James Anderson quoted Andrew Flintoff to explain how the England bowlers love watching Sachin Tendulkar bat, and accord him respect at all times, but want to get him out as soon as possible when they cross paths.
In his Daily Mail column, Anderson wrote, "I do enjoy bowling against him as testing yourself against the best is what playing at this level is all about. And there is no question in my mind that he has been one of the best batsmen - if not the best - for 20-odd years. But we have to make sure we do not treat him with too much respect in the middle."
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Anderson recalled Flintoff as saying, "I wanted to get him (Tendulkar) out, for sure. But I wanted to earn his respect as well.Â I wanted to impress him."
Ahead of the first Test between India and England, starting on November 15 in Ahmedabad, Anderson said that though he can't relate directly to what Flintoff said, he knew what Flintoff was getting at. "I do know that people have said they love watching him bat and maybe too much of that kind of admiration could dull your competitive edge.
"I've never been aware of succumbing to that myself but maybe subconsciously, because you respect him for what he has done in the game - 100 international centuries is some achievement - and the way he has conducted himself, you want to get him to respect you back."
Playing in front of the huge crowds in India, that too when Tendulkar is in the mix, has always been a heady experience, and Anderson talked about a specific incident in his column. "Sachin getting out is the signal for a mass exodus," wrote Anderson. "I heard of one game where he was due to come in next but, unbeknown to the crowd, had dropped down the order. When the batsman walked out to the wicket and the crowd realised it wasn't Tendulkar they booed the other guy all the way to the crease, then cheered when he was out."
Once business starts though, Anderson will be out trying to get as many Indian wickets as possible and trying to get England to win. "I will be seeking to make myself pretty unpopular with the locals in the weeks ahead," wrote Anderson. "The bottomline is that we treat everyone with the same respect, whether they've played one Test or 100 - and that goes for trying to earn their respect, too."