‘Get Tendulkar’ to be Australia’s focus against India


Sydney : Operation “Get Tendulkar” will be one of key areas of focus for the Australian team when they take on India in the four-Test series in this country next month. Ricky Ponting and his team will be relying heavily on former coach John Buchanan’s video analysis of the master batsman.

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Buchanan has handed over his plan and blueprint to unsettle Tendulkar who he feels is susceptible to short-pitched bowling early in his innings.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Buchanan said he had noticed Tendulkar’s footwork become sluggish, especially early in his innings. That makes Tendulkar vulnerable to quicker and shorter bowling and that can be followed by a fuller delivery, which could pack the batsman back to the pavilion.

“What I’ve been seeing for a while is that his feet don’t move early in his innings and he is not very fluid early on,” Buchanan told the newspaper. “That makes the good-pace short ball a great weapon. It’s something that Australia should be very conscious of this summer.”

Elaborating, he said, “It doesn’t necessarily mean you will get Sachin out with the shorter ball. But you can push him back on his crease and then look for a full ball, which he can tend to squirt to the slips early in his innings when he doesn’t have great control.”

Buchanan admits Tendulkar is one of the great players, but adds: “He still has greatness within him like all great players. It is still there but it does not appear as regularly.”

The general impression is that most batsmen from the subcontinent have problems on bouncy and fast wickets in Australia.

Despite Buchanan’s theory, Tendulkar has a fairly consistent average against Australia. Tendulkar has an average of 54.16 in Australia as he does overseas. He has also averaged over 54 throughout his career and even when broken in two parts it does not change much. Between 1989 and 1999, the first half of his career, his average was 55.38 in Tests and since 2000 his average is 54.43.

Buchanan also noticed the discomfort of Tendulkar against left-arm pace, even battling against modest left-armers such as West Indian Pedro Collins. Australia’s pacer Mitchell Johnson got the better of Tendulkar in last year’s DLF Cup one-day series in Malaysia.

“Mitchell Johnson has bowled very well to Sachin in the past and I’d expect him to trouble him again with his left-arm variety,” Buchanan said. “Brett Lee will also be a key man because of his pace.”