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Selection of shots crucial: Sachin

Melbourne: Shot selection will be the most important aspect in Australia, according to Sachin Tendulkar who has advised fellow batsmen to be prudent if India want to record an unprecedented series triumph Down Under.

“I guess shot selection is the most important issue in Australia. Technique is fine but it is more of a mental thing,” the maestro said on Saturday.

“We have some fine batsmen… Once they have settled in and their nerves have calmed, they would be able to cope with it (the pressure),” the former captain said during a media interaction at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Tendulkar, Test cricket’s highest century-maker for whom this is the fourth and possibly final tour Down Under, cited an example from his vast experience.

“When I toured here first in 1991-92, I didn’t make any adjustment initially. I chose the same weight of bat, the same swing but as the tour went on I realised that I should not attempt a few strokes at least in the initial part of my innings.”

There is a lot of speculation on Wasim Jaffer’s opening partner for the first Test starting on Boxing Day. Tendulkar did not divulge anything and claimed it was not a matter of concern.

“I don’t think we have figured it out (openers for the first Test). As long as the replacement is solid, it shouldn’t matter. Anyway, I am not the one to comment on it.”

Virender Sehwag, who has been struggling in domestic cricket recently, has been selected on the basis of his strong performances in the 2003-04 tour of Australia and Tendulkar backed him to do an encore.

“He’s (Sehwag) been chosen because he has batted in a certain manner… That’s the method he should stick with.”

India’s chances of their first Test series win on Australian soil depend on their bowlers taking 20 wickets and the senior pro insisted the tourists had the weapons to deal with a formidable batting line-up. “They have a formidable batting line-up. But we have some good performers in our side.

“Zaheer Khan, when he toured here in 2003-2004, took five wickets in Brisbane. We have Anil Kumble who has taken wickets all around the world.”

High profile as the series is, Tendulkar said it was not necessarily bigger than any other tour.

“It would be an important tour if we can pull it off. Beating Australia is the ultimate.

“It’s an important tour for me but then whenever I represent India, against any opponent, be it Bangladesh, Australia or anybody else, it is always important.”

India’s preparation has been next to nothing with the lone warm-up tie being ruined by rain, but Tendulkar said gaps between two series was the bigger requirement.

“There should be no excuses even if you have just one game before the start of a Test series. But if there is a gap between two tours, it helps.

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