Determined Sachin Tendulkar plans to surmount what is arguably the greatest crisis in his career

Sachin Tendulkar… it’s do or die time © Getty Images

By Dhananjay Devasper

The knives are out for the Little Master. A string of low scores and a hideous average seem to suggest that the inevitable retirement is just around the corner. Even his most ardent admirers and staunchest of supporters have been making “subtle” statements in the press, about the need for him to speak to the selectors – among them, surprisingly, were Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. The latter, it may be recalled, was guilty of overstaying beyond his ‘expiry date’ in pursuit of personal landmarks. If the hush around the Wankhede Stadium during the second Test was anything to go by, it just seemed that the man once known as the “God of Cricket”, was looking fallibly human and probably near the fag end of a glittering career.

But the thing about great people is that they don’t let any such chatter get into their heads. They get back to basics, focus on fixing what is wrong, see if things can be put on track and then take a call. Sachin Tendulkar is in that frame of mind. Before the start of the ongoing Test series, he turned out for Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy match to get some much-needed batting practice. Two Rest matches down, and doubts have being raised on his choice of shots against spin. It was time to get back to the drawing board.

Getting Pragyan Ojha to bowl to him at the nets in an intense batting session, perfecting his technique, seeking the advice of the coach, all seem to be steps in the right direction. It now remains to be seen how much of this translates into result in the Kolkata Test. Fans and ardent supporters will be hoping for yet another turnaround and one final hurrah. They definitely do not want England to get the satisfaction of having retired Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

Irrespective of Tendulkar’s performance in the Kolkata Test, a larger question persists. Sachin Tendulkar cannot be expected to play on forever and neither is he getting any younger. The more he continues, the longer someone else has to wait to get a crack at playing for the nation. It’s always a good idea to pick or make way for a budding talent when they are in prime form.

One is reminded of Abey Kuruvilla, who wasn’t picked at his prime. And when he did get the chance, he wasn’t even half the bowler he was. It’s hard to imagine the selectors taking a tough call in dropping Tendulkar on performance, as it is with larger-than-life icons in India. It’s now up to Tendulkar to either exorcise his demons or, sadly, call it a day. Unquestionably, the great man is facing the biggest crisis of his career.

Stay tuned…

(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)