Monday, February 25, 2008

Tendulkar on the backfoot

The 'Seniors versus youngsters' has been a hot topic of debate in Indian cricket in recent times.The youngsters may not have exactly set the stage on fire, but the fact that the seniors have not really pitched in when they needed to has not made matters simple.

The seniors, especially the batsmen, have proved to be India's biggest downfall in the ongoing CB tri-series. On the other hand, the youngsters, especially the bowlers have dished out strong performances.

The three senior most players in the squad -- Sachin Tendulkar,Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh -- have between them aggregated 327 runs in 18 innings at an average of 18.16 with just one score of 50. This is still less than Gautam Gambhir's aggregate of 359 runs (average 59.83) and just marginally higher than Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 296 (avg 74.00).

Mts Runs Avg SR 100/50
Sehwag 5 81 16.20 78.64 0/0
Tendulkar 7 128 18.29 73.99 0/0
Yuvraj 6 118 19.66 81.38 0/1

Sehwag and Yuvraj have always been consistently inconsistent, but it is the form of little master Sachin Tendulkar which should be giving headache to skipper Dhoni. This is turning out to be worst series of Tendulkar's distinguished career.

Tendulkar's worst ODI series
(where he played a minimum of 5 innings)

Series/ Tournament Inns Runs Avg 100/50
Commonwealth Bank Series,2007-08 7 128 18.29 0/0
v South Africa in South Africa,1992-93 7 144 20.57 0/0
v Pakistan in India,2004-05 6 145 24.17 1/0
Hero Cup in India,1993-94 6 98 24.50 0/0
C& U Series in Australia,1999-00 8 198 24.75 0/1

This is not that runs have suddenly dried up for Tendulkar. If one take a look at his performance in year 2007, he hardly contributed anything while chasing a target. But this did not become a talking point as he compensated by scoring heavily in the first innings of the match. Unfortunately, he has not been able to run freely even in the first innings in this tournament.

The following two tables reveal some shocking stats. Upto the end of the year 2006, Tendulkar's performance in the first and second innings of the match were almost identical. But since the start of 2007 his performance while chasing a target has gone down the hill. That Tendulkar has not been able to move into double figures in almost 48% innings is a telling statement in itself.

Tendulkar in ODIs (upto 2006)

Inns Runs Hs Avg SR 100 50 Single-digit scores
Batting first 180 7449 186* 44.08 82.31 25 32 47(26.11%)
Batting second 185 7088 143 44.02 88.83 15 42 55(29.72%)

Tendulkar in ODIs (since 2007)

Inns Runs Hs Avg SR 100 50 Single-digit scores
Batting first 18 940 100* 58.75 85.77 1 8 2(11.11%)
Batting second 21 613 97 29.19 82.61 0 5 10(47.61%)