Sachin Tendulkar discovered and revealed another dimension of his game today. The ability to extract the last ounce of effort from the Indian tail. More than his personal achievements, this is impressive. Ishant Sharma has reportedly doubled his tally of runs in first class cricket in this innings.
Critics, as usual, claim that Sachin was selfish. But they refuse to look at it from a different viewpoint.
Traditionally the specialist batsman is expected to farm the strike and leave minimum strike to the tailenders. In this approach, the specialist batsman has to forego many easy runs and can run only when it suits him. He has to take undue risk in tring to reach the boundary inspite of a defensive field setting. More often than not, the specialist batsman gets out even before the tailenders. Otherwise, the tailender,who even after spending a lot of time in the middle, still has not grown in confidence and will fall to one of the few balls he is invariably forced to face.
Contrast this with what Sachin did today. He simply discounted the fact that he was playing with tailenders with limited-to-zero batting ability and was playing the ball on merit as per the field setting. In the process, singles kept flowing and bad balls went screaming to the boundary. And more importantly, the supposedly incompetent tailenders grew in confidence and started playing beyond their imagined ability. This in hindsight, is a tremendous psychological ploy. A novice with the bat, feels pumped because the best batsman in the world is trusting his ability and he wants pay him back in earnest for his faith. The opposition is demoralised because Sachin is not playing cautiously or atrociously as they expected and the others are managing to outsmart them.
This is probably a lesson Sachin learnt from the Aussies, who rarely protect their tailenders, and has given it back to them in a much more potent manner.
This is another step in pursuit of perfection for Sachin.