Since ‘perform or perish’ has never been the policy in Indian cricket, should a player consider retirement due to his failure in just one series? Should a cricketer retire, even if he is better than most of the batsmen in the team? Should a player, who scored the maximum runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 for his country, retire just because he has not scored enough centuries of late? Should a player, whose technique, shot selection is still an inspiration for many, retire even if the youngsters in the team are not performing? If not, why should Tendulkar retire?
On what criteria are we debating that he should quit his ODI career? Apart from Kohli, Gambhir and Dhoni, can we name a member of Indian squad who is consistent enough to be a threat for Tendulkar? If the youngsters were flawlessly scoring massive runs and Tendulkar was not, I am sure then it would have been a ‘genuine debate’. But why now? Why can’t we wait a little longer and give the master his own time to h
ang his boots.
Have Raina, Rohit Sharma, Jadeja not been given enough chances to perform in spite of their failures? In that case how can we judge Tendulkar’s form on the basis of just one series? If non-performance was the criteria, Dhoni should have been sacked from the Test team, both as a skipper and as a batsman long ago following the humiliating losses in away series. But no, as I said, perform or perish has never been the policy. Then why are we judging Tendulkar on the basis of the ODIs he has played in the CB series?
He recently received the ESPN Cricinfo award for the best individual Test batting performance of 2011. And not to forget, he was the leading run-scorer for India in the ICC cricket World Cup 2011, and the second-highest run scorer in the tournament after Dilshan. Since then, he hasn’t played much of ODIs and the ones he has played, his shot selection, timing, everything has been much better than his teammates who repeatedly lost their wicket in the same fashion.
Can someone explain, how is Tendulkar hampering India’s performance? Why should a group of non-performing players (from the Chennai Super Kings team) be in the squad, just because the CSK skipper is there to camouflage their failures?
It is true that it took 369 days for Tendulkar to score his 100th century after having scored the 99th in March 2011 against South Africa. Some considered it as a dip in form, others asked the master to call it a day. But how can one say that form has eluded the legend? And even a score of 80+ means he is out of form? Why are we comparing the Little Master with former greats? We should rather compare him with his teammates. How is he a burden on a group of non-performing youngsters?
I would give full marks to former Indian captain Dilip Vengsarkar for giving the logic behind Sachin still being a part of the squad. “Sachin may be nearing 39 years of age, but I strongly feel that he is as fit and as charged up, if not more, than any of the players playing for India at present. His focus, dedication, and commitment to the team are unparalleled, to say the least,” he said.
Even the batting maestro was under tremendous pressure to deliver that hundred, which he did confess after completing the feat against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. "Yes, I have to be honest. I am human and I have emotions so I was frustrated. It does play on your mind," he said. But the fact is, he has been scoring runs with a better footwork and a much better technique than the ‘so called youngsters’ of the current Indian team.
We have Suresh Raina who has mastered the sub-continent tracks, thanks to his IPL exploits. In away matches, he hardly contributes with the bat and his foot movements don’t tell a different story. Why not drop him from the squad for being a complete failure overseas?
Every now and then he ends up throwing his wicket playing awkward strokes at deliveries intentionally targeted at his ribs. Why not drop Ravindra Jadeja who scored just 102 runs in the CB series as compared to Tendulkar’s 143?
Veteran cricketers have asked the Master Blaster to reconsider his ODI career. And these are the same cricketers who tried to prolong their career as much as they could even after none of the IPL franchises was willing to buy them? Ganguly who was dropped from the national side, tried hard to prove a point to the selectors, but he went unsold at the IPL auctions! How can he ask Tendulkar to reconsider his ODI career when the latter’s technique is still impeccable?
I would request the cricket fans, former cricketers to be a little more patient and not to teach the man, the basics of a game which he actually mastered!
To conclude, I have no problem with Tendulkar’s retirement, but the debate should be raised only when;
1) Youngsters start performing and Tendulkar becomes a burden.
2) Selectors strictly adopt the ‘perform or perish’ policy for the ‘entire team’
3) Dhoni is sacked as a Test skipper following humiliating losses in away series.
4) Sentiments stop playing a crucial role in Indian cricket.
Till then, I would request everyone to stop this unnecessary hullabaloo and let Tendulkar play, peacefully.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)