Sydney, Jan 1 (UNI) Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar will be the ''danger man'' as far as Australia is concerned and will hold the key for the Men In Blue if they have to turn the tide against a rampaging Aussie attack, asserts former captain Steve Waugh.
''You could see the way he played in the first innings he was set for a big score. I think he is the danger man in Sydney for Australia,'' Waugh said.
''He has set himself for a very big series here. His form has been up and down for the past 12 months, two years. He hasn't got a lot of runs against the top Test nations.'' Waugh is not kidding. With the kind of stats Tendulkar has in Sydney, it will not be wrong to say that the master blaster has a liking for the SCG.
In three Tests against Australia at the SCG, he has amassed 498 runs at a mindblowing average of 249.
In 1991-92, the 18-year-old Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 148, becoming the youngest to record a century in a Test in Australia.
All-time great Neil Harvey, at 19, was the previous youngest to hit a Test ton in Australia. In his next SCG Test, in 1999-2000, Tendulkar scored only 45 and 4.
Then he batted and batted in the January 2004 Test, scoring 241 not out and 60 not out in the final Test. The boy wonder had become an elder statesman as India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Barring Don Bradman and West Indian Brian Lara, and India's batting legend Tendulkar holds almost all the records in international cricket.
The 34-year-old Tendulkar has hit more centuries than anyone else in Test history, 37 in 143 matches. The next best are Lara and India's Sunil Gavaskar with 34 each in 131 and 125 Tests respectively, and Australia's Ricky Ponting 33 in 113.
The Mumbaikar has scored second-highest number of runs in the annals of Test history. 11,366 at 54.90, only 587 behind Lara's 11,953 at 52.88.
Interestingly, Waugh has reposed his faith in Dravid as a opener, amidst calls for a change in the opening slot.
The 42-year-old rooted for Sehwag saying, ''I would bring in Virender Sehwag to open the batting with him. If Sehwag comes in and plays his shots, his natural way will take pressure off Dravid.'' ''Wasim Jaffer would have to be the guy who misses out. After his second-innings dismissal when he got out on a no-ball and two balls later played a soft, wafty shot, that wasn't a Test batsman's shot,'' Waugh told 'Herald Sun'.
When quized about Dravid's decision to relinquish the captaincy, Waugh said, there may issues 'behind the scene' that probably prompted his decision.
Waugh said, ''I was quite surprised when he relinquished the captaincy because I knew he really valued that and cherished that role. There may be issues going on behind the scenes that people don't know about.'' Giving a word of advice to the former India captain Rahul Dravid, Waugh said, ''He has to take in the attitude that he doesn't have anything to prove to anyone. He has done everything you could possibly do in the cricket --just go in with a clean slate and enjoy yourself,'' he added.
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