Tendulkar stumped while having to defend cricket itself

Tendulkar stumped while having to defend cricket itself

Sachin Tendulkar's straight bat was pivotal in his dominance of world cricket in his 24-year career.

That approach is reflected in retirement, too. He ducks and weaveson taboo subjects, such as those that have besmirched the image of the sport in India and even worldwide in recent years.

Yesterday, in Singapore at the invitation of The Royal Bank of Scotland to hold a coaching clinic for youngsters, help raise funds for the Dyslexia Association of Singapore and for related sponsorship activities, he steered away from topics that would have elicited a more meaningful reply from a fellow giant like Shane Warne.

What does he think about the alleged corruption in international cricket?

"Concerned people are taking important steps," he dead-panned during a 15-minute session with the media at the Singapore Cricket Club. "The ICC (International Cricket Council) have taken it seriously and all efforts are being made to ensure it is a fair sport and people enjoy it."

Will the new National Stadium see Indian Premier League teams - especially the Mumbai Indians franchise he is associated with - play in Singapore?

"I'm not in a position to comment right now," he said. "But whenever I have played here, the response has been good. In whichever part of the world cricket is played, I'll be happy."

What about his decision to co-own the football franchise Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League, set to kick off in September? "Let's talk right now only about cricket," he said. "Yes, I'm interested in football and am supporting football in India."

But Tendulkar's face lit up when asked about the Marylebone Cricket Club versus the Rest of the World Lord's Bicentenary match in London on July 5. He will captain the MCC team, which will include West Indian batsman Brian Lara, and face Warne as the opposing captain.

"We (he and Lara) had a wonderful partnership (in 1994 in Toronto) and I'm hoping for another one this time," he said. "I loved watching Brian whenever he scored against other nations, not India.

"It has been a fantastic challenge playing against a champion like Shane. We are good friends, but we will compete hard on the field."

santosh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 4, 2014.
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