Friday, September 7, 2012

Goodbye Sachin

Missing the woods for the trees.

That’s the recurring thought when I read any discussion which has both the words in them, Sachin and Retirement; and those discussions seem as common nowadays as discussions on governmental scams !

But of course, Sachin’s retirement is an entirely valid discussion, and indeed, I believe was an important discussion which should have been initiated three years ago.

Having said that, what context and scope the discussion then?

The unfortunate tragedy is we Indians tend to make mountains out of molehills, and that too, at the drop of a hat! A batsman is Mr. India one day, saving the country from destruction, and the evil, scheming Dr. Dang the very next!

The R-word discussion is entirely called for, but not because of three silly little dismissals. Far from it in fact.

A brilliant batsman, who has been performing magnificently, and even in the twilight of his career, has generally been delivering better than most of his team-mates, suddenly does not get old on one fine blue -skied morning, developing Alzheimer’s during his morning walk, and forget how to get his foot to the pitch of the ball !

Maybe he is getting slow, sure, but make no mistake, SRT will come out of this ‘slump’ and ‘ail’ as the eyeball seeking tabloids put it. Rest assured, a few more centuries will be peeled out, for a lifetime of greatness doesn’t vanish into nothingness overnight.

There is surely a case for Sachin to be part of the India Test Team.  

As some observers have rightly pointed out, with Dravid and Laxman leaving a gaping hole in the middle order in terms or experience, no dispassionate commentator will ignore the merits for having the ageing legend in a difficult overseas test tour to South Africa. All said and done, a middle order worth a combined experience of around 20 tests or such, is hardly comforting for such life and death tours.  And make no mistake there, life and death it is. For if one gets down to the crux of the matter, to really prove your worth as a cricketer and cricket team beyond all dispute, one needs to be worth one’s salts in the Test Arena. Come on really now, as enjoyable as they are, leave the T-20s and one-dayers’ to pre-school toddlers with pretty pink ribbons in their hair!! :)

Why then the validity of the retirement discussion?  

Let’s ask ourselves, why are only two words being discussed in conjunction? Sachin and Retirement? Why don’t more observers, and with more fervor, link three words – Sachin + Retirement + One-dayers?

For sure, the weight of the ‘experience’ argument in favor of Sachin goes out of the proverbial window when it comes to the One dayers. All said and done, a few months ago, Gambhir or Sehwag, with a combined experience of a few hundred one dayers between then, sat out to accommodate Sachin in the team. So there, experience.  Add to the mixture, the sight of exciting young blood with serious potential warming the benches and playing tic-tac-toe, and one wonders what's going on? What in the world are the selectors thinking? Really !? Players like Rahane, Sharma, Rayudu dreaming to be ‘Tendulkars’ ever since they were in diapers, and as mature men, seeing their dreams coming to a screeching halt at the ‘STOP’ sign stubbornly held up by the very same Tendulkar?  It sometimes causes amazement to me that Tendulkar isn’t cringing at what he is effectively doing.

Sorry, Sachin, you have been a magnificent sportsman without doubt, but your services are no longer needed in one day international cricket matches representing Team India. With immediate effect.

Which selector has the.. err... family jewels, to stare the truth in the face, and more importantly read out the truth to Sachin’s face? To have a honest discussion with the man about the birds and the bees, and the realities of the world as they exist?

Said someone, ‘the old skin has to be shed before the new one can come’. Tragically cruel perhaps, but as they say, change is the only universal constant.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, can you hear the bells tolling?