Thatscricket - India~~s tour of Pakistan (Test Series)

Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Multan:A visibly disappointed Sachin Tendulkar on Monday said he was "taken by surprise" by the timing of the Indian cricket team's declaration that deprived him of what could have been his fourth double-century of his career.

However, the batting genius said it was the decision of the team management and he respected it since it was taken in the interest of the team.

"It is disappointing not to have scored the double-century. I was aware that the declaration was round the corner, but I was taken by surprise by the timing," Tendulkar said after the second day's play.

India's stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid declared the first innings at 675 for five immediately after Yuvraj Singh was dismissed with about one hour's play left, leaving the master batsman stranded on 194.

"Whatever has happened has happened. We were scoring at four runs an over which is a good strike rate in Test cricket, but I was not sure about the declaration," said the 30-year-old who is now just one century short of equalling Sunil Gavaskar's record of highest number of Test hundreds of 34.

Asked whether he discussed the issue with the team management when he returned to the pavilion, Tendulkar said, "there was no need to talk. Once the decision is taken, it's taken. Nobody can do anything. At tea, we had a discussion in the dressing room and it was decided that we will play positively. I thought that we will give Pakistan a few overs to play late in the day. But I think they may have decided to do it a little earlier, so I was not aware," he said.

Asked whether his 34th century was round the corner, he said, "I don't know where the corner is. Test cricket is a different game. I will try to play my normal game and not worry too much about these things. If it comes, it is good. I am not thinking about going past Gavaskar's record. It is important to keep these thoughts at home. What is necessary is to read what the bowler is doing," he said.

On whether India could clinch a memorable victory in this first Test between the archrivals in 15 years, the little master said, "It is going to be a long day's work tomorrow. It is important that we continue to play like this. We have to keep the game tight and hope that the bowlers can take 20 wickets. The fielders would also have to support the bowlers".

Commenting on the pitch at the Multan Cricket Stadium, he said, "It is a good batting track. May be it will become slower on the fourth or fifth day. There are some patches that could break up. But the bowlers will have to really work hard to get 20 wickets on this surface".

One advice by the master that the pupil followed duly:

Sachin revealed that Virender Sehwag, who became the first Indian ever to score a triple ton in Tests on the second day of the first Test against Pakistan, had actually listened to his advice that he should not play loose shots.

The batting genius also said he was egging on his One-day opening partner, who has modelled his batting style after Tendulkar, to go after Matthew Hayden's world record of 380.

"I was recently asked whether Sehwag listens to me. I know that he hears me, but whether he listens to me, I can't say. But in this Test, he was listening to me. He was in total control for most part of his innings," Tendulkar said while showering praise on the 25-year-old opener.

"It was a fabulous knock, watching it at the other end was thrilling," said Tendulkar who was at hand to hug Sehwag when he hit a six to achieve the remarkable feat that also overshadowed the 194 scored by the senior of the two batsmen on Monday.

"He is so unpredictable and has got such fantastic shots. I am proud that he has scored a triple century. We did not have an Indian in that 300 club and we are all proud of him," gushed the little master.

"A 300-man was needed in India because almost every other country has one. It may have taken a long time to come but itis better late than never."

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