Former India captain Rahul Dravid feels calling Sachin Tendulkar selfish is a bit unfair to the little master and added that the iconic cricketer “defied imagination”.
“I think it’s a little bit unfair. All of us want to score hundreds, all of us want to score runs and the team does benefit when you score runs. When someone’s scored a hundred hundreds, if you start nitpicking and looking at each and every innings, sure you’ll find enough innings to prove your point, but there are also other innings when those hundreds have been critically important to Indian cricket,” Dravid said.
“It’s hard to begrudge someone the desire to score hundreds. The country’s obsession with his hundredth hundred? There’s no way that cannot affect you. You have to be human even if you’re Tendulkar.”
Dravid said Tendulkar could not lead India to victory on a few occasions in Tests because of a weak bowling attack.
“I still think in ODI cricket he has had quite a few match winning, match defining innings. In one day cricket, even if someone scores 300-350, as a pure batsman you can still control the game. In Test cricket, you have to rely on other people, you have to rely on the bowling attacks. Bowling attacks win you Test matches,” Dravid said while speaking on ESPNcricinfo’s ‘Modern Masters’.
“Especially through Sachin’s golden period (1998-2002-03), and especially away from home when he got a lot of runs, maybe we didn’t have the bowling attack to back him up in those games. I can remember, even as recently as centurion, his last Test hundred was a brilliant Test hundred against Steyn and Morkel. But we couldn’t get South Africa out in the fourth innings. The context of those hundreds changes completely if you have the bowling attack to get people out.
“If there’s one thing he’d like to better about his numbers, though, it’ll probably be his fourth innings in overseas Test series.”
Dravid, who himself is regarded as one of the greats of modern cricket, felt Tendulkar’s greatest biggest strength has been his temperament.
“For me, Sachin’s greatest strength really is his temperament, his ability to handle the pressures that have surrounded him. He’s been the focus of attention since he was a 16-year-old kid. And for so many years to be able to handle all of that, and still to be able to perform and not get frustrated by it and not get disillusioned by it shows an incredible mind.”
Speaking about Tendulkar’s technique, Dravid said, “One of the things that has always stood out for me for Sachin has been balance. It’s that ability to judge length and to be in that right position for nearly every ball. It’s very rare that I’ve seen Sachin struggle for any particular ball. His judgment of length was a marvel.”