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Tendulkar still a match winner, says Warne

Published: Thursday, July 26, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London:Retired spin champion Shane Warne says Sachin Tendulkar has lost some of his rhythm after undergoing elbow surgery but is still capable of producing match-winning knocks.

Calling Tendulkar one of the truly great players, Warne warned the Englishmen to write off the Indian maestro at their own peril in the current three-match Test series which is now poised 0-0 after the first Test at Lord's was drawn.

''He has been a champion all through his career and he is still up there today. So, if people are serious about writing him off, then all I can say is this: watch out England,'' the world's highest Test wicket-taker Aussie said.

''My guess is that he has lost some of his rhythm since his elbow injury and is still feeling his way, but from what I gather about his innings against England Lions a couple of weeks ago, he is capable of making a big score for India in the second Test at Trent Bridge,'' Warne said.

''An innings in Sydney three years ago gives an insight into his temperament. He was concerned that he kept getting out on the cover drive, so he decided to cut out the shot.

''In his next innings he batted for more than ten hours, scored 241 not out and his wagon wheel confirmed that he had not played a single cover drive -- a bread-and-butter shot for most batsmen. I watched from the commentary box amazed at his dedication and concentration,'' Warne said, paying tribute to his on-field nemesis but off-field friend.

But, Warne feels that cosidering the Mumbaikar's several records with the bat which will stand for many years, his not scoring a century at Lord's -- the home of cricket -- was a 'shame'.

''It was a shame that he could not grace Lord's with a big innings last week because he is unlikely to make another Test appearance at the ground.

''He and Brian Lara are the two best batsmen of my time.

They are hard to separate. If I was chasing 400 in a day then I would probably take Brian because of his flair and placement.

Otherwise, Sachin's technique under relentless pressure to perform would give him the edge,'' wrote Warne in a column in The Times.

Giving his thought on the much-debated question of Tendulkar's retirement, Warne said the issue should be left the 'Little Master' himself.

''He will know better than anybody when it is time to retire.

He is a proud cricketer who will not want to end with people on his case. The fact that he is here in England tells me that he thinks he can bat to the standard that has brought him more than 25,000 runs in international cricket.

The Aussie, who has reportedly signed up with Essel-promoted Indian Cricket League, described captain Rahul Dravid as another backbone of the India side.

''Dravid is one of the best No 3s in the world and a good captain. But Sourav Ganguly needs a bit of luck to score runs and struggles with the short-pitched ball. His scoring area is basically backward point. He is the weakest link in the middle order.

''VVS Laxman has a huge amount of talent and has played some brilliant innings, but he is inconsistent. On his day he is as good as there is. I've not seen much of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

I know he likes to attack, but these conditions will still be fairly new to him if the ball nips and bounces,'' Warne concluded.

UNI

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