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March 30, 2007
Ian Chappell, the former Australian captain, has come down hard on Sachin Tendulkar, saying the time had come for him to consider quitting the game. Chappell said that the Tendulkar decision would be crucial as India try and rebuild after their shocking first round exit from the ongoing World Cup.
Tendulkar managed only 64 runs in India's three first-round matches of the World Cup, and couldn't make much of an impact against Bangladesh (7) and Sri Lanka (0), the two games India lost.
"Before anybody else makes a decision on what will happen to Tendulkar the player himself has to have a good long look in the mirror and decide what he's trying to achieve in the game," Chappell, 63, wrote in Mid-Day, a Mumbai-based tabloid. "At the moment he looks like a player trying to eke out a career; build on a glittering array of statistics. If he really is playing for that reason and not to help win as many matches as he can for India then he is wasting his time and should retire immediately."
Chappell went on to compare Tendulkar with Brian Lara, the West Indian captain, and pointed out how the latter hadn't changed his style of play over a 17-year career. "This is a credit to his technique and mental strength, as the aging process generally makes a player more progressively conservative," Chappell wrote of Lara. "Tendulkar hasn't worn as well; his last three or four years have been a shadow of his former self.
Chappell took into consideration the slew of injuries that Tendulkar had suffered during his career, a factor that had forced him to miss a number of matches in this decade. "Tendulkar hasn't been as lucky as Lara," Chappell wrote, "the Indian batsman has suffered a lot of injuries in this period where his play has deteriorated and there is nothing that melts your mental approach quicker than physical handicaps. Lara has been relatively free from injury and he certainly doesn't have the weight of numbers riding on his shoulders that Tendulkar does. However, the population of the Caribbean might be small but they are extremely demanding.
"Despite all the fuss and the odd controversy that has surrounded Lara's career he has remained himself; this is my game and that is how I play. For whatever reason Tendulkar hasn't been able to maintain his extremely high standards for the last few years and unless he can find a way to recapture this mental approach he's not doing his team or himself any favours.
"If Tendulkar had found an honest mirror three years ago and asked the question; 'Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the best batsman of all?' It would've answered; 'Brian Charles Lara.' If he asked that same mirror right now; 'Mirror, mirror on the wall should I retire?' The answer would be; 'Yes.'
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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