The little master can work wonders with his bat, but when it comes to captaincy, it just doesn’t click for Sachin Tendulkar!!. It has happened in his two stints as India skipper and even after his fourth year as Mumbai Indians captain, it’s the same old story. The world knows that Tendulkar has one of the shrewdest cricketing minds, but when it comes to taking decisions as captain, all the moves seem to backfire.
It happened in last year’s IPL final when he held back Kieron Pollard till the 17th over and the West Indian just did’nt have enough overs to take them to the title. This time too, some of the decisions Tendulkar took at the MA Chidambaram Stadium against Royal Challengers simply defied logic.
It started with winning the toss and choosing to field first on a pitch where teams batting first have won six out of the seven games this season. Tendulkar had an explanation to give at the prize distribution ceremony but it hardly had any takers. “When we were playing CSK in the first season, they scored more than 200 and we lost by three runs,” Tendulkar said. Three years have passed since then and Tendulkar has played enough games here to know that the pitch has only got slower. Daniel Vettori, the Royal Challengers’ skipper, made it clear that Tendulkar, by opting to field, had made things a little easier for him. “If we had won the toss, we would have batted first. But then, sometimes, it works, sometimes it does-n’t,” Vettori said.
Mumbai Indians’ James Franklin looked like a lamb to the slaughter as he was made by the management to face the barrage of questions. “The toss decision was team management’s. I did not know much about it.” Journos across the media room couldn’t hide their smiles when the Kiwi came up with that explanation. If the toss decision was the first one, the second one was to make Abu Nachem Ahmed bowl the first over. With Lasith Malinga in the line-up, one could not expect that the Sri Lankan would be unleashed to keep Chris Gayle in check. The Assam bowler just not know where to bowl as Gayle plundered 27 runs off the first over to set the tone for the game.
Vettori, quite predictably, avoided the query whether he was surprised, saying “someone had to bowl,” but the fact remains that Mumbai Indians struggled to fight back after than one over. Tendulkar said that he would have expected the middle-order to be a little more consistent, but then he didn’t specify why Harbhajan Singh got promoted to No.3 while a chance was never taken with somebody like Pollard. Harbhajan may have a couple of test hundreds under his belt, but he is not known to anchor an innings coming in at No.3. “He hit the winning runs for us against Kolkata Knight Riders,that’s why we took a chance with him,” Franklin’s explanation was again very weak.
But then, the Little Master will probably try his luck once again next year, an who knows, something better may just be in store!!!