|SACHIN SALUTES THE CROWD AFTER reaching 50 in Melbourne in December 2011
To retire or not to retire, that is the question! In other words, should SACHIN TENDULKAR stay or should SACHIN TENDULKAR go?
t2 OPENED THE DEBATE TO A ROOMFUL OF CRICKET ADDICTS hours after he was bowled through the gate — yet again — in the second innings of the bangalore test Against the kiwis. WHAT’S THE VERDICT ON THE 39-YEAR-OLD GOD OF THE GAME? PLAY ON TO FIND OUT!
WHY SACHIN SHOULD PLAY...
t2: Sachin Tendulkar’s footwork is showing signs of ageing, said Sunil Gavaskar, after he was bowled in the second innings versus New Zealand. Shouldn’t that signal bye-bye Sachin?
Apratim Chattaraj (computer science engineering student at IEM): We haven’t found a good enough replacement. I know people have been saying that he has not been playing well, taking the England and Australia tours. If you consider the Test matches in England, Rahul Dravid got the highest number of runs, 461, and second on that list was Sachin Tendulkar with 273. Even in Australia, Virat Kohli got 300 runs, followed by Sachin with 287, including a 73 in Melbourne and an 80 in Sydney. So, if he at this age can still perform at that level, why should he not continue? It is not like he is a burden on the team and there are more deserving youngsters who should get a chance. We all know what Rohit Sharma did on the Sri Lankan tour!
Soumya Mukherji (student of International Relations at Jadavpur University): See, the logic is very simple! Do you replace just for the sake of replacement? You can replace a player only when that person is not performing. Statistics are very simple. In 2011, he scored 756 runs in nine Tests and over 500 runs in 11 ODIs, which means he is averaging more than 40 in both forms of the game.... Retirement is a funny term for me because (VVS) Laxman retires and you get someone like (Subramaniam) Badrinath to replace him, which is scandalous to say the least! Agreed that Tendulkar did not do that well in England, but against Australia his footwork was the best among all Indian batsmen.
Soham Mukherjee (commerce student at Jaipuria College): When Tendulkar started out, was he the same player?
Soumya: Was Roger Federer the same player when he started out?
Soham: Exactly! You need time (for a player to flourish). If Tendulkar makes way, people like Ajinkya Rahane will get time to settle down.
Diptarshi Sen (student of information technology at IEM): They need match practice. If they don’t get a chance to play, how do you know they are worthy replacements?
Soumya: You mean to say you want to groom new players, so just throw Tendulkar out?! Even if he is performing well!
Soham: Every team goes through a transition period, be it Australia, England or South Africa.
Soumya: Did they drop Jacques Kallis or Graeme Smith? Their transition period began a year ago.
Apratim: You have to look at statistics....
Soumya: I will ask you one simple thing... which was the last ODI Sachin Tendulkar played? On March 18, 2012 against Pakistan. He scored 52 from 48 balls. His strike rate? 108.33! And you want to throw him out?
Bihan Sengupta (mass communication and journalism student at Asutosh College): That’s the problem Sachin has created for himself... very high standards!
|Bihan, Soumya, Sutirtha, Apratim, Diptarshi and Soham at the big fight.
Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Diptarshi: If you are talking about standards, Sachin had an average of 35 in his last 23 Tests… not too glorious for his stature!
Soumya: Mahendra Singh Dhoni averages 38.45 (in Tests) all his life! Age doesn’t matter. Mileage does. Is he the greatest player right now? He is certainly among the best batsman...
Soham: You want to say he is the best batsman right now? Then why hasn’t he won India a match recently?!
Diptarshi: Even Gavaskar pointed out that age has taken a toll on his footwork…
Apratim: You are referring to only the New Zealand Tests… you are saying that Sachin Tendulkar does not win matches! Have you looked at the statistics? He has 62 MoMs out of which India has lost only five matches!
Soham: I am talking about his recent form.
Bihan: Only on recent form, there should be no other batsman except (Virat) Kohli in the team!
Soham: You have to give the youngsters proper exposure...
Bihan: You are referring to Ajinkya Rahane who plays one good innings in one tournament?!
Apratim: Virat Kohli said recently that Sachin Tendulkar remains the greatest inspiration for him in the Indian team.... Let’s look back at the World Cup... the highest scorer was Tillakaratne Dilshan and the second highest was Sachin Tendulkar, 482 runs... and after that Virat Kohli said that ‘he has been carrying Indian cricket for 22 years, we need to carry him on our shoulders now’.
Soumya: I have two very simple questions — Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag had a partnership of 49 runs in the Hyderabad Test, the highest in the last 11 innings. So, will you throw them out? You won’t. Laxman retired only because he did not do well in the England tour and the Australian tour.
Apratim: Compared to his own standards.
Soumya: Yes. Rahul Dravid did not get his footwork right in Australia, hence he retired.
Soham: Even Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble retired.
Apratim: Sourav Ganguly retired because of politics!
Soham: But how long can Sachin go on?
Soumya: As long as he performs.
Apratim: In the Australia series, Sachin Tendulkar had a very high strike rate.
Soumya: Say I make you the national selector of the Indian team. On what basis will you select a player?
... WHY SACHIN SHOULD RETIRE
Soham: I will look at the future of the team... the emblem of the team that you are playing for is in front and the player’s name at the back... so, no player is bigger than the team.
Apratim: That quote is from David Beckham. He left Manchester United for the money that Real Madrid offered! I think when you quote someone, you must also see what he has done in his life!
Soumya: Talking about what Gavaskar said, he said it is a dangerous sign, but that does not mean that drop him from the team. Sanjay Manjrekar and Harsha Bhogle said we must preserve Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan for the South African tour.
Soham: There was a hue and cry as to who would replace Rahul Dravid. See, (Cheteshwar) Pujara got a 100... so give these boys a chance.
Sutirtha Chatterjee (student of mass communication at ISB&M): If Sachin too goes now, then India will face the same problem that Australia did.
Apratim: India will do worse!
Bihan: Gavaskar said that earlier Sachin would have hit the same ball for four.... Take 10 years out of Sachin’s life and compare a 28-year-old Sachin and 25-year-old Rohit Sharma... Rohit Sharma cannot play!
Soumya: It is very easy to talk about Tendulkar in an air-conditioned room! There was a time in Tendulkar’s career when Pedro Collins (of West Indies) used to get Tendulkar out and people said this was the end. That was after his tennis elbow. He came back! Ravi Shastri knows about cricket more than anyone does in India and so does Sanjay Manjrekar! Look at Manjrekar’s record... he averages 37.14 in Tests and he comments on Tendulkar, but Tendulkar proves him wrong! People said a lot of things about his fitness. You should have seen the way he was fielding in the World Cup. You can replace a player on the basis of age like Australia in case of Steve Waugh when you have all the 11 players performing. When you have players like Gambhir and Sehwag who are going through a bad patch for a long time and you have a Suresh Raina who still hasn’t learned to play the short ball...
Apratim: Who cannot handle balls above his waist! No puns intended...
Soumya: Can you replace a player who is performing? Two Test matches or three innings is not sufficient to push someone like Tendulkar out of the team.
Apratim: We are forgetting that Sachin Tendulkar is a man with a lot of pride. He has been a champion for 22 years. Why do you think what is occurring to us, will not occur to him?
Soumya: Despite the 0-8 debacle?! India is a very strange country... when a captain wins two Test matches and scores a century, he loses his captaincy. And there are captains who lose 0-8 and nothing is said... Incredible India!
Apratim: Why should he take responsibility for 0-8 and move away? When India won the World Cup, did he take all the credit?
Soumya: Tendulkar knows himself more than anyone else. He has always bounced back. The fact that the selectors cannot touch him is not true. That is only true of the members of the Chennai Super Kings team! There is no replacement for Sachin.
Diptarshi: Kobey hobey sheta? If you don’t allow new players to come in...
Bihan: Can you guarantee someone like Manoj Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane can come into the Indian squad and perform better than him?
Soumya: Hasn’t Suresh Raina been given a chance? He has played more than 100 ODIs. Can you think of one innings that might be comparable to the desert storm innings of Sachin’s (in Sharjah). I am not judging Badrinath and Pujara. Let’s be logical... if I am choosing a team, I will be choosing the best players as of now. There is the South African tour coming up in 2013. So, I am going to take players who can play the short ball well. Manoj Tiwary wasn’t able to handle the short ball even in Sri Lanka. How can I take him? You earn your spot! If you don’t have that ability, then you are not a cricketer!
Apratim: You are comparing Sachin with his own standard and not with the team’s.
Bihan: Ek piece-i aachhey!
Soumya: Tendulkar should continue because he still has the form. We all expect Tendulkar to score a century every time he goes out to bat... but you have to be logical... check out his average... is he averaging more than 40, which is important. As long as he performs, he should play...
Sutirtha: Who are we to give him time?
Apratim: He also has pride. Did you see his reaction after he got out today? (In a rare show of anger at himself, Sachin almost smashed the bat into the ground!)
Soham: How would you justify Sachin choosing his tours? He opts out of a tour and then when he decides to come back, the youngster who had stepped in has to make way for him...
Apratim: The last time when India toured Sri Lanka, Suresh Raina made a century in the second Test because Yuvraj Singh was injured. In the next match, Yuvraj came in and nobody raised a question... Sudhu Sachin ke niyei!
Soumya: For the time being let’s forget terms like youngsters and oldies. These do not matter. What matters is what you do on the ground.
Soham: Yes, and what do you do on the ground? You keep another player out... that’s selfish.
Soumya: But you are scoring runs!
Diptarshi: Tendulkar is acting like a selector and resting himself, saying he wants to spend time with the family...
Soumya: If Tendulkar has rested so many times and others have played in his spot, why haven’t we got a replacement? Greg Chappell started this policy of looking at the future. What happened? Dravid still deserves to be a part of the Indian team because he did well in England. Just because Dravid opted out despite good performances does not mean Tendulkar has to do the same! Here is a man who just a year ago, around this time, was hitting a Morne Morkel and a Dale Steyn for sixes and fours in Nagpur. Why should he retire because of two deliveries from Doug Bracewell and Tim Southee?
Apratim: Age can take a toll on your reflex, but if he is compensating that with his skill, then what is the problem? After his tennis elbow problem, he stopped hitting sixes. People said that he is no longer the attacking batsman that he used to be. He wasn’t dropped because he was still hitting centuries.
Soumya: With no seniors in the team, you’ll need a Sachin Tendulkar in South Africa. How many people have two back-to-back 100s against South Africa?!
Apratim: His one hand is better than the two hands of the rest of the people combined.
Soham: Sachin is now considered bigger than the team. So, the selectors don’t have the guts to drop him and in the last two years, he hasn’t done anything worthwhile. He missed out on the England tour where Rahane scored a century and Rahane does not get a chance after that! Sachin should retire... this is Indian cricket and not Sachin’s cricket.
Diptarshi: Going by what Gavaskar said, he might end up worse scoring more ducks. He should leave with dignity.
Apratim: I agree that in the last two series he hasn’t been able to perform up to his own standards. But you cannot say he is a burden on the team.
Sutirtha: In 2004, he had tennis elbow, which bothered him for two years and everyone said the same thing. Chappell questioned his reflexes...
Apratim: Chappell questioned his commitment.
Sutirtha: In 2011, he was the first man to score a double hundred in ODIs.
Soumya: I don’t believe in terms like ‘old’ and ‘young’. Be it a Viswanathan Anand or a Zinedine Zidane... we have seen age does not matter, mileage does. If a person is performing he should stay. He made his debut when he was 16... At an age when we think of having nice girlfriends and sending mushy texts, he was facing Waqar Younis.
756 runs in nine Tests, 500 runs in 11 ODIs... that is the record of 2011. I don’t agree that you should retire when you are at your peak. That’s selfish. He is one person who loves playing cricket. He will play as long as he wants to. So, two matches do not matter. Aamar duto girlfriend baaje boley ki aami biye korbo na? Won’t I have a third girlfriend?
Bihan: There are a lot of players who are not performing and yet they are in the team... there is Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhoni… Sachin can play as long as he wants to…
Soumya: Sachin is not god... He just has amazing work ethics. Can you imagine a 38-year-old becoming the second highest run-getter in the World Cup?
So, should Sachin Tendulkar play on or retire? We await your verdict at email@example.com