Write off Tendulkar at your own peril: Warne

Published: Friday, December 21, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: Spin wizard Shane Warne has sounded warning bells to the Oz, not to take the ageing Indian batting greats including master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, lightly or it might backfire on them.

Warne has has paid glowing encomium to Tendulkar by giving him the top spot in his list of great players, ahead of another legend West Indian Brian Lara.

''He is the best batsman I have played either with or against.

''You never write off a great player. I don't believe just because he is getting old, he is finished. A lot of these players are old, they know their game, they know how to prepare,'' Warne said.

''Given the conditions in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide are going to be pretty flat, I expect Sachin to get a lot of runs.

''Obviously, he is not as good as he was in the mid-1990s, but he is a great. There's a difference between a good player and a great.

He is one of the all-time great players to ever play the game and he still is a very, very good player,'' he added.

The 38-year-old said, ''When you get the great players, you just don't write them off. They might not do anything as easy, but they still have a few good innings left in them. And if he has got the drive and the passion and wants to do it, he will do it.

''There is no doubt he will play one or two special innings in this Test match series. Absolutely no doubt, he will play a couple of unbelievable, breathtaking innings.'' It is important to get the Indian batting stars out, Warne said, otherwise they will hurt you later in the match. The tweaker also maintains that the Aussies failed to do precisely this under the Buchanan era.

''The great players, you have to try to get them out, you can't just bore them out.

''That's what I believe was wrong with part of our tactics under John Buchanan and Steve Waugh -- they wanted to bowl wide of off stump and pack the off side. You just can't bowl to the great players like that.

''You have got to try to get them out otherwise they will bat all day. That's what happened early on in India. I was so against those tactics.'' Maintaining in the same breath that the visitors, including Tendulkar, should expect a barrage of chin music, though warned the host against overdoing it.

''I think (with) the majority of the Indian players, you are not going to overdo the short ball, but there is going to be a lot of short-pitched bowling at the Indians on our wickets. That's not just to Sachin,'' Warne told the Herald Sun.

When asked about India's chances in the four match Test series starting on December 26, Warne heaped praises on India's batting line up saying, ''The Indians' batting is their strength. They haven't done that well in Australia generally, except on their last tour.

''I think where the Test matches are played will suit them. Two of the Tests are in Sydney and Adelaide -- they are spinning wickets. They will go in with two spinners, and the wickets will help their batting. It will help their quicks such as Zaheer Khan, with reverse swing in Sydney and Adelaide.

''Melbourne has been very, very benign and very, very flat. If you don't take wickets with the new ball, you are in a for a long day in the field.'' Interestingly, Warne was not so forthcoming in his view about India's bowling strength and said, ''I think that will be down to (Anil) Kumble and Harbhajan (Singh). I think it's going to be a pretty good series after Sri Lanka, which was pretty poor.

Praising the new Indian captain Warne said, ''He is one of the gentlemen of the game. He is one of the nicest blokes you will ever meet, but he is also one of the most competitive players going around in that Indian side.

''He is very, very competitive and I think he will make a great captain. It will also be interesting to see how our players play Anil. They generally play him pretty well,'' Warne opined.


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