Panesar continues to haunt Tendulkar

The England left-arm spinner inspired Services bowler Sinha into hoodwinking Tendulkar.

Avishek Sinha

NEW DELHI: It's been over four years since left-arm spinner Avishek Sinha made his First Class debut. But it took one wicket on a gloomy winter day to catapult him into the limelight. Sinha claimed what was once the most prized scalp in cricket in his first over for Services in the second Ranji semifinal against Mumbai on Wednesday.

ALSO SEE: Services vs Mumbai Day 1 | Venue troubles | Saurashtra vs Punjab Day 1

The 28-year-old plotted a rampaging Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal just when the star batsman was threatening to wrest the initiative away from Services.

"There cannot be a greater batsman than Tendulkar so nothing can be bigger than getting him out. I am quite thrilled and will take a lot of heart from this moment. This is the best thing to have happened to me ever since I started playing cricket," he said after his team manager - Wing Commander Deepak Bhaskar - had kindly assented to allow media persons to pester the star of the moment.

"In the last Test series, Tendulkar had trouble encountering the left-arm spinner Monty Panesar and fell to him on a couple of occasions. I had that thing in mind and I closely watched Tendulkar's batting against England. That helped me come up with a strategy to hoodwink him." Sinha elaborated.

Sinha was carted for a six by Tendulkar off the first delivery he bowled, but on the very next delivery the batsman sought to repeat the shot and holed out to mid-on.

"Tendulkar is a naturally aggressive batsman and likes to go after the bowlers. I didn't flinch when he hit me for a six off the first ball. That's how he plays. I focused on pitching the next ball on right spot and invoke him to play across the line. Our ploy worked and he mistimed the next shot."

Sinha has not had a particularly good season, but his removal of the maestro brought Services back into reckoning in the semifinal. On a wicket considered seamer-friendly, the bowler said that even spinners had a chance to succeed.

"It is about getting wickets eventually. One has to bowl in the right areas consistently to pick up wickets irrespective of the conditions and pitch. If you can add variations and remain disciplined, you can snap up scalps everywhere."