Cricket

Tendulkar to bat on until 40

2013-04-23 09:06
Sachin Tendulkar (Gallo)
New Delhi - Record-breaking batsman Sachin Tendulkar turns 40 on Wednesday with no plans to retire despite media speculation and recent form suggesting that age is finally catching up with the "Little Master".

Test and one-day cricket's greatest run-scorer approaches the game with undiminished enthusiasm and insists he has much to offer despite slipping from the dizzying heights he reached earlier in his 24-year career.

"People have been talking about my retirement since 2005, but that does not worry me at all," Tendulkar chided reporters at a promotional event in New Delhi last week.

"Your job is to write, my job is to play. I will stick to my job and you stick to yours."

Tendulkar, afforded almost religious status in India, burst onto the world cricket scene as a 16-year-old in 1989 and has played a record 198 Tests and 463 one-dayers, scoring an unprecedented 100 international hundreds.

He was singled out by Don Bradman but the Australian legend's Test average is one of the few marks that Tendulkar has not been able to threaten, with his 15 837 runs coming at 53.86. Bradman averaged 99.94.

However, questions over his future mounted when he struggled for a year to score the ton he needed to take him to 100 centuries. He finally achieved the landmark against Bangladesh in Dhaka in March 2012.

Tendulkar, who decided not to play Twenty20 internationals after just one match in 2006, announced his retirement from one-day cricket last December in a bid to prolong his glittering Test career.

But his form in the five-day format has also dipped by his own stellar standards. He has scored just 1 145 runs in 21 Tests at an average of 31.80 since being part of India's World Cup-winning team two years ago.

And Tendulkar has not added to his tally of 51 Test centuries since making 146 against South Africa in Cape Town in January 2011.

But despite his struggles with the bat, the veteran is refusing to follow fellow modern greats such as compatriot Rahul Dravid and Australia's Ricky Ponting into retirement.

Sunil Gavaskar, the first man to reach the 10 000-run milestone in Tests, suggested last year that Tendulkar's reflexes were on the slide. Former Australian captain Steve Waugh also feels he is past his best.

"He is not playing up to his standards," Waugh said last week. "But he himself has to decide (on retirement)."

When India succumbed to a Test series defeat against England at home in December, former skipper Sourav Ganguly backed calls for Tendulkar to quit."

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