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Team comes first for Tendulkar

NatWest Series
Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar is not worried about his lack of hundreds in the series © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar insists his recent century drought is of far less concern than helping India turn the NatWest Series around.

The 34-year-old, international cricket’s most prolific ton scorer, has so far failed to add to his 37 Test and 41 one-day international hundreds on the current tour of England.

He came agonisingly close to breaking that duck just over a week ago in the second one-dayer at Bristol when he was dismissed for 99.

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That innings helped India record their only victory so far in the seven-match series and they will attempt to reduce a 3-1 deficit when the fifth match begins at Headingley.

Star opener Tendulkar is happy with his recent form and said: “I feel I’ve been batting well and since we left Indian shores I might almost have had five hundreds by now.

“Nobody wants to miss hundreds but sometime it happens. It doesn’t matter if I score a hundred or get out on 99 as long as the team wins.

“That’s what matters to me the most.”

As a case in point, Tendulkar’s fine 50 at Old Trafford on Thursday ultimately proved futile.

With victory within their grasp, India suffered a three-wicket defeat following a heroic 99-run partnership between England’s eighth-wicket pair of Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara.

Tendulkar believes the series has been evenly-contested but conceded the home side have played better when it mattered most.

Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara

Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad took the game away from India

“If you look at the third and fourth one-dayers, both were evenly poised,” he said.

“At one stage, especially the last one-dayer, we were almost 90 per cent there. Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara batted quite sensibly and all credit to them.

“At the crunch moment, they really delivered. That’s the reason we are 3-1 down.”

The fallout from such a setback could easily carry over into tomorrow’s match but Tendulkar, who has almost 400 ODIs behind him, has seen it all before.

“It’s surely tough but a defeat is a defeat,” he said.

“What we would like to take out of these two games now are the positives - that we were in a good position.

“We stand a good chance of pulling it through and doing a better job in the next three games.

“If you aren’t playing well, that demoralises you, but we’re playing reasonably well.

“The last match was there for us but for a mega-performance by both the number eight and number nine batsmen.

“Things aren’t going exactly the way we want but there’s still three more very, very important games left and we’ll focus all our energy on those three games.”

“I’m confident we’ll come back.”

Tendulkar was a guest of honour at the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Sunderland.

He has been appointed an ambassador for the Manchester United Opus - the enormous hardback book about the club - in India.

Publishers Kraken are planning a similar epic about Tendulkar.

“This started little more than a year ago,” Tendulkar revealed. “They’re really doing their homework.

“It’s wonderful to be part of this and I’m looking forward to it.”

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