WC 2003 - Sachin vs Bond: A battle to look forward to

Published: Wednesday, January 1, 2003, 0:00 [IST]
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Centurion (Pretoria): Master batsman Sachin Tendulkar is on a mission to settle long-pending scores with a host of opposition but the next in line could be the most difficult nut to crack.Shane Bond of New Zealand has sizzled in the World Cup with his fearsome pace and a spinner's control on his line and length and his contest with the Indian superstar could be the highlight of this World Cup when the two sides meet in a Super Six match on Friday.Tendulkar has been in admirable control of his and the team's destiny with a succession of impressive scores which has fetched him 571 runs at an average of 71.37.Bond warmed up for the Friday contest with devastating figures of 6 for 23 against world champions Australia on Tuesday. Bond bowls with tremendous pace and generally likes to bring the ball in at a vicious speed. He also has the ability to take it away from a right-hander as Australia's Damien Martyn found out to his dismay at Port Elizabeth.He also has a deadly bouncer and the accuracy of a nuclear submarine with his reverse swinging yorkers which unerringly hit the base of batsman's stumps. It is no wonder Bond reminded Pakistan's Inzamamul-ul-Haq of Waqar Younis in his prime after a particularly deadly spell he watched on television. "There are Shoaibs and there are Brett Lees but Bond is the deadliest," said Haq while comparing Bond to his skipper Waqar.Tendulkar has buried the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq, Andrew Caddick and James Anderson, Chaminda Vaas and Muthiah Muralitharan, in his exceptional run in this World Cup but he still has to get even with the likes of Bond and Australia's Glenn McGrath.Tendulkar was a picture of misery on seamer friendly wickets in New Zealand a couple of months ago where he scored only 2 runs from 3 One-day innings and totaled 100 runs from four innings of two Test matches at an average of 25 per innings.Tendulkar watched his side crumble to scores of 161 and 121 at Basin Reserve in the Wellington Test and suffered the ignominy of being bowled out twice by Bond in one innings mercifully the first one was called a no-ball by the umpire. Tendulkar appeared in discomfort against Bond's extreme pace and had even started heading for the pavilion when his non-striker Parthiv Patel pointed it out to him it was a no-ball. So good is Bond that no less than bowling legend Sir Richard Hadlee sought his autograph after he had annihilated the mighty Australian line-up in the triangular series down under last year and bagged the player of the tournament award. Hadlee rates Bond as the key component of a side which he already reckons is the best-ever One-day team New Zealand has fielded in its history. "It's a complete team and Stephen Fleming has got options to burn - whereas three years ago he did not even know some of his players," Hadlee, now the chairman of selectors, said."It's a beautifully balanced side, probably better balanced than any other team in the competition. There's no doubt in my mind that this is the best One-day side we've had, certainly in my experience. "It's a very proactive side in terms of flexibility and what it is capable of. Other sides have become predictable in the way they play the game, but these guys have so many options - as an opponent it's difficult to anticipate how they will come at you," Hadlee said.Tendulkar has deep respect for Bond and now returns to the same venue where he destroyed Shoaib Akhtar with such disdain in the match-up against Pakistan. But Bond, it seems, cannot be clobbered with such disdain. Not only he puts more mind to his bowling than Shoaib, but he is also backed by an extremely fit team and modern cricket's best captain in Stephen Fleming. PTI

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