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‘There’s none to replace Sachin’

Calcutta: “Forget what some people may say... Right now, there’s nobody good enough even to tie Sachin Tendulkar’s shoelaces... I rest my case there,” former India captain and cricket manager Ravi Shastri told The Telegraph.

Speaking on Wednesday evening, after the opening day’s play in the third Test, Shastri added: “Of course, the team needs Sachin... There’s no replacement... There’s none to take his place... Take out his 76 and where would the team have been today?

“In the context of this Test and possibly the series (tied 1-1), Sachin played a very important innings... He’d been under pressure on multiple fronts, but that’s bound to happen at this stage in his career. In fact, the pressure won’t get less...

“Sachin took his time to settle down and, once he was past 40 or so, the fluency was back... It was important for him to be out there and to soak the pressure... He did so.”

For the record, the 76 is only Sachin’s second fifty at the highest level this year — the first being 80 in the second innings of the year-launching Test at the SCG.

Making the point that the Eden wicket was somewhat two-paced, Shastri said that the addition of 50-60 runs to India’s close-of-play total of 273 for seven would be “very handy.”

“James Anderson (three for 68) was brilliant, particularly after lunch, when the ball reversed... Looking ahead, everything depends on how we bowl... It’s definitely not a wicket where you can roll England over,” Shastri signed off.

Eyebrows, meanwhile, have been raised at Gautam Gambhir’s comments during his interaction with the media.

“You have to take responsibility, rather than thinking I’m only seven or 10 Tests old... For me, when you’re representing the country, you have to deliver,” Gambhir maintained, talking about the middle-order.

What’s being asked is if Gambhir had Virat Kohli in mind. Kohli has been totally out of touch in the ongoing series.

The Eden Test is Kohli’s 13th.

Cheteshwar Pujara, playing his eighth Test, couldn’t have been the ‘target’ as he’s in form.

Surely, Gambhir didn’t have Sachin or Virender Sehwag or Yuvraj Singh in mind.