Should Sachin call it quits?

C. V. Aravind | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on July 15, 2012


Indian cricket always has one set of rules for the lesser mortals and one for the blue-eyed boy, Sachin Tendulkar. The aging icon, who has just added another feather to his cap by getting nominated to the House of Elders, the Rajya Sabha, has cried off from a tour to Sri Lanka for a one-day series, citing family commitments.

A few days back he was spotted grinning from ear to ear at a Wimbledon semi-final match in London with his wife, both ensconced in the Royal Box. He is, of course, treated as royalty everywhere, thanks to his achievements on the cricket field. ‘Spending time with the family’ is an excuse the cricketer has offered several times; Virender Sehwag who never hesitates to take potshots at his skipper M S Dhoni, has rushed to Sachin’s defence, asserting that he should be allowed to pick and choose his tours.


And what has the selection committee headed by the former master blaster Kris Srikkanth to say on the greatest cricketer the game has ever known playing truant? Not a word. Sachin, with a halo over his head, has perforce to be treated with kid gloves, lest he ups and quits the game and leaves Indian cricket in a shambles.

But that is a possibility that can be permanently discounted. Sachin, who excused himself from the one-day tour has, in the same breath, reiterated that he would like to play the tests and the one-dayers, and that the thought of retirement had never crossed his mind. The question is: Will it ever? As long as there is a cricket board that kowtows to the cricketer’s every wish and picks him whenever he desires to be picked, the Sachin juggernaut will roll on, though the scores may wane and the form slip.

Contrast this to the shoddy treatment meted out to another champion cricketer, Rahul Dravid. Dravid had the mortification of being dumped from the one-day squad more than once, with the board showing no courtesy. His batting order was shuffled time and again and he was asked to keep wickets whenever an occasion arose.


The doughty cricketer bore it all, and as former coach Greg Chappell has said in his latest book, Rahul’s success was never a matter of celebration. But in Sachin’s case, his crawl towards his hundredth hundred was followed so keenly by fans all over and documented by the media, as though the entire country’s future depended on it. And finally when he got it against a lowly rated Bangladesh team, Sachin’s fans all heaved a collective sigh of relief — as, in fact, did the diminutive big man.

There can be no doubting the genius of a man who has scored a hundred tons and has several records standing in his name. His game has always spelt class with a capital C. But then why does he not retire, at least from the shorter version of the game, and allow someone like Rohit Sharma to seal his place? Sachin would do well to remember a quote attributed to late Sir Don Bradman: “It is better to quit when people ask ‘why’ and not when they ask ‘when’”.

(The author is a freelance writer.)

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Published on July 15, 2012
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