Sachin Tendulkar’s fellow batting heavyweight Ricky Ponting can see how much the looming Test runs world record has affected the Little Master, and will be all the more generous in his praise when the milestone is reached.
Since hammering 153 against the Australians at Adelaide Oval in January, Tendulkar has not made another half century while eking out the runs he needs to pass Brian Lara’s tally of 11,953.
In all, he has made just 170 runs at 17 in 10 Test innings since.
Entering tomorrow’s second Test at Mohali, Tendulkar needs only another 15 to become the heaviest runscorer in the history of the game’s purest form, after falling for 49 late on the final day of the first match in Bangalore.
“I knew he only needed 70-odd runs going into the Test but I didn’t know about his previous eight or 10 innings, so there’s no doubt he’s thinking about that, as you would, it’s a huge milestone to be the leading runscorer in the history of the game,” Ponting said.
“Even though he played pretty well in the second innings the other day it never felt like he was going to get away from us at all, I think we know that if we bowl certain ways to him that he won’t damage us as much as he has done in the past.
“But who knows, how he will play once he gets past that mark may be totally different, but we know he’s a great player and we need to do things well to keep him under wraps.”
Ponting’s Australians are yet to sort out exactly what they will do to acknowledge the record when it occurs, but they do have some recent experience to draw on, after Lara passed Allan Border’s Test runs tally with a double century at Adelaide in November 2005.
“Hopefully it’s the third Test (that he gets it),” smiled Ponting.
“It’s out of our control to a certain extent, the way the crowd and the way he reacts I guess, but it’s important we certainly acknowledge it the best way we possibly can out on the field.
“It doesn’t happen every day that sort of stuff, so we’ll do our best as a team to make him feel appreciated for what he’s done.”