Tendulkar to skip World T20

2010-03-24 09:19

New Delhi - Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday rejected a growing clamour in India to play in next month's World Twenty20 despite enjoying prime batting form in recent months.

"I will not be playing the ICC World Twenty20," Tendulkar told the CNN-IBN news channel. "I have not played Twenty20 Internationals from 2007 onwards and I don't think it should become an issue now."

Tendulkar, who recently became the first man to score a double-century in one-day cricket, has played just one Twenty20 international in his 21-year, record-breaking career.

The Mumbai star, who turns 37 next month, opted out of the first two T20 world championships in 2007 and 2009, saying the younger members of the side were more suited for the shortest format of the game.

But former players want him to take part in the third edition, starting in the Caribbean on April 30, following a string of high scores in both Test and one-day cricket.

In the past 12 months, Tendulkar has averaged 71.50 in nine Tests with five centuries, and 65.28 in 17 one-dayers with three hundreds.

In the ongoing Indian Premier League domestic Twenty20 tournament, he has hit 176 runs in four games with a strike-rate of 155.75 off 100 balls.

"I hope the selectors can persuade Tendulkar to go to the West Indies," said former India batsman and commentator Navjot Sidhu during a discussion on the subject on television.

"He loves playing for the country and the Indian team needs him more than ever before. He is batting like the champion he is."

Another former player Mohinder Amarnath admitted Tendulkar would make a huge difference to India's chances, but wanted the decision to be left entirely to him.

"Sachin knows best what to do," said Amarnath. "He has played for so long that we must all respect his decision."

The selectors will meet on Friday to pick the 15-man squad for the tournament which India won in 2007 but failed to qualify for the semi-finals two years later.

Tendulkar was excluded from the provisional list of 30 announced last month, but tournament rules permit a player not in the list to be included in the final 15.

India are drawn alongside South Africa and surprise qualifiers Afghanistan in one of the four preliminary league groups, with two teams from each group qualifying for the Super Eights round.