captain Rahul Dravid is confident Sachin Tendulkar has great days ahead of him on the United Kingdom tour after seeing the 'Little Master' make 99 against South Africa at Stormont. More... Dravid excited by Sachin's form From Julian Guyer in Belfast, Northern Ireland June 27, 2007 INDIA captain Rahul Dravid is confident Sachin Tendulkar has great days ahead of him on the United Kingdom tour after seeing the 'Little Master' make 99 against South Africa at Stormont. Tendulkar's innings - his first 99 in a limited-overs international career of 386 matches, featuring 41 hundreds - couldn't prevent India slumping to a four-wicket defeat in the opening fixture of a three-game series against the Proteas at the Belfast venue. But Dravid, who made 74 as he helped Tendulkar to add 158 for the third wicket, was buoyed by his teammate's form. "He's very keen to have a good tour of England," Dravid said of his fellow 34 year old. "He does realise, along with a lot of us, that this probably will be the last time he will be touring in the UK." Tendulkar's innings left him just 50 runs short of becoming the first batsman to score 15,000 runs in limted-overs international. He can reasonably be expected to pass the milestone either in the two remaining matches in Belfast or in the seven limited-overs internationals against England in August and September that follow a three-Test series due to start at Lord's on July 19. Tendulkar's latest innings was not exactly a vintage effort. For a start, it lasted 143 balls; only four times in his limited-overs international career has he batted for longer. Tendulkar went onto a large century on each of those occasions, his lowest score being 141 not out, against West Indies in Kuala Lumpur last September. But there were signs with some of his 12 fours that Tendulkar had retained his touch despite the passing of the years. He struck Charl Langeveldt square through the offside off the backfoot and then drove the medium-pace bowler straight down the ground with the minimum amount of visible effort. However, age appared to be catching up with Tendulkar when, going for a risky second that would have given him his hundred, he was run out by a throw from Morne van Wyk to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. "It's a good start," Dravid said. "It's the early part of the tour. We are coming from 45 degrees (heat) and totally different wickets and I thought for the batsmen to hit some early form is a good sign." At the other end of the age spectrum, 18-year-old leg spinner Piyush Chawla, playing just his third limited-overs international, took 3-47 in 10 overs in conditions stacked against slow bowlers. His wickets included that of van Wyk, who made 44 before lobbing a catch to cover after getting a leading edge to a genuine leg break while playing across the line, and star batsman Herschelle Gibbs, out for five when bowled by a ball of full length. Dravid praised Chawla, the successor to Anil Kumble following the leg spinner's post-Cricket World Cup retirement from limited-overs internationals. "I think he acquitted himself very well, considering the conditions," Dravid said. "It's not a track that really helps the spinners too much. It was really cold and for a leg spinner, it wasn't easy to grip the ball. "But the more he can bowl in these conditions the more he is going to learn and it's going to be good for his growth and development as a cricketer." That India took the match into the last over said much for its resilience after more than half their 14-man squad were struck down with flu. Wicketkeeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the first player to fall ill, fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and medium-pace bowler Ajit Agarkar, all of whom were among the worst affected, missed the series opener.

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Rahul should wait till the end of the series to get excited. It's a bit too early but am sure the Indian press' first question will not be why they lost but "Tendulkar is back in form, how do you feel?" At times I feel the entire nation is obsessed with Sachin Tendulkar and nothing more. As long as he gets runs the team results seem not to bother. A similar trend was in West Indies when Lara used to play. I think the entire nation even included Rahul Dravid has to realise cricket is a team sport and so much attention on a single individual is not good for the team.

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Exactly. Another example of 'creative headline' not matching what was said. "He's very keen to have a good tour of England," ?? Do you mean there are players in the squad who aren't, Rahul ?

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Radhika, why do we expect our sportsmen to be robots? England is a country where the atmosphere for test cricket is tremendous and all of Tendulkar, Dravid, and Ganguly made their first major impact in test cricket in England. Moreover, they have always done very well in England afterwards. If they feel emotional about the last time they are playing there why do we have to take them to task. Heck, don't all of us feel emotional about revisiting a place where we have had good memories. Why deny our cricketers that.

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Just getting a bit tired of the "oh it is the last world cup for some of us" ....oh this is the last tour for some of us" ....It is the last few tours for the 3-4 of them....It is obvious. I just feel the skipper shouldn't go around on a nostalgia trip every time they have a series...... Besides it does seem like they mean they want to do their best because it is their last.Just getting a bit tired of it.Why can't we concentrate on the youngsters rather than the oldies .Why not ...it's a special trip because it is the first for some of my boys...?

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Radhika' date=' why do we expect our sportsmen to be robots? England is a country where the atmosphere for test cricket is tremendous and all of Tendulkar, Dravid, and Ganguly made their first major impact in test cricket in England. Moreover, they have always done very well in England afterwards. If they feel emotional about the last time they are playing there why do we have to take them to task. Heck, don't all of us feel emotional about revisiting a place where we have had good memories. Why deny our cricketers that.[/quote'] Good post! There is emotion in cricket guys, we are humans. This also relates to criticism of importance of tons. Tons are a massive thing in cricket and always have been. Its one of the joys of cricket seeing a batter raise his bat after a hundred.

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