It's the best batting line-up I have been a part of: Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar, who has played in different eras since his debut in 1989, today rated the current Indian batting as the best line-up he has been part of.

updated: November 08, 2009 16:43 IST
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Sachin Tendulkar, who has played in different eras since his debut in 1989, today rated the current Indian batting as the best line-up he has been part of.

"I would definitely say so," Tendulkar said in a reply to a query in the post-match conference.

Tendulkar, who has played alongside the likes of Kapil Dev, Navjyot Singh Sidhu, Mohammad Azaruddin, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, believes the present Indian batting under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and comprising Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir was the best line-up of the country.

"We got almost five or six guys who can clear the ropes at will. If you have a good four or five overs in a row, we could end up scoring 50 plus runs. At the back of mind we know that with such an explosive line-up no target is impossible," said the veteran of 425 ODIs after contributing unbeaten 163 in India's 58-run win in the third one-dayer against New Zealand.

India scored 392 for four against New Zealand in the third one-dayer to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

Asked if he had changed his approach to the game, Tendulkar said "it depends on the momentum".

"When (Virender) Sehwag is batting, obviously one guy is taking more chances than the other. So it is sensible to hang back a bit and let him play the big shots and rotate the strike," he said.

"Attacking the ball being his strength, we have worked out a strategy which has worked so far. When I am striking the ball well, I will be playing my shots. It is not that I am looking to block. If I get a loose ball in the initial part of the innings, I will put it away," he explained.

But Tendulkar was not too pleased with the Indian bowling.

"In some patches we bowled well. I am quite sure the bowlers will have a meeting and try to figure what went wrong and what has to be done," he said.

"In a high-scoring match like this the batsmen will throw their bat around and take that extra bit of chance. The bowlers had a bad day. But towards the end I think we could have done a little better."

He said the batting powerplay had swung the momentum in India's favour.

"It was at that point in the innings to make their off-spinner (Jeetan Patel) bowls towards the end and to change New Zealand's plan. I am sure their fast bowlers were caught off guard. The powerplay changed the momentum of the game." He said he would regard this a very important innings.

"At one stage, we did not get too many runs. But they way we timed it and built the momentum it was satisfying. I would regard this as a very important innings."

On not being able to score a one-day hundred here before this innings, Tendulkar said: "I started opening in 1994 here and got close to scoring a hundred around that period. The next tour was actually 2002-03 where I missed out on a few matches because of an ankle injury. I have not played that many games here. I got close to scoring hundreds here, but didn't manage to. It is better late than never."

The master batsman admitted the thought of scoring a double hundred did cross his mind. "Towards the end I was hopeful that I could get a double hundred if I could stay there till the 50th over. It was in the vicinity," said Tendulkar.

Then why did he decided to retire? "In the previous game I got hit in my abdomen by O'Brien and the muscle was quite sore. When I was batting with 65-70, I started feeling a stiffness in that area. But towards the latter half of my innings I started getting a twitch and it kept getting worse. And I knew that I was effectively damaging it and I had reached a stage when I couldn't go on."

Asked if he would be fit for the fourth ODI at Hamilton on March 14, Tendulkar said it could be decided on Monday.

"We will have to wait and see. We are going to have a look at it tomorrow."