Melbourne: Leg spinner Shane Warne, who was the key to Australia’s 1999 World Cup win, believes Sachin Tendulkar is the only man standing between Australia and victory in Sunday’s final.
Warne, 33, was Man of the Match for Australia in their win over Pakistan in 1999 but missed this year’s Cup defence after testing positive to a banned diuretic and receiving a 12-month doping suspension.
“There is only one thing that stands between Australia and back-to-back World Cups and that is the Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar,” Warne wrote in the Herald Sun newspaper on Saturday.
“He is, and has been in my time, the best batsman in the world. He’s savage on the quicks if they stray with their line and length and he can dominate and intimidate the spinners.
“That’s why it has always been a challenge and a privilege to bowl to him.”
Tendulkar has scored 669 runs at 66.90 in this World Cup, breaking the World Cup record he set in 1996.
“Sometimes Plans A and B go out the window and you don’t want to be relying on Plan C, which is that he gets bored hitting boundaries, runs himself out, or one of his teammates runs him out,” Warne wrote.
Australia’s paceman Brett Lee will test Tendulkar with short-pitched bowling at The Wanderers in Johannesburg, wrote Warne. “This means fast, hostile, short-pitched deliveries to see if he wants to try to hook,” Warne wrote.
“Knowing Sachin the way I do, he loves the big occasion and will probably duck them while he sums up the conditions. Then again, he might try to make a statement and take the Aussies on. It will be fascinating viewing.”
Warne added: “As for our batting, we probably haven’t played as well as we would like, but our guys like the big occasion and some are due to fire.”