Johannesburg: Captain Sachin Tendulkar has an uncanny ability to inspire his team-mates to perform several notches up and that will make a huge impact on Mumbai Indians` campaign in next month`s Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa, feels batsman Jean-Pual Duminy.
Duminy believes that if Tendulkar continues with his menacing form of this year`s Indian Premier League, MI will go all the way through.
"He (Tendulkar) obviously leads from the front and that lifts his team-mates. He is very inspiring and exceptional captain. If he fires, others also perform better by another 20 per cent.”
"He has been in fine form in the IPL and for India. Hope he does the same for us to win this tournament," Duminy said on the sidelines of the launch of Champions League T20 here.
"Sachin helps everybody out and he tries to engage every player. I get along with him very well and had discussions on batting and other cricketing things," said the 26-year-old batsman, who was the inaugural CLT20`s top scorer for Cape Cobras but will play for Mumbai Indians this time.
Duminy conceded that the two South African sides - Warriors and Highveld Lions - will have a bit of edge in the tournament as they are playing at home condition.
"I think, they (South African sides) will have a bit of edge. They practice at home ground and prepare according to what they want. IPL teams are in a bit of disadvantage in that they have only four foreigners and they are not playing at home. But in Twenty20 you cannot pick favourites and all the teams here are champion sides of their countries," he said.
"We have a very balanced side with Tendulkar leading from the front followed by the likes of Kieron Pollard and myself. In bowling we have Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, all big players," he added.
He said the response of the crowd in South Africa will be huge as the top players of the cricketing world are playing in the multi-million dollar tournament.
"For sure, the crowd will fill up the stadiums. They would want to see the likes of Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan and other big cricketers playing together," he said.
Asked how the crowd would receive him as he is playing for a non-South African side this time, he said, "It will be very interesting to see how the crowd supports me. I don`t know what sort of support we are going to get. Unfortunately, I am not playing for my province Cape Town."
For fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, it is a big tournament having missed a lot of international action as he has been struggling for some time. He was left out of Chennai Super Kings in the IPL but still wants to play for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side.
"I am game for IPL. I know there will be players` auction after this tournament. I definitely would want to go back to Chennai. I know people there and I know the staff also. It does not matter If I don`t get but I would love to play in IPL," said Ntini, who will play for the Warriors in CLT20.
Ntini relishes the prospect of fast bowling stuff on a fresh wicket in the CLT20 against some of the big players in the world.
"It is a fresh wicket, absolutely new. It will be bowling friendly, especially fast bowlers. There will be bounce and carry. I am looking forward to bowl at the likes of Tendulkar," he said.
He, however, did not agree that South African sides have advantage over others. "No home advantage. Home advantage may be there in Test cricket. It is less for shorter formats and very little in case of Twenty20."
Asked which players he would target in the tournament, he said with a smile, "(M S) Dhoni is my first target, then Suresh Raina and Matthew Hayden."
"I am going to play against my CSK colleagues but I don`t have any points to prove," he added.