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Sunny blames it on criticism

Calcutta: Sachin Tendulkar’s one-day International career ended on Sunday, stuck on 49 centuries. As The Master announced his retirement from limited-overs cricket, Sunil Gavaskar was left an unsatisfied admirer of Sachin as he wanted a half-century of ODI centuries.

Speaking during a television programme, the former India captain said that criticism might have played a part in influencing Sachin’s decision to quit one-day cricket.

“I think he really cares for Indian cricket… May be, whatever he saw, read and heard, might have prompted him to take a call. But I feel, he knows his body well,” Gavaskar said.

“He is finishing on 49 ODI hundreds... I would have loved to see him get 50 centuries. That would have been fantastic,” he wished.

While answering queries on whether Sachin, after quitting ODIs, would now be planning to play 200 Tests, Gavaskar said that it was futile to think so far ahead. Sachin, for the record, has so far played 194 Tests.

“We are looking too far ahead... If he plays the next four Tests (against Australia), that will take him to 198… But after that, the next two Tests will be much later… It’s almost a year down the road,” Gavaskar argued.

Sachin’s retirement has obviously raised the question that how will the Indian team cope up with it. It’s not that Sachin used to play each and every one-day match, but the fact that he was available made a lot of difference. What now?

Here’s what Gavaskar feels: “The fact that India will not have Sachin in the one-day side is something we have got used to, because he had opted out after the Asia Cup. The selection committee, the Indian team, the Indian captain have pretty much got used to him not being around, but the fact that he will not be there anymore is a big loss.”

Commenting on what might be going through Sachin’s mind, Gavaskar said: “It’s Sachin, the cricketer, who took the call that he didn’t want to play one-day cricket anymore. Officially, he announced it today, but mentally, he might have done so in March, after the Asia Cup.”

Asked to pick a standout innings from The Master’s numerous gems, Gavaskar selected the famous Sharjah knock, against Australia. “It has to be the Sharjah one, when India had to qualify for the final… Not only did India need to win the match, but also to score the runs at a certain run-rate. That was when the real pressure was.”

Gavaskar also picked India’s 2011 World Cup win as a special moment in Sachin’s career. “It’s always going to be the World Cup win… There may be many personal achievements, but a World Cup win is an entirely different feeling.

“For me too the 1983 World Cup win is the greatest moment of my career. I did not contribute much and still I felt on top of the world… But Sachin did contribute. So, it has to be right up there.”