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Should Sachin Tendulkar bat down the order in one-dayers?

Yes - 296
No - 560

Poll Results Archive

Should Sachin Tendulkar bat down the order in one-dayers?
- The Appeal

The Offside

The success of Virender Sehwag at the top of the order in one-day internationals has simultaneously bequeathed riches and worries to the Indian think-tank. A good batsman is always useful, but who then should open the Indian batting in the shortened version of the game?

Sourav Ganguly, after the poor middle-order performance against England in the recently concluded series, stated that India's problem was not the start, but the finish. The openers - Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag in that case - along with Ganguly at number three invariably fired, but the remaining batsmen in the middle order, relatively inexperienced, could not handle the pressure imposed by the situation.

The need, then, is for a cool head and a stable temperament in the middle, a player who can guide the youngsters and win games off his own bat at the same time. Sehwag is raw and exciting, and his presence at the top should not be tampered with. Ganguly is a possibility, but he is prone to rushes of impetuosity; besides, he would be more useful in forming a left-right opening combination with Sehwag.

The job, then, falls to Tendukar, and there is really no better. Youngsters have raved about how inspiring it is to bat with him, and his presence at the crease is always a stablising influence on the Indian team. Batting first, Tendulkar's shot-making ability in the final 10-20 overs will come in use, and during the chase, his cool head will more often than not guide his team to victory. But if this is to be done, Tendulkar must drop down the order now so that an established batting line-up can be fabricated before the World Cup next year.

The Onside

Ever since Mark Greatbatch and, later, Sanath Jayasuriya pioneered the slam-bang technique in the first 15 overs, the method has gained acceptance and been praised for its practical approach. It would make sense, then, to put your two best stroke- makers at the very top of the order. For India, the second opener's place may then be contested, but the premier shot-player in the team is in no doubt - Sachin Tendulkar.

Even leaving aside the fact that Tendulkar has achieved the one- day success he enjoys today in the opening position, his ability to punish the bowling early and demoralise the opposition is invaluable. He is the most complete player in the Indian side and the best innovator as well, a combination of talents that make him the ideal person to take advantage of field restrictions.

Furthermore, Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have already become the most successful opening pair in one-day history and, as the saying goes, if that combination ain't broke, don't fix it. Their performances at the top of the order have regularly won games for India, often through mammoth partnerships at very fast scoring rates.

Sehwag, meanwhile, would be better off in the middle order for now. He is still relatively inexperienced, and a bad trot or some miserly bowling may frustrate him enough to cause him to throw his wicket away. At the same time, according him a permanent place in the middle order is a good way to accustom him to the various pressures that one-day cricket throws up.

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