Tendulkar says the virus was "beyond our collective comprehension" but could be beaten with tactics used in cricket's five-day format.

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Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar has offered an unusual take on the coronavirus fight by comparing it to Test cricket, urging patience and teamwork, and warning "we have to defend well".

"While the world battles the Covid-19 pandemic, this is probably the time for all of us to draw lessons from the grand old format of the game," Tendulkar wrote in his column for Times of India.

The world record-holding batsman said the virus was "beyond our collective comprehension" but could be beaten with tactics used in cricket's five-day format.

"Test cricket rewards you for respecting what you don't understand. It makes you value the virtue of patience," he wrote.

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"When you don't understand the pitch conditions or the bowler, defence becomes the best form of attack. Patience is what we require now, if we have to defend well."

India has reported only three virus deaths and 169 cases, but the country is increasingly fearful of the spread of the disease that has killed nearly 9,000 people around the world.

Like many countries, it has imposed draconian travel restrictions.

Tendulkar, 46, retired in 2013 after scoring 15,921 runs from 200 Tests, and has considerable influence in Indian society.

He said all countries must work together against the virus.

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"To use a cricketing metaphor; while individual brilliance can help a team in shorter formats of the game, in Test cricket it is all about partnerships and teamwork," he said.

"Test cricket is about staging comebacks. There is always a second innings, if you've missed the first one."

"Different countries are at different stages of their fight against coronavirus," he added.

"All nations should consider themselves part of one team."

"We shall take this battle session by session, and eventually emerge victorious."

Feature image courtesy: AFP / William West