New Delhi: Former Indian captain Kapil Dev`s view that Sachin Tendulkar should have retired from ODI cricket after the World Cup today evoked sharp reactions from former cricketers who said that he was still the "main player" of the team and should be allowed to decide when to retire.
Tendulkar`s poor form with the bat during the tour of Australia had prompted Kapil to suggest that the champion batsman should give up one form of the game to prolong his Test career.
However, there were other cricketers who felt that Tendulkar could still contribute in the shorter format of the game and calls for his retirement are not warranted.
"Leave Sachin alone. He is still our main player. I don`t agree with the people saying that he should retire. He has given enough to the Indian cricket. He deserves all the respect. Leave Sachin alone," former wicket-keeper Kiran More said.
Former Indian captain Gundappa Viswanath was in favour of allowing Tendulkar to decide when he should call it quits.
"I have always said it`s upto Sachin to decide on his career. I don`t want to say anything else or comment on Indian cricket at this moment," he said.
Former captain Bishen Singh Bedi also disagreed with Kapil that Tendulkar should have retired from ODIs after the World Cup.
"That`s Kapil`s opinion. It is Tendulkar`s prerogative when he has to call it a day. I don`t think, any of us here is in a position to say when Tendulkar should retire," he said.
Former opener Anshuman Gaekwad said Tendulkar should continue playing the ODI format as he is still performing and no youngster is ready to take his place.
"Tell me one good reason why Sachin should retire from ODIs. Is it because he is playing international cricket for more than 20 years? Or is it he has set high standards for so long? Or is it that his 100th international ton is approaching," Gaekwad asked.
"Sachin has been scoring in 40s and 50s even now. Tell me a youngster who can replace him. Let the youngsters perform and push him out of the team. Youngsters have been inconsistent and patchy," he added.
Kapil, in an article, was also critical of Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s captaincy, saying that captain should not only be fair but should appear to be so. Of late, Dhoni has given reasons to raise doubts about him, Kapil pointed out.
More, however, felt there was nothing wrong in Dhoni`s captaincy and there`s nobody who can replace him now.
"There is nothing wrong in his captaincy. We just played poor, inconsistent cricket. It`s a team game why single out the captain. We just didn`t have international quality bowling attack to take 20 wickets and win us a Test," More said.
"Zak (Zaheer Khan) was our only main bowler. But he didn`t look up to mark to me. There was no other bowler to take four-five wickets consistently. Dhoni is still our best leader. If you want to replace him, where is a replacement? There are a lot of other issues. Bowling and batting are the major concerns," he added.
Gaekwad felt that it was a collective failure of the Indian team in Australia and Dhoni should not be blamed for the debacle.
"First, we should find out the reason for the failure. Go to the bottom of it without blaming the coach or captain. We just didn`t apply ourselves there. If you see the history of Indian cricket, whenever we have travelled we have just got better with time. But the case was different in our recent tours to England and Australia," he said.
"There was no performance the bowlers and batsmen didn`t at all complement each other. None of them performed. Then how do we blame the captain or coach?" asked the former coach.
Gaekwad said the main blame for the debacle in Australia should go to the batsmen.
"If you see the entire series, none of our batsmen got out to a wicket-taking delivery. They gave wickets easily. Why don`t you blame the players who had gone there with five, 10, 15 and 20 years experience," he said.
"There is no shortcut there. They stuck to their ways. I am sure after playing four Tests they had enough expertise to know the wickets there for the ODI series. But nothing happened. Yet they contradicted themselves in their last ODI . When pressed against the wall it`s the same bunch who chased down 321 in 36.1 overs," he added.
He said the current Indian team is still the best available talent.
"We Indians are emotional and sentimental people. We react so fast. We take them to moon if they win and throw them in the dumps when they lose. There is nothing in between.
"This is still the best team. Don`t know if there is any other international team who won both T20 and ODI World Cups and we were Test number one," he said.