West Indies in India 2013-14

Tendulkar's last burden

The two Tests between India and West Indies has little in terms of context apart from it being Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series. Hopefully the cricket will make up for its manufactured existence

Sidharth Monga in Kolkata

November 4, 2013

Comments: 94 | Text size: A | A

Shivnarine Chanderpaul stands at the ready during training, Kolkata, October 30, 2013
Shivnarine Chanderpaul averages 66 against India, compared to his career average of 52 © WICB

On November 2 - Diwali weekend - India worked desperately hard to defend 383 against Australia in Bangalore. Next morning, nine bleary-eyed India cricketers were on a long flight to Kolkata for a Test series that would begin in fewer than 72 hours. Luckily for them the flight wasn't heavily booked, and the logistics manager could arrange for Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli to move to the first-class section so that MS Dhoni could spread himself out on three seats and get some sleep.

There were to be a total of two training sessions before this series against West Indies. The Tests were arranged because the BCCI reportedly wanted to punish CSA for appointing a CEO it didn't like, and at the same time couldn't have its players sit at home during peak season. So onwards we went towards a series with no build-up or context or duration. Two training sessions before the two Tests each, and boom, in two weeks the series is over. Although, on the duration front it might be as good as it gets with the BCCI: India's next three series are two Tests each.

Down in Kolkata, though, ground reality has changed. This, you see, happens to be Sachin Tendulkar's last international series. One thousand people lined up to welcome him at the Kolkata airport, and hundreds waited outside Eden Gardens on a work day to catch a glimpse of Tendulkar after one of the two practice sessions. This series is one last burden for Tendulkar, one last thing for him to carry on his shoulders alone, like the Indian team of the '90s.

This series has sprung up so randomly that there cannot be any other storyline. Time is central to Test cricket. The fan needs time to build up anticipation for a Test series, to think of possible contests, to play them out in the mind, to follow the form of the visitors in the practice games, to start thinking of match XIs as the first Test comes around. This series has had none of it. It's more like, "Pleased to meet you, now heads or tails?"

Or rather, Tendulkar or Eden? For that's what the sides of the coin for the toss will be. And you can only hope that once the toss has happened the quality of cricket makes up for this series - well - being there. There is no better way to classify its existence. Put the Tendulkar retirement aside, and it's just there.

The cricket better be good because it is always going to be compared to what would have happened had West Indies not been the only team free in the world at this time of the year. The opportunity cost will always crop up. West Indies would have chilled, and India would have been preparing for a proper tour of South Africa, and not starting a Test series three days after finishing an ODI runathon against Australia.

Now that the series is here, it is time to look beyond Tendulkar too. He remains a fascinating story even without the retirement. His last Test century came in 2010-11 in Cape Town, after which he has played some good innings - against West Indies in the chase in Delhi, in Melbourne and Sydney, in Chennai against Australia, a fighting 76 against England right here in Kolkata - but he has failed to turn them into big ones. Even if he hadn't been retiring, Tendulkar would have made for interesting viewing.

Beyond Tendulkar is another milestone man, the quiet Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who will play his 150th Test in Mumbai. Surely no one has challenged the cricket-is-a-side-on-game tenet for longer and with better results? He is also a known India slayer. Well, slaying is too violent a term for what Chanderpaul does, but you get the idea, with a fourth of his 28 Test centuries coming against India in just 23 Tests out of 148. He averages 66 against his favourite opposition, compared to 52 overall. And unlike Tendulkar, he doesn't seem to have plans of retiring anytime soon.

There is an upside to this, though. Players from both sides will know that performances in this series will not go forgotten. Everyone will remember the bloke who scored a hundred in Tendulkar's last Test, no Indian fan will forget the man who gets Shivnarine Chanderpaul early in his 150th, and glory is his who can be the modern Eric Hollies.

Despite there being precious little to recommend this series by, apart from Tendulkar and Chanderpaul, what it has going for it is the relief it will bring after the batting pornography that played out in India over the last month. There will be consequence attached to big shots here. The ball will swing more, turn more, and reverse when it ages. Chanderpaul and Cheteshwar and anyone who puts a price on his wicket will be welcome sights. R Ashwin can go back to working batsmen out as opposed to finding ways to concede as few sixes as possible; Kemar Roach's pace will be respected and not flayed. Chris Gayle and Shikhar Dhawan might want to upset the pace a bit, but they will do so after weighing up the massive consequences of an early wicket in a Test match.

And if it doesn't go to plan, you can always wear the Tendulkar mask you will be given on the first day, reminisce, enjoy his farewell, and put the burden of this series on his shoulders.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by gristy83 on (November 6, 2013, 20:31 GMT)

This is a poor send off for what is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen that has ever graced the game. I am sure that Sachin himself would rather have a send off against the best side in the world, South Africa, as planned instead of the BCCI hastily arranging a send off against what is pretty much a mickey mouse side. The farcical arrangement was highlighted when Sachin bowled when the opposition were in deep trouble...

This series is not the send off that he deserves and the BCCI should be ashamed of themselves for the handling of this.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

@Rashed Mohd Hasan: A coward? A scared mouse..!! Show me another single player who has dominated the game like him. He was 16 when he faced Wasimbhai for your information. He was a lone warrior when Indian cricket was in tatters and crumbled like crackers on overseas pitches. In fact, there's no other player who has better record on overseas pitches!! He has proved himself enough. Time after time people like you wake up and take a dig at him. You might have gotten my attention here out of frustration but you won't get his. He has mastered the art of keeping his feet on ground while flying high. And son he has flown to great heights, many could only imagine. He is someone who has always pushed his limits. Retiring while you're on high was not something he would do. He made absolute sure that he had reached his limits.

Posted by AltafPatel on (November 6, 2013, 8:46 GMT)

Leaving Tests in 2010-11 SA tour and ODIs after WC 11 would have been great for this Master Class there by leaving game on high, same as leaving premier league games winning IPL 13, and Champions League 13 a month ago.

Posted by crikkfan on (November 6, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

Nicely written article - well done Monga! Regarding context or the lack thereof, the point is not as much about the context as the lack of build up and anticipation that goes ahead of the test series *for the sake of cricket* and nothing extraneous ...even as a diehard fan of Sachin, I am sad this series had to be cooked up as per the whims of BCCI :( may one day all series made mandatory 3+ tests to satisfy hard core cricket fans like us.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2013, 3:14 GMT)

Its surprising to see so many people cribbing over how much of love and adulation Indians - as cricket fans - give to Sachin Tendulkar! If you're not a Sachin fan .. don't root for him ...

I guess the problem is.. ya'll have never had anyone to cheer for as much as we have had! No doubt Shiv, Mahela, Jacques etc are great cricketers too and we totally respect them.... but perhaps they can never touch our hearts the way Sachin has .. maybe .. just may be.. Sachin had that extra something ??!! If not for statistical numbers.. recognize the man for his off the field composure.. calmness and gentlemanly behavior in the face of being a Demi-God for billions! Our latest sensation Virat may touch his numbers.. but hey .. the class of Sachin as a person ......NEVER!

And if the issue is.. why did the other greats not get (or will get) such a farewell.... its entirely up to the fans to do that! So raise ur FANHOOD and wait under the scorching sun to catch a glimpse of Shiv when he is retiring!

Posted by   on (November 6, 2013, 2:34 GMT)

everybody desperately wants to get famous by criticizing Sachin. Get a life dude...

Posted by android_user on (November 6, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

Sachin over the last 25 years you gave the cricket world wonderful memories.you will surely be missed on the cricketing headlines . the battles against the world's best bowlers would be no more but we in the cricketing world would always remember them. thank you for those great moments and all the best in all future endeavours

Posted by   on (November 6, 2013, 1:35 GMT)

what a coward, decided to play his last innings on dead wickets. what a scared mouse. Rather than ending his career against a tough side or a tough wicket, he choose the easy way out.

Pathetic !!!

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 23:57 GMT)

All cricket fans eyes on Sachin. Our best wishes for him.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 22:18 GMT)

I stopped reading after the writer suggested that Sachin alone had to carry the burden of the Indian team. Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman sure were good enough to shoulder the burden as much as he did. Yes he scored more than they did, but it's insulting to cricket and the quality of batsmen Sachin played with when people make remarks like this.

Posted by nursery_ender on (November 5, 2013, 20:45 GMT)

What happens if he gets injured in test 199? Does the SA tour get rearranged again?

Posted by jango_moh on (November 5, 2013, 20:21 GMT)

totally agree with @foursandsixes... this talk of context is also manufactured (much like this series)....

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 20:21 GMT)

Wow - Tendulkar managed to get a series with a 'B' side team to get to 200 Test matches and also retire amongst runs. That is IMPRESSIVE. Take a bow sir.

Posted by The-love on (November 5, 2013, 16:41 GMT)

As always haters will hate but lovers will always love cricket and sachin....That is what sachin has taught us in last 25 years....Good luck for the series.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

Thank you Sachin for all the years:-) keep going Shiv....always a tiger, you are:-)

Posted by AamanSomani on (November 5, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

THank you sachin for all your memories.....

Posted by devil_in_details on (November 5, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

Of course we go mad about Sachin and his retirement. He touches an average Indian's heart like nobody post Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru has done.In that sense he is bigger than cricket and his retirement the biggest context for the series- no other context is needed. The cricketing fan in me wanted him to play his swansong against SA bowlers, the fanatic in me said " No way, what the BCCI is doing is right. There is no damn way Sachin will play his last test match outside India". In this case the fanatic wins by a margin.However it is equally true, that come tomorrow we all would want India to win in the best way possible. The Kolkata pitch has always provided very good contests and this time should be no different. The Windies with their pace bowlers should also provide a good competition. A good Indian win would be the best tribute to the Master afterall.

Posted by foursandsixes on (November 5, 2013, 14:19 GMT)

While I get it that this series has been manufactured, for various reasons, including keeping SRT's 200th at home, I don't understand the need for context. How do you define context when two teams play each other? Won't the SA-Ind series have the same context as WI-Ind or any other bilateral series for that matter? You can argue rightly that 2 tests is not sufficient, but the context argument lacks logic.

Posted by wapuser on (November 5, 2013, 13:53 GMT)

Miss u sachin waiting for tmrw

Posted by popcorn on (November 5, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

It will be a relief when it's over. And if West Indies wins 2 nil, and Tendulkar fails, will the Indian cricket fans who like Indian cricket, not cricket per se, still remember these two Tests? The Cricket Scorebook will not lie.

Posted by o-bomb on (November 5, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

It is said that no 1 person is bigger than the game. It seems for the next 2 weeks this is not true.

Posted by ramli on (November 5, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

If SRT had not revealed his plans earlier than the last day of the Mumbai test, then this series would have had a cricket context. Having announced the retirement early, SRT only invited all these non-essential festivities that mask the cricket context. SRT quit ODI scene quietly. He should have chosen to do the same this time also. Then, the festivities would have to be held after the test series. Poor decision on the part of SRT to announce his retirement plan in public in advance.

Posted by stormy16 on (November 5, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

What a player, what a batsman and what a stage! Finally one of the greatest test careers is coming to and end and us non-India fans feel the emotion of it all. I feel there should be no rules when it come to Sachins farewell and I hear the cries that it should have been against SA etc etc but the Indian fans deserve better and the man himself deserves to say goodbye to the great game in front of his home crowd - how could it be any other way surely? The mans career has been a fairly take and surely he deserves this one final send off. I hope he makes some big runs and gives us all one last glimpse as one of the all time greats of the game. Will be sad to see the end of Sachin who has been nothing short of a sensation from day one.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

All those who talks bad about sachin have to remember the days when sachin got out almost all of the tv sets in india has been shut.There will be no other player like tendulkar .

Posted by CricketChat on (November 5, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

Well written! More importantly, I hope there will be a better contest between bat and ball.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 12:16 GMT)

Hello trivia lovers. Mind you, it's potentially a great player's 150 th test too that Bombay would soon be hosting.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

@Nutcutlet on (November 5, 2013, 10:18 GMT) - Featured comment:

The unfairness of the situation (Sachin Vs Chanders) is obvious. Some might say that it is the West Indies Board which should do justice to their great players like Chanders. So, for a run of the mill Indian audience comparison of this extravaganza with what was meted out to any of the other Indian greats, including players like Dravid or VVS will sound relevant.

But that is the way the dice falls. Most of my class-mates from HBS are multi billionaires; and I am a retired professor, who appears on the tail of the graph, when the Alumni conducts surveys of the current financial status of the class mates. The country where i chose to live and the profession I chose made the difference. So, no complaints are warranted.

Posted by chin-music on (November 5, 2013, 12:09 GMT)

Concepts like "context" to a series matter to people who actually watch sport as a genuine contest of skill/atleticism amongst 2 teams. For the vast majority of "Indian cricket fans" - cricket is not a sport , it is simply a platform for mindless hero-worship and jingositic chest thumping. Moreover , with so much money to be made out of this irrational hero-worshipping mindset, it's no wonder that even before one "hero" walks into the sunset , the media machine has already started preparing Kohli as the next one. Truly, the show must go on.

Posted by StarHawk on (November 5, 2013, 11:17 GMT)

I don't understand why there is no context to this test series. If that's the case, other than the Ashes, what test series have context? India do not play many test matches these days and everyone was complaining about the lack of test matches. Now that the BCCI added 2 more test matches, everyone is complaining that there is no context? For those who claim to be purists, who love test cricket, its an opportunity to enjoy 2 "real" cricket matches.

And don't tell these two teams that there is no context to this series. There's a lot of question marks for both the teams. For India, they would like to sort out their bowling, and also put finishing touches to its batting line up, post Tendulkar era. This is a great opportunity for guys like Vijay, Rohit etc. to show what they got. Also for WI, its a great opportunity to try and defeat India at their den and spoil Tendulkar's party.

Why are we always complaining? Why can't we just enjoy cricket, the game we love??

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

No one is gonna debate on Sachin being a great cricketer,his records does that on it's own.We all speak so highly of him,which he deserves.But it's only fair to give the due respect and credits to the greats like Dravid,Laxman,Chanderpaul,Kallis and much more who have carried test cricket on their shoulders in the past two decades or more.And here we have a whole series dedicated to an individual just to see him off.We can ask ourselves here "is any individual greater than the game itself ?" We honor Sachin here,but how did we honor the other legends..If everyone was seen off the same way that Sachin is,I wouldn't have raised this.Remember a single individual irrespective of his achievements can never be greater than the game itself.But nevertheless I respect the man for what he has accomplished,and I don't mean to offend anyone here.Let's hope he signs off with a memorable knock,and hopefully the teams wins with that said.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

That proves that a team cant be played with a single man if Sachin existed without other greats than India would be like West Indies and Sachin would be Chander paul.

Posted by android_user on (November 5, 2013, 10:54 GMT)

I have been never sachin fan b coz he is not a match winner he is afraid to play his last test in sa they shud have asked Pak to visit india to do some good for cricket Bcci chose weakest test team b coz they know sachin

Posted by INDIAN_CKT_FAN on (November 5, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

The people who are commenting about Sachin and this series as without Context are not from the era of 90's, when all the people shut their TV sets when Sachin got out or when people gets emotional when he hit the invincible Aussies team to all part of Ground during the Desert Storm or when he returned to the WC 1999 after his father demise and made that 100. There was not a sportsman as great as this little master and the emotions he gave to us as kids in 90's was just amazing still when we look into his innings there is tears in our eyes or smiles all around, such is the impact of Sachin that me and my friends didn't have their dinner when he got out during the 2003 WC final. simply incomparable. So he deserve such a farewell.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 10:23 GMT)

Getting a little tried of this "CONTEXT" word. does it mean, everything should have a 200 year history like ashes? Does world cricket start and end with Ashes?. Why was the Australia, India ODI series rendered contextless? Perhaps the author is going overboard with his purist sentiments. The context is it is a bilateral series between 2 countries, nothing more , nothing less. I am a cricket lover, but this obsession of searching for this self declared context is suffocating.

Posted by android_user on (November 5, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

@paradave17 just ask how may players in india want to delay their debuts for having a chance to play with sachin unmukt chand said that if he had to wait entire life for sachin to play he would do it easy.i think sachin could have played at least till english summer

Posted by baghels.a on (November 5, 2013, 9:46 GMT)

I feel of late Cricinfo has gone overboard in it's criticism of BCCI and 50 over and T -20 formats in self , look there is nothing wrong with Sid Monga and other purists who love there test cricket and balance between bat and ball it entails in its very essence and definition, but does being a test lover means you have to thrash talk and demean shorter formats of the game .I call myself cricket lover and enjoy all three formats of the game but i get a feeling looking at the articles and comments posted in Cricinfo there is no such thing , either you are in this camp or in the oppossite camp, its bit like with my cousins who go on and on about how Football is more exiting and entertaining than cricket and i am like i love both cricket and football equally.... Cricket as it a minority sports worlwide and beating ourselves over various formats and playing conditions don't help ..

Posted by Kashi0127 on (November 5, 2013, 9:22 GMT)

There is one word for this Sachin Mania. I can repeat it million times but will top at 3 as there are minimum no. of words needed for this comment: SICK, SICK SICK.

Posted by pradave17 on (November 5, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

Sachin was great. But his end point of cricket was too late. Look at Rohith, Jadeja, Dawan and other young batsmen. I think Sachin made a delay them to come to the stage. Hope this would be his "real" farewell not just as a good player. But as an ethical player who thinks about the national team

Posted by Ghazanfarr on (November 5, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

hi, Sachin retirement is sad for his fans all over the world. as for as pakistani are also feeling sad on retiring of Sachin. Great Sachin can play more 3-5 years.

Posted by Sagarneel on (November 5, 2013, 8:09 GMT)

..(contd). As a great admirer of Dravid and Laxman, I just wished that these players too received a fraction of the emotional attention, Sachin is getting right now. This, plus the hope that the great man ended his career with a thumping performance against the giants of today's Test cricket - South Africa, in their own den; and not a tailor made series (with pitches to follow too) against a hapless WI team.

Posted by Sagarneel on (November 5, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

...(contd.) Tendulkar's legacy is not in the runs that he scored. It's in a collage of of lot of moments of cricketing romance - be it continuing to bat after being hit on the nose of a fierce Waqar Younis delivery, or hitting Abdul Qadir for thoese sixes, or square cutting Shoaib Akhter over point for a six, or his magical performances in the world cups, or his stellar performances against the likes of McGrath and Sahne Warne. Yes, his batting has faltered quite a few times too, which is understandable given his career spanned for 22 years, however, not for once did his stance as a humble human being was questioned; and there lies the secret to his admirability. However, the point is, was he the only one who deserved such an emotional farewell? I see Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman in the same league, both in terms of their cricketing ability and conduct (my own thoughts though). We Indians are known to be driven by emotions, which is often fueled by external factors (read media) (contd.)

Posted by Sagarneel on (November 5, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

What makes Sachin Tendulkar so admirable? Is it only his records, the eye watering straight drives, his centuries against the once mighty Australians or just the sheer number of runs he has scored? I think it's all these plus much more. More than his cricketing achievement, what distinguishes him from many other sports superstars, is the way he has conducted himself on and off the cricketing field. While the current crop of Kohlis abuse (I don't know whom) after scoring a century, this man quietly looked at the skies; while the Shikhar Dhawans mimic an injured player, we could not imagine Sachin doing anything close to this during his playing days. That smile won a billion hearts and reflected an image of a humble human being first, and then one of greatest sporting icons the world has seen. I don't see Virat Kohli or Shikhar Dhawan garnering such enormous emotions when they retire...they make break a lot of records, but to be as humble as Sachin is, is out of their books. (..contd)

Posted by vkmandal on (November 5, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

sachin is nothing in comparable to don bradman.if u want to see the real batting go and watch his batting. no triple hundreds in 327 innings.............can u say him god.not also most double hundreds like bradman (12) in only 80 innings

Posted by Srivathsan_Sridharan on (November 5, 2013, 7:40 GMT)

The cricket itself has taken a backstage with 'The Sachin Show'. I am sure he won't like this kind of unwanted celebrations. He wants to retire and retire peacefully. If BCCI is at fault in planning a farewell series for him at home, then Cricket Association of Bengal had gone one step further to commercialize his 199th test and putting unwanted pressures to him. I request the CAB on behlaf of the cricket fans to stop these kind of acts and prepare a good sporting wicket to ensure an even contest between bat and ball to make his 199th a memorable one.

Posted by NP_NY on (November 5, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

@shankupals: Sorry pal, crediting Sachin with India's economic progress is overdoing it a bit! In fact without him, the Indian economy would have really boomed because it would have kept all of us away from the television :) All said and done, cricket is just a game and Sachin is the most gifted cricketer ever and a good humble man. That is about it. He is not God and he is not the symbol of hope...at least not to me.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 7:11 GMT)

'Batting Pornography'. Has to be Monga's best bit of writing for cricinfo!. It really was such an abomination, and now the Kolkata Curator has promised more of the same for 5 days to try and make Sachin's last test series an utterly forgettable one for the kind of cricket played. I don't mind if Tendulkar doesn't score a hundred in this series, I'll be more than happy to see him fight out for the winning runs and score 50-60 to lead them there, just like he did for Mumbai last week. But it is likely that the pitch would reduce the first test at least to a farce.

Posted by NP_NY on (November 5, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

I like all Indian fans, am a Sachin fan but enough already. The articles about Sachin's retirement and his achievements are starting to get boring. I don't agree that this test series has no context. WI is a strong young team (with experienced players like Shiv and Gayle to guide them) and are probably a better bowling unit than India. So it will be a tough contest. The game is bigger than any one player, so enough with the hero worship (as @srinideva said).

Posted by ravi_hari on (November 5, 2013, 6:49 GMT)

The series has no meaning. Even though it is the farewell for Sachin it has not created the much needed buzz among cricket lovers. It is as predictable as a hindi masala movie. If I were Sachin, I would have chosen to end my career at Johannesburg facing the best bowling on the fastest track and trying to end it with a ton. Playing on doctored pitch, at home against one of the lowest ranked team is no farewell. Else I would have announced my retirement after England drubbed us 4-0 or when we drubbed Aussies 4-0. Yes Sachin is a legend. But did BCCI treat every great player the same way? Why could they not convince Laxman to play his last test at Hyd? Why was Dravid not persuaded to play his last test in B'lore? Sachin deserves a grand finale. But should you 'create' a series for that? Under this cloud and drama, cricket will be the looser. Will Windies have the motivation to play to win? Will other 10 members have the same intensity to perform? Will Sachin himself excel? Wait and see.

Posted by BackStreetBowler on (November 5, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

Ever since Rahul Dravid spoke about the need for 'context' for a cricket series, all and sundry seem to be throwing this word around as if it has the certainty of Newton's laws. The 'context' of the recently concluded ODI series with Australia was also under the scanner before it started. The outcome was a closely fought series between the 2 sides. It may have been a sixathon, but it still had people filling out stadiums and television viewership skyrocketing.

Forget 'context'. All we need is a 'pretext' for a good 'contest'.

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (November 5, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

Sachin is the greatest batsman ever for what he has done in the past. It has remained so for the last 4 or 5 years, for what he has done in the past. He has been past his prime, why just prime even as a normal batsman would do to retain his place in the playing xi, for the last 4 or 5 years. Sachin being what he is (the PM of India, President of BCCI, CMs of states all being his fans), only 10 positions were open in the playing 11 until now. The only brave person who could take a call on dropping him from the team was Sachin himself and finally he has done it. Because of his last 4 or 5 years, I feel a sense of relief that he is quitting rather than feeling sad. Looking forward to a new blood in his position in the team.

Posted by HDG1978 on (November 5, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

Would be mighty surprised if WI are able to dismiss India more than once in this series. So stop dreaming about a 1-0 WI win. A drawn series with the pathetic Indian bowling on display recently or an Indian win seems more likely.

Posted by Ven61 on (November 5, 2013, 6:20 GMT)

The game has been relegated to a pretext. Profiteers and the custodians of the game have gained ascendancy. Brand Tendulkar is far more valuable than the game itself. Commerce rules.

Sad, what Indian cricket has become.

Posted by humi_cric on (November 5, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

The High Quality of bowling India have and the conditions of pitches right now, how they stop Shiv Chanderpaul. He marks his leg guard with stumps bails, and in the mean time put Fevicol on the bails and pitch, so stick there for long time. 2 tests means 4 innings for Shiv, atleast a century is on the cards. I think he is the last player in WI side who played few games with one or two players of the Great WI sides.

Posted by srinideva on (November 5, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

I just want to see my nation to get rid of this celebrity worship asap/. be it Bollywood hero or heroine or cricketer. they always cheer for nothing and go mad about it..

Posted by jango_moh on (November 5, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

the author keeps talking about context... not sure what context is there for any test series, a little bit of overdoing the criticism of bcci i feel, although it is warranted to an extent!!! i would have liked to see a 4 match test series vs the saffas.... nywys, hope it turns out to be a good series!!!

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

@ Jose Mathew Neriamparambil , it's very interesting! Good research indeed. Thanks for that.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 5, 2013, 5:16 GMT)

I hope some of us Indians will start seeing the context once we lose the first test. Never downplay any test match series as inconsequential or non-contextual. Just wait and watch. Welcome to West Indies, my second favourite cricket team.

Posted by Sushant_H on (November 5, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

A very nice article! The most important thing said is that with this Test series, we will FINALLY watch what the game of cricket essentially is- "a contest between bat & ball", since only the bat has been doing the talking for the last 20 days or so. Considering the Tests are being played in Kolkata & Mumbai, the very same venues where India suffered humiliating defeats to England exactly a year ago, India would really want to win these 2 Tests even if it is just to erase the bad memories of last year. Apart from SRT & Chanderpaul, what would also be interesting to watch is the likely Test debut of Rohit Sharma. His entry into Tests at this time gains even more significance since he is tipped to be the most likely successor to the No. 4 spot, once the great man retires.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 4:49 GMT)

GOD OF CRICKET- SACHIN TENDULKAR Highest number of Runs scored inTests [15,837] Highest number of Runs scored inODIs [18,426]

Highest number of Runs scored inInternational Matches [34,273] Highest number of Runs scored inWorld Cups [2,278] Highest number of Runs scored ina single World Cup [673] Highest number of Runs scored inTournament Finals [1851] Highest number of 100's scored in Tests [51] Highest number of 100's scored in ODIs [49] Highest number of 100's scored in International Matches [100] Highest number of 100's scored in World Cups [6] Highest number of 100's scored in Tournament Finals [6] Highest number of consecutive 100's scored in Tournament Finals[4] Highest number of consecutive 50's scored in Tournament Finals [4] Highest number of 50's scored in Tests [67] Highest number of 50's scored in ODIs [96] Highest number of 50's scored in International Matches [163] Highest number of 50's scored in World Cups [15] Highest number of 50's scored in a single World Cup

Posted by Sugath on (November 5, 2013, 4:32 GMT)

I think the press and other media should allow Sachin to play the 200th test without too much fuss, let him finish the international career with glory and then start writing about it. Media is putting too much pressure on Tendulkar and that should not happen. may be they think it is about accolades but too much distraction is already on and it should not be.

Posted by shankupals on (November 5, 2013, 4:23 GMT)

@Anantha Narayanan.. You criticise SRT and still claim that you are a Sachin fan. Do you realize what it felt like to be an Indian during the past 20 years?In the 1980's & 90's,the average Indian fan faced defeat on the cricket field more often than victories.The entry of Sachin coincided with India's economic progress."Sachin" was not just an above average cricketer for the Indian fan; he denoted hope, aspiration and yearning to be better than the best,signified progress in the presence of adversity,expressed a determination to excel. Indians now have a chance to express these very same feelings openly as we will no longer see Sachin playing.Simply put,Sachin was a symbol of all this as he was always ever present not just in our drawing rooms but deep in every Indian's heart.Yes,we Indians are extremely emotional and tend to place our heroes on a pedestal.Hence,you see such a response.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 4:10 GMT)

I hope tendulkar will break the lara record of 400 against the west indians......!

Posted by 777aditya on (November 5, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

awesome article yet again, Sidharth Monga! superb and innovative. If Team India think WI is going to be a walkover, it wont be long before they are one test down. WI is a nicely balanced team and they are here to win. So, Team India should make most of these matches, sit back and enjoy Sachin's last two matches (he is not in bad form, he batted Mumbai to victory on a dicey pitch recently against Haryana)! of course, the dour Chanderpaul is more likely to get hundreds this time around!

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 3:36 GMT)

WI have the edge on bowling, India's batting is much stronger than WI. But the Indian bowlers don't scare me--not one. (Ishant those get his tail up for WI). They should primarily target Gayle and Samuels and keep both to low scores or they might be surprised at how easily the WI would take the series 2-0. I foresee a 1- 0 WI win. The best India can hope for is a 1-1 series draw if they manage to win the first test. The name of this game, TEST, is and will always be taking wickets and WI have the edge there, even playing one bowler short with Sammy in the side.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 3:21 GMT)

As already known the series against West Indies has been scheduled for settling some petty scores in the off-field matters between the cricket boards.So,atleast I hope that the contest between the bat and ball is even in the test series against West Indies.We do not want high scoring draws.I also hope that BCCI is not mulling over preparing batting paradises for Sachin's farewell.Sachin himself would not welcome and value such ideas.As an ardent Indian cricket fan i would value a hard earned win in tests over a proper test playing nation more than an easy Tendulkar hundred on a flat pitch.It would be a double treat if Sachin scores a hundred on a pitch where bowlers too have some purchase and contributes to Indian win in front of humongous crowd at Eden Gardens and for the sake of millions of them in front of Idiot box.

Posted by android_user on (November 5, 2013, 3:13 GMT)

to make batting records one needs ability right, any board has the right to decide their series with the icc nod

Posted by android_user on (November 5, 2013, 3:12 GMT)

I can believe that India is running international cricket, but not necessarily ruining it. BTW I think the SA tour is still on and india is traveling to SA pretty soon.

Posted by android_user on (November 5, 2013, 1:48 GMT)

BCCI are ruining cricket and trying to preserve records that's why they cancelled the SA series in favour of a much weaker team just like the tailored made flat wickets BCCI don't leave no stone unturned to give any little advantage to guarantee a india victory

Posted by sapnil2000 on (November 5, 2013, 1:19 GMT)

another batting paradise india will make, so their batsman make record

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 1:18 GMT)

would love to see chanderpaul just carry on playing.unorthodox batsmen but something different has always been more entertaining to watch.who ddnt love watching murali or even malinga when he first started! as its been said hes underrated and doesnt often get the widespread credit he deserves. he was in shane warne cricket for gods sake!!!!! legend.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 1:03 GMT)

Why does every series need to have a purpose? What is wrong with a board honoring its player by organizing a home series? At the end of the day a lot of Sachin's fans will attend these tests and remember it for a lifetime. Whatever critics say he is the one of the greatest players, if not the greatest, cricket has ever produced and this is a fitting farewell. As for South African series, BCCI or India for that matter has a right to decide what series to play and how much. For a long time Indians have been on the receiving end . Its nice to see India dominating at least one sport in both skill as well as financially.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 0:54 GMT)

"Test series with no context" is a non-statement ! Test cricket is test cricket. Testing the REAL skills of 11 players of one cricket playing nation with 11 players of another.

Even if Sachin gets out for poor scores in both tests ; it will be interesting to watch how the new set of swash bucklers from both sides adapt to the test format and display their true cricketing skills.

Now, there is at least one good test cricketer each on both sides: Pujara & Chanders. Their performance is taken for granted; and will be disappointed, if they fail. It is the others, I will be watching carefully, to see the real progress (or lack of it) of cricket in two of my favourite cricketing nations.

Every thing else is going to be a distractions; particularly, the cameo appearances (essentially grabbing free TV time) of political leaders and other sundry big-wigs, in the name of "Saluting Sachin".

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 4, 2013, 22:54 GMT)

Chanders is so under-rated. He is a fantastic player. You get him out, and you know that Windies are in trouble immediately. He is such a pain for the opposition. Not elegant to watch, only when he is in his stance waiting for the bowler. But the moment the bowler is in his final delivery stride, Chanders is so quickly into position, you will be left wondering, "How he managed to come into such a correct position from that stance!" Absolute delight to watch. An under-rated master of - achievement, technique and recognition. That's sad. But, I don't think he worries much about his recognition or the lack of it by the public. And yeah, the opposition players know what an obstacle he is between a win and a loss. To me, he is The Wall for the West Indies Team. Welcome to India, Chanders! Respects from India. Hope India plucks him out quickly. Let him succeed against other teams.

Posted by silentstand on (November 4, 2013, 21:54 GMT)

Shiv is the West Indian wall.true legend his technique isn't textbook but who cares it's runs and substance that matter

Posted by FredBoycott on (November 4, 2013, 21:52 GMT)

There seems to be a lot of fuss being made about this Tendulkar retirement. When I retired all I got was a silver cruet set, not even engraved. A week after the presentation, which took two minutes at the back of the dressing room, the invoice for the cruet set arrived on my door mat. That's how you retire the Yorkshire way. Proper retirement.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 21:47 GMT)

India are going to have a hard time in South Africa without Tendulkar. He has won so many matches for India. Now the Fab 5 is completly gone, We need to look for more options. Rohit Sharma has the temperment for the #4 position, but those are some big shoes to fill (metaphorically). Sachin has done so much for India in the past and so I say, Goodbye Sachin and Goodluck India.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 20:46 GMT)

Tendulkar is india's last burden..

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 20:33 GMT)

there was don and now there is tendulkar. two of the greatest legends of cricket. salute to tendulkar for serving his country for 24 years with distinction. he is greatest cricketer ever. i am pakistani but still admire tendulkar as greatest cricketer.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 4, 2013, 20:17 GMT)

I think Chanderpaul is an underrated player. It is a curse he bore having to play with some of WI's finest players of the modern generation: Lara, Carl Hooper, Richie Richardson, Jimmy Adams, Phil Simmons etc. His stance is unique and the way he plays, he makes batting look so easy and like a slow motion video. He has a fine record against India IN India which means the Indian bowlers should be all the more wary about him. When the chips are down, there is no other batsman I would want to rescue the team than Chanderpaul. Coming back to this series, Sachin Tendulkar should simply go out there and play freely. He should not read too much into this celebration of his career. He should simply treat it as match no. 199 and play like he has always done for India. I know it can easier said than done but sadly, Sachin has no choice. The amount of love we fans have for him is priceless and unquestionable. Hopefully, that would spur him on to play a glorious innings.

Posted by getgopi on (November 4, 2013, 20:14 GMT)

I wouldn't be surprised if Tendulkar moved out of India after retirement.

Posted by RoBoBobster on (November 4, 2013, 20:13 GMT)

West Indies to win in 3 days or match abandoned without a ball bowled #lol

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

I think the talented cricinfo team needs to reduce a bit of negativity. Lately there are lot of negative posts. I think the this no context WI series and no context Ind-Aus series is a bit overplayed. And so is the Indian bowling lacking teeth.

There are 2 test in which we are expecting a good contest between an emerging WI team and also Indian team which has not played many tests individually. Also the Aus ODI series was a goood platform for players to gauge how to prepare for the WC 2015. Also its unfair to slam Indian bowling day in and day out when its the AUssie bowlers who have leaked more runs.

Posted by vish2020 on (November 4, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

Say all you want and hate all you want.. Sachin did a lot for India and you all did nothing for india or your country so i am sorry but i won't listen to you guys

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (November 4, 2013, 19:04 GMT)

This series really is a farce and a truly great player would have none of this.

Posted by InnocentGuy on (November 4, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

@Denson Thomas, maybe poor style but definitely anything but poor technique. Probably 'strange' is a better word. 'Effective' aptly puts it. The man's a legend. That wouldn't happen with 'poor' technique.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 18:40 GMT)

Would have loved to watch Tendulkar Vs Dale Steyn one last time. Ultimate contest of skill at its peak Vs genius on the wane. Hope Tendulkar will be challenged this series to his hearts content. Best of luck to you Sir!

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

He got such a poor batting style and technique. Anybody wants to learn basic lessons of batting as a lefthander, should never watch Chanderpaul batting. I have felt irritated by watching Chanerpaul shuffling and reshuffling in the crease when bowler delivers the ball.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

I do not agree that it is a no context test series. Every test is important in as much as it is between the teams of two countries. Lovers test cricket will enjoy it more than the recent ODI series if sporting wicket is made available.It is not what Tendulkar does that matters, it is what the team shall do. If a proper test pitch is provided an interesting tussle can be expected. One should admire the BCCI for putting Logan in his place and making arrangements for enabling Sachin to get a fitting farewell

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (November 4, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

Shiv is an underrated player and is often overshadowed by the flashy players like gayle etc. He averages better than kallis / sangakkara against the likes of Aus/Eng. I wont be surprised if he scores more than Sachin in this series but ends up with out getting any due. I think he wouldn't mind it either but #Respect to this player.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

@souravkr there are 20 more players other than the Man of the Moment and Tendulkar cause Shiv only need a partner to get a tonne but im praying Roach dont hurt him and he gets a 50 Windies sweep

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (November 4, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

thr won't be any Tendulkar in da world till da doom.

Posted by souravkr on (November 4, 2013, 16:32 GMT)

"Batting Pornography" - No better way to describe the so called 'ODI' series which just concluded. And a wonderful preview by Sid. Finally someone realizes there are 21 other players involved in each test match other than the Man of the Moment.

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India v West Indies at Kanpur - Nov 27, 2013
India won by 5 wickets (with 23 balls remaining)
India v West Indies at Visakhapatnam - Nov 24, 2013
West Indies won by 2 wickets (with 3 balls remaining)
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