It is bizarre to think that in seven Test innings at Lord's, Sachin Tendulkar has failed to reach 40. Looking at that record, you would never guess that we are talking about one of the finest batsmen of all time but, whether or not Tendulkar makes amends this week, there is no doubt that he is right up there with all the other champions.
The best batsman I ever bowled at? That is a question I'm asked quite often and one I find difficult to answer. Yes, on his day Tendulkar is No 1. But then, during my time, I could say the same about Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Inzamam-ul-Haq, to name just three.
Perhaps more than anyone else I came across, Tendulkar played each and every ball on its merits. So while you wouldn't say he is an especially destructive batsman in Test cricket – not the sort who strikes the fear of God into you, anyway, through the savagery of his hitting – he has you thinking from the start about how on earth you are going to get him out. And, of course, if you don't get Sachin early then there is every chance he will go on to make yet another century. His appetite for run-scoring never seems to be satisfied and, as always, his wicket will be the one England prize above all others this summer.
Matthew Hoggard played 67 Tests for England and writes a column for The Independent every SaturdayReuse content