Hello and welcome once again to DRS. My very own personal space where we discuss cricket. The Indian Team to Sri Lanka has been selected and there is no Sachin Tendulkar. The official reason being given is that Tendulkar is being rested for the busy season ahead. Tendulkar himself has told CNN IBN's Gaurav Kalra in an interview that he wants to spend quality time with his family ahead of the cricket season.
The critics have begun to argue can Sachin Tendulkar have a right, a privilege that is denied to any other cricketer to pick and choose the matches he wants to play? A parallel is also being drawn with England's Kevin Pietersen, who said that he didn't want to play ODIs. Immediately the English selectors decided that they would not include Pietersen in T20 cricket as well, saying that Pietersen had no right to pick and choose which form of cricket he wanted to play.
Should Tendulkar be given exalted status, one that is denied to the best batsman in the English side? Should Tendulkar not tell us exactly, what his final plan for 2012-13 is? Well, let's be honest. Sachin Tendulkar is – well - at the end of the day a demigod in India. Having been conferred that status, it seems that the divinity in him is entitled to decide on when he will actually present himself to his adoring fans. If he doesn't want to play in Sri Lanka, well that’s his choice. So say his supporters.
Where do I stand? My own belief is I think that Sachin now needs to be a little bit honest with himself with his enormous fan following in this country and with the selectors.
Does Sachin Tendulkar intend to play cricket or one day international cricket till the next World Cup? If he doesn't, then I can't think of a better time than this to announce his retirement from one day internationals. Tendulkar should then be honest with himself and say, look I want to prolong my Test career. The only way I can prolong my Test career is if I don't play one day internationals at all and retire from the format.
I have been among those who believed that the best moment for Sachin Tendulkar to have said good bye to ODI cricket would have frankly been after the World Cup win last year. That was the moment to retire, to say enough is enough. I have achieved everything that I wanted in one-day international cricket. I still have some mountains to climb in Test cricket. Test cricket is where I really feel challenged. That's what I want to do. I want to bring back India into the number one Test status and I am going to focus on Test cricket.
I think that would have been a more befitting way to leave the one day game and then build a career around the Test cricket. Now, I think Tendulkar for the first time is facing a serious charge that he is being treated in a manner which is a bit unfair on some of the younger players, who don't know whether they'll be picked for a particular series. Assume for example against Sri Lanka all the young players do well. Next series, comes Tendulkar. Will they have to opt out? There is also the question mark, if Tendulkar wants to spend quality time with his family, why wasn't the argument made when the T20 was on, when the IPL rather was on?
During the IPL, Tendulkar could have again taken a break, possibly. That will lead to the argument that he is choosing club over country. I think these are unfortunate controversies, unfortunate areas in which really the great Tendulkar should not be getting himself into. So, if I was Sachin Tendulkar, and who am I to advice the great Tendulkar in a way but if I ever want to give him some friendly advice it would be simply this: Sachin, you achieved everything there is in the game. You have scored more than a hundred hundreds; you have climbed every mountain; you still love the game; you still want to play the game; you must be allowed to retire on your terms. Agreed. But why not do it in a transparent manner by saying, enough of one day cricket now my focus will be on Test cricket?
Maybe you can then prolong your career to the point where who knows, Arjun Tendulkar and you might be even playing in a Test match together? The late Sir Jack Hobbs, remember, scored a hundred hundreds after the age of 40. It's unlikely you'll do that, but, you know, we'd love to see you play more and more of Test cricket and really focus on that, and maybe nurture the youngsters in Test cricket. One day cricket, I think it's time to say goodbye.