Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Sachin’s milestone hope spices up series against WI

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NEW DELHI: The anticipation of a 100th international century from Sachin Tendulkar will arouse interest in a three-Test series between India and the West Indies which begin in New Delhi on Sunday.

The Little Master’s return along with crowd favourites Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh could also help arrest a slide in attendance after a recent limited overs series against England was played to half-full galleries, a rarity in cricket-crazy India.

Tendulkar, who returns after a toe injury kept him out of recent engagements including the home games against England, has scored 51 centuries in Tests and 48 in one-dayers.

Fans have been waiting for the milestone since this year’s World Cup, when Tendulkar inched closer by hitting tons against England and South Africa.

But the 38-year-old missed a tour of the West Indies during which India won a three-Test series 1-0 and could only play Tests during a full tour of England, which ended disastrously for injury-hit India as it failed to win a single game.

England whitewashed India 4-0 in Tests to also wrest the top ranking from the one-day world champion.

India, now with most of its stalwarts back in action, will use the series against the West Indies to prepare for an upcoming tour of Australia.

India’s full-strength batting lineup which also includes Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, will be expected to make up for an inexperienced bowling attack after selectors decided to back the second rung for the first game at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium.

In the absence of spearhead Zaheer Khan, pace bowlers Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron, both yet to play Tests, have been selected along with Ishant Sharma.

The spin department is without Harbhajan Singh. Pragyan Ojha is the only one to has played Tests with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and leg-spinner Rahul Sharma completing a new-look spin attack that gets a chance to shine in home conditions.

Hype not helping Sachin: Gibson

The constant media hype and anticipation around Sachin Tendulkar’s impending 100th international century is not helping the champion batsman to get to the coveted landmark, feels West Indies coach Ottis Gibson. “The more hype, more pressure will be on Sachin (to reach the landmark),” Gibson said today ahead of first cricket Test against India at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground here, starting Sunday.

Unlike the English who had lived upto their word of not allowing Tendulkar to reach the milestone when they hosted India in a four-match Test series earlier this year, Gibson was sure the champion batsman would sooner than later score his 100th international ton.

“He is a quality player and he will get it at some point of time,” he said. (Agencies)

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