I remember watching a documentary on Sachin Tendulkar in which ace ad man Prahlad Kakkar recounted an incident in relation to the Little Master when he was working with him on a television commercial for Pepsi. The commercial was supposed to show a rainfall of balls and obviously that was because the master was probably batting. According to the script, it was to show Tendulkar with a cricket bat at the end. However, Tendulkar vetoed it and instead decided to ‘bat’ with a stump since raining cricket balls would make him appear as being bigger than the game. However, everyone might now be forgiven if they entertain the thought that circumstances and his impending retirement might have caused a change of heart.
First things first, this is not an attempt to belittle the achievements of a man who has well and truly been at the top of the world game for more than 20 years but the way in which his retirement has been used as an occasion to perhaps make a mockery of the game of cricket. Although I have maintained that Tendulkar should be the only person who should have the final call on his career, I also believe in Vijay Merchant’s assertion regarding retirement- “Retire when people ask ‘why?’, not when they ask ‘why not?’”. In that regard, there is no doubt that the widespread question on the lips of most cricket fans was that of ‘Why Not?’ and many even suggested that he should have retired after the 2011 World Cup.
There is no denying the fact that if you look at Tendulkar’s record in the past two years or so then you would quickly be able to fathom that his powers were surely on the wane. Now, it is surely impossible to say who actually devised this ingenious plan by way of which Tendulkar would play his 200th Test (a world record) and retire, but it looks like an exercise which is merely meant to help the master reach yet another world record. Is it really the right way in which the greatest cricketer of the modern era should retire? A hastily arranged series against an opposition which is, with all due respect, one of the lesser powers in the game is surely not the send off for the master and most would have loved to see him go head to head against someone like Dale Steyn & Co. in the wickets of Newlands or Kingsmead for one last flourish.
The BCCI scuppered the Future Tours Programme of the ICC according in which they were going to visit South Africa and have now offered Cricket South Africa the option of a curtailed tour since they want to host the West Indies in a 2 Test exhibition series, so to say. However, as much as Tendulkar must have harboured a dream of playing his final Test match in Mumbai, he did not show the same alacrity in pointing out to the powers that be at the BCCI that the structure and schedule of global cricket should not be tampered with just to let him have his retirement wishes.
Perhaps he is either indulging himself or allowing the BCCI to indulge him.
The Obsession With Sachin Tendulkar’s Retirement
Sachin Tendulkar Is Not The Greatest : India’s Toothless Obsession for The Cricketer
Tendulkar Vs. Lara – The End of Reason
In Indian Cricket – Is The Batting Dynasty In Safe Hands ?