For as long as Sachin Tendulkar has represented India in international cricket he has had to contend with criticism, speculation and hyperbole of different kinds not least from his own countrymen but the latest hyperbole that is being fanned for the past 18-20 months or so is related to his retirement. The whole thing started after India won the World Cup in 2011- a tournament that everyone knew that Tendulkar simply craved to win at least once during his career but he had never said that it would be his last hurrah or whether he would be happy to retire a contended man if and when the dream was achieved. However, most of the cricket watching public concluded that he was going to retire and when he did not do so, an inspired campaign was underway by certain sections of the media and cricket fans alike who wanted Tendulkar to retire ‘gracefully’.
The arguments put forward in favour of his retirement can be described as feeble at best and it was summed up perfectly in a televised interview when the then Chairman of Selectors Krishnamachari Srikanth blasted Headlines Today broadcaster Rahul Kanwal when the latter vocally advocated Tendulkar’s retirement. If you watch this video
you will be left in no doubt regarding the authenticity of those claims. During the last two years Tendulkar has averaged 31.80 in 21 Test matches and that average is only marginally less than the average at which everyone else has scored, however the collective failures in England and Australia meant that Tendulkar was one of those, who was held responsible for those failures. However, on a closer analysis, one can see that the supposed dip in form was nothing but a smokescreen and simply devoid of any relevance.
Tendulkar is now 40 years old- an age in which most cricketers find it tough to continue playing but we are also well aware of the fact there is hardly reason for him to retire if he feels he can contribute. The fact that Tendulkar is not someone who is clinging on to his place in the team due to his stature as one of the greatest ever batsmen can be easily seen from his decision to retire from ODIs- a format that could be dispensed with if he wanted to preserve his injury ravaged body to play on for a few more seasons of Test cricket. There have been whispers in some circles that he isn’t retiring since he does not wish to give up on lucrative endorsement deals but frankly, there has never been a more cruel accusation that could be directed at the man. If these people did not question his right to play Test cricket for India at the age of 16 then by the same coin they should not question his reluctance to give up cricket at the age of 40. Enjoy the show till it lasts, you will never regret it.