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Interview : Wasim Akram

"Sachin played brilliantly under pressure"


Akram and Sachin with Azhar at Rashtrapathi BhavanWhy is Tendulkar so difficult?
From the bowler's point of view, if I look at a batsman, I don't see his shots, I see his defence. If a player has a strong defence, he is a very good player. Tendulkar has a very solid defence and patience in Test cricket. He played brilliantly under pressure. He is calm. The best thing about him is that he doesn't show his emotions, what he's feeling inside. That's quite important. His body language is always very positive.

Is there a feeling that if he gets out the Indian team is in trouble?
Definitely. He's their main player. And they know it. And we know it And if he gets out, then the team collapses. Okay Azharuddin can score runs, Dravid can score runs, but ... Sachin can win a match on his own. Like he showed in the last Test when he nearly won it on his own. So definitely nowadays he's the best batsman in the world.

Akram and Sachin at Rashtrapathi BhavanCan you compare the styles of Gavaskar and Tendulkar?
To Gavaskar, I've bowled very few times. He looked very solid, a typical opener. If the ball is outside the off-stump, he'll let it pass. Tendulkar is also very solid, when he wants to be. Gavaskar would occasionally spare a bad ball which Tendulkar doesn't.

So there's more chance of getting Sachin out than Sunil?
Yes, from a bowler's point of view.

You mentioned that your dressing room and the Indian dressing room had a different atmosphere. Like how?
If Sachin had been batting, and if he had cramps, I would have sent a man in straightway asking if he needed a runner, to give him a break, give him water. Next over the physio would have gone in, even if he didn't need anything, just to remind him that there's only 20 runs to go, there's no rush. Okay he's a great player but concentration lose kar sakta hai and he did. But nobody (from the Indian team) came out to tell him anything. Maybe they thought that his concentration would be disturbed.

Maybe they thought that if he needed a runner, he'd ask for it.
Yes, but even if he didn't need it, he would have got a break. When Afridi batted we must have sent him at least 600 messages. That's why he scored so much (laughs).