Nemesis Hondo set to strike, eyes Sachin's scalp

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare: Zimbabwe paceman Douglas Hondo wants to rework the magic, which saw him dismiss four frontline Indian batsmen the last time he squared up to them, and claim the prized scalp of Sachin Tendulkar when the two sides clash in a World Cup match on Wednesday. "I did it in our first (encounter) during the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka and now that Sachin is opening again for India, getting his wicket might as well tilt the game in our favour," said Hondo who enjoys extraordinary success against India.

"I will be facing Tendulkar for the second time in my career and obviously claiming his wicket will be a great thing for me," he said. Hondo has picked 22 wickets from his 14 One-day matches but more importantly, 11 of them have come against India from just four games. "I have respect for the Indian team but the respect wouldn't be there when we get into the field," said Hondo with a smile on his face.

The 22-year-old paceman is aware he has been the most consistent bowler against India since he broke into the national team against England at Harare Sports Club in October 2001 and is determined to help his team move through to the Super Six stage. Hondo has dismissed Indian captain Saurav Ganguly three times in four games and dismissed Tendulkar for only seven in the only game he has played against the Indian master at the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka last year.

His trophy of victims includes other big Indian names like vice-captain Rahul Dravid, V V S Laxman, Mohammed Kaif and Dinesh Mongia. Hondo's career best figures came in the third match of the five-match series against India at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi when he took 4 for 37 from 8.3 overs and was man- of-the-match as Zimbabwe registered a six-wicket victory. Hondo then took 4 for 62 in nine overs in the ICC Champions Trophy and almost engineered an upset win for Zimbabwe before Kaif played a match-winning hand with an astonishing century.

However, Hondo could only bowl six overs in his World Cup debut against Namibia last week and was not quite impressive. He almost claimed the wicket of Danie Keulder but Tatenda Taibu dropped a low chance. "I want to get as many wickets as possible against India as I did in the Champions Trophy when I took four. However this can only happen if I am selected to play." Hondo can also bank on the psychological edge that he enjoys against India because the already rattled Indian batsmen will approach him in trepidation, knowing well he reserves his best against them.

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