The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mind Sourav’s biggest strength: Sachin

New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar feels the biggest strength of Indian captain Sourav Ganguly lies “in his mind” which has helped him overcome difficult phases.

“His major strength is his mind. He sets the bowler up, and before the bowler realises it, has already played a big shot,” the maestro said on a television programme to be telecast Thursday.

Sachin said the way Sourav uses the pace of the bowler was the reason why he is so consistent. “It is his balance and the way he waits for the ball and uses the pace of the bowler which makes him special. When you start doing that, you are not committing...”

Recounting his partnership with Sourav during the tour of South Africa, Sachin said he enjoyed watching him bat from the other end. “On the last tour of South Africa, he played some big shots and I was on the non-striker’s end. I really, really enjoyed it. We were cracking jokes in between overs and it was really fun that time,” he says, according to the transcript of the programme made available here.

Sachin said the “hard-working” Sourav thinks about his game and tries to improve on his weaknesses at the nets. “He is a hard-working fellow not only in the nets but also mentally. He gets back in the game — and that is where his strength lies. He thinks about his game”.

Terming the matchwinning innings played by the southpaw against Pakistan in Bangladesh as “the best and most important innings”, Sachin said it was his big hundred which helped India come back into the match while chasing over 300.

Sachin said he always knew Sourav was very talented and was highly impressed with the way he batted in a practice match during the Australian tour of 1991-92. “In Brisbane he scored 75-80 runs and played some beautiful shots. I knew he is always going to land up here”.

Sachin feels there is a very high chance of the Indian team’s “dream” of winning the World Cup being realised since it “surely has the strongest batting line-up. Having Rahul Dravid as the wicketkeeper has certainly opened up options for us.”

On which opener — Sourav or Virender Sehwag — should take the initiative of attacking the bowlers during the World Cup, Sachin said the player in form should do it. “I would say when we are close to the World Cup, whoever is in the right form and striking the ball well should take the initiative.” (PTI)

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