Tendulkar record no distraction, says Dhoni
India captain MS Dhoni says Sachin Tendulkar’s quest for an unprecedented 100 international centuries hasn’t become a distraction for the rest of the team as they look to keep the Australian Test series alive in Sydney.
Tendulkar’s personal milestone has dominated headlines all summer, but Dhoni says the circus surrounding the Little Master could actually work in India’s favour in the second Test starting on Tuesday.
Dhoni doesn’t believe Tendulkar is burdened by expectation.
The skipper says he’s glad his most experienced player can soak up all the attention and leave the rest of the team to focus on how they can bounce back from the Melbourne loss to record their first ever series win in Australia.
“Well for us it’s good, it’s a big distraction for the media. Wherever we go people talk about it but definitely as a team we would like him to score it as soon as possible for no other reason than it’s a big milestone that we’d love to enjoy and be a part of his success. I think it just distracts the media which is good for us,” said Dhoni at his pre-match press conference on Monday.
“For Sachin, it’s not the first time where he’s close to a milestone and we have seen circumstances where he could have easily achieved the 100th hundred but it’s not going his way.
“Of course the quicker he achieves it, it will ease off a bit of the so-called pressure that’s on him.
“Maybe what he’s going through is pressure of performance but he doesn’t really talk about it and it never feels like he’s under any sort of pressure when it comes to scoring the 100th hundred.”
The Indians are expected to stick with the same XI that went down at the MCG, with middle-order batsman Virat Kohli to hold his spot ahead of Rohit Sharma.
With the greenish SCG pitch looking like it will offer plenty for the seam bowlers on the opening days, question marks remain over whether India’s batsmen can handle the extra pace and movement and whether their bowlers can make the most of those conditions.
Dhoni admits confidence has been rocked by their failure in Melbourne and their humiliating series defeat in England last year but he’s adamant his sleeping giants will rise for the challenge.
“What we have seen is that we have always bounced back and the Australian team will have to keep the pressure on the batting line-up and the bowlers also at the same time. It’s just that we have not performed in the first Test and we look to improve in the second Test,” he said.
“It does affect (self belief) a bit but it’s not something to get bogged down about because we all know the reasons as to what exactly happened and you learn a lot from the mistakes that you make.”
Australia skipper Michael Clarke doesn’t believe Sachin’s pursuit of 100 hundreds is negatively affecting his team-mates, while former Test bowling great Glenn McGrath says the prolific batsman should be targeted with bounce outside off-stump.© AAP 2013
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