Melbourne: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is confident that his ex-teammate Sachin Tendulkar will come back strongly against Australia in the second Test that starts on Tuesday at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Ganguly, who is a commentator with the host broadcaster, said: "There was lot of talk before the start of the series about how big it will be for the Australian summer, the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman coming Down Under - excepting Sehwag, probably for the last time - to take on the young Aussie pace bowlers."
Ganguly find the hype and the excitement quite justified. "Tendulkar has always been very highly rated in this part of the world - one can say everywhere - but I just get a feeling that when one comes to this country the excitement with him has been just that more every time and, to be honest, his batting just goes one notch higher on the hard, bouncy pitches," he said.
Ganguly said as Tendulkar gets ready to play on his favourite ground, the SCG, next week all fans will have their fingers crossed when he walks out to bat.
"The rest of the Indian batting will have its work cut out in this series. Sehwag has been patchy in the first Test - and probably in his few tours overseas in the past couple of years - and although he can be very dangerous when he gets going, he will have to buckle down a bit and tighten his game early in his innings," he said.
Ganguly said over the years, Tendulkar's game has stood up every time it has been challenged.
"The perfect examples were his two hundreds last winter in South Africa. There were questions asked about the ageing Indian batting: whether they could stand up on the pitches in South Africa - which, to me, had as much pace as Australian pitches but just seamed around a bit more then they did here. The little champion stood tall in those conditions. It was probably the best he batted in that part of the world in his career," Ganguly wrote in his column in >i>The Age.
The former India captain feels that Tendulkar, with whom he forged the most successful opening pair in ODIs, is at the top of his game here as well.
Ganguly said there has been massive expectation of his hundredth century every time he has walked out to bat for the past six months in any part of the world and he has looked completely unfazed with that expectation.
"The only criticism one can have is that he hasn't gone on to make a major match-winning contribution in his past five Tests overseas. He has looked very solid at the MCG on a pitch which had a fair bit of help for the quicks. His feet have moved superbly, which is an indication that his mind is thinking the right way. I can guarantee you that if he keeps batting like this he will make a major impact on the remaining three Tests and probably get past that magic landmark in this country," he said.