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I want to win it for my dad - Tendulkar's tragic wish.

SACHIN Tendulkar, back in England after his father's funeral, said his mother had told him to return to try to salvage India's World Cup hopes.

Tendulkar was in the nets at Bristol just hours after stepping off the plane from Bombay. He is expected to play in India's third group A game against Kenya today after missing the three-run defeat by Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

India have already lost to tournament favourites South Africa and need to win their remaining matches against Kenya, Sri Lanka and England to keep alive any chance of qualifying for the Super Six stage.

Tendulkar, his voice cracking with emotion, said after appearing with the Indian team at a practice session: "My mother told me that I should go back and play and my father would have wanted me to play if he was still alive."

Indian team officials said they were surprised Tendulkar had been able to return to England so quickly. "It's amazing. we did not expect him back so early," said coach Anshuman Gaekwad.

Tendulkar added: "All the country wants me to play so I finished all the formalities back home and got the next available plane here.

"It's going to be difficult to play but I just have to keep my mind on my father being there watching me all the time and go out and play."

Tendulkar showed no sign of jet lag in the nets yesterday afternoon, looking at his best as he batted for 30 minutes.

Gaekwad reacted angrily to Indian media calls for captain Mohammad Azharuddin to resign, saying they did not help the team's attempts to qualify for the next stage of the World Cup.

India have been accused of being badly prepared for the tournament.

But Gaekwad hit back by saying: "We have been holding team meetings twice a day and separate meetings for batsmen and bowlers, having nets regularly and watching videos of the nets. What else can we do?"

Pakistan captain Wasim Akram last night warned his side must improve on their display against Scotland if they are to beat Australia at Headingley tomorrow.

Wasim's men made it two wins out of two in World Cup Group B with a 94-run defeat of the Scots on Thursday. But he fears they will not get away with the mistakes they made at Durham when they face Steve Waugh's Aussies, who are still smarting after their five-wicket loss to New Zealand.

Former Lancashire star Wasim said: "Obviously we'll be positive against Australia but if we perform in the same way we did against Scotland - and especially the way we fielded - we will not be able to win against Australia.

"I think it will be a good game - it's two of the best teams in the competition competing against each other and I think my boys will rise to the occasion."

Waugh knows his side cannot afford any more slip-ups following the shock loss to the Kiwis.

He admitted: "We just haven't played well enough so far. It's just up to us now to lift. Everyone has to lift about ten per cent.

"I don't want to read too much into the New Zealand defeat. It's not at desperation stage just yet. We've got to back ourselves and we've been planning for this for about 18 months.

"It's a pretty basic equation - we've got to win three games. They're all big games but this one's pretty crucial now.
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Title Annotation:Cricket
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 23, 1999
Words:571
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