I've not followed cricket as closely since retiring, says Tendulkar

LONDON: Sachin Tendulkar said Friday the West Indies' shock decision to cut short their tour of India was "not good for cricket". However, the India great was at a loss to know what caused them to take such drastic action.

Tendulkar, in London to promote his autobiography, 'Playing It My Way', said that since retiring last year, having played his 200th Test match and become the only man to score 100 international centuries, he had not been that heavily involved in cricket. "Since I've retired I've not been following cricket as closely," he said during a press conference at Lord's. "I only read a couple of things -- to go into details I really don't know what transpired that made them take that decision.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

"It's definitely not good for cricket but if I speak further on this topic it would be unwise," the 41-year-old added. "I don't know what the respective players have said to their boards so I don't want to make a big statement on that." The already cash-strapped West Indies Cricket Board was left facing a $42 million (33.5 million euros) claim by their Indian counterparts for lost earnings after their side quit the tour following the fourth ODI in Dharamsala on October 17, even though the fifth one-day international, a Twenty20 match and three Tests still remained to be played.

That prompted the Board of Control for Cricket in India to respond by cancelling a tour scheduled for February and March 2016 to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 international. The current crisis in Caribbean cricket, and the reason behind the abandonment of the India tour lay in the unhappiness of some players at the pay deal brokered by their own association and the WICB. But even if there is an internal resolution of differences between the West Indies Players' Association, the unhappy players such as one-day skipper Dwayne Bravo and the WICB, that still leaves open the question of India's financial threat.

The BCCI is one of world cricket's wealthiest national governing bodies and the WICB, one of the poorest, and many observers believe there is no way India will go through in full with their claim for compensation given the inability of West Indies cricket to meet such a bill. Indeed the WICB, as is the case with several other national governing bodies, is dependent for a large part of its income on being able to sell lucrative broadcast coverage rights for an incoming tour by India, where the mass enthusiasm for cricket in the world's second-most populous nation makes it a huge commercial attraction.

Last week, West Indies great Brian Lara, a contemporary of Tendulkar and also one of the best batsmen cricket has known, said he did not expect the BCCI to pull the plug on Caribbean cricket. "I don't think the BCCI will be that severe on us," Lara told BBC Sport. "I believe West Indies cricket will be alive. I don't think anybody has the intention to end our game," he added.

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