Sachin Tendulkar said India would need to focus on their opening partnership and running between the wickets to perform well against South Africa in their World Cup match on Sunday.
“They are a terrific fielding side, and it won’t be easy to consistently pick the singles, hitting the ball three-four yards around the fielder,” Tendulkar told Headlines Today.
“The South African unit is far, far superior to Pakistan, especially when it comes to fielding. They are much faster and their throwing arm is far more powerful.”
Tendulkar also said there was no point in singling out a bowler with the intention to either target him or play him out. “You can’t do that for ten overs. Up front you can watch the ball a little more carefully. [Even someone like] Dale Steyn, too, could have off days. If you are sharp enough to pick those moments and capitalise on them, and put the pressure back on, you can score runs.
“I don’t think we should target any particular bowler before the game has started. In your planning you will definitely see which the areas you can attack. You gradually start putting pressure on those areas, but if you start taking things for granted, that’s where the red flag is.”
While talking about South Africa’s batting, Tendulkar called AB de Villiers a “complete batsman.” “I think he [de Villiers] is unbelievably talented, and very innovative. T20 has also taken his batting to a different level. He’s definitely one of the top batters in the world. I don’t think there is any weakness in him.”
Equally effusive about Hashim Amla, Tendulkar singled out for praise his no-frills approach. “I have been a huge fan of Hashim Amla as well along with AB de Villiers. Hashim is focused on his game, and there is no fuss around his batting. No dramas. He comes, scores his runs, fields well, gives his 100 %, and goes back to the dressing room.
“He has come to India and done unbelievably well. I have spoken to our bowlers on a lot of occasions about where to bowl to him, and I could make out he has frustrated the bowlers.”
Tendulkar was similarly upbeat about India’s young batsmen such as Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina, but cautioned against tinkering with the batting order. “I will stick to the same batting order and back our batting. The guys have started well. Don’t chop and change too many things.