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In the Indian Express, Surjit S Bhalla and Ankur Choudhary weigh up Sachin Tendulkar's contributions to his teams in numbers, and his decision to play on. A statistical analysis, they conclude, shows it is high time he retired (or is dropped).
The "best" retirees are from England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The top batsmen in these countries have retired at around 75% of their peak. In contrast, players from the sub-continent retire further off their peak with average of 65%.
While 65 percent of peak may seem respectable, the average hides considerably more than it reveals. The best Indian retirees list is led by Mohinder Amarnath - he retired close to peak form, while the tail is brought up by Sehwag, Tendulkar, Vengsarkar and Gambhir. All four of these batmen have their last average less than half their peak value. In particular, Tendulkar's rank is a lowly 67 in our list of 74, just behind Sehwag who may have got the boot, and behind Ponting who was told to go? It does not get much lower than this - the last batsmen on the list, Gibbs, retired when his form average was just 42 percent of peak.
A Cricketing View points out that in the past couple of years Tendulkar's bad days have been worse than they used to be, even while yearning to see the master at his best one last time.
What Tendulkar has lost in the past year or so is this old ability to keep good bowling out. He seems to be reading the line and length just that little bit later, and as a result, he's off balance more often than he used to be. It is fascinating to see, for it is revealing Tendulkar's mastery to us in a way that watching him at his best never did.
It must be miserable watching one's skills fray. It must take a special obsession (or some odd compulsion, which I doubt is the case) to keep putting oneself out there game after game in such circumstances. If I had one birthday present to give Tendulkar at age 40, it would be to put whatever little goodwill I possess so that he may be near his best game just one more time. For Tendulkar at his best is an exquisite sight. It is unlikely to come in the T20 game, for the mark his batsmanship was never hasty coercion, but durable inevitability. Just once more. Experience tells us that such wishes rarely come true. But for Tendulkar's sake, I hope mine does.