Sanath Jayasuriya - the batsman, who at forty is equally fierce as his heydays, is yet another all time cricket greats to the followers of the cricket. But what he is in the eyes of another maestro? An excerpt of what master blaster Sachin thinks of the cricket’s old wine Jayasuriya!
CAPE TOWN: Back in 2008, Sachin Tendulkar was in Australia gearing up for the Test and One-day series when the call came from Reliance boss Mukesh Ambani asking the master batsman his choice of players to represent the Mumbai Indians.
Before Tendulkar could think of anyone else, the one name that came to his mind instantly was that of Sanath Jayasuriya. Buy him at any cost, was the reply.
It has been a year and half now that Tendulkar and Jayasuriya are a part of one team and that too as a dream opening pair.
In the last one year, Tendulkar has seen a lot of the Matara Marauder from close quarters, closer than the times when the left-hander was at his best and also his fiercest opponent.
Today, Tendulkar has the privilege to discuss the joys of batting alongside Jayasuriya. In an exclusive chat with TOI, he spoke about the man and the legend.
Your views on Sanath Jayasuriya, the cricketer...
I had always known Sanath and admired him for his cricketing abilities. I knew him as an opponent, a fierce one, whose natural instincts make him one of the most dangerous of all times. He is a naturally gifted player and has the ability to dominate a game single-handedly. He has the shots, the power and the timing.
Now that the two of you are teammates, what is the general discussion that goes on between the two?
Of course, we discuss a lot of things between ourselves, but mostly we’ve done a lot of that over the last many years. We like to exchange notes, talk about the game in general. Now with him and me in the same squad, we discuss more about what we’re going to do as a pair. Plan ahead of the game, prepare, study the weaknesses of the opponent and strategise accordingly.
Is it decided that Jayasuriya will go after the bowlers while you will play the anchor role?
Yes, you can say that. He is very quick in getting off to aggressive starts, has a superb hand-eye coordination. So, we have mostly decided that it is he who will go after the bowlers, while I drop anchor.
Last year, you missed the first six matches. Did that hamper preparations?
It is great that we’re together this time right from the beginning. The last time, I wasn’t there, Harbhajan was missing and even Lasith (Malinga) was out. So, in a way, we were missing three key players. But this time with everybody around, there’s more freedom to try and do things differently right from the start.
Do you discuss batting with Sanath before or after every match?
With Sanath, everything is instinctive. Before the match, he might be very calm and might appear to be concentrating very hard. On the field though, he can get real destructive. He’s a responsible cricketer. However, we keep suggesting things to each other, like how to tackle a particular situation.
With the two greats joining their hands right from the start, the Mumbai franchise as well as the international cricket fraternity are waiting for some unforgettable cricket moments. After making a good head start, it is to be seen now; whether the magic of Sachin-Sanath dream partnership can take the team to the top in the Indian Premier League this season.
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