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A new challenge awaits the Little Master at CL T20

Last updated on: September 8, 2010 12:20 IST

Tendulkar was core to Mumbai Indians' success during IPL III

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Mumbai Indians was the first team to arrive in South Africa for the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20), which gets underway on Friday, when the Indians take on Bizhub Highveld Lions at the Wanderers.

There is an aura around Mumbai Indians, largely because they are captained by Sachin Tendulkar, who is arguably the most exciting and successful player of the modern era. There is a buzz of excitement wherever the Little Master goes, and South Africans are lucky to have seen him on numerous occasions.

Although he has retired from international Twenty20 (T20) cricket, Tendulkar, who owns just about every batting record in the world, was an integral part of the Mumbai Indians' success in the IPL earlier this year, where they were runners-up to Chennai Super Kings.

He scored 618 runs for his team, which earned him the record for most runs scored in any edition of the IPL.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Reuters
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'It will be exciting and fans will enjoy it too'

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He says he is very excited about playing in the Champions League.

"Having played cricket for more than 20 years, this is the first time I am doing something like this. You have champion sides from most of the cricket-playing nations. It's as tough as it can get. It will be competitive and exciting. You have some world-class players participating in this tournament and I think the crowds will thoroughly enjoy it.

"Twenty20 has always been an exciting format; this takes it to a new level altogether."

He said the team had no problems settling down as a unit again.

"We had a superb third IPL season and the players understand each other very well, so there is no question of trying to understand each other again. We already know what the thinking is."

Tendulkar also said he did not think the Australian and South African teams would have any particular advantage because of the conditions in South Africa.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar

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'It's all about playing to the best of my potential'

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"It all depends on how you perform on any given day," he said.

"Many of the players taking part in the tournament have been travelling around the world, and have grown accustomed to different conditions."

The master batsman said that playing unknown teams posed a new challenge as well.

"All the teams have some world-class players, so it's always a challenge to play against them. But for me, it's all about playing to the best of my potential. It doesn't matter who the opposition is. That is the way I have always approached the game, and I continue to do that now."

Tendulkar said the Lions would have a slight advantage in the opening match because of their knowledge of conditions at the Wanderers.

"After having played for such a long time, I'm playing in South Africa in September for the first time in my career, so conditions are slightly different. But that doesn't mean that we can't produce good cricket. We're here to compete hard and to compete fairly. The Lions have the advantage of knowing the conditions and the ground better than us, but that doesn't mean we can't beat them."


Image: Sachin Tendulkar

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