Lean patch part and parcel of the game: Tendulkar

Published: Friday, June 21, 2002, 2:30 [IST]
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London: Sachin Tendulkar insisted on Thursday he would end his recent sequence of low scores when India faced England in its forthcoming four Test series, starting next month. After equalling Australia great Don Bradman's record of 29 Test hundreds against the West Indies, Tendulkar had a tough time making three ducks in his next four innings in the Caribbean. "I think it is part and parcel of the game," Tendulkar told reporters at Lord's. "It happened to me for the first time in 13 years of cricket. It happens to all the players. But it's important to work on that. In four innings I must have played 15 balls. I felt there was nothing wrong. It's just one of those things and I batted pretty well in Jamaica (in the last Test) and in the One-day matches. "So it's all left behind," said Tendulkar of a Test series India lost 2-1. But he admitted matching one of Bradman's marks was a memorable achievement. Equalling Sir Don's record (which he did with 117 in the second Test at Port-of-Spain) is a very special thing. "It's the only time my name could be next to his. Otherwise no-one can match Sir Don." Indeed, despite his run of ducks, Tendulkar still finished the West Indies series with 331 runs at an average of just over 41. "I don't think you can call that a lean spell." And England will know that Tendulkar, 29, still presents a formidable opponent with career Test figures of 8,004 runs at an average of 57.58 including 29 hundreds. He for one is relishing the challenge of helping India achieve its first series victory outside the sub-continent since it beat England 2-0 back in 1986 under Kapil Dev. "I think last time we came here was in 1996 so we're looking forward to it," said Tendulkar who scored his first Test century in England, at Old Trafford, in 1990 and two years later became Yorkshire's first overseas player. "England is a good side, it plays well as a unit," said Tendulkar who faced them during India's 1-0 Test series victory and 3-3 drawn One-day campaign last winter.

"But it's nice to be under pressure at times," Tendulkar admitted. "I like it at times, it keeps you on your toes and when you get runs there's nothing better than that because so many people are appreciating, it's a great feeling. "If you play good cricket and play in the right spirit people will support you. It would be nice to think that 20 years down the line people will remember this series." But he admitted that the pressures of fame, especially in India were sometimes hard to accept. "It is a little difficult. One doesn't get enough privacy. But it (fame) has its benefits. I've got no regrets." And Tendulkar was adamant that he had no thoughts about retirement, although a little break from the relentless international calendar would be welcome.

"The day I stop enjoying my cricket is day I start thinking about retirement. It is hard to stay fresh all the time. Somewhere down the line surely I would feel I have been playing for 20-24 months I need a break." Tendulkar added, "I don't know when I'm going to retire so I can't set any goals. I'm just going to go on and on for as long as I keep enjoying it. I started playing cricket as a kid because I love it and I still love it." India faces England and Sri Lanka in a triangular One-day series starting on June 27 before playing the first of four Tests at Lord's on July 25.


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