By Dhananjay Devasper
Records have always been an integral part of Sachin Tendulkar’s glorious career. So much so, that the general perception exists, that the man plays only for records. One can do that for a brief period of time in one’s career, but to consistently maintain that attitude for over two decades is another matter altogether. That is never the attitude of champions who play a team sport. You invariably need the team to succeed, and therein lies your success. And it is no different in case of Sachin Tendulkar.
That is why the commotion and the noise over his imminent retirement after the 200th Test take centrestage. The buzz is that he will be “asked” to retire after his record breaking milestone of longevity in the longer format of the game. While no one should overstay their welcome, especially legends of Tendulkar’s stature, a couple of Test matches more would not have harmed anyone. Legends need to retire gracefully and respectfully and not shoved out the door.
Could this also be the strategy of the Board to force Tendulkar’s hand and ensure that he announces his retirement well in advance. This would kill two birds with one stone: Firstly, it would save them the onerous task of having to make the decision of not picking him, if he continued to make himself available for selection after the 200th Test. Secondly, it would also mean a financial windfall for the Board if the retirement were confirmed. Imagine the kind of memorabilia that could be sold at this kind of an event.
Co-incidentally, these rumours surfaced after N Srinivasan was re-elected as the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for another year. If any of these rumours are true, Tendulkar should take the decision to retire immediately and not give Srinivasan the pleasure of dictating terms. Purely based on performances, Tendulkar should have been dropped a while ago, but his eye was on a coveted landmark. This landmark is also the reason why he is silent as this drama unfolds. He’s come too far to miss out on something which might stand the test of time.
But Tendulkar retiring immediately could help drive home a point and a possible nail in Srinivasan’s ego that the landmark, however important, pales in comparison to the dignity of a world class cricketer who has put in years of yeoman service. That it would also deprive the Board of the revenues it aims to generate by publicising Tendulkar’s 200th Test, would be an icing on the cake. And since it was on Srinivasan’s insistence that Tendulkar was “retired” from One-Day Internationals (ODIs), as Cricket Association of Bihar secretary, Aditya Verma claims, it might prove to be the first step towards Srinivasan’s downfall. Revenge, after all, is a dish best served cold.
(Dhananjay Devasper is an “IT guy” by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)