Sachin Tendulkar’s last probable innings in a Mumbai Test ended in disappointment yesterday when he was trapped leg before wicket by England’s Monty Panesar for eight. Doubtless, it was heartbreaking for Tendulkar fans to watch their hero make his way back to the Wankhede Stadium pavilion as Alastair Cook’s team celebrated wholeheartedly.
While Tendulkar’s decision to continue playing one-day cricket even after achieving his long-awaited World Cup success, was criticised by the most well meaning of former players and pundits, he was still scoring runs at Test level. Things are not the same now though considering his best Test score in the last 10 innings is just 27.
The time has come for the batting God to contemplate his future in the longer version of the game. His reputation is too big to be questioned time and again, be it for getting clean-bowled often or disappointing scores.
He must be remembered as a great batsman and not one who extended his stay. To his eternal credit, he has never been dropped in 23 years of Test cricket. He is still in a position to go out on his own terms. A lot of his admirers would not want to see a situation where the selectors will be pressurised to give him a tap on the shoulders.
We must respect Tendulkar’s greatness. We must acknowledge that he still finds desire in his work. But do we want the finest batsman of a generation to endure scrutiny that undermines his great deeds? No.
If Tendulkar is not able to drum up high scores in Kolkata and Nagpur against the Englishmen, he ought to call it a day before the Australians arrive for a Test series.
It’s no shame to go out after a disappointing series, but being forced to make an exit after yet another one would be a pity.