Sachin Tendulkar. A person who enjoys the status of a demigod in India. The support which Tendulkar garners from the masses is unparalleled. Not even a Bollywood star can come close to it. And it’s not that he doesn’t deserve it. The record books speak for themselves. More than 10,000 runs, 100 international centuries. More than 20 years of dedication for the country. When the little 16 year old teenager went out to bat against a fierce Pakistani bowling line up, no one knew that this teenager was destined to become a legend. But now the question is, has Sachin Tendulkar overstayed his welcome?
For a fact, all 21 players (10 from India and 11 from Pakistan) who were playing with Sachin on his debut have retired. I personally believe that Sachin should have retired after winning the 2011 World Cup. There couldn’t have been a better high than this for the master. But he has continued and stats show that he isn’t the same Sachin Tendulkar anymore. Only one century and that too after almost a year. His average in test matches has only been 27.22 and 31.50 in ODIs. He has just become a shadow of his former self. No one doubts his ability and skill, and I know very soon he might score a double or even a triple century. But the reality is that this is not the Sachin Tendulkar we know. Sachin used to be the hope of a million people. Now people have started questioning him. Everything that can be achieved on the cricket field has been achieved by Sachin. It’s not that he has lost his touch. He’s just getting old. And with age the reflexes slow down and the footwork is never the same. The manner of his dismissals against New Zealand was disturbing for any Sachin fan. Getting bowled between bat and pad and that too thrice in a row wasn’t easy to watch for any Indian.
I believe this is the ideal time for him to quit. India doesn’t travel overseas for next two years. This will give enough time to the selectors to find a suitable replacement. It will take time to find a replacement. Maybe we can’t find another Sachin Tendulkar. But I’m sure we can find someone better than the current Sachin Tendulkar. No one is irreplaceable. Greats like Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have been replaced. I hope Sachin soon gives retirement a thought because I don’t believe any selector or person can tell Sachin when to leave. The decision will always be in his hands. I would like to conclude by saying that hopefully when Sachin retires, people say ‘oh what a pity’ rather than saying ‘finally’.Published 15 Sep 2012, 22:48 IST