Was it an obtrusive exit?
Right or wrong, in time or not in time, Sachin Tendulkar has taken a decision now, one that he should have taken a few years back.
The sagging graph of his performance was a pointer that he was over-stretching his bat. It can be easily said that this great man of cricket was often driven by a host of soothsayers in the world of cricket who always feared to call the spade a spade. To be frank, the decision has come very late.
Accepted that he has played extraordinary cricket from day one and achieved records in all formats of the game. But it was always difficult to digest the description `God of Cricket’, as the media would have us believe. That was perhaps, one of the most inappropriate confer of an adjective ever. That way the greatness and the gravity of the game remained under an individual`s domain which is not possible and we tend to diminish the stature of many other greats in this field who not only played outstanding cricket but were remarkable and match winners either in India or outside.
It is said that a great batsman should retire in form and a great batsman scores at least 50 when in bad form. Sachin did not do either of the two in the last few years.
Rather, only his records in all formats of the game remained the main focus for cricket lovers and the media in particular, which served as the big moral road block for Sachin to take a timely decision.
Any team in the world always salutes the one at the end of the game who helps the team win and not hitting centuries and half centuries, the team to hang its head low at the presentation ceremonies.
For records in the book of cricket it is not fair to push winners to the sidelines of the format. And the selectors - they had reduced themselves to lame-ducks when it was the question of Sachin. `It is he who will decide when to retire ` was the common refrain from the selectors whenever asked about Sachin`s continuity in the team.
As for the BCCI the less said the better. The body that transcends the law of the country did not have the guts all these years to tell Sachin to hang his gloves. No player is above the game. And nobody is indispensable. What was the BCCI doing? Was it just allowing Sachin to complete the records or was he in the team to play for the country?
Flattery corrupts both sides and to an extent that had become the cause for not allowing Sachin a good sign off.
Sachin, a great player of all times, had remained an enigma for many great bowlers in the world but, in recent times many bowlers kept threatening Sachin`s cricketing legitimacy as invincible. This was an irony which could have been averted by Sachin himself who was lolling in many glories.
Except former greats like Kapil Dev and other few, rest of the players of yester-years and also cricket `pundits` were all shirking from an honest admission that Sachin had played his quota of cricket three - four years back.
“If one goes on playing for 25 to 30 years, records are to be created,” a member of the 1983 World Cup winning team commented.
Our selectors must see an exit from their state of stupor to learn a lesson or two from the Australian cricket board which drops the weak links at the right time and picks the replacements, giving no room for any obtrusive exits.