Team India's new beginning in Johannesburg

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Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 13:43 [IST]
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Johannesburg, Dec 17: When India captain MS Dhoni walks out for the coin toss tomorrow at the Wanderers Stadium here, it will be the beginning of a new era for Team India in Test cricket.

Dhoni set to break Ganguly's record

A fresh start will commence in Indian Test history after the departure of their iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

Team India's new start in Johannesburg

"If you see there is always a new start," said Dhoni recently, referring to the post-Tendulkar era.

India will face South Africa in the opening Test of the two-match series from Wednesday. This will be the first five-day game for the team without Tendulkar.

Tendulkar retired from international cricket last month after playing a record 200 Tests. The Master Blaster was a constant in changing phases of Indian cricket for 24 years.

The 40-year-old Tendulkar made his Test debut as a 16-year-old in Pakistan in 1989. Since then, Tendulkar ruled over the game shattering several records. According to many, his records might remain for a very long time.

The highest run scorer in Tests, most centuries maker and most capped player in the history of Test cricket will be missing in action in a India jersey tomorrow in Johannesburg.

Since 1989, there have been several players who have come and gone but Tendulkar, with his great batting skills won billions of hearts and held sway for 24 years before hanging up the boots.

It will now be interesting to see who will occupy Tendulkar's number four slot in the Test team. Virat Kohli is the front runner to fill the position but there is also a possibility of Mumbai youngster Rohit Sharma getting the nod.

For the 11 players who walk out to play the Porteas tomorrow, it will be a strange feeling not to see Tendulkar around.

Already reeling under 2-0 loss to the home team in ODI series, Dhoni, as a leader, needs to lift this young team for bigger challenges in this series and future without Tendulkar.

South Africa was also the venue where Tendulkar scored his last and 51st Test hundred in January, 2011. Till his retirement in November, 2013, he could not add to the three-figure tally.

"Sachin has had a great and long innings in the game. But I suppose this is part of life, unfortunately. We will miss him a lot. Honestly speaking, it will feel quite strange playing against India at home without Sachin," South Africa's veteran batsman Jacques Kallis was quoted as saying by "The Times of India" last month.

It is a new era and new challenge for Team India from December 18.


Story first published:  Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 13:10 [IST]
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