Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Tendulkar’s mantra for success in SA: “front foot defence is key”

Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar

Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has an advice for Indians who begin the three-Test series against South Africa in Centurion on Sunday. 

Tendulkar, who scored five hundreds from 15 Tests in South Africa, at an average of 46.44, has stressed the importance of “front foot defence” for Indian batters. 

Speak on a show, Tendulkar said: “I have always said, front foot defence is important. Upfront, front foot defence is important. And that front foot defence is going to count here. The first 25 overs, front defence is going to be critical.”

Indians would face the heat from South Africa’s renowned pacers, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi among others. 

Tendulkar said Indians don’t need to look any further than how KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma batted in England. 

“That was what we got to see in England when Rohit and Rahul got those runs. They got beaten on occasion and that’s fine. Every batter gets beaten. Bowlers are there to pick wickets, so that’s okay. But when your hands start going away from your body, that is when you are likely to edge the ball,” he added.

Rohit and Rahul were one of India’s most consistent performers in England and Tendulkar said it was because both of them played close to their body.

“The reason for them continuing to bat was because their hands were close to their body. And that was the major difference between the earlier partnerships which were unsuccessful and the last tour of England where the openers really did a fabulous job,” he said.

India, however, will be without Rohit Sharma in the Test series. The right-hander, who was elevated as India’s vice-captain in red-ball cricket, has been ruled out of the Test series with a hamstring injury.

KL Rahul was named as vice-captain instead while Priyank Panchal replaced Rohit in the squad.

Rahul is likely to start with Mayank Agarwal in the Boxing Day Test in Centurion as India aim to win their maiden Test series in South Africa.

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