Should Sachin Tendulkar retire from ODIs?


Absolutely not, is my view!

But over the last few months I have heard many more people say “Sachin Tendulkar ought to retire” than the runs he has made in ODIs! When pressed these naysayers often cite either, “He is not the Tendulkar of old” or “He is a legend of the game. How can he be made to look ordinary especially after all that he has achieved” or “He should make way for younger players”

To those that say that Tendulkar today is not the Tendulkar of old, I say “neither am I or you” and suggest that if pain persists, they ought to buy a video of Sachin Tendulkar’s 1998 matches against Australia and watch them till their eyes drop. If pain still persists, I recommend that they see a doctor!

In other words, those that say “Tendulkar is not the Tendulkar of old and should, hence, retire” I suggest that the problem is with them and not with Tendulkar!

In my view, any player warrants a place in the team if (a) he wishes to play, (b) he is better than the best in the land. And the “best” here is both on future potential as well as current ability — after all, as I have said before in these pages, Tendulkar wasn’t Tendulkar before Tendulkar became Tendulkar!

Tendulkar clearly wants to play and he is certainly good enough to continue to play for India. The player that he is currently “keeping out of the team” is Rohit Sharma. Enough said! While Rohit Sharma is clearly a good player and while there is potential there, he is not going to edge Tendulkar out of the team, especially when the Little Master is playing the way he is right now.

So yes, while in theory, Tendulkar is keeping a few younger players away from the team, he is still scoring solidly — if not in the authoritative and domineering manner that we are used to — and contributing to Team India’s victories. Take for example, the manner in which he got his 163* in Christchurch in the 3rd ODI against New Zealand.

That was a majestic knock that was crafted in a few separately exhilarating gears. At first, he seemed to gauge the wicket. He seemed to start slow and then explode. He then quietened down for a while before springing a Power Play on the inexperienced Kiwi captain for that match — Brendon McCullum. In the company of Yuvraj Singh, he made merry. He then quietened down again before, once again, exploding. The fact that he made his 163* off just 133 runs despite some extremely quiet spells, speaks of his dominance.

Clearly the brashness of youth has given way to the guile of an old hand. But the mind, the enthusiasm as well as the energy is still there for all to see. As Ravi Shastri keeps reminding us, his boyish enthusiasm and energy is infectious and seems to rub off on the whole team. He wants to be involved in the game.

So who are we to deny him that?

To which, people often suggest that as an absolute legend of the game, he does not need to be made to look ordinary at times and should, hence, retire (especially after all that he has achieved in the game). A friend of mine often suggests that Eienstien did not need to write even a single paper after his annus mirabilis of 1905 — a year in which he wrote the five history-making papers (particle theory of light, measuring molecular dimensions, Brownian motion, theory of special relativity, and E = mc2). See “Five papers that shook the world”.

Again, I suggest that the problem is with people and not with Tendulkar. It was people like you and me who conferred on Tendulkar the “legend” moniker. He did not ask that he be cast as a “legend of the game”. He was a gifted player then. He remains a gifted player today. He wants to play.

As a player who has given much to team and country, my strong view is that his departure from the world stage must be at a time of his choosing.

My sense is that, like Eienstien, Tendulkar will not rest on either his laurels or his achievements or the “legend” status that people have conferred on him. He will continue to play till he enjoys the game and till he can contribute to it. He is.

It is best that we leave him be and enjoy the Tendulkar of today. If not, tomorrow, we will yearn for the Tendulkar of today. And once again, the problem will lie at our doorstep.

— Mohan

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29 responses to “Should Sachin Tendulkar retire from ODIs?

  1. Mohan, Great points ! I completely agree. In SL he had bad decisions. Whenever he goes without scoring in couple of games… critics start writing his Obituary column. He comes back better and stronger. He is such a pleasure to watch… I wish he would continue for few more years..

    I would really hate to see Ponting beat his Test runs total..!!

  2. Awesome post. Well written. Your post suggests that he could play till he is 80 though! Surely he has to go sometime. What time is that? Who will know?

  3. Srikanth Mangalam

    Hear, Hear! Mohan, Tendulkar is going to play for India in ODIs atleast till the next world cup and boy he should! India needs him then to attempt to win it back. Dhoni has constantly talked about how important it was to have Tendulkar in the dressing room and how he still causes severe anxiety in the opposition by his mere presence, leave alone the small fact that he seems in the form of his life, again!

  4. Great article man!!! It just exploded every single feeling I have in this matter!!! I really liked the line “Tendulkar wasn’t Tendulkar before Tendulkar became Tendulkar!” it sumes up more or less everything in this regard.

  5. Not to take anything away from Sachin’s great knock the other day, but he was dropped at mid on quite early in his innings. And the ground was small. I have seen Sachin struggle of late against quality bowling, especially when the ball is moving around.
    My point is that while I feel Sachin should not retire just yet, there is a certain amount of justification in people questioning his ability to play good bowling. My views are restricted only for ODIs.

  6. Further points…
    Sachin’s 1998 knock cannot be used as a balm every time talks of his failures crop up. Of course we all enjoyed his knock in 1998. Indeed, we enjoyed every one of his centuries that terrific year. But if rewinding to that knock 11 years after it was played is hardly suggestive of his current way of playing. I can assure you there is no pain when I watch that innings, but I do feel a tinge of sadness because I wish he could replicate the same kind of aggression now.

  7. @Bloogah

    See the 1998 tape if you want to see the Sachin Tendulkar of old! If you can’t watch the Tendulkar of today, buy a DVD player and not a TV set!

  8. Thanks for your extremely intelligent suggestion Raghuram. While it is not in my best interest to abandon watching all TV just because I dont like watching the Sachin of today (as you seem to think), I would like to point out that I have nothing against Sachin. As I mentioned in a previous post, I feel there is a certain amount of justification in criticizing his recent way of playing. And by that I mean over the past 2-3 years. I realize that it is largely due to the toll of injuries that his game has changed. But changed, it has.

  9. @Bloogah

    Of course he has changed in the last 2-3 years! That’s as obvious as saying “I woke up today”! Duh! He has changed. You have changed. I have changed. If you can’t live with that change, buy a DVD player! The problem is with YOU not HIM. Don’t you get it?

  10. @ Raghuram,

    Sure. I get it.

    @ others,
    I hope I get some responses from people who dont take it personal when I give my views on sachin. Hey, its my opinion. Thats what comments are for, right? I commented here because I felt this was a passionate post praising Sachin, and while I have absolutely no problems with that, I wanted to offer a counter argument for the sake of discussion. I certainly hope mild references to sachin’s falling standards can be tolerated by others here and seen objectively.

  11. Get a life bloogah!

  12. I dont see whats wrong with bloogah’s opinions.
    is this blog meant only for sachin admirers or what?

  13. @Bloogah

    Your point is nothing but it is Sachin’s point how He is maintining GODness of playing again and again after the people like your opinion….?

  14. @Nandita

    This is not a “blog meant only for sachin admirers”. It is, as the by-line suggests, “A blog for fans of Indian cricket…”

    It is quite possible for us to surmise, however — albeit anecdotally — that there are many more people out there that want to see Sachin Tendulkar continue to play than those that want him to retire! Unless of course, your hypothesis is that Sachin Tendulkar fans are better with their blogging skills than those that want to see him put to pasture! 🙂

    — Mohan

  15. My point was that there seems to be a sense of hostility here towards Sachin detractors. People who cannot see another side of the argument. Which incidentally proves your hypothesis right. Its a problem with you, not with him.

  16. @Nandita

    I can’t speak for others, but you asked a question whether this was a blog only for Sachin admirers and I said that it was one for all fans of Indian cricket. It is a free world out there.

  17. Bloogah,

    I actually think Sachin’s role in the team is required more when the going gets tough than in these flatbeds. SRT brings enormous experience into games that are played on difficult tracks and I am not sure what games you are referring to where he struggled against good bowling. Against England and SA in ’07 he did really good and was pretty much the start of his big-injury free career rebound. Since then he has been phenomenal and has been instrumental in India doing well in difficult pitches.

    Thanks,
    Prabu

  18. Sachin has scored in ODIs at an average of 47.10 since the 2007 WC. It is better than his career average of 44.
    What more do people want from him?

  19. @Saurabh

    I think they want to smash the opposition into pulp as he used to do in 1998! Otherwise he is not the Sachin of old, you see!

  20. Bloogah:

    I agree with Mohan and the rest. Schin doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody – the numbers speak for themselves. He has seen so many captains, coaches, managers and fellow team members in hsi 20 years of playing for India. He still has the passion, commitment, FORM, and above all humility and has not been embroiled in any controversy (the only blemish was beacuase of that nut Mike Denness – nothing to do with Sachin) and bats like a world-class player. Anyone who saw his innings in Chch would notice the vintage Sachin in parts of that innings. So please stop writing “Shoud he be part of the ODI team?” We do need him still.

  21. sachin should not retire

  22. sachin is none but god………………

  23. I WILL KILL EVERYBODY IF HE RETIRES……………… MIND IT.

  24. We all know that it is almost two decades of scary dreams in bowler’s mind…

    days passed, months passed and years passed, still our master shines like the brightest star. i know that no words can ever be enough to praise him….that is y we call him the master.

    When expectation stands to its peak and the roaring sound ” sachin sachin ” reach its high, we know it’s difficult to to stand in the middle…but sachin, you always stood with a cool head and a great smile, you always played better than we expected and even though you have achieved the top postion in your life, you are as simple as a man….that is simply great of you sachin. you remember the paths you came, you respect the billion’s love, you smile on the critics, you love and play for the nation…and that is why we love you sachin.

    You are always different from other players, you achieved almost everything and still you are hungry not because you are greedy but because you love our India. When people criticised you for putting the indian flag under the BCCI logo, you smiled and placed it above the logo. You did everything for the country but still people tried to find something to criticise you.

    Sachin always take the critics in a positive way and answer them with his heavy bat….So critics, do find more reasons and we want more from him….

    Hey those who think that it is the fading period, yeah it is the fading period of a master but a begining period of a matured master….When time changes, people changes, attitude changes, body changes, way of doing things also changes….

    Look out for the new style….and look out for the unleashed maestro…

    God is with sachin, we people are with sachin, Jai ho India….Jai ho sachinnnnn….

    we luv you sachin…

  25. Sachin Tendulkar, even after 20 years of top-flight cricket, retains the same hunger and passion for the game.

    If that is astonishing, you must see the little master-blaster off the field, in a more relaxed ambience.

    He is modest, courteous and, as surprising as it may sound, quite chatty too; he lets his guard down, which he rarely does at the crease or even more reluctantly when he is in the public eye, and readily talks about anything.

    Cheerfully, laughing like a boy all the time.

    The other day, at a very private function, he Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh made an appearance as special friends. It was to launch the cricket website of a Marathi journalist from Pune: Sunandan Lele.

    All four, dressed in funky T-shirts and casual jeans, immediately made the hosts an immigrant Indian family, indeed former India TT player Sujay Ghorpade and his CA brother felt completely at home.

    “This time there is a completely different feel to the tour. Wherever we go, the fans are already in place. In pretty good numbers too,” he said. “The last time, we could go anywhere we wanted to and hardly anybody would even recognize us,” Sachin explained.

    “Looks like cricket has become big here now,” he added. The two Twenty20 matches were packed; the first three One-dayers have drawn sizable crowds too.

    The final game in Auckland, which has the biggest Indian representation, has already been sold out.

    Tendulkar bowed to say namaste to the lady of the house and to its grand-lady too; he shared a couple of friendly words with the kids and patted the home dog as well (who was promptly nicknamed Mills as he seemed scared of Sehwag), making everybody in the house stare in awe and shock.

    Sehwag and Zaheer maintained a studied silence while Harbhajan chipped in with his innocent humour. Mar 10 (2 days ago) Thinking……
    They discussed movies (Ashutosh Gowariker did the right thing by snubbing Sajid Khan), TV shows (too much crass and vulgar comedy), Harbhajan’s stint in a dance show (they pay good money) and Facebook (a couple of us have our own accounts but there are quite a few fake ones too). Eventually, the site was officially launched.

    Tendulkar clicked the mouse while Harbhajan clicked pictures; Sehwag and Zaheer showed polite interest, even wondering how all this can become a money-making proposition. A little while later, it’s time for dinner.

    It’s a lavish vegetarian spread, ranging from roti and parantha to various sabjis and dal, achar and jalebi. In the meantime, Harbhajan has taken charge of the mouse: he is checking out the pictures and studying the entire site with enthusiasm.

    Suddenly, he lifted his hands and proclaimed jokingly, “Aah, now this is a brilliant picture.” Everybody turned and burst out laughing. It had Harbhajan arm in arm with Sree Santh, both wrapped in the same tri-colour. Somebody quipped: “The best friends in the Indian team.” No rancour, no malice.

    Tendulkar joined in the banter, made a couple of his own jokes, and returned to his meal. The next day, he would go on to score a sensational and unbeaten 163, showing the same passion as he ran to steal singles and convert some into twos; at the landmark, there was that same old humility again.

  26. harbir sandhu

    it’s for everyone
    i am a big fan of sachin
    i wish he plays forever, i would love to see him getting out for a duck in every match then not seeing him at all on cricket field.
    i know thats never gonna happen and nandita ,bloopah or watever dnt say nthing abt tendulkar
    he’s better than every1

  27. First of all i want to tell u all that i am a big fan of sachin….. moreover he is a complete matchwinner and lovely to watch when he is playing…..How can anyone think team india without sachin even today.I think he is still a great ascet in the team and is completely ready to play.We all had seen what happened in west indies without sachin we are not able to rattle the weak westindies side.
    The youngsters whow showed promise earlier in their carrier are not able to prove themselves and showed the other sides their weakness against the short pitch bowling…Sachin in other words give stability to the team and is also a big support to the youngsters as well as thw captain himself.

  28. I am sure Ricky Ponting will be the highest scorer in the test match bcos he is only 1500 runs away from Sachin and India plays very few test match compared to Australia and he promise to play Ashes in 2013, after that also he may continue to play the test.

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