The debate has started in real earnest. Should Sachin Tendulkar call it
a day? Should he at least retire from ODIs? Or should he be dropped
There were traces of this debate over the past year ever
since there has been a noticeable drop in Tendulkars average and his
contributions to the Indian teams cause. But now in the wake of two
developments the for and against columns in the argument have become
shriller. One of course has been the Indian debacle in the World Cup
wherein Tendulkar's scores were 7, 57 not out and 0. The second was a
call from Ian Chappell asking the superstar to leave the scene.
the former Australian captain in a recent column: ``At the moment
Tendulkar looks like a player trying to eke out a career; build on a
glittering array of statistics. If he really is playing for that reason
and not to help win as many matches as he can for India then he is
wasting his time and should retire immediately."
Chappell has been known to be a fervent Tendulkar admirer. He is also
respected for his balanced, no nonsense opinions. Little wonder then
that when he held the view that it was time for Tendulkar to go the
decibel level in the debate became much higher.
Indians reacted fairly strongly against Chappell with the views ranging
from `Tendulkar knows when to announce his retirement to `he is good
enough to play two more years. But there were also the odd comment or
two in favour of Chappell's argument and according to a recent opinion
poll conducted by a television channel 56 percent felt that Tendulkar
should retire from ODIs. But an unusually high 33 percent were of the
view that he should take `sanyas from both Tests and ODIs. Eleven
percent felt that he should be dropped totally and the last two figures
would have been unthinkable even until last year.
Even granting that the Indian public is still a bit over emotional over
the disastrous Caribbean campaign the figures in the opinion poll are
surprisingly high involving as they do a man who not too long ago could
do no wrong.
Could you have imagined even one percent saying that he
should be dropped totally even about a year ago? The fact however
remains that Tendulkar has not been able to shrug off the charge that
he is not able to deliver when it matters most, or as Chappell has
pointedly mentioned enabled India to win as many matches as he can.
this added to the fact that there is a marked dip in both his Test and
ODI figures has really queered the pitch for Tendulkar.
If over half the people in the poll are of the view that Tendulkar
should retire from ODIs obviously they feel that this move could also
help in prolonging his career and he could still continue to play an
inspirational role for the team in Tests. That could be a valid point.
Brian Lara for one has made it clear that he wants to quit ODIs so that
he can concentrate on playing a more significant role in Test matches.
Even great bowlers Shane Warne is the foremost example retired from
ODIs so that he could concentrate on the longer version of the game and
what a successful move that turned out to be. Tendulkar could just be
making the right decision if he follows suit. After all what is the
motivation for him in ODIs? He is so much ahead of the rest of the
field in runs and hundreds. And now it seems fated that he will not be
a member of a World Cup winning squad the one ambition he has been
Tendulkar completes 34 this month and it is a fair bet he
will not be around four years from now. If he reckons that quitting the
ODI scene will help him to make a greater contribution to the Indian
teams cause in Test cricket where there are still a couple of
motivating factors that could keep him going then the time to take
that decision is now.