December 2, 2012

Tendulkar must time his retirement right, like Ponting

The Indian legend's decline has gathered speed since he began to concern himself with stats

At first there were three and now there's only one. For around a decade Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting were the dominant batsmen in world cricket, but following Ponting's retirement announcement, the Indian maestro will now stand alone. While Tendulkar might still be upright, he's no longer dominating attacks. It'll be interesting to see if Ponting's announcement has any affect on Tendulkar's future.

Ponting's decision to retire was like one of his punched on-drives - well timed. He gets the opportunity to have a final fond farewell and the selectors can then introduce a younger player into the batting order to face Sri Lanka's moderate attack.

For much of his career Ponting has been a top-class player and the lynchpin of Australia's batting. If he took charge of the opposition bowlers Australia generally won, because he scored heavily and at a quick rate. If the opposition took Ponting's wicket early, they were buoyant and felt like they had a chance to win.

In recent times Ponting has remained a danger player for the opposition but the two Michaels, Clarke and Hussey, have surpassed him in the pecking order. Ponting's decline was partly age-related but it was also hastened because he allowed himself to be talked out of batting at No. 3.

Some players are born to bat in a prime position and Ponting, from his sprigs to the airhole in his helmet, was a No. 3. The moment he acquiesced to a move down the order, he was admitting there were some doubts creeping into his mind. Though he came into the South Africa series with plenty of runs under his belt, those doubts arose again after a couple of failures.

Ponting will be remembered as one of Australia's finest batsmen. He'll also be admired for the way he played the game. He was fiercely combative, and everything he did on the field, whether it was batting or captaining, was done with the purest of aims: to help win the match for his team.

Ponting declared before the start of this international season that he would know when the right time to go came. He was true to his word and left before it got to the stage where each new innings had his team-mates on tenterhooks hoping this would be the one where he broke out of a lean trot.

On the other hand Tendulkar, almost two years older, has the Indian population waiting with bated breath for him to brush aside a slump. Tendulkar's decline has gathered speed since he began to concern himself more with the statistical side of batting rather than constantly seeking to make match-winning contributions. The accumulation of centuries became his search for the Holy Grail, but it hasn't resulted in anything like the joy provided by Monty Python and the gang.

No player is indispensable and the Indian selectors should know better than most. That wonderful servant Rahul Dravid has been adequately replaced at No. 3 by Cheteshwar Pujara.

The Indian selectors have no excuse for not hastening the succession process. They have had the choice of a number of ready-made young replacements. Australia would willingly trade one of their prominent young fast bowlers for a choice from the skilful group of batsmen that includes the likes of Rohit Sharma and Unmukt Chand.

Part of being a good selector is about giving a young player the best chance to succeed. Promoting him when he's in prime form is an obvious move but other, more subtle, decisions can also lead to a successful conclusion - like selecting the player to debut at a favoured ground or against lesser opposition.

When it comes to ageing star players, the selectors can maintain the status quo and know that sooner or later their indecision will be vindicated when the champion finally posts a score. However, in the meantime young players will be denied an opportunity and eventually their "right moment" will pass.

India is fortunate to have skilful young replacements but there's more chance the Dalai Lama will be replaced than Tendulkar moved aside. It's up to Tendulkar to replicate Ponting's decision and make sure the timing of his retirement is as exquisite as one of his flowing cover drives.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Viswateja on December 5, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    Funny how any aussie never talks about Sri lankan - Sanath Jayasuriya... It should have begun with there were four players.

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2012, 2:09 GMT

    @Smith Robertson...You are one hilarious guy..centuries against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh & Namibia doesn't count??? hahaha..fine, lets do a count of centuries for Sachin's contemporaries like Ponting, Kallis & Lara (fantastic batsmen all three were,no doubts!!) and then take away the centuries they might have made against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh & Namibia, if they made one, that is (not sure if they were even able to make one against these teams in the first place)..n then see,where the whole century table stands! Have you even scored a 50 against one of the school teams you had played with (let alone a century), before you give yourself the rights to discount Sachin's centuries? OH WAIT!! do you even PLAY cricket? or do you just watch it from your couch and dish out mindless comments?? get a life,mate!! :-)

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    @Argylep...Yes,we agree that Monty could be even a 'world class bowler' in the RIGHT condition, but Sachin had been called 'possibly the Greatest batsman of all time', not because of just his centuries, but also because he was consistently good at smacking the ALMOST PERFECT & UNPLAYABLE balls (which would have got any world class player out) out of the park. If he wasn't able to do that, he would've just been any other great batsman. so, having said that, at the moment he is just not able to so the same. As for the second innings ball 'bamboozling' him,lets face it, even Monty didn't know which way that was going. so,pls dont make a joke out of yourself by making it seem like an absolutely well planned and well executed 'genius' ball by talking about the quality of the ball! its like admiring the 'quality' of the full toss that Virat Kohli horribly got out to,in the second innings.

  • Jojy on December 4, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    Ponting had to be pushed out of the ODI team, he never retired himself from ODIs.......this article shows just how biased the Aussies are.

    Mr Chappell, we expect you to be neutral when putting out any thing in public.....that is what we respect you for!!

    Taking a dig at Sachin while praising Ponting (for what??) does not show you up in good light.....

    Sachin has still got it in him to contribute some more runs before he retires unlike Ponting.......we will see this in the next few weeks!!

  • Jojy on December 4, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    No disrespect to Ian Chappell or Ponting, but Ponting should have retired about 18 months ago. It is surprising that Chappell never asked Ponting to look into the mirror and ask himself the question for the past 18 months.....even though he wanted Sachin to do so in 2007!!

    Just to confirm that SRT is a cut above Lara, Ponting and Kallis here is a stunning statistic to confirm test matches SRT averages 54.74 overseas and 54.42 at home, Ponting averages 45.81 overseas and almost 56.00 at home, Kallos averages 53.80 overseas and 60.00 at home and Lara averages 47.80 overseas and 58.65 at home. Just shows that Ponting, Kallis and Lara tend to bulk up their averages at home but do not perform as well overseas, however these important facts gets covered up by their overall averages!!

    Also, while SRT averages more than 40 against all the test playing countries Lara averages less than 40 against India and Kallis averages less than 40 against Sri Lankaa

  • Mehedi on December 4, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    @ patz101, Yes. i agree with you as you mentioned the bowlers contribution. Most of the Sachin fan do not do that. In reality, there is no superhero who can win matches alone but Lara's 153 and Laxmans 281 is almost near to super heroic. As you mentioned, Sachin scored hundred in MCG 1999 but IND lost that match and series. A 100 was not sufficient there. He scored hundred in Perth 1992 but Ind lost that match too. Lara also scored two double hundreds in AUS against the good AUS attack, and Sachin fans still hails Perth 1992 in such a way that nobody in human history ever did such a thing. That is the difference, one is hailed as God and others are treated as normal. Lara's 153 was almost without help and also in the 4th innings. You mentioned Walsh's help :) , but that help I think makes Lara human. At least, you are more reasonable than most other Indian fans. Best of luck btw for the Kolkata test. I like Pujara, I hope he shines like Lax 281. Lastly, I am from South Africa.

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    No disrespect Sachin 100s against teams like Namibia, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh etc doesn't count. It was so funny though when he achieved his overall 100 in a losing cause :D

  • Thamara on December 4, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    I think this is the right time for Sachin to retire from international cricket. He is not certainly as good as he used to be. His footwork and reflexes are getting weak. He tends to miss straight balls these days. Ponting did the right thing by choosing this series to retire. People in India still want Sachin to play test cricket. I don't know why. He is just a name now. He is probably one of the best batsmen ever. It is important that he leaves that image in people's minds by retiring at the correct time. He himself should make a decision to retire before selectors ask him to retire.

  • John on December 4, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Chappell is at it again, but this time he couldn't have found a better timing to express his views on Sachin. With his latest analysis he joins the bandwagon that is after Sachin to hang up his boots and he has a good case to make this time. Indian cricket has moved beyond Sachin with the talented and success hungry players making into the side. We can't even dream of selectors asking him to retire because such is his authority on Indian cricket. The best decision one could take on his career is Sachin himself. He has to measure his performance over the last 12 months and see if he is making any impact in the team and if he's not he should honestly move aside making way to younger batsman. My gut feeling is after this series he will take a call on his career and he told the same on of the television interviews couple of months back.

  • narsimha on December 4, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    alex-400 - ialways found u r coments similar to our friends across the boarder , like ind bashares i dont think u r memory line just struck on our 2 away loses , check the stats still our team is far better when compared to other teams from this region , we have been on top & now on rebuilding process , tell at present which team from this region is havins a bowler with 150+, baring those 2 tours our team performed in those places on erlier tours , iam eagerly waiting the SL TOUR OF AUS & MOST IMPORTANTLY PAK TOPUR TO SA .

  • No featured comments at the moment.