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World Test Championship Final: Tendulkar confident Kohli will take New Zealand bowlers by surprise

10:46 PM Jun 15, 2021 | ANI

New Delhi, June 15: India will face New Zealand in the final of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship from Friday and legend Sachin Tendulkar is thrilled to see Virat Kohli and boys playing for ultimate glory.

Speaking to ANI, Tendulkar revealed that for him, it was the series win in Australia which was testimony to the fighting spirit of this Indian unit. He also threw light on how he expects Rohit Sharma to start cautiously before pressing on the accelerator and how he is confident of skipper Kohli taking the Kiwi bowlers by surprise.

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"I am thrilled. This is the World Test Championship and to be able to get there in the top two, speaks volumes about how the team has performed. It is simply outstanding and the icing on the cake has to be the Australian trip. There were so many injuries, there were like 10-11 players missing on that tour and in spite of that we were able to deliver the knockout punch which was incredible," he smiled.

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Skipper Kohli will once again hold the fort in the middle-order and it is no secret that it was Tendulkar who helped Kohli adjust his game after a torrid tour of England in 2014.

Asked if he still sees slight issues outside the off in the fourth or fifth wicket region? Tendulkar doesn't and said it was an area that bothers almost all batsmen.

"I think outside the off-stump or whatever that is, all batters get out from there. So, I won't look at whatever shot he is playing. What is the percentage that Kohli is getting the shots right and how many times he has been dismissed? If we compare that, then the player has to assess and plan that these are the areas I need to tighten up. But I wouldn't worry too much about all those things, it has been fine, to be honest.

Asked if Kohli can do a Tendulkar and cut out the drive as the Master Blaster had against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2004, the maestro said such calls need to be taken at the crease and cannot be planned beforehand.

"I am sure a batsman of his calibre understands the game as he is a good student. He will have his plans. It need not be that 'okay I am not going to play this shot'. Sometimes you know, you adjust your stance and do a lot of things at the crease which the bowlers sometimes don't pick. All those minor tweaks one can do.

"I started not playing that shot (drive), but it wasn't decided in the dressing room. I went there on the field and figured out their strategy is to keep the ball away from me, so I said okay let's see who loses patience first. It was me against the 11 and I thought if you keep bowling the ball there, I will keep leaving it. If it is for two days, I will. It happened on the field and I am sure with him also, he will realise what they are trying to do and then you should have the flexibility to move from Plan A to Plan B and respond to various challenges," he explained.

While Tendulkar is rated as one of the best batsmen to have played the game, there is no denying the fact that he has a special place in his heart for English conditions as he hit his first Test century in Manchester in 1990. Asked how he would want an aggressive batsman like Rohit to play the Dukes ball, he said: "Rohit is smart that way and understands when to press the accelerator. He is not someone who is going to go from ball one. He is going to kind of understand the conditions, how the pitch is playing and who is bowling well and then I won't be surprised if he targets someone who is not getting his rhythm on that day.

"But, up front to do that, I don't think that would be Rohit's gameplan. It would be just to play out the first few overs and see what is happening. Once you have assessed that, then you know who to target." Off the field, Tendulkar has been involved in helping COVID-19 patients as well as donating blood. Throwing light on the initiatives, he said: "The last two months from my point of view, I have had a tough time and I have recovered fully now. I donated blood because of my personal experience and there was an article that there was a shortage of blood and we all need to step up for a noble cause.

"From my personal experience, I can say recently one of my family members had major surgery and lost a lot of blood. It was a traumatic experience for us and some unknown person donated blood which saved my family member's life. That touched my heart and I don't even know who this person is. So, I want to use this platform to thank the person and the reason for us donating blood yesterday was firstly because it was World Blood Donor Day. Secondly, me and my team decided to do that because it will help some needy person. Hope for more people to come forward and donate blood with doctor's advice."

Also Read: ICC World Test Championship Final 2021: Virat Kohli may pick THIS player ahead of R Ashwin

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