New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar has cautioned the Indian cricket team to guard against complacency ahead of its Cricket World Cup game against South Africa, saying the Proteas are a far better fielding unit than Pakistan. India started their World Cup campaign on a winning note, defeating arch-rivals Pakistan by 76 runs at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
“It won’t be so easy to pick singles. They (South Africa) are much faster, their throwing arm is more powerful and their outfielding … they cover the area much better than Pakistan,” Tendulkar told ‘Headlines Today’.
Considering their sharp fielding, Tendulkar said India need to put up a strong opening partnership and have to be careful while taking quick singles. Defending champions India clash with one of tournament favourites South Africa in their second game in Melbourne on Sunday.
The former India captain asked the team to watch out for Proteas pace spearhead Steyn. “Without any doubt he’s their strike bowler. He’s bowled unbelievably well.
“You can’t pre-decide how to play Steyn, he could also have a bad day, you have to decide in the moment but you have to respect Steyn, you need to be watchful upfront but take your opportunities,” Tendulkar, who has played in a record six World Cups, said.
Tendulkar backed India opener Rohit Sharma to perform after his failure in their win against Pakistan and said opening will be the key for the Men in Blue in their next game against South Africa. He was also not worried about skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s form with the bat.
Sharma managed just 15 runs in India’s 76-run win over the arch-rivals at the Adelaide Oval yesterday, but Tendulkar urged people not to put pressure on the batsman. “Don’t put pressure on Rohit, we should not put doubt in a player’s mind. Rohit doesn’t need to worry. Next time he will get it right,” Tendulkar said. Regarding the captain, he said, “Dhoni’s form doesn’t worry me…there can be no perfect game. The dressing room must have thought we will get 320+ runs. 300 was a fighting total, if Pakistan had played better, it could have been close as 275-300 is a normal total now.”
Tendulkar also showed faith in the team and said it can match the best in the world. “India needs to go step-by-step and don’t think about just the quarters but take it match by match. “We can match the likes of Australia, South Africa. We can play even better then the way we played Pakistan. Our batting can do even better and our bowling needs to continue same way. The series in Australia will help us… playing against the top sides makes your game better.”