| Sachin Tendulkar and Ashish Nehra during practice at the Eden Monday
Calcutta: Sourav Ganguly is adept at handling pressure, but the India captain has surely invited an ounce or two more by talking of looking to fulfill an ambition: A Test hundred at the Eden.
Now, cut to Sachin Tendulkar.
Believe it or not, even the maestro doesn’t have a Test hundred here. However, adding to the ubiquitous pressure isn’t on his agenda.
“I do realise I haven’t got one at the Eden, but I’m not going to have that at the back of my mind. Rather, I intend playing exactly the way I do elsewhere. If that hundred comes along, fine,” Sachin told The Telegraph Monday morning.
In fact, speaking moments after checking into the Taj, Sachin quipped: “Actually, with so many reminders, I can’t forget, can I'”
Sachin’s best in the five Tests thus far is 79 versus Australia (1997-98).
A hundred in the Test beginning Wednesday will, of course, be Sachin’s 31st.
Of the 14 hundreds at home, four (including two epics) have been scripted at the Chepauk, three at the VCA Ground in Nagpur and two in Ahmedabad. Lucknow, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mohali and Delhi have hosted the remaining five.
Among regular Test centres, then, only Calcutta and Kanpur have missed out. But the Eden, at least, has seen a one-day hundred (an energy-sapping unbeaten 100 against Kenya, in the summer of 1998).
As for Sourav, his highest in four Test appearances is the 65 versus Australia (1997-98).
While Sourav isn’t as much obsessed with averages as he was till pretty recently, that he doesn’t have a hundred on home turf is obviously something which needs to be quickly rectified.
Exactly a week ago, though, there were doubts — owing to the collision with Anil Kumble in Chennai — whether Sourav would be able to take the field.
Thankfully, intensive treatment — both here and in Mumbai (under Dr Anant Joshi’s supervision) — did the needful and Sourav is just hours from his 65th Test cap.
But whether or not Sourav realises the much-publicised ambition, he (and Sachin, among others) will be part of off-the-field history on Test-eve — the founding of the Indian Cricket Players’ Association.
Meanwhile, as reported in these columns Sunday, left-armer Ashish Nehra will take Zaheer Khan’s place in the XI.
With the series already won, the Indians are largely looking to effect a clean sweep.