Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, R.I.P.

Time for 'Little Master' to go gracefully before being axed

Retire in Peace

Politicians are generally kicked out of office if they fail to deliver on their promises. But how do you tackle a batting legend whose aura of invincibility permeates beyond the boundary on the field of play.

Sachin Tendulkar is behaving like a modern day W.G. Grace who according to cricketing folklore refused to walk when he was clean bowled by saying: "Play on, they've come here to see me bat, not you umpire."
 
The analogy here is that India's iconic batsman is refusing to retire gracefully (pun intended) despite tell tale signs of slowing reflexes contributing to a run of low scores in the mistaken belief that he is indispensable to the team.
 
Tendulkar has deflected criticism that his skills are waning and only he will decide when he has lost his appetite for the game and call time on his career.
 
No one who has followed his career will deny him this right but it is agonising to see the once-champion batsmen struggling to get into double figures.
 
It was India's original 'Little Master' Sunil Gavaskar who raised concerns when Tendulkar failed in the home Test series against New Zealand.
 
Ever since he scored the much-awaited 100th century against Bangladesh earlier this year, Tendulkar hasn’t been in the best of form and was bowled in most of the innings and clearly lacked confidence.
 
Tendulkar has been struggling in the ongoing series against England as well, going for 8 in both innings, bowled and trapped leg before by left arm spinner Monty Panesar on his home ground at Wankhede Stadium in the second Test.
 
The batting stalwart who is eight short of becoming the first cricketer to play 200 Tests, has not reached the three-figure-mark since the Cape Town match against South Africa in January 2011. Since then, he has played 15 Tests, and 28 innings, without a century.
 
Acutely aware of the whisperings about his recent failures, Tendulkar has deftly put the ball on the court of selectors to decide his fate.
 
The Hindustan Times reported that Tendulkar spoke with the selectors as they met to decide the team for remaining two Tests against England.
 
The 39-year-old is said to have had a separate discussion with chief selector Sandeep Patil on Tuesday.
 
The reports also say that the selectors asked him to continue playing.
 
Tendulkar has put the selectors in a quandary because who would dare ask him to retire.
 
However, the announcement by one of Tendulkar's great peers former Australian captain Ricky Ponting's to call time on his Test career is sure to put the Indian great under pressure.
 
No one asked Sir Donald Bradman or Michael Jordan to go but such decisions were taken by the great players themselves.
 
Now it is a question of when for Tendulkar and only he can make that dreaded call which every sportsman finds it difficult to make before he is asked to go.
 
If you are a true fan of cricket, and admire Sachin Tendulkar, wish him here to retire in peace. The other option – of selectors kicking him out of the team unceremoniously – will be too painful for all of us.
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