New Delhi: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar says consistent criticism might have played a part in influencing Sachin Tendulkar's decision to quit one-day cricket and it would have been fantastic had he gone after completing 50 ODI centuries.
Tendulkar had been struggling for runs for quite some time, leading to debates how long he should continue playing and on Sunday he announced that he would no longer play ODIs. "I think he really cares for Indian cricket. May be whatever he saw, read and heard might have prompted him to make a call. But I feel, he knows his body well," Gavaskar said. "He is finishing on 49 ODI hundreds. I would have loved to see him get 50 centuries. That would have been fantastic," Gavaskar told NDTV.
On being asked that quitting ODI format would at least give Tendulkar a chance to play 200 Tests, Gavaskar said it should not be looked that way. "We are looking too far ahead. If he plays the next four Tests, that will take him to 198 and the next two Tests will be later in the next year. It's almost a year down the road."
Gavaskar also said that since Tendulkar had already cut down on his appearance in ODIs, people are used to his absence but still losing him is a big loss. "I think the public, the team, the captain and the selectors are used to not seeing Tendulkar around in ODIs but the fact that he is not there is a big loss," Gavaskar said.
Asked if it was Tendulkar, the batsman or Tendulkar the fielder who has taken the retirement call, Gavaskar said,"It's Tendulkar the cricketer. Officially he may have announced it today but mentally, he might have done in March after the Asia Cup."
For Gavaskar, the hurricane knock that Tendulkar played against Australia in Sharjah was his best. "It has to be the Sharjah one when India had to qualify for the final and not only India need to win the match but score certain runs in certain overs. That was when the real pressure was," Gavaskar said.
Tendulkar had made 143 off 131 balls with nine fours and five sixes in April 1998. Gavaskar also felt that it would be World Cup win that Tendulkar would cherish the most in his life. "It's always going to be the World Cup win. There may be many personal achievements but it's entirely different feeling. For me also the 1983 World Cup win is the greatest moment of my career. I did not contribute much and it felt on top of the world and Tendulkar did contribute. It has to be right up there," he said.