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Martin Crowe - Pitch for bare truth

India have such powerful players that even if one misses out, someone else steps up, write Crowe

Monday, March 09, 2022
Majestic Tendulkar defies Kiwis

Sachin Tendulkar as we predicted has emerged as a big dominant force in this series. Tendulkar was majestic and looked to be on course for a double hundred that we had spoke about, though Virender Sehwag was more likely candidate for that target. Plus the target of nearly four hundred was also par for the course.

It was good to see Yuvraj bat as well as he did. He gave the momentum that India were looking in the batting powerplay. His batting blitz came just at the right time that India needed.

Sachin Tendulkar belted an outstanding 163 before retiring hurt as India made 392 for four batting first against New Zealand in the third one-day cricket international Sunday. © AFP
Tendulkar, continues to be, even at his age a wonderful role model with his footwork and general strategy on how to build his innings, His hunger to do more even after his various milestones is amazing. He communicates in the best way possible and passes on the information to the team whenever they need. He has got all the shots and knows what shots to play at the right time which sets him apart from any other player in the world.

His first ODI hundred in New Zealand certainly came at the right time. In the 1992 World Cup he got 84 against us at Dunedin, but this time he almost doubled that. I hope he recovers quickly from the ailment he suffered in the game on Sunday.

On Sunday, Black Caps were obviously handicapped by the absence of Daniel Vettori. Vettori's loss was massive for New Zealand from both the bowling and captaincy point of view. I don't think think he would have made the same mistake that Brendon McCullum made on Sunday. It was wrong to have Jesse Ryder bowling two of the five powerplay overs. That move gave India all the momentum they needed and from there they never looked back.

New Zealand, I think, are missing a trick in the poor way they have handled Jeetan Patel. He should have bowled earlier than he did on Sunday. Also he would have been better in the powerplay than Ryder will ever be. It is crazy mentality to suggest that you cannot bowl an off-spinner in the powerplay. Tim Southee will be rested, and Iain O'Brien will rightfully be back. I don't know what they were thinking when they dropped O'Brien. But the bigger problem for Black Caps will one where they have to know when their skipper Vettori will return to the field. Hope all goes well with Vettori and his family. But the New Zealand team will be hoping that he is back to lead at Hamilton, because without him they are not even competitive with the ball.

But the match progressed on a very predictable note and India dominated all the way through. They showed that they had no weakness. But I was shocked by the complacency shown by India when they came out to field.

The way they bowled it showed that they were not turned on when Black Caps were batting. It is easy to turn off when you are defending such a big target. But India recovered well to regain control of the match.

Considering that anything would have been possible with Ryder and McCullum going beserk, it was good that MS Dhoni laid down the message to his team. They didn't look back from there. Dhoni himself was looking a little lackadaisical in those first 20 overs, as there was no need to take the bowling powerplay when he did. The Indian skipper also dropped a simple catch, but it was always going to be India's match. South Africa have chased down such a high target once against Australia. But such things are very rare.

They will be disappointed at the way they bowled. They should look forward to bringing Ishant Sharma back ahead of Munaf. I thought Munaf would bowl well in New Zealand, but he was all over the shop.

For a bit India would have been a little worried with the way Ryder and McCullum were firing away. With 160 odd for no loss on the board, Black Caps were on target. But for the stupid manner in which Ross Taylor got run out they could have got much closer considering the size of ground and quality of pitch.

As we have all seen in the games so far India is getting better and better with the bat. They have such powerful players that even if one misses out, someone else steps up and thus they have all bases covered. If India look to improve their bowling and general fielding they will be unbeatable and they will continue to dominate.