Tendulkar moves down the order
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 21st January 2007
Sachin Tendulkar, who has scored the majority of his ODI centuries as
an opener, was on Saturday relieved of the responsibility, a move which
skipper Rahul Dravid said was aimed at strengthening the middle order
with the World Cup in mind.
Tendulkar will bat down the order while former skipper Sourav Ganguly
and Gautam Gambhir will launch the innings in the opening match of the
ODI series against the West Indies in Nagpur on Sunday.
Dravid said with Yuvraj Singh, who tore his knee ligament during the
Champions Trophy in October-November, still on the recovery path, the
team needed to test the options available before the World Cup in
March-April in the Caribbean.
"Tomorrow Sachin will bat in the middle order the reason being that we
are not sure of how Yuvraj Singh is going to shape up for us over the
next few days. The signs are good and hopefully Yuvraj will be back,"
Dravid said at the match-eve media conference at the VCA stadium.
"He (Tendulkar) understands the importance of it and the reasons why
we are trying to do this for a few games, just to have a backup in
case certain eventualities might occur leading into the World Cup,"
the skipper said.
Tendulkar has scored 11,731 out of his record 14,537 runs, including 37
of his 40 centuries in 374 ODIs, as an opener. Dravid said that the
team's best batsman had to be tried out in the middle overs, which
would be crucial to its fortunes in the quadrennial event.
"Having played in the West Indies and seen the wickets there, we see
the middle overs in the World Cup being a critical part of the
equations, and who better than our best batsman to try and play that
role for us," said Dravid. "It's an option we need to explore and we
feel it's an important part of the game for us. We do realise that
finding a good sort of middle order player in the conditions that we
are likely to find in the West Indies is a lot harder than finding
someone up the order."
While Ganguly, returning to the side after a gap of more than 15
months, and Gambhir will form an all-leftie opening combination in
Sunday’s tie, the team might have a look at other options in the coming
"We also have four openers in the squad and we need to give some
opportunities to a couple of the other guys," Dravid said.
India also host Sri Lanka in four one-dayers following the Windies
Dravid said that the 12 for Sunday’s match had been decided and
all-rounder Joginder Sharma, left arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh and
opener Robin Uthappa had been left out.
"We will decide on the eleven tomorrow, whether to play an extra
spinner or not," he said.
On Yuvraj's fitness, Dravid said that a clear picture would emerge only
after the Punjab batsman has played a few competitive matches.
"We are very happy with what happened over the last few days. He's
playing some Twenty20 matches but only after he's played some 50 over
games, maybe in the next series, will we have some clear idea."