Easier to cover Thar desert than go through Indian batting

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 18:10 PM IST

Mohammed Azharuddin

India ticked most boxes on Saturday during their opening World Cup match against Bangladesh.

You could pick on S Sreesanth; a slip here or there in the field but the bigger picture of India`s authority wasn`t missed on anyone. Teams would find it easier to cover the Thar desert than go through this Indian line-up.

It could have been worse for Bangladesh. Sachin Tendulkar let go on a hundred. He was in sublime touch but erred in his call. He didn`t look at his partner who, like him, was following the course of the ball.

A run-out irks most batsmen. Two other modes of dismissals though are equally irksome -- standing at the non-striker`s end and being found out of your crease; and a tickle down the leg-side which finds keeper`s gloves.

Tendulkar overtook me on Saturday, a matter which shouldn`t please both of us. We were both pegged at 32 run-outs before this game.

Tendulkar of course has played far more matches and remains an exceptional judge of a single. Such is his canny judgment that he rarely relies on a runner in case of discomfort or fatigue.

His life has been spent on guarding his wicket and he can`t bring himself to leave it in somebody else`s hands.

His dismissal of course would have annoyed him. It`s true of all batsmen. I remember to this day my run-out against the West Indies in a Test against West Indies in Mumbai in 1987.

I was in exceptional touch when a misjudgment cut short my stay on 37. It would be interesting to see if he is more cautious with Sehwag in the next innings or if the latter is more alert to his senior`s call.

As for Sehwag, he now wants to bat for long. He urged his men on the bench to stand up and cheer him on his 150. He has just crossed a threshold and it can now be a familiar territory for him in ODIs. In such a mood, he can cost a lot of careers in international cricket.

Virat Kohli, too, looks a thoroughbred. His drives usually gather momentum which is a reflection on his timing. He looks extremely hungry which could actually motivate his contemporary and seniors -- Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh --
alike.

The momentum now rests with India. They just need to keep the foot on the pedal from now on.

PTI