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Tendulkar has to take a quick decision
by Partab Ramchand
Apr 02, 2007
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 altogether?

There were traces of this debate over the past year ever since there has been a noticeable drop in Tendulkar’s average and his contributions to the Indian team’s 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.

Said 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.

Not unexpectedly 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.

All 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 clear about.

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 team’s 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.
 
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