Sachin Tendulkar, the toast of the nation just a few seasons ago finds himself in an unfamiliar role of facing up to the wrath of his fans. He is now ridiculed by his once staunch supporters. The press has added their own spin on it and the cricket pundits yet another. Meanwhile, the coach questioned his attitude and finally, the BCCI have ‘rested’ him for the Bangladesh ODIs. These events would have hurt him badly.
We all know about the fickle nature of the fans and the press. Perhaps no one knows more about it than Tendulkar himself after 17 years of International cricket. I am sure he realises that the fans by their standard, have given him the longest rope of all.
In recent times we have been led to believe that Tendulkar has donned a new role for the ‘benefit’ of the team. I cannot imagine a more nonsensical reason. Does he and the think-tank mean to say that for nearly 15 years he has been the premier batsman and match winner, but they no longer want him in that role; but instead require a plodder? This seems to be a classic case of denial both by the team management and more importantly himself.
It is common knowledge that Tendulkar over the last 3 years has been gradually loosing is touch. The problem has been both physical and mental. Physically he is that much older and as a result, that much slower. His reflex degeneration has been rapid compared to others such as Lara and Jayasuriya. But that alone cannot be the reason for his failures. There are technical flaws. Too many times we see him get bowled; and too many times we see mediocre spinners get him out.
Bob Simpson thinks that Tendulkar is not watching the ball out of the bowler’s hand thereby depriving him of a few milli-seconds to get into position. While we are not totally sure what Tendulkar’s flaws are he nevertheless had the time, resources and above all the experience to iron out the kinks. If he has attempted to correct it but failed trying, then it is time to quit the game as suggested by Ian Chappell. But if has’nt tried hard enough, his attitude needs questioning.
The way he got out against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the world cup suggests that the flaws are very much there and unless he takes some immediate steps to address them, I cannot see him play beyond the England tour.
Tendulkar once feared and admired by his opponents is merely acknowledged these days mainly for his past deeds. The truth is no team looses sleep over him.
As a huge admirer of Tendulkar, I hope there is another twist to his tale and he turns things around. I would love to see him bow out on a high note; and more importantly on his own terms.