Kiwi Williamson looks to pick Tendulkar's brains

Kiwi Williamson looks to pick Tendulkar's brains

Kiwi Williamson looks to pick Tendulkar's brains

The 20-year-old wasn’t even born when Tendulkar made his international debut, but he has grown up idolising the world’s top run-getter.  Williamson professes to watching Tendulkar on television and trying to pick up whatever he can, but there is nothing like a one-on-one interaction, especially when the opportunity presents itself.

Indeed, on day three of the first Test on Saturday with Williamson showing a rare lapse in concentration in his 40s, Tendulkar quietly walked up to him with a word of caution, asking him to play ‘tight’ and not throw it away. Shades of Rohan Kanhai talking to Sunil Gavaskar on the latter’s debut in the Caribbean in 1971!

“Some of the guys in the Indian side, I have watched them since when I was young and I still do,” Williamson told Deccan Herald.  “By the end of the tour, I would very much like to go and talk to a few of these players, the likes of Sachin. With just a general chat, you can learn a lot. I’d like to talk about his experiences. The mind’s an interesting thing. Everyone is so different, everyone has a different way of thinking. I admire Sachin and a couple of other guys, but I believe the key is not to let it register that you are playing with these guys. Like they say, you play the ball not the man. This is a good example for that.”

On Sunday, Williamson became New Zealand’s youngest centurion on debut. For a while now, he has been talked about as a special talent, and it wasn’t difficult to see why.

“The pressure of expectations hasn’t weighed me down at all but I have learnt a lot in terms of how I’d like to play my game coming up to this level,” Williamson, mature beyond his years, pointed out.

“There’s all different pressures; I believe the key is to still play my game and believe it is good enough to put my game out there rather than try to do things that I think should be done.”

His international career began with two consecutive ducks – against India on debut and against Sri Lanka – in the tri-series in Dambulla in August. “I thought it was almost uncanny! There were the expectations with previous performances back home. But I got confidence from being in the team for that short period. I realised I had to learn to enjoy it. It is such a challenge but it’s also an opportunity to play your game and develop your game rather than change things around.”

The breakthrough came last month in Bangladesh when he made a one-day hundred as the rest crumbled around him. “It was good to go out there and bat some time and score those runs,” he smiled. “But I was basically just happy to play my game and not be influenced by other little bits of pressure like the expectations and the crowds. That’s the key – to work your game and perform on the back of that.”

Williamson’s repeated references to ‘my game’ leads to the inevitable question – what is his game? “It’s interesting because it’s not something you think about too much,” he replied. “It’s not so much a conscious thing. It’s about making the right decisions, making my right decisions. Each batsman’s right decision is different from the other batsman’s. I guess what I am alluding to is having the belief and the confidence to do that.”

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