Tendulkar, not Dhoni, would be the man to watch

Published: Sunday, November 13, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Hyderabad:Buoyed by the 4-0 drubbing of New Zealand at home, Graeme Smith's South Africa are confident of bearding the Indian tiger in its own den, provided they can keep one player in check -- Sachin Tendulkar.

The South Africans believe that despite all the hoopla surrounding the master blaster in the making, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, it is the champion batsman who holds the key for India's success in the upcoming five-match limited overs cricket series.

"Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell are doing a good job, but the key is the return to form of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. He can really uplift the team," South African coachMickey Arthur told reporters after nets here today.

"We respect Indian batting under the conditions but we also back ourselves and our ability to win in India.

"We had a series win back home, so did India against the Sri Lankans, but we have come here to win a one-day series.

"India is a fantastic team in this country and it will be a challenge for us to win the series in India," he said.

Arthur said the team had studied Dhoni's technique. "It only remains to be seen how we execute them," he said.

The first one-dayer would be played here on Wednesday, followed by matches in Chennai (Nov 19), Bangalore (Nov 22), Kolkata (Nov 25) and Mumbai (Nov 28).

"We also see this series as a major challenge as it would be a preparation for the tough series ahead with Australia," Arthur said.

South Africa are without their key players - Herschelle Gibbs, Nicky Boje and Boeta Dippenaar for various reasons.

Arthur said bowling was their strength. "We have a good bowling line up and we are often criticised of playing with seven seamers.

"But we also have very good batsmen who can hit the ball hard and clear the ropes.

"We have Shaun Pollock, (Charles) Langeveltdt, Andre Nel and others who can swing the ball well and also bowl excellent cutters," he said, adding adapting to the conditions would be the crucial to success.

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