I read today that Ponting was dropped from the team for poor performance in last five ODIs. In a very light hearted manner, in a sense trying to mock at it, I decided to share that to my wider virtual, social network. One of my friends commented,
something to be sad bout .... people are calling for sachin's odi retirement as well .... all news channels debating this ..... wats ur call on it ???
And this is not the first time I am hearing this question. This is not the first time people are discussing it.
In recent past, I have read quite a lot about Sachin, his form, the 100th century, etc. Read a lot of advices from the Whos and Whos and the Huh? Who The Hell Are Yous of Cricket. Well some (read very few) think he should go on, the majority wants him to retire.
I find it very funny and annoying at the same time. You may now begin to feel that I am biased, but let me make it very clear, though I am a big fan of his like you and the person sitting next to you, at the same time I do try to talk sensibly at times. People who know my obsession for Sachin well enough, also know that I have been very critical too.
Anyways, let me come back to what I intended to discuss - my views, my answer to if Sachin should retire.
Of Course, he should, he has to, there is no other choice. He is a human and the law of nature dictates he age and wear out. This should ideally and most probably will have a direct impact on his performance. He has to definitely retire.
The worth of that question doesn't lie in the 'if', it does in the 'when'. So as I said earlier, majority of those who can and cannot spell Sachin Tendulkar correctly are of the opinion that he should retire now. There could be quite a few possibilities for their opinion
1. They might be hopeful of getting a chance to play for the country in his place.
2. They are relatives of an upcoming, hard working cricketer.
3. They are totally jealous.
4. They may have retired earlier and so they want to have the esteemed company of The Master.
5. They think that him continuing is not good for the team.
6. They think he is doing bad for the team.
7. They are saying just because everyone is saying - the spirit of togetherness!
8. They want him to score 100th 100 which he has not been able to for quite some time.
Of the 8 points above, I am the most concerned about 5th and 6th because all others are possible reasons whereas these two are allegations.
So for all those who want Sachin to retire now because of any reason other than the 5th and 6th point, well, Sir, I respect your opinion, you are entitled to have one, just that I disagree with yours.
I personally think that Sachin should retire when either
1. He thinks he should retire, or
2. When we are sure that he is the worst in the lot and there are 11 others who can perform better than him and also have the confidence of doing the same.
and not when you or me sit with a group of friends watching a match and coach each and every player on each and every ball via satellites using shouting in front of a TV as the starting point.
I would want each one of us including the cricket legends to answer honestly, if we are being too harsh on him maybe just because our team as a whole is taking a beating? No? Do you really think Tendulkar retiring now will change it? Aren't we expecting more than what one single person in a team of 11 is capable of? He has not been amongst the runs as much as we would have expected to be for quite some time, but then what has Sehwag done in this series? What have the "youngsters" in the form of Raina or Rohit Sharma done in the current ODI series?
Do we suddenly think that none of these three also have any talent or caliber?
Let us go a bit in recent past and then a little more. There has been an axe on the neck of other 2 men that define Indian Cricket, moreso, The Cricket, Test Cricket - Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. We think these people should retire now too. Why? Because they did not perform as expected in Australia, India was white washed.
This same Dravid was being seen as a HERO when he was the only one who stood tall, as always like a wall in England. I clearly remember that one image of the scorecard doing rounds everywhere on the social network that showed Dravid opening the innings for India in some test match and then going on to play even with number 11. We now want this same Dravid to retire because of not being able to perform in the very next series.
Oh Come On! Be Realistic. Don't just say a 2 digit number, their age, is reason enough to make them retire. Appreciate the experience that comes along and what it has translated into - Class!
The point I make here is that just because Sachin similarly has not been amongst the runs or let me put it bluntly, hasn't been able to score the 100th century you all are looking forward to doesn't mean he should retire now. Sachin, at present, is clearly not the "worst of the lot" and neither do we surely have 11 players who we can be confident, will perform better than if we were to give one of those 11 spots to Tendulkar. Scenario 2 thus, should rest in peace.
Let me discuss a little more about the magical figure of 100 * 100. Oh, surely you ought to be obsessed with that figure as it has that single numeral that we Indians discovered, four times out there! Also, the symmetry. That is it. There is nothing else magical about that figure. A 99 centuries is no less an achievement than if he scores another one. Besides it is stupid to add up number of centuries scored in two very different forms of cricket. If you continue adding up like this, I am sure he must have scored a 1000, 99 in international cricket, some in Ranjis, some in school, some in a hostel, some in the gully in front of the house, who knows, maybe some in book cricket? Also, add to it the centuries that he has made in the games that we were playing sitting on our couch, controlling a character with his name via a remote control.
In a nutshell, I say, the obsession with 100 centuries is stupid.
We don't need it, we just want it. More badly than anyone else. And unfortunately, he hasn't been able to deliver what we "want" and so maybe he should retire now. Yeah right!
I agree to one of the points I read in some other post, that post the world cup last year, he is playing ODIs once again, and him choosing to play some and let go of some others. Well I agree, it is not the best thing to do. But at the same time I also feel that maybe the pressure and the hype of the figure I just called 'magical' (because that is what you think of it) has indeed taken a toll on him and maybe, I say maybe he just wants to fast forward from 99 to 101. I may have sounded totally senseless, but then I think it could be, it could be the case. The reasons are best known to him and the team management though.
In the end, a request. Everybody, please leave him alone, we all know what he has done for us and the country, we all know what he is capable of, we all can accept he knows himself the best. Let him decide when he has to retire, because in any other possibility, you have no logical explanation to make him retire now, like in next 5 minutes. Why can't we appreciate that perhaps is presence helps in grooming the youngsters better?
Just because he has not been able to deliver on your expectations, doesn't mean he should go. Go Now. No.
He is talent enabled by sheer hard work topped with confidence personified in a human packaged all over with class. See him, appreciate him, forgive him and for now, leave him!