Tendulkar set for Yorkshire reunion
Twenty20 cricket was over a decade away when Sachin Tendulkar played for Yorkshire in 1992. Now in its 10th year, Tendulkar is set to face the White Rose today in the Champions League T20.
Aged 19, Tendulkar became Yorkshire’s maiden overseas player and first officially recognised as being born outside the county.
Despite the Little Master’s 1,070 first-class runs at an average of 46.52, Yorkshire came 16th in the County Championship. He also hit 540 List A runs at 36 but they finished 15th in the Sunday League and bottom of their Benson & Hedges Cup group.
Twenty-one years on Tendulkar and Yorkshire are again set to appear on a cricket field, albeit the veteran will feature for Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians at Newlands in Cape Town.
Tendulkar had scored three international hundreds, all in Tests although he had played in more one-day internationals, when he represented Yorkshire. In March this year he famously made his 100th, versus Bangladesh at Mirpur.
Cricket has changed dramatically since Tendulkar’s Headingley days. That he has played only one T20 international makes Tendulkar, whose India debut was in 1989, one of the last members of the game’s old guard.
Although India have opted to keep him fresh for other international cricket, Tendulkar is set for his 75th T20 appearance today. Unsurprisingly the right-hander boasts an impressive average of 37.64 at a strike-rate of 122.53. That includes one format ton - in last year’s IPL.
Tendulkar is yet to make his mark on this year’s Champions League, perhaps an ominous sign for Yorkshire who must respond to Tuesday’s eight-wicket humbling by Sydney Sixers. Holders Mumbai themselves will be seeking their first win, having lost their opener to South African franchise Lions on Sunday.
Tendulkar’s success with the bat, or lack of it, will go a long way to deciding the outcome. However, Yorkshire will also have to quell the likes of Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard plus cope with an attack featuring Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson and Harbhajan Singh.
Despite Tendulkar’s senior status, now aged 39, 32-year-old Harbhajan leads the Indians who were without their most famous player for last year’s triumph.
With Tendulkar available they will fancy their chances of again beating an English county, having defeated Somerset in the 2011 semi-finals.
Given Yorkshire's poor net run-rate after Tuesday’s loss, another setback will be hard for Andrew Gale’s side to recover from in their remaining two Group B games.