Time for Tendulkar to quit?

2012-09-04 09:58

New Delhi - Sachin Tendulkar is facing unprecedented calls to retire after a string of failures fuelled speculation that time had finally caught up with India's cricket icon.

Tendulkar, who is now 39, has shouldered the hopes of a nation for 23 years, in the process becoming the world's leading run-getter in both Test and one-day cricket with 100 international centuries.

But a string of recent poor scores - combined with the manner of his dismissals - has turned sections of the media and a once adoring public against him.

Sunil Gavaskar, the first man to reach the 10 000-run milestone in Tests, suggested during this week's second Test against New Zealand in Bangalore that Tendulkar's reflexes were on the slide.

"The dismissal that was most disturbing was that of the 'master' when he was bowled through the gate," Gavaskar wrote in his syndicated column.

Pressed further, on air during the second Test, Gavaskar said: "With age, the feet don't come to the pitch of the ball, the eyes don't pick up the ball early."

Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin also said Tendulkar's feet were not moving well in the crease and he was constantly playing across the line.

"It is clear his reflexes have slowed down," Azharuddin said.

Tendulkar has scored a record 51 Test centuries but he has now gone 25 innings without a hundred in the five-day game since making 146 against South Africa in Cape Town in January, 2011.

His top score in the recent series against the lowly Kiwis was 27, prompting The Times of India to post pictures of three of his dismissals -- all bowled -- on its front page under the headline: 'What's wrong with India's batting genius?'

An online poll in the Hindustan Times said 56 percent of respondents agreed that it was time for Tendulkar to retire.

The Mail Today asked in a front-page banner headline if it was the "End of the road for Sachin?" And the usually conservative Hindu newspaper also wondered if "Father Time was catching up with the maestro".

Tendulkar has consistently dismissed any thought of retirement and told reporters last week that he still loved the game and enjoyed playing at the top level.

He is the last remnant of a fabled Indian middle order after both Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retired in the last 12 months. Sourav Ganguly, the other member of the quartet, quit in 2008.

Ganguly, who played alongside Tendulkar for almost two decades, said speculation over Tendulkar's future in the game was uncalled for.

He insisted that Tendulkar is still good enough to play at international level, ahead of visits by England and Australia later in the season.

"I honestly feel the time has not come for him to go," Ganguly said. "He is a legend and takes pride in his game and no one knows his game better than him.

Ganguly said lack of match practice contributed to Tendulkar's cheap dismissals against the Black Caps, and he expected him to be back in peak form when the four-Test series against England starts in mid-November.

"His ability has not declined, he just has not had enough time out in the middle," said Ganguly. "The problem is with his shot selection and that is because he has not played for the last few months."

Tendulkar had a rotten time in England and Australia last year, scoring just four half-centuries in 16 innings as India went down 4-0 against both rivals.

Alarm bells began ringing when Tendulkar took a year to move from 99 to 100 centuries, finally reaching the landmark during the Asia Cup one-day international against Bangladesh in March.

Hopes that the floodgates would then open have since evaporated.

But despite his recent woes, he can at least still rely on the unstinting support of his current captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Dhoni, asked by reporters on Monday if Tendulkar's form worried him, responded: "The good thing is that whenever people talk about his form, he comes up with a brilliant performance.

"I'm waiting for that. I don't really get worried about that."


  • flynn.govender - 2012-09-04 10:33

    He still has potential plus India will not drop him as he secures most of the sponsors for India

  • Hansie.Crook - 2012-09-04 10:37

    Maybe it is time for him to retire or maybe not.... As the public we have come to expect so much from him that we consider and average performance as poor. In the last 10 tests he has score 682 runs at an average of 38. These kind of stats from any other cricketer would be acceptable but sinces its Sachin people find it hard to accept.. Yes He last scored a 100 in January 2011, but is he that bad now?? Good luck Sachin in whatever you decide to do with your future...

  • Sonnyjakes - 2012-09-04 10:51

    May you retire at the right time like Steve Waugh, on your terms! Have always been a fan since Eden Gardens 1991. You are a legend.

  • boom.afridi.56 - 2012-09-04 10:52

    He should retire when he himself feels the time is right. He deserves that much.

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-09-04 14:17

      Couldn't agree more. The number of times that the little maestro saved his team is immeasurable. He is an icon not only in India, but around the cricketing world. He deserves the right to decide when to quit. He also deserves to leave in glory and not in shame. The same can be said of Ponting and Kallis. These three are very intelligent cricketers who know their mental and physical abilities. They should rather be managed well to prolong their test careers if they so desire. The press is just bitter that there are no betting scandals to report on so they are picking on a legend. Shame on them!

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-09-04 18:22

      I agree that he should retire when he feels the time is right. However, I disagree that India should feel obliged to abide by Sachin's wishes and keep selecting him. We kept hearing during the KP saga that "no player is bigger than the team". That applies to Sachin as well. I think the calls for him to retire are to avoid the embarrassing situation of India having to drop him. Adam Gilchrist bowed out at the right time and Aussies love him for it. By contrast, they are starting to get very annoyed by Ricky Ponting's insistence that he still has it. It would be sad to see a giant of the game like Ponting being dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the national side. It would be doubly sad to see it in Sachin's case. Witness the last years of Ali's or Jimmy Connors' careers. It did absolutely nothing for them and, if anything, only served to taint their legacy somewhat. The legends should have the sense to see when they are harming rather than helping themselves. Unfortunately, some don't. Sachin isn't as far gone yet. But he'll get there and quite soon too. Nobody can defy the effects of time. Hopefully he has the sense to know when the time is right and bow out gracefully.

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-09-04 19:22

      Agreed Richard. Selectors need to make some tough decisions sometimes. However, I mention only 3 names in Sachin, Kallis and Ponting because these three players have a better cricketing brain than most. They are also very honest with themselves, I believe. On that basis, they should be given the benefit of the doubt. It is also just as important to note that their presence on the pitch is invaluable to youngsters in the team and their experience to new captains just as important. Jacques wants to retire after the 2015 world cup. Unless he is plagued by injuries or extreme bad form, I hope that Hudson and the boys grant him that last wish. Sorry, but I am a sucker for icons and legends who have given their lives to the game.

  • andile.nokhetshe - 2012-09-04 11:39

    They should actually support him as they did when he scored ton after ton. Pathetic cricket nation that one if you ask me.

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-09-04 18:01

      You mean the way that we support AB when he fails to make runs?

  • andile.nokhetshe - 2012-09-04 11:40

    Until such time Tendulkar decides to quit the people of India should actually support him as they did when he scored ton after ton... Pathetic cricket nation that one if you ask me.

  • krish.naidoo.376 - 2012-09-04 11:54

    Time for the old man to go. He is being greedy and selfish.

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-09-04 13:21

      just like you thrive on air, he thrives on playing for india...

      krish.naidoo.376 - 2012-09-04 14:26

      Dont look like he is thriving at the moment. His time is over n its time to move on

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