The Test series is still a few days away but England has started the mind games with pacer James Anderson saying that his team needs to make sure that it does not treat Sachin Tendulkar “with too much respect in the middle”.
“There has been much talk that this may be Sachin Tendulkar’s last Test series. I do enjoy bowling against him as testing yourself against the best is what playing at this level is all about,” Anderson wrote in his column for The Daily Mail ahead of the four-Test series starting on November 15 in Ahmedabad.
“And there is no question in my mind that he has been one of the best batsmen — if not the best — for 20-odd years. But we have to make sure we do not treat him with too much respect in the middle,” he said.
Anderson said admiring Tendulkar too much would take away the competitive edge.
“I do know that people have said they love watching him bat and maybe too much of that kind of admiration could dull your competitive edge. “I’ve never been aware of succumbing to that myself but maybe subconsciously, because you respect him for what he has done in the game — 100 international centuries is some achievement — and the way he has conducted himself, you want to get him to respect you back,” he said.
“The Sachin factor is quite something to experience. I’ve played in games here, in which the Indian supporters seem more interested in his batting than how their team are doing, when Sachin getting out is the signal for a mass exodus.”
Anderson said he wouldn’t mind getting booed by the crowd if he manages to dismiss Tendulkar.
“I will be seeking to make myself pretty unpopular with the locals in the weeks ahead. The bottom line is that we treat everyone with the same respect, whether they’ve played one Test or 100 — and that goes for trying to earn their respect, too,” he said.
The pacer was also all praise for Yuvraj Singh, who has made a successful return to international cricket after recovering from a rare germ cell cancer.
“The return of Yuvraj Singh to the Indian side will complete a remarkable story, after all he has been through since the Test series against us at home in 2011,” he said.
“I cannot begin to understand how devastating it must have been for him to be told he had lung cancer. Not so long ago, such a diagnosis would have been akin to a death sentence and it is incredible that he can be playing top-level cricket again so soon,” he added.
Anderson hoped that England’s star spinner Graeme Swann, who has had to rush home to attend to his unwell daughter, would come back to join the team soon.
“Graeme Swann’s trip home to be with his wife and baby is a reminder to us all of the kind of issues our families back home have to deal with.
“Family always comes first. We are hoping and expecting he will be back with us in time for the first Test — but, if he needs more time at home, we are 100 per cent behind him,” he added.