Chennai: Sachin Tendulkar will be turning 40 in a couple of months, but The Master still commands utmost respect from the opposition.
As Sachin hit a fantastic 140 not out in the ongoing Irani Cup tie, the world was reminded that icon still has those special knocks in his kitty. Australia's stand-in coach Steve Rixon, too, took note of the Sachin innings.
The four-match Test series against Australia begins later this month. The visitors are already here, warming up and drawing strategies.
Asked about the Sachin factor, Rixon, in a media conference revealed that the Australians have definite plans for keeping the champion in check.
"He is a great player... There is no question about that… He may be at the other end of his career, but he is still a great player and has a lot going for himself. We will certainly have plans for Sachin. We were successful with the plans we had for him in Australia… So we will certainly have plans for him this time… We have plan for everyone," Rixon said.
The Australians are planning to unleash their pace battery on the Indians, even if the pitches are spinner friendly, said Rixon.
"We got to use our strength, which has to be the fast bowling department... I always suggest that if you have got five very good bowlers who bowl at 140-145km per hour on bouncing wickets, they can just be as good as the spinners. That is probably our strength… We will stay with our strength and I think those guys would comprise our frontline attack," Rixon said.
"Indian conditions are quite different... Fortunately, a lot of our guys have been playing in the IPL and the knowledge they have about the wickets and conditions will help… Conditions here at this time of the year is really beautiful… On the outside, it is a little bit warm and we are looking forward to getting used to the conditions," he added.
Talking about wickets, which obviously will test the Aussies, Rixon said: "Teams are going to play a lot of competitive cricket… The Indian boys play very well in home conditions. We will have to learn to adapt to these very quickly. The purpose of our coming early is to get acclimatised as quickly as possible."
"I certainly don't see a green surface appearing… But the reality is that it will be a good wicket. To start with, it will have a little bit of pace but as the game goes on, it will definitely be advantage to the spinners," Rixon said.
"But I'm sure it will not be anywhere near as bad as some of the wickets we had seen in Sri Lanka," he reminded.
Though he made it clear that the emphasis would be on the pacers, Rixon also spoke about the Australian spinners. "I will have to talk with the spin guys… I have to talk about different field settings, the line that they have to bowl and the use of crease… These are the little things that we need to focus on."