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Saturday, 7 October, 2000, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Vinod Kambli profile
Vinod Kambli
Kambli in full cry

The bad boy of Indian cricket has been given another chance to come good.

Ever since Kambli shared in a 664-run stand as a 14-year-old Bombay schoolboy his name has been linked with that of Sachin Tendulkar.

But unfortunately for the immensely gifted left-hander, his career has not followed a similar path to the little maestro.

After six Tests, Kambli had in fact done what Tendulkar had not come close to achieving in five years of international cricket by scoring a Test match double-century against England.

Just to reinforce that point, he went on to score another 200 in his very next Test, and when he followed that with successive hundreds against Sri Lanka, he boasted a Test average that would have made even Bradman turn a bashful shade of red.

  Kambli's record
Tests: 17
Runs: 1,084, avge. 54.20 (HS 227)
ODI's: 96
Runs: 2.344, avge. 34.47 (HS 106)
Wickets: 1, avge. 7
(BB 1/7)

But then what would you expect from a batsman who had hit his first ball in first-class cricket for six?

Inexplicably, however, Kambli's form dipped to the point where after 17 Tests his average was a distinctly mortal 54.20 and he was dropped from the side.

However, there is more than indifferent form to explain why Kambli has not played Test cricket for five years, and been more out than in the one-day side.

Instinctively rebellious, he and authority have not always made happy bedfellows and his pirate-look of earrings in both ears is somewhat different to the cherubic innocence of Tendulkar.

The last straw seemed to be his omission from the World Cup squad, but he was in sparkling form in the run-up to the ICC Knockout Cup and has pressed hard for a recall.

With a back-lift reminiscent of Brian Lara, and a cleanness of hitting not unlike Clive Lloyd, there is surely more that this 28-year-old has to offer - a view underlined by his cameo innings of 39 from 33 balls in the victory over Kenya.

Being the forgotten half in one of Tendulkar's many batting records is no sort of legacy for such a talented batsman.

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