Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement: What Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and others have to say on the controversial subject

Not surprisingly India’s opposing political leaders Rahul Gandhi (left) and Narendra Modi (right) do not share similar opinions on the Sachin Tendulkar retirement talk © AFP

By Venkatesan Iyengar
Please note this is a humour article — work of pure fiction

The question continues to haunt Indian cricket: Should he or shouldn’t he? Should Sachin Tendulkar retire from Test cricket after playing his 200th Test or should he continue playing as long as he thinks he should?
We posed the question to a few well-known personalities. Here are their responses:

Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate:

How dare the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ask India’s batting legend to retire? India is a country of 1.2 billion people, we will never tolerate this. N Srinivasan has no respect within the board, how will he have respect in the country? The country needs a Dream Team, not this dirty team.

Rahul Gandhi, Vice President, Congress:

I tell you what my opinion on the question is: It is complete nonsense. It should be torn up and thrown away. That’s my opinion.

Kapil Dev, former India captain:

I still remember during his first tour of England in 1990, Sachin was very quiet. On that first tour he was carrying his 10th class school books. He was shy, did not talk too much, and he was just a normal kid. He did not involve himself in topics. He used to observe. Even today he is like that: shy, does not talk much, or involve himself in topics concerning his retirement. This retirement talk has been on for five years or so. If Sachin is enjoying his game, no one can stop him. He has a mind of his own and he knows best when to hang up his boots. I just want to add that age is not just a number. It doesn’t matter how much passion you have; you can’t stay so long as to block the progress of others.

N Srinivasan, BCCI chief:

I don’t think Gurunath [Meiyappan] is involved in this [retirement talk]. He is just a cricket enthusiast and has no authority to talk on such matters. As for me, everybody knows that I hardly watch a game; everyone knows that I do not even watch CSK’s games. So how can I say that Tendulkar is beyond his prime and should retire? I don’t see any reason for the people to ask me to step down on this matter. I have seen media baying for my blood and political parties saying that I should resign. The media could have been fair to me and Gurunath. They have gone overboard against us.
By the way, do you know why people are against us? People are jealous of Chennai Super Kings. It is because of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. There was a savage attack on us recently because we have Dhoni.

Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood superstar:
Being a public figure makes me open to any kind of questioning. Adjectives good and bad sometimes make me an object of controversy, as people use my name and statements to attach positive or negative sentiment to it. Sachin is also a public figure like me.
I accept all the above because this is the life I chose and will stand by it. I am what I am, because of the love and admiration that comes with being who I am in my profession. So I thank everyone for making me the star I am. So it is with Sachin.
As an entertainer for 22 years, one thing is clear in my head that I have never tried to do anything wrong intentionally. In Sachin’s case, he has been an entertainer for 24 years. People will always have their viewpoints, especially now with social media. But one doesn’t become a legend without controversies. [SRK requested us to post his comment above Salman Khan’s.]

Salman Khan, Bollywood superstar:

The retirement debate is just a publicity gimmick to promote cricket. Every year there has to be something new about cricket seasons, so these are just tactics to make it look new and different. Such debates only show the angelic and the demonic traits that reside in the hearts of people. They put you on a pedestal one day and then try to pull you down the next day. I invite Sachin to visit the Big Boss house and clear the air.

(Venkatesan Iyengar was a speedster who could swing the ball both ways. He captained his school team at the zonal and district levels. His boyhood dream was to open the bowling for Team India in the august company of his idol Kapil Dev. Even today the sight of Kapil makes him nostalgic)