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Novelist, essayist and historian based in New Delhi

A farewell left too late

Tendulkar's legacy has been diminished by his long twilight, and the team he served for so long with such distinction has been damaged too

Mukul Kesavan

October 14, 2013

Comments: 379 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara were interviewed after the game, Mumbai Indians v Perth Scorchers, Champions League 2013,  Group A, Delhi, October 2, 2013
In the last year of his Test career, Lara scored two hundreds and two doubles. Tendulkar hasn't made a century since January 2011 © BCCI

Hang on, he hasn't left yet. The time to pay tribute, to lift our eyes from the here and now and celebrate a great career, to memorialise genius, will come when Sachin Tendulkar's cricketing life ends with the second Test against West Indies in late November. This is the time to debate the manner of his going, the timing of the departure. And no, it isn't bad form to do this: Tendulkar is an active player; embalming fluids like reverence and nostalgia can wait.

The last great Bombay batsman retired without notice. He played one of the great innings against spin bowling on a pitch that turned square, 96 in a losing cause against Pakistan in Bangalore and left. He was 37. He was in the form of his life: his last 25 outings had yielded four centuries and six fifties at an average of over 58.

Tendulkar's retirement, in contrast, has been chronically foretold. Not by him but by his bearish batting form. In his last 25 innings Tendulkar has scored four fifties, no centuries, and has averaged under 30, more than 20 runs off his career average. He is 40; he has been in decline for at least two years.

Enoch Powell famously wrote, "All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs." Substitute "political" and "politics" with "cricket" and you have the justification offered by Tendulkar's partisans for his unwillingness to acknowledge cricketing mortality. Don't all cricketing lives taper off, they ask. Why shouldn't a genius like Tendulkar be allowed to rage against the dying of the light?

If this is a serious question, not just a rhetorical flourish, it's worth answering. First, there is nothing inevitable about great batsmen eking out unworthy ends. Not all cricketing lives end in failure; some manage the proverbial blaze of glory. Look at Sunil Gavaskar and his valedictory 96. And if Gavaskar belongs to the past, that foreign country where things are done differently, let us look at Tendulkar's contemporaries.

Steve Waugh's last series - against India - was a PR spectacular, so it's almost unfair to compare that leave-taking with anyone else's, but it's worth noticing that the run-up to that climax was pretty impressive too. Waugh's last 25 innings include five centuries, six fifties, and his average in this final phase of his career makes Gavaskar's seem modest: Waugh averaged close to 65 per innings.

His compatriot Ricky Ponting makes for an interesting comparison. He is Tendulkar's nearest contemporary, 38 years old to Tendulkar's 40, and he played his last Test a year before Tendulkar is scheduled to play his, almost to the day. Like Tendulkar, Ponting was criticised for lingering after his "best-by" date. But for someone who overstayed his welcome, the 25 innings rule-of-thumb tells us that Ponting averaged 38 to Tendulkar's 28. He also managed to produce a century and a double-century through this batting twilight.

But it is the comparison with Brian Lara, by common consensus Tendulkar's greatest batting contemporary and his closest contender for the title of the best batsman of the fin de siècle, that speaks most directly to the "dying of the light" argument. Look at Lara's last 25 innings. He averaged just under 45, more than ten runs an innings better than Tendulkar, but that's almost beside the point: it is his big scores that stand out.

Children ought to be indulged, not great men, and Tendulkar is an immortal. We are such a needy nation that as a cricketing public we have created a force field that has skewed the game's priorities and conflated Tendulkar's well-being with the good of cricket

Lara hit two centuries and two double-centuries in his last year of Test match cricket. These centuries were scored against substantial teams: Australia, India and Pakistan. For a team in near terminal decline, against strong opposition, Lara fought magnificent rearguard actions; in the grim desert of West Indian decline, he blazed like a brand; he raged against the dying of the light. Teams give ageing, inconsistent geniuses the benefit of the doubt because they believe they are still capable of match-turning bursts of inspiration. Lara repaid that faith; Tendulkar hasn't.

Over the last two years Tendulkar has been more accountant than artist. His ledger is filled with entries that tally quantity and longevity. He has a 100 international hundreds, over 34,000 international runs, and by the time the Wankhede Test is done, he will have become the first cricketer in the history of the game to have played 200 Test matches.

Over the last two years he has plodded towards these landmarks with all the flair of a time-serving journeyman. From being a batsman who brought to the crease the intent of Viv Richards in a rage, he has become a batsman as intent on self-preservation as Boycott batting out a bad patch.

Does it matter? He remains the greatest batsman of his generation and India under Dhoni are once again near the top of the Test match tree. Tendulkar carried India, so the argument goes, for more than 20 years: can't India carry him for two?

No. It can and has, but it shouldn't have. Children ought to be indulged, not great men, and Tendulkar is an immortal. These two years have damaged Tendulkar, the Indian team and cricket as an international game.

Kapil Dev prolonged his career painfully as he chased after Richard Hadlee's then-record aggregate of wickets. By the time he huffed and puffed his way past the mark, a career marked by loose-limbed grace had begun to seem a little laboured and leaden. And for what? With Murali on his Everest, Kapil's summit begins to look like base camp. In much the same way, Tendulkar's legacy has been diminished by his long twilight.

The team he served for so long with such distinction has been damaged too. If he had left, as Dravid did, in early 2012, after the rout in Australia, India's middle order might have completed its post-Galactico transition earlier. Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and company might not have set the world on fire if Tendulkar had left then, but they would have been hard put to do much worse than he did during this time.

Most importantly, if Tendulkar had retired earlier, India might not be playing an unscheduled two-Test engagement against West Indies at the expense of a proper Test series against South Africa, Test cricket's top-ranked team. It is no secret that this attenuated "series" against one of the less formidable Test sides in contemporary cricket was likely dreamt up by the BCCI to give Tendulkar a comfortable way of both getting to his 200th Test and saying farewell at home.

Think of the enormity of this: the Future Tours Programme has been disrupted, the financial standing of the South African board compromised, a marquee contest between the first- and third-placed teams in Test cricket put at risk or, at best, abbreviated, just to make sure that Tendulkar can retire at the time and place that suits him best. The BCCI might well be settling other scores with CSA, and Tendulkar may not have asked for the West Indian tour, but what are the chances it would have materialised if he had retired earlier or, alternately, committed himself to touring South Africa? Zero.

This destructively delayed retirement and its fall-out isn't Tendulkar's fault alone. He is such an extraordinary cricketer, and we are such a needy nation that as a cricketing public we have created a force field that has skewed the game's priorities and conflated Tendulkar's well-being with the good of cricket. No individual, or so the cliché used to go, is bigger than the game. There's an exception to that rule now: for the duration of the series against West Indies, till the end of Tendulkar's 200th Test, Test cricket will principally be an occasion for rehearsing Tendulkar's greatness.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

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Posted by vivek_h on (October 19, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

i do not agree with the article at all. How can Tendulkar be blamed if the problem is in the system. As an individual he felt that his body,mind and soul were in sync with the game so he carried on. But in spite of what Tendulkar wants, the final decision is still in the hands of selectors. Tendulkar can deide about his retirement but he can not decide about his selection. If the administration has made Tendulkar bigger than the game, then it is their problem and weakness. Let us not blame a particular individual for the inefficiency of the system. Tomorrow some other player would be there instead of Tendulkar and we will again blame that player. Remove the root cause where in no player is allowed to be bigger than the game. let there be a system where selection is based on the good long-term sustainable performance. So it is better to clean up our own act and make a transparent system rather than leaving it on to the individuals.

Posted by sgma on (October 19, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

Cant wait to see the last of him. Good (and overdue) riddance

Posted by manoj09 on (October 19, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

Why is it that sportsmen are expected to retire on a high and are criticized when they don't. In other professions, people are not expected because they reached a particular milestone in life. Mukul - if you win the highest award in sports journalism or indeed the Pulitzer prize, will you retire from journalism right after that? Why not, because that would be the highest point in your career right? Or Maybe having tasted that success, you might try and win another one or two awards for a few years. Did the Lara's and Gavaskar's of this world because they were in the form of their lives? Or did they retire because they felt they don't have it in them (due to age, fitness, family etc) to continue the rigors of an international cricket career? Do you know what your "best by" date is? Does any human know their own "best by" date is? Were people like you right when they said he was past his "best by" date 5 years ago? You don't go by when others feel you should retire. Why should sportsmen

Posted by   on (October 18, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

Kesavan's articles have not lost their valance, they are still only about perfunctory investigation of unscientific perforation pattern on Tendulkar's new pair of shoes. LoL! No surprise he has less readership than Andy Zaltman.

Posted by KetanA on (October 18, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

No one can have second opinion that Tendulkar was not upto his own standards in last two years but the article I guess is written just to prove single point that tendulkar stretched his career and in doing so the author has given examples of SR Waugh, Ponting and Dravid. Well, as far as i remember SR Waugh was on the brink of losing his place in the team some 3-4 years before his eventual retirement even Dravid had horrific year or two before England tour (and NZ tour before that) and his England performance was not kind of exception to his overall form before and after that and same case was with Ponting who had outstanding India series but failed miserably before and after that. May be Tendulkar was looking for such series to move away from the game but unfortunately when it never came he realized it's too late he announced his retirement.

Posted by strokemaker11 on (October 18, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

Agreed Tendulkar is a great player but he has past his expiry date. Indian selectors are not bold as Australian selectors. Atleast selectors did a good job in giving him a strong message which forced him to retire from one-day cricket atleat. He is a great cricketer but is not a match-winner. He can never play match winning innings like Dhoni in ODI nor Test innings like VVS that can win matches.

Posted by jay57870 on (October 18, 2013, 0:03 GMT)

Kesavan's arguments are dubious at best & disingenuous at worst! He's a blind follower of Ian Chappell's half-baked theory of "Use-by" dates. Mukul's spin: "best-by" dates! As if humans are grocery items that must be consumed by an expiry date? Ian opened a Pandora's Box with his infamous "Mirror on the wall" dictum for Sachin to retire in 2007. Blatantly wrong! Like Ian, Mukul uses illusory rear-view mirrors with distorted 20/20 hindsight: "These two years have damaged Tendulkar, the Indian team and cricket as an international game"! Blatantly wrong! Check it out: India's in the top 3 ICC rankings in all formats! The Little Master stands tall as a legend! Cricket's alive & kicking! Then Mukul invokes Enoch Powell's name to equate "politics" with "cricket" & drags Tendulkar's name for dubious effect. Blatantly wrong! Ever read Powell's infamous "Rivers of Blood" speech? The Times called it "an evil speech"! A castaway politician Mukul's hero? Who'd have thunk it, Mukul?

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (October 17, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

A nicely written article against the current tide of Tendulkar fever that is sweeping India following his announcement. Whilst over the last few years of his career, Tendulkar has been unrecognisable from the player at the top of his game, what about Dravid? Perhaps without the flair of Tendulkar or Lara but no less a player as a number 3. Dravid scored 7 centuries in the last 7 months before he retired.

Posted by TRAM on (October 17, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

Blame the unprofessional BCCI selectors. Common people may treat players as super stars. But for the selectors the player should be just another player. But then it was never ever like that with Indian selectors. Even today the stardom with which current players like Yuvraj, Kholi etc are addressed (by India commentators) is total unprofessional. I assume thats how the BCCI selectors would be as well. We had hell difficulty dropping Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer & Harbajan, didn't we? As long as a player is treated as star (by BCCI administrators) this problem will continue. But then why cant the player himself quit? Thats where I think SRT is surrounded by his "worshipers" who ill-advise him completely in to wrong decisions. This is just a possibility and guess only.

Posted by orangtan on (October 17, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

Well said Mukul, I feel Sachin has been a pawn in the hands of the BCCI who know that he is still a crowd-puller among India's cricket crazed but not necessarily knowledgeable fans. He is surrounded by various people who want to get a piece of the action, who would never declare that the emperor's clothes are missing. If he had retired a couple of years ago, his average would have been in the rarefied area of the high 50s, now he is one of many who have averages in the low 50s.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

Well written Mukul. Fully share and concur with your views. Sure, his legacy will endure and he has been a great, nay, superlative cricketer , but sadly, the manner of his leaving is not the stuff of what legends should be made of , leave alone "Gods".

Posted by android_user on (October 16, 2013, 18:21 GMT)

A very well written article. grt to see someone writing honest article s

Posted by noboundaries on (October 16, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

No cricket lover would deny Tendulkar's greatness, but this is big BUT, he along with BCCI manipulated the cricketting schedules for a selfish reason. It is not done for the benefit of Indian cricket but to the detriment.

Posted by android_user on (October 16, 2013, 17:13 GMT)

wonderful article... well thought... Sachin fans this is the bitter truth that u must agree... Keshav has given stats for that... no room for emotions and sentiments in sports

Posted by jay57870 on (October 16, 2013, 12:27 GMT)

It's easy for armchair critics like Kesavan to nit-pick a stat for "25 innings" to make a trivial point & take a cheap shot. It doesn't work. Mukul's "destructively delayed retirement" logic (like his earlier 100th ton argument) fails to diminish Tendulkar's legacy. The reputed cricket historian David Frith proclaimed "Hail the boy king Tendulkar" after he reached the 100-centuries landmark - the same headline Frith had given a 17-year-old Sachin in Wisden! Frith marvelled: "Cricket's statistical framework simply didn't permit of such a phenomenon (100 tons)". Frith lauded "this very special extra chunk of immortality" in Sachin. That's why Frith found it "tempting to mark down Bradman & Tendulkar as the finest two batsmen who ever lived'! TIME Magazine reaffirmed: "We have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will"! Sachin's legacy has to be measured over his entire 24-year career: The whole is much more than the sum of its parts! Sachin's legacy will endure, Mukul!

Posted by asifbashir1933 on (October 16, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

I fully agree with M.kesavan what he has written about the delayed declaration of Tendulkar regarding his retirement from test cricket.After all what has he gained (commercial interests not known) from this delay .On the contrary he has reduced his test batting average,blocked the entry of young aspirants and disturbed the tour itinerary of India,South African and West Indian cricket teams. The declaration of retirement at the final World Cup which India won and when Indian players hoisted him on their shoulders and went round the ground would have been the grand finale of his illustrious carrier.

Posted by akshayshah13 on (October 16, 2013, 10:24 GMT)

Absolutely spot on article.... One of the most neutral criticism on Sachin and in my personal opinion, fair too. People need to realize they can't compare Federer or Schumacher or Tiger Woods with Sachin. It isn't fair to compare players who play singles sports to compare players who play team sport. In team sport, these decisions impact not just the player himself but also the team, this unscheduled WI series (an unnecessary one) can safely be termed as the series coined just to give Tendulkar a warm good bye..... The players like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary are sitting out for too long to make their mark in cricket and as rightly pointed out wouldn't have done much worse if they had been induced 2 years earlier, than what tendulkar has done during that time.... But on the other side these failures would have taught them the a thing or two about playing in foreign soil, what gain in knowledge did tendulkar possibly had by playing 2 mediocre series in England and Aus?

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (October 16, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

The author has hit the nail on the head here. This is exactly what I've been thinking, and I'm sure others have been thinking too. This whole retirement debacle has come at too great a cost to the Indian team and just proves how selfish Sachin is. If he had some more decency he would have retired long ago. Even though he was Test cricket's highest scorer in 2011, the minute Dravid felt he could not go on much longer he retired. The same happened with Laxman, and neither batsman went out asking for a home Test series and whatnot. If they had, do you think they would have been allowed to get away with it? No! Tendulkar should have done the right thing and retired ages ago.

Posted by android_user on (October 16, 2013, 6:14 GMT)

had sachin not participated in the Champions League and had he went on to saf and had he scored a century there, while rest of the team failed, what would people like this author would've commented about... see, he thought he could contribute to the team but he failed. He realized that and voluntarily announced retirement.. u shouldn't blame him that he played for records... That's totally absurd.. And no one questions dhoni how badly he failed in oz n saf... How uncomfortably he looked in foreign conditions... is he really an asset to our test team ?

Posted by android_user on (October 16, 2013, 6:13 GMT)

When india lost to eng n aus 8-0, I totally lost confidence in indian batting line up in overseas like myself, sachin could've thought of leaving the team when the new line up finds it feet, that what had happened to teams like aus with the exit of all their great players could happen to India .... In hindsight, as he failed u can blame him.... but had there been overseas tours after aus n eng debacles and had our younger crop of players failed, you n the entire country would again look up to Tendulkar for saving the team. And none of us would've even asked for sachin to retire..mind u that sachin and kohli were only the saving graces with the bat in aus tour. let the saf tour happen, in which our nex gen players will surely fail and then you can say who is afraid of facing saf bowlers.... make no mistake, knowing the competitor sachin is he'd have liked to retire against saf not against wi... had sachin not participated in the Champions League and had he went (1/2)

Posted by JeevantRampal on (October 16, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

@McGorium: The selectors should look at the best 11 in the country while making a selection, and that should entail looking at domestic performances. I don't quite take to the age bias against older players . One can think of Tommy Haas, Agassi etc. Alluding to great performances by Waugh and Lara in their last 25 innings and showing that the difference from career average wasn't much is I think saying that these players were near the top of their game and Tendulkar should have retired at such a junction. But why should a player enthusiastic for the game, with a past record of coming back strong from slumps quit to "preserve their legacy" ? Legacy is a fictitious concept, a matter of hearsay, it betrays vanity on the part of a sportsperson to pursue it at the cost of giving up a game they love. We can agree to disagree, but what's vexing, given gaping holes in his argument, is Mukul's dubious proclamation of his objectivity which apparently eludes the common Indian cricket fan.

Posted by   on (October 16, 2013, 3:27 GMT)

Unfortunate that such articles get heard. The author lacks basic knowledge of cricket in India and has set out to express a lame argument. Sachin has justified his position in the team through his fitness and overall performance which includes his fielding. I believe such opinions arise as a result of the expectation that have been set upon Sachin. He has performed at 100 % but fallen short of the standards we have set for him. The team & the nation needed him to perform until he decided to call it a day, reason best known to none other than the man himself.

Posted by McGorium on (October 16, 2013, 0:41 GMT)

@JeevantRampal: Can't say I can call your nonsense well-written. 1) The argument Mr.Kesavan makes is not about retiring at your peak (that's your incorrect interpretation) but retiring when your performance no longer justifies your continuation in the team. Waugh, Lara, Dravid, or Laxman realized this, either by themselves, or through the selectors, and left. SRT now leaves on the eve of a difficult tour (SAF) with no time to groom a #4 under the safety of home conditions. 2) Again, Waugh and Lara didn't retire at their peaks. They just didn't hang around until their position in the team became untenable based on performance.Kesavan argues that SRT should have gone 2 years ago, after WC11. Any other interpretation is purely your imagination, He has not advocated retirement at peaks above 3) See #2.4) Not sure if you can read, but Kesavan has just stated SRT's *international* average over the last 2 years.Who cares about his domestic form against third-rate bowlers in the face of this?

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

I agree with the article. As soon as India won the WC 2011, I thought and actually expected retirement from Tendulkar.

I thought he would have at least retired from all forms of cricket bar Tests. There was absolutely no point in playing in ODI's and even less point in playing IPL/CPL.

Had he retired just after 2011, then he would have retired at the top and remember with fondness. Not that he wouldn't now but not as much.

Having said all that, I don't think he has done that for selfish reasons. He just has enormous hunger and love of playing cricket. I think that's what has been undoing of him. The other thing, is that, India is blessed with players in ODI's and T20's but not so much in tests.

Kohli, Dawan, Pujara and Vijay have done well but there hasn't been anyone else of Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Tendulkar's calibre waiting in the wings. I am not sure Rahane, Rohit, Raina and Yuvraj can fill those shoes just yet.

Posted by Ashofalltrades on (October 15, 2013, 22:03 GMT)

Mr Kesavan's article is like a breath of fresh air and audacious enough to go against the current Tendulkar tide. With a million articles and blogs going on about Sachin, Mukul takes a rebellous view but states facts. No denying that. Thank you Mukul.

Posted by warnerbasher on (October 15, 2013, 21:20 GMT)

Steyn, Morkel and Philander would humiliate him if he went to South Africa so to preserve his dwindling average he has made the choice to finish in India. The fact that he was a failed captain is further evidence that Sachin does what's best for Sachin and that standing in the way of younger cricketers so he can achieve personal milestones is not an issue for him. Kallis and Tendulkar are fine batsman but the great batsman bat for the team and care little for individual achievements.. I often wonder why there is no strike rate for Tendulkar in the cricinfo stats for him in relation to test cricket. Perhaps it is not entered to preserve the myth that he is the greatest batsmen of this generation. It would be hard to justify this claim with a strike rate of 40

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (October 15, 2013, 20:51 GMT)

@Vishesh on. SRT was in sublime touch towards the end of England tour and also during early matches of Oz tour. Come on man!! Hindsight is always 20/20.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

I think Sachin has all the rights to decide when should he retire. It is his personal choice. But criticism should be towards the selection board for choosing the struggling player in international matches just sake of popularity/emotion/politics/you name it...

Posted by JeevantRampal on (October 15, 2013, 18:26 GMT)

What well written nonsense: 1. "Retiring when at peak to preserve legacy" is also a selfish act, done purely to glorify one's career. 2. Had Sachin retired at one of his peaks as did Lara and Waugh, he would not have won the WC, not have won a series in England, and not had some of his best years in test cricket, and not won the ICC player of the year etc.3. Mukul basically assumes that if Lara and Waugh had continued to play, they would have also played at the same high level as Sachin did for 5-8 years after they retired and sat on their laurels. 4. Tendulkar was still justifiably in the team as a part of genuine best 11 having gone and proven his mettle in the domestic circuit.

Posted by Phantom96 on (October 15, 2013, 18:25 GMT)

Even though I thoroughly disagree with this article, it has at least giving me satisfaction to know that i m not in a club of few when i think that Tendulkar hasn't ruined cricket for India and that this is an acceptable time for him to retire, not because he is holding up india, but because he chooses to. Honour this legend

Posted by chatas on (October 15, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

It was interesting reading Mukul's article and then perusing the comments. If one tries to follow Mukul's logic dispassionately, bereft of the pedestal worship afforded to Tendulkar, you will see that the writer tries draw a clear analogy. It is not that he is deriding Sachin's accomplishments but just his predilection for making records however unsubstantial they may be. One also needs to put in perspective, India's records in Tests & ODI s with Tendulkar's own personal milestones. How will history judge him as a leader and his efforts to elevate India's somewhat inconsistent performances during his watch.

In that sense, I would say that Mukul's was a thoughtful article and analysis and very pertinent.

Posted by amit75 on (October 15, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

That is such an accurate assessment by the author and I hail him for coming out and showing the mirror to the stats crazy worshiping group of cricket lovers. No wonder they are all ruffled by it, because it is so true!! Would you imagine, Australia doing anything like this for their aging horses, of course not and correctly so!

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 17:39 GMT)

Maybe the article is objective, but his retirement should be a celebration of his career, his achievements and the joy he gave to cricket, India and the world. We should do him the honour of retiring when he would. He's a champion and we don't have that many so as to pull him off the pedestal we placed him on. Whether he scored centuries in his last 25 innings, he should be allowed to wind down on his own. He's a boon to India and the cricketing world. Be generous, gracious and rejoice his career. You'll only have replays left.

Posted by android_user on (October 15, 2013, 17:08 GMT)

Sachin is a special case. He's a hero modelled by peer pressure. It's unfortunate that we respect a great individual over cricket. Without cricket what were the chances he would have become known? He knew only one thing, cricket. He should have hired a better PR agent.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

Mr writer, can you pls take the effort and find out from all other esteemed cricketers whom you have given an example of (Gavaskar, Waugh, Ponting, Lara, etc), why did they take the decision to retire when they did?

A separate line of thinking: Wasn't Lara wrong (selfish??) to hang up when he was in prime form and the sole good performer in his team? Wasn't it his duty to play on till the team find some one good to take care of the team?

As much as your experience says that Sachin should have passed on the baton after Australia 2011-2012 along with Dravid, I would assume that Sachin might have felt its not a good idea to retire at that moment - knowing the team was in dire straits (losing 0-4 to England and Australia both!). He tried to hang on (in hindsight - vainly; but in his mind - to help Team India overcome the troubles). He probably got big confidence with the way we beat Australia early this year.

And I must say, with 24 years of playing experience, Sachin knows best!

Posted by android_user on (October 15, 2013, 16:22 GMT)

mr author. has sachin told he wanted series ? has he told he is afraid of SA bowlers ? nobody knows it. Then how the hell you are assuming it and saying it is sachin fault fir jinxed ind saf series. stop getting cheap for gaining publicity and let us India relished final 2 test matches of this greatest Cricketing Legend. why the hell u are describing your points which are assumption and you are blaming Sachin for all this. Do you have any proof ? How can you put such a blame on Sachin that he fears SAF bowlers ? . and kind of career Sachin has he has every righr to retire in India and Mumbai rather than Saf and Centurion.

Posted by Team_Eleven on (October 15, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

Mr Kesavan, When did the financial standing of other cricket boards become a concern for you? Sachin deserves the right on when to retire.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

Everybody should read Chona (October, 15) - he made the best contribution to this article! Lots of others are only spewing pure ignorance, as it pertains to the main objective of this article! All the author is saying is that Mr Tendulkar has ABUSED the great influence that he has on the Indian cricket administrators, and created a negative spectacle of himself worldwide (not necessarily in India)! He held up critical years which should have been used to develop the international experience of young Indian batsmen, PLAYING OUT OF FORM! It is moronic for anyone to be comparing SRT's situation with that of Federer - THERE'S SIMPLY NO COMPARISON: Federer foots the bill (from his pocket) every time he competes in a world Tennis Capital. He's not punishing the career of a single young Swede in Tennis! His records are all about WINNING! None of these could be said about SRT. No one is disputing SRT's place in cricket, but he should have PASSED ON THE BATON long ago like the gentleman Dravid!

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

y should people retire at the peak?? i f u are in good form keep playing..

Posted by Kays789 on (October 15, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

Finally an article that makes sense about a ridiculously selfish player that only played for his stats. The guy's leaving nearly three years into an abysmal rut as far as form and performance go and that tells you a lot about him and the board and the collective psyche of his 'fans.' It's hilarious to see the excuses from the indians in here. At least this utter nonsense isn't tolerated anywhere else. It's a pity that players like Dravid who contributed so much more to the team than this massively overrated guy are lost in the discussion.

Posted by jay57870 on (October 15, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

Mukul - A farewell left too late? Really? Check the facts. Sachin was the 2nd highest Test scorer in both England & Australia: commendable given the dire circumstances. Sachin achieved his 100th international century: no mean feat. He contributed as best as he could, even while Team India underwent a difficult transition period - with Dravid & Laxman retiring; Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer, Harbhajan & Yuvraj beset with problems. As the great coach Gary Kirsten wisely observed: "Look, if Dravid, Tendulkar or Laxman decides to retire it is a major blow. But as long as the retirements of these players are staggered, rather than everyone leaving all at once it will be a little easier for the team to integrate and groom the younger players"! After gracefully exiting ODIs, Sachin did a great service in staying on to help the young team: Just ask Kohli, Pujara, Yuvi & Co! India is better for it! Surely Gary's succinct words are honest, more credible than Mukul's rambling & senseless rhetoric!

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

How can sacrificing a series with SA be a damage to the indian cricket team. Can't we do atleast that to a person who stood as a pillar for the last 24 years and who has been the brand ambassador for not only indian cricket but also to entire indian nation...How can you judge his are not the one who stood 24 years for a are not the one who hold the astronomical figures which cannot be are not the one who faced the pressure of 1 billion throughout the are not the one whom entire crowd erupts by looking at you entering to bat ..No one has the right to judge his retirement...Just KEEP CALM and watch the remaining 2 matches yet to be played by the living legendd....

Posted by Crichetfan on (October 15, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

Mukul - You got it all wrong. My view is cricketers(not only cricket any sport for that matter) retire when they are at peak is utter nonsense. They are fearing for their failure and to me they are cowards. With all due respect to Roger Federer , everyone knows going by the current form he can't win any Grand slam (though iam a big fan of Roger) , but still he keep on playing Tennis and most important thing is people love him seeing in the court. You might argue that cricket is a team game but still Sachin is a too good player to be left out. Bottom line is people loves watching Sachin play cricket irrespect of whether he is scoring as many runs as he could , every other opponent team loves playing against Sachin and who cares about this article..

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

People retire in the late 30's for a reason. Waugh, Gavaskar, Ponting all would have come up with some good knock here and there, even if they had continued. That doesn't mean their departure wasn't due. Clarke followed Waugh's exit and he was instrumental to Oz's rare success in India. Ponting would have drawn severe criticism in his country, if he was obstructing one day specialists during his century in WC 11. It's this attitude that sets apart champion sides from ordinary ones.

Posted by android_user on (October 15, 2013, 11:40 GMT)

y are even discussing the carrier of a legend when no one has the right to do so...someone who played for the country honestly for 24 years...better enjoy the last 2 matches of the legend and pay tribute than to argue about the delay in his retirement....please!!!!

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

@Devesh365- Check what Dravid said at the time of retirement. he said he was thinking of retiring after England (coz of history attached to England-home of test cricket,etc). but because he was in great form, he thought it would be a disservice to the team if he didn't go to Aus, specially considering that the whole team was performing badly. After Aus, he retired coz he wanted youngsters to have a chance to play at home before the all important (now redundant) SA series. Now lets see what Tendulkar has done. WI series for him, at Mumbai, everything that comes along with it. He's a great batsman, no doubt about it. But epitaphs of his greatness as a person are suffocating now. He's flawed, like any other person and they don't take away from his great career. but flaws there are, like the desperate need to play 200 tests, and others along with it. Like I've always felt. Tendulkar the batsman. Dravid the man. Doesn't mean the other isn't a great batsman or the other isn't a great man.

Posted by danielevans315 on (October 15, 2013, 11:26 GMT)

When you're all dead and the generation after next that never got to see the master that is Sachin looks back at his 200 tests, 35,000+ first class runs, do you think they will say, "oh well his last 2 years were rubbish, he should have retired", of course they wont. They will also compare his nearest competitors in terms of 100's, tests and runs and when no one is close to it he will become the new Bradman, "how did he possibly mange that". Mr Kesavan's article may have relevant points and for any run of the mill test match cricketer, these opinions should apply. However Tendulkar is not a run of the mill test match cricketer and his brillinace should be celebrated and treasured, you will not see another cricketer like this in your generation, if ever.

Posted by usb88 on (October 15, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

Then as per law of thumb (last 25 innings) I think many playes from Indian team should announce their retirementbefore this series. Because as per statistics even our captain barely average more than 39 in his last 25 innings. Actually he never averaged more than that in till now in Tests. May be stats of many players will be same. But they are still playing because they think they can give something to their team. It doesn't mean they are delaying their retirement. Then why selectively pick someone and analyse him? Because u expect too.....much from him?

Posted by Chona on (October 15, 2013, 9:35 GMT)

Hats off to Mukul Kesavan. This is an amazing article...Nobody is doubting little masters class or legend stature...purpose of article is simple...Sachin made a mockery of himself by going after trivial records like 100 centuries and 200 tests rather than go gracefully...and lastly depriving the world from a matinee series between India & SA,,,which is going to be scrapped just for arranging fitting farewell against a so called soft team...although WI have real quicks even today...who knows Sachin might bag 2 pairs in two tests....I think he should have retired three years ago....In the end one thing is for sure World will miss him...but he should not have lingered on so long....

Posted by jay57870 on (October 15, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

Mukul - A farewell left too late? Really? Check the facts. Sachin was the 2nd highest Test scorer in both England & Australia: commendable given the dire circumstances. Sachin achieved his 100th international century: no mean feat. He contributed as best as he could, even while Team India underwent a difficult transitional period - with Dravid & Laxman retiring; Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer, Harbhajan & Yuvraj beset with problems. As the great coach Gary Kirsten wisely observed: "Look, if Dravid, Tendulkar or Laxman decides to retire it is a major blow. But as long as the retirements of these players are staggered, rather than everyone leaving all at once it will be a little easier for the team to integrate and groom the younger players"! After gracefully exiting ODIs, Sachin did a great service in staying on to help the young team: Just ask Kohli, Pujara, Yuvi & Co! India is better for it! Surely Gary's succinct words are honest,

Posted by Sultan2007 on (October 15, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

I am struggling with the objective of this article other than to incite a controversy on the non-controversial career of a non controversial immortal of the game. Exceptional performers, nay, the immortals, are precisely that because they have an exceptional mind complimenting exceptional ability. Since Mr Kesawan has never been even close to the stratosphere of genius, for him to make a value statement on the timing of Tendulkar's retirement based on a simple stat regarding the last 25 innings is really quite silly. We dont know the variables that caused Sachin to decide on the timing of his announcement and we should assume that he genuinely believes that he has it in him to influence the outcome of games. It could even be that he wanted his last game in Mumbai. So what? Is that not an infinitessimal price to pay for the decades of joy and pride he has brought to a Nation? And Oh, if SRT goes and scores crazy runs in the last 2 tests, will Mr Kesawan change his story?

Posted by bigdhonifan on (October 15, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

I dont even care to read this article. when a person retires from his service we should talk about his contribution and positives, discussing timing of retirement is wrong... For me Roger Federer , Jordan , Ali and Pele all are legends. Most of them retired lately with less success in the later part.

Posted by RSairam on (October 15, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

Another "hindsight" article..Mr Mukul - did you ever have the guts to say Sachin wont be back to form when he simply cant since he has come back many times.. To my mind he wanted to go out with series win in Australia..if that happened he may well have retired..But I am only speculating..

Posted by jayanto56 on (October 15, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

Typical Mukul Kesavan article..why and for what.. is it sacrosanct that one must retire at the top of his game ? SRT has served the country and the game with distinction for over two decades..he has brought accolades to his country like no other sportsman before him...if he should choose the time of his retirement (after all he is human) surely we should allow him that, regardless of what one may personally feel...the greatest disservice Kesavan does to SRT is to pontificate and say " He has damaged the Indian Team & Cricket as an international game"...Kesavans bias towards Gavasker is clear...

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 7:15 GMT)

one of the benefits of being a writer is tat you get a chance to cosy up in an A/C room and write about a guy who for the most of his life, has spent hours toiling it out in the sun. Its only fitting that tendulkar is who he is, and you are who you are.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

So- after 22 years ,Tendulkar retired perhaps 2 years late. Is this the gist of the "argument" ? Amazing myopia.

Posted by AmeyaN on (October 15, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

Why does one have to retire at the top of his game? If you do so, it means, you were capable of contributing to more wins but you didn't? I think one should go when he feels he is not able top contribute to the team's cause any further. Personally I too feel that Sachin should have retired a few seasons earlier because I felt he is not contributing to the team's cause. But did Sachin or the Selectors also feel that and still dragged on? How can we be sure? People felt the same for Sachin around 2008 - 2009 when he had a similar slump in form, but he came back stronger and won matches in 2010.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

Bang on. perfectly described

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar for me has been synonymous with cricket. So much so that my first memories of watching cricket are those of this curly-haired tween ravaging bowlers who looked way bigger and stronger. This romanticism associated with the man has made me stand by him during his toughest times. However, the years since the 2011 World Cup triumph, not to mention the "nautanki" surrounding his retirement, has left a bad taste in the mouth. No one, not even God himself, is greater than the game. All these recent developments only appear to besmirch the great game that this man has adorned and excelled at all his life. A die-hard Tendulkar fan always, I would certainly have preferred a farewell more befitting of a sporting legend of his stature.

Posted by jay57870 on (October 15, 2013, 3:53 GMT)

Mukul - A farewell left too late? Really? Check the facts. Sachin was the 2nd highest Test scorer in both England & Australia: commendable given the dire circumstances. Sachin achieved his 100th international century: no mean feat. He contributed as best as he could, even while Team India underwent a difficult transitional period - with Dravid & Laxman retiring; Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer, Harbhajan & Yuvraj beset with problems. As the great coach Gary Kirsten wisely observed: "Look, if Dravid, Tendulkar or Laxman decides to retire it is a major blow ... But as long as the retirements of these players are staggered, rather than everyone leaving all at once it will be a little easier for the team to integrate and groom the younger players"! After gracefully exiting ODIs, Sachin did a great service in staying on to help the young team: Just ask Kohli, Pujara, Yuvi & Co! India is better for it! Surely Gary's succinct words are honest, more credible than Mukul's rambling & senseless rhetoric!

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (October 15, 2013, 3:27 GMT)

All the talk about legacy, form, performance is insignificant. Its obvious that this retirement has been timed keeping financial considerations in mind, rather than sporting considerations. If the argument must indeed by limited to sporting reasons, then SRT is about as guilty as Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman in hanging around longer than their form permitted them.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 2:41 GMT)

I disagree with the author. Firstly, the legacy of a sportsman cannot get shot cause of few minor glitches in their career, definitely not the legacy of somebody like Sachin, who has taken the game to a whole new level. At the worst, it gives cynical, mediocre writers something controversial to write about in hopes of catching some attention to their otherwise pathetic, and miserable writing life.

Secondly, arguing that Sachin should have retired when he was high in form is basically saying he should have acted selfishly choosing a grand exit over a shot at serving the team further. Especially, with other major senior players like Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble retiring on a trot, it was much needed for Sachin to guide the youngsters and inexperienced.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 2:18 GMT)

We should refer to the selection procedure adopted by USA for selections in track & field. If you do not fall in the first three at the official trials, you don't qualify for the olympics, even if you have created a world record a couple of days before. For the swimmers, it is the first two. It is routinely said that it is tougher to qualify for the US team than to get a medal at the olympics, and some world record holders have ended up never represinting the US team at the olympics. This system is brutal but honest to the core, which you can hardly expect fro the Srinivasan gang.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (October 15, 2013, 2:15 GMT)

Completely agree with Mukul and indianpunter - Bravo! Mukul,, this is exactly what I have been saying for the past 2 yrs. you have articulated the argument so well. Tendulkar has done considerable damage to his legacy and the goodwill he had rightfully earned, by his insipid performances and his petulance. Make no mistake, this is Sandip patil who has made him do it, albeit late. The man himself would have never quit the game. Thank you mukul. Someone had to say that the emperor was naked.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (October 15, 2013, 2:15 GMT)

Age is only a number and no player should be discriminated against based on can't in the normal employment market, right? Why then in sports? However, when form eludes a player, there is every right to bench him. And that is the prerogative of the management and captain. Unfortunately, no one in Indian cricket had the spine to do that to Tendulkar. Frankly, I don't think any Indian cricket fan, even the most ardent Sachin fan, would have minded had he been dropped based on his least after the England tour. I agree with Mukul that this drama over his retirement has robbed the fans of a much anticipated tour to SA. Again, BCCI's fault. They know they can milk this man for one last time by playing to a capacity crowd at home. I would have much rather seen him fight it out against SA in SA and then call it quits. Timing a retirement is a tricky affair, especially for a top notch sportsperson...and all analysis of that decision is a hindsight affair.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (October 15, 2013, 2:07 GMT)

At last he realised! Thank God for that. Lets give him a good farewell. Hope he scores a century and goes out on a high and everything will be forgotten. Thank God again, BCCI did not invite Zimbabwe or Bangladesh so that it would be easier for Sachin to score a century in his last series. WI should bring Franklyn Rose!!!

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 2:06 GMT)

It is easy for arm chair theorists like Kesavan to say that SRT dragged his feet for the last 2 years. However, the possibility is that SRT thought he would have a return to form as in the previous years. It is not possible to plan your farewell. It's good that Sunny and Dravid and Lara had better final years in cricket, but this was more of an accident than planned exit. Success is a big drug and only successful people like Sunny, Dravid, Lara and SRT can know what they actually gave for the success they attained. Giving it up is a grueling decision at best since all players who hit troughs hope they have enough for one last hurrah! And this hope is little better than a gamble at best.

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (October 15, 2013, 1:53 GMT)

I would like to see Indian fighter jets flying over Wankhede stadium on the last day of the farewell test match...for Sachin... True respect to a genius...

Posted by CanTHeeRava on (October 15, 2013, 1:51 GMT)

I am sorry Mukul. You have got it all wrong. You used to provoke me to write lengthy responses. Not anymore.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2013, 0:52 GMT)

I may be a little harsh towards the author, but I have to say. "Jataya Maranam Dhruvam - death is inevitable", every one of us is going to pass away one day or the other. It doesn't mean a person with slight ill health should commit suicide. The ability to continue in the team till he point he BELEIVES he should Quit didn't happen as an accident. He earned it and he have a right to execute it at his will.

Posted by android_user on (October 15, 2013, 0:36 GMT)

See, Tendulkar still has life left in him. Im not talking about life though but rather, about cricket. It is terribke you think that his farewell has been 'left too late' because as long as he can contribute to cricket he is a welcome place in the Indian side. It is up to him to decide when to stop. And we, as fans, really dont have a right to even an opinion on the matter. Tendulkar has carried the Indian team on his shoulders alone for 24 years. And he still is. Even through the past 2 years of decline. He is holding the team up, and has held it up until he felt he could let it go. When Lara and Ponting left, their respective teams were pummeled - no offense intended - but the WI and Aussie teams are at their weakest, and struggle to improve. India is still prospering, at the top of the ladder in all three formats, because the teams has bouyed by him. He leaves tests now. Yet, India will continue to prosper. We should be appreciative, he hasnt left India to fall, but rather to rise.

Posted by insightfulcricketer on (October 15, 2013, 0:24 GMT)

Do not agree at all with mukul.Yes Sachin may not have scored those hundreds but in the last few important series he played some key knocks.One in fact against aus in chennai set the tone esp after openers had been lost for very few and Pujara looking lost. and what years did he have between 2009 2011 Sachin was never defined by simple stats .Did you ever notice that every new player mentions Sachin paaji helped me and never any other senior.for that alone Sachin the cricketer will be solely missed in future.

Posted by VivaVizag on (October 14, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

He is still my GOD! Enough said.

Posted by RajnishChoudhary on (October 14, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

Dear Writer, Unfortunately people like you are there in this world who know very well writing about who will make you more popular. You are talking about the lean patch our genius is having. I request you to have a look at below link from cricinfo and see his average in 2006.;template=results;type=allround;view=innings

His average in 2006 was 20. He was 33 years old in 2006 which is the retirement age for most of the cricketers. He had played cricket for 17 years already by than. Had he retired in 2006, we would not have seen 17 centuries he scored after 2006. as far as giving chances to others is concerned, let me tell you one thing, no one can stop top talent to win his berth in the team. Any sport is all about self belief. He gave himself fair chance before deciding to hang his boot which is not wrong at all. its a humble request not to be so judgemental about genius like Sachin.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 22:39 GMT)

This is rubbish, he was on top of the game till Sydney test and started the bad phase which lasting for 12 tests, for a batsman who was on top for 23 yrs this is more than acceptable and he knows when to retire,, also when Sunil averages 58 @ 37 or Brian with 45+, sachin averages more than 70 at the same age, he is incomparable with any of his compatriots,, pls write article which makes sense

Posted by Shan156 on (October 14, 2013, 22:34 GMT)

@McGorium, I agree with all your points especially about exposing younger batsmen to the rigors of international cricket. But, you have to remember that Dravid and Laxman almost left at the same time. And, if Tendulkar also left, it would be a huge psychological blow to the team. Retirements would need to be phased. While Sachin hasn't set the world on fire in the last 2+ years, except Pujara and, to some extent, Kohli, none of the other Indian batsmen did either. Besides, as I mentioned earlier, SRT was the reason many kids still follow cricket in India. As you rightly observe, interest in test cricket has been diminishing in India in the last few years and after SRT's exit, it is doubtful that there will be any left. SRT is such a powerful brand in India. The longer SRT plays, the more the following for cricket in India will be. And, without interest for cricket in India, the game will die soon. So, in that way, yes, SRT is bigger than cricket itself.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 22:24 GMT)

To start with there is one factual error. Sunil Gavaskar did not retire without notice. He said very clearly that he would retire after World Cup 1987, around JulyAug/Sep of 1987. Those days, matches were far and few in-betn. So he played his last test match in Mar 1987, did not announce retirement then, since he wanted to play for MCC against (dont remember) at Lords where he made 188 and 0 and then announced his retirement.

The author seems to fault Sachin at very step even though the perfect time to retire should have been after the WC 2011. Sachin's legacy I personally think has not diminished. He remains one of the world's best sportsperson, irrespective of whether he retired now or in 2011. It is like saying that Federer's image as a legend has been tarnished because he has lost recently in the grand slam tournaments before the semis. Damage to the team: Possibly yes, as Rohit / Rahane / Badri might have lost their prime, waiting for Laxman and Sachin to retire.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

I never express my opinion about these online articles and discussions but this kind of article and articles from you in the past have compelled me to express my personal opinion because writers like you are on a mission for degrading the great man. All your articles on master are on bad taste - A farewell left too late, Why the 100th doesn't matter, How not to close a great career, The Beginning of the End etc. and article on hailing Rahul on his retirement answers all this. Your blaming Tendulkar for cancelling the SA tour is absurd. It was a result of rift between the boards and its officials. You have only tried to put in the manipulated stats where you can project Sachins weakness in recent times. I mean why did you compared only him only to Gavaskar and no other Indian ?? Just to pr And I know this for the fact that even if Sachin scores or do not score gr8 in his last series but I will surely see this kind of articles from you.

Posted by philvic on (October 14, 2013, 22:03 GMT)

It is amazing the BCCI came up with a tour for the sake of one over the hill player and wrecked a proper cricketing contest. Cricket has been severely damaged by this episode, hopefully not irreparably.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 22:01 GMT)

Mukul - Are u sure those Indian fans left your house and family alone after this article? Its almost sad to see Sachin playing the Champions League.. no respectable score, but no one is saying a word.. Glad you have guts to tell what everyone fears to tell.. great article.

Posted by SL-USA-Lions on (October 14, 2013, 21:38 GMT)


Let's not walk on egg shells and let's be honest to ourselves about cricket just onetime please...

Bradman was a legend. No question about it. None of has seen him play maybe other than the old folks.

But He played in a different era before Bouncers were real bouncers... Bodyline series... He played against few countries: Eng, In, SA and WI... He played in uncovered pitches... He played mostly against England... And he scored runs at an average no one ever might be able to catch... So for the sake of the argument let's leave him out of this...

But honestly... We all know deep inside...

Lara was a MODERN DAY VIV... And Sachin WAS A GAVASKAR...

Look at the stats and what they really did on the field... People who can agree with me please do. Others you have a right to believe what you want to as well. So after they retired who do we miss more Viv or Gavaskar?!!

Let's salute Sachin. If we debate THE TRUTH COMES OUT. I'M DONE!

Posted by hhillbumper on (October 14, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

Have just watched a film that put this into perspective.To all you people proclaiming him God. He's not the messiah.He's a very naughty Boy.

@S.Rahul. Your team has never won a test series in Australia or South Africa. Lets face it that is why your boy will bow out in Mumbai. I agree he should go now because Steyn would show him up in the same way that Anderson has.

As for the athletes quote my point is you only seem to follow one sport in your country.If not then what have you ever won. England has the football and Rugby world cup let alone myriad Olympic medals.India has a short batsman of dubious ability. I know which side I would rather follow. Yet we still beat you at ours and in your own home.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

Mr Kesavan, I'm usually baffled at the conclusion that most Indians come to, after doing an impressive analysis of the truth about Tendulkar and Lara. You all would say everything that is correct, and back it up with appropriate statistics, but in the end, while the rest of the world knows it, and says it with consummate ease, no Indian is prepared to say what cannot be changed: that is, Brian Lara is some distance ahead of Tendulkar, in every aspect of genuine batsmanship"? Sanjay Manjreakar thinks that SRT at his peak was on par with Lara at his peak. This is not true. There is where Lara excelled by leaps and bounds above SRT. It was at his peak that Lara used to make all these massive scores: 500*; 400*; 375; 277 and on and on. And more and more he got into top gear making these scores, "Lord have mercy on the bowlers"! SRT was not capable of doing that! This is why all the bowlers were so fearful of Lara, and looked at SRT just as a tame rabbit - no one feared him - No, too timid!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 21:12 GMT)

Great Article! I couldn't agree more. It was sad to see such a giant struggle against average bowlers over the last couple of years...He should have retired from all forms of the game, after the World Cup win!...that would have been perfect ..

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 20:58 GMT)

Its become a habit to sound different and enter into a league of extraordinary gentleman! Alas! Here in India and especially in cricket, mr. writer you just cant. Because we all have an opinion. Chuck the averages, and go back to the last India west indies test match in Mumbai. For three long days the total turn out in the stadium was 5000 people. The moment Sachin started batting it swelled to 16000 and the following day tickets were being sold in black. It hasnt happened before and it never will in the future. Hence the hype over the mans retirement. And if he really played just for records, the man skipped inconsequential series to Zimbabwe, where he could have conveniently hammered runs. But no you people have made it a point to sound different and criticise the man. Unfortunately for you, his fans outnumber his critics on an average ratio of 1: million.

Posted by McGorium on (October 14, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

@Shan156: Test cricket never was a big thing in India to begin with. Only the big metros tend to draw any amount of crowds. You only need to see stand occupancies at Mohali, Kanpur, Nagpur, etc. to see that test cricket was always a big-metro middle-class pass-time. Like SRT, Kapil was also the face of Indian cricket. In his desire to cross Hadlee, Srinath waited 3-4 years on the sidelines, at a time he was easily 145+ kmph. Who knows how much better Srinath would have been had he been given international experience earlier; we all know he was a much more effective bowler towards the later half of his career (but slower after his shoulder injury). Some poor debutant at #4 will face up to Steyn and co. in SAF simply because BCCI had to organize a money-making spectacle around Sachin's last test. And if one of Dhoni, Kohli, Dhawan, Pujara get injured during this WI home series, good luck competing in SAF. But SRT is bigger than losing yet another away series 3-0, right?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

This is rubbish.I would like to see the best average by an indian batsmen in the last 2 years and if tendulkar was really the worst.Tell me who fared the most.People talk of Runs and wickets.What of all the support he is giving to the youngsters in the dressing room?

second he had repeatedly proved its not age but temperament thats needed in test and fitness.I think he is still good at both.

Easy to write an article like this i would rather prefer the decision on quitting to be left only with the player and to say nothing if the board accepts things.

Remember symcox and what he did when SA started playing International matches.

Posted by balbirs on (October 14, 2013, 20:32 GMT)

why make exception just for him? there are others with averages similar to him who gracefully retired. why not bring all of them back? why is he so special? and why does everyone needs to keep singing his praises all the time. the country and it's people need to move past him. strange that in a country of billion people, no one had the courage the drop him based on his recent scores.

Posted by tenfan on (October 14, 2013, 20:29 GMT)

Absolutely do not agree whats written here. What Mukul has written is exactly what all ill informed persons who are used to expecting only the best from Tendulkar started saying as soon he stopped being the best Indian batsman based on his form last 2 years. The fact is he is not at all selfish and hence knowing that there will be such illogical comments on him dragging his career he continued playing for India as we still didn't have 6 better batsman then him till now. #6 is still open. Infact he is so selfless that he played very few ODI for a year before WC to prepare better for it. If he would have played those ODIs, he would have had 100 100s during or before WC. BTW, it eas the media and public who wanted that 100th 100 more than him and I am sure 200 Test is just a coincidence. Author is wrong on saying this series is being conducted for Sachin as it is being held due to issues between BCCI and CSA and not for SRT.

Posted by McGorium on (October 14, 2013, 20:28 GMT)

@ Mayan005: Mukul Kesavan isn't squarely blaming SRT for this. Any other board would have given him the "message" a long while ago. SRT's situation is peculiar in that he was determined to play on (justifying it with some sanctimonious verbiage about it being "selfish to retire", and "service to the nation" over a year ago); the BCCI (and its business partners) are unwilling to kill a cash cow, and are more than happy to profit off it. Heck, they went out of their way to organize a tour against a weak test team to rake in the moolah.I'd also remind you that Federer has only his own legacy to tarnish. SRT is part of a team, and by weakening it through his ambition(however heartfelt), it's not only his legacy that's at stake. Consider this: Say Dhoni and Pujara are injured in the WI series,and can't tour SAF,and Ind gets hammered, would that be worthy of our record/legacy? Would the risk of an inexperienced/debutant #4 in an away game against the #1 bowling unit be worthy of our legacy?

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (October 14, 2013, 20:13 GMT)

Wait... he has two test left and we will talk..

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

A sane article, finally. India's been playing a batsman short in tests for the last two years due to this man's affinity for records. Pick any middle order batsman from even a Ranji Plate Division team and you would get better than 28 runs per innings.

Posted by Shan156 on (October 14, 2013, 19:46 GMT)

Are some of your forgetting that, in India at least, Tendulkar is indeed bigger than the sport itself? It is obvious that there is no cricketer without cricket. But, without brand Tendulkar, cricket itself may not have survived in the last 2 decades. We are already witnessing the decline of test matches in India. I doubt if cricket would continue to be such a big thing in India after Tendulkar's retirement. So, if you look at it another way, Tendulkar is probably bigger than the sport itself now even though the sport gave an identity to Tendulkar. But, I guess that is what happens with some of the greatest sportsmen. It is true that given SRT's form in the last 2+ years, he deserved no place in the XI but BCCI may have felt that without brand SRT, cricket itself would lose a lot of its glitter. So, perhaps it is OK that he didn't retire after the 2011 WC.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 19:40 GMT)

For all tendulkar critics..Bro's if you don't like him playing then y are you watching him and checking out the scores..No one told the likes of rohit sharma's last 25inings nor about dhonis last 25 innings..If they are averaging low then shouldn't they also retire in the sense my brother kesvan is telling....Age give experience bro..don't go with the statistics..For the person who gave so much proud to our country can't we bear some bad innings from him..If its like tendulkar should hit century then only he is unto the mark then youngster should hit double century as per the age criteria..stop blaming him bro's if you can blame at least respect him..the amount of time he practices some of you can't even practice for 25%...stop blaming and start respecting..else shut your mouth..

Posted by skmohanty on (October 14, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

In my opinion, the author is missing the point. Agreed, he was not in his element, but one gotta understand the situations created around him. Had not been for the much media hyped 100th 100, we would have definitely witnessed a different Sachin and different avg. Remembere it's not that easy to carry the expectations of the entire world (remember, he was questioned all over the world starting from the hotel service man) at 40. I dont know believe in statistics and only admired him bcs of his humbleness and down to earth nature. So dont believe in last 25 innings stats, but have seen both pointing and Lara closely in their last days. Definitely, Sachin was in better touch than both of them. I repeat, had not been for the hyped 100th 100, we'd have seen big hundreds in both Eng and Aus. Those 50s, 91, 73,80,93 could have been 150, 180 and 200s. So it's childish to say that he should have gone 2 yrs back. Also, we've hardly any youngsters who're knocking test team's door.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 19:23 GMT)

Fantastic, Bold and brutally honest article Mukul. Someone finally has stood up and questioned the might of the great man's last 2 years.

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 19:22 GMT)

at its face value the article appears to have hit the bulls eye.but wait,kesvan himself is not honest in assessing tendulkar the payer.kesvan goes for twilight run averages or scores for characterising the proposed retirement a blemished one but surprisingly maintains in the closing paras of his article that sachin is the greatest of his generation.greatest for what?his previous records or his twilight failures?of course it is for what he has done for his country over the last 20-25 years and not what he has done over the last 2 years or so which at best is an aberration.these last two years cant take even an inch of the space which tendulkar created for himself,for his country by doing only one thing i.e, playing cricket in the most committed and dignified manner.hail him for being with us for the last two years despite various odds.figures are immaterial now.

Posted by ash0508 on (October 14, 2013, 19:22 GMT)

i feel sorry all those who think that Sachin was selfish in his last two years,i will tell you what selfishness is,Mike Hussey who retired from international cricket citing family reasons is the most selfish person,at a time when his team needed him the most,at a time when he was at his peak or shud i say he is still in prime nick considering his latest scores in IPL and CLT20 he left the side,now that to me is selfishness

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

At last, a sane article about THE retirement. Don't know how much is his own fault, what he has lost most is respect.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 19:08 GMT)

Strange Travesty of Justice. Champions Trophy Final 2013. Dravid, the perfect gentleman, keeps pushing himself down the order, hoping for a RR win. Sachin, despite his failures in the earlier games , keeps opening, hoping for-- perhaps 50,050? Who gets the glory and carried on shoulders ? Sachin.

Posted by SDHM on (October 14, 2013, 19:06 GMT)

Spot on. No more needs to be said.

Posted by indianpunter on (October 14, 2013, 19:06 GMT)

Bravo! Mukul,, this is exactly what I have been saying for the past 2 yrs. you have articulated the argument so well. Tendulkar has done considerable damage to his legacy and the goodwill he had rightfully earned, by his insipid performances and his petulance. Make no mistake, this is Sandip patil who has made him do it, albeit late. The man himself would have never quit the game. Thank you mukul. Someone had to say that the emperor was naked.

Posted by The_Rohit on (October 14, 2013, 19:03 GMT)

It is so easy to talk about someone in hindsight. Could Mr. Kesavan please tell us when Jimmy Anderson, Jaques Kallis, Michael Clarke, Mahela Jayawardene *should* retire? They are close to the top of their game, and are not young anymore. Very easy to say what a player or team should have done after looking at the results.

Sachin was #1 in the ICC rankings for test batsmen by the time England 2011 series started. He had scored the most runs for India in the WC. Why would he retire when he was on the top of his game? All the players who retire at the top of their game - do you not think their team would benefit when they play more? Had Gavaskar played for 2-3 years more, who knows, he could have scored 6 more 100s, would have been around to help Tendulkar and Manjrekar through their initial few years. Retiring at the top of your game - sounds romantic - but is not practical, especially for Tendulkar who had overcome serious bad patches in 2004 and 2007.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 19:00 GMT)

Sach was at his peak b/w 2008 to 2011 when many had written him off,and he probably thought he could come back strongly after a slump in form in 2012.He had done it before and he believed he could do it again but he was WRONG.IS it WRONG to be WRONG for a man who has done most things RIGHT?HE MADE AN ERROR of judgement.Yes,it cost his team and himself but we can only question his performance and not his thought process.You could call him selfish for WANTING TO PLAY more but the truth is he loved to play more than preserving his legacy!your last 25 match rule-is not an accurate measure of twilight performance.Punter had a horrible phase of 3 years b/w 2008 to 2011 and he had ONE great series vs Ind when he got BIG tons which enabled him to play for some more time.Dravid had a bad phase for 3 years until 2011 when he had a great series in Eng.just a reminder.Viv didnt have a great end but his legacy remains,so will sachin`s.Its too good a career to be affected by an anticlimax.

Posted by bford1921 on (October 14, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

The more i consider this the argument used is poor. Tendulkar is entitled to be available for selection for as long as he wishes. It is the selectors job to pick the best side, and ultimately, by continuing to pick an out of form 39 year old they have abdicated their responsibility. It has been clear for some time he is no longer good enough and that their are a number of younger players who could have been developing their game and experiencing playing at the highest level. The issue of his legacy is assured, the bad years will soon be forgotten and the great innings enjoyed. Walter Hammond, the great England player of the 1930's, was encouraged to tour Australia after the second world war, he was no longer good enough and his reputation was damaged for a while. Now, he is remebered with respect and dignity, a fine player.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

Very timely and well written article. Some one said recently that "Sachin retired from cricket but cricket retired from Sachin long time ago" So true! Many of his fans lost respect simply because be procrastinated his retirement. This delayed the onset for many youngsters like Rahane, Dhawan etc. Even this 200 test again West indies is staged. I won't be surprise even the West Indies bowlers informed to bowl so that Sachin could make a century. Let us wait and see what happens!

Posted by IAMGOD on (October 14, 2013, 18:26 GMT)

Bang on target! To those who compare him with the likes of Federer & Schumacher in having a longer twilight, please understand that Cricket is a team game.

And to those who say that we would have still lost 8-0 to Eng/Aus abroad, it is always better to lose with a team full of youngsters - it is hard earned experience for them. They are prepared for the next battle.

We are still hung over from those days when he was the lone warrior, and we think this is the best way to repay our debt. But, remember by doing that, we are betraying his desire - that India wins at any cost!

His retirement is 2 years due!

Posted by Beazle on (October 14, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

I agree with the premise of this article. The sad, prolonged long decline has indeed been painfully reminiscent of Kapil's slow crawl after Hadlee's then record. For all his technical excellence, Sachin has never been a matchwinner like Lara, Sehwag or Gilchrist.

Posted by Jumbotail on (October 14, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

You are missing out on the most important loss due the delay. VVS who is a good 2 years younger than sachin could have played on a couple of seasons more and honestly, he had more to offer than Sachin did. It was the idiotic media circus calling for senior heads and his gentlemanly nature that led to him stepping aside to give youngsters a chance.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

Mukul Kesavan is a brave man and I respect him for it. Could not have been written better , but will not be well accepted by the masses who deify him. The argument goes that he did so much for the country, but has the country been frugal in rewarding him? In his twilight years he certainly did not think of the careers of young men who could have played for the country.

He certainly was the greatest for a number of years. Nobody can deny him that. But no one is greater than the country.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

Truth is always bitter. This was the truth.You cannot argue with facts. This was the fact.

Posted by The_other_side on (October 14, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

Mr Kesavan... I have already made a comment where I appreciated your thoughts! I am however forced to write this a second time. I would not have requested Tendulkar to retire after WC 2011. He made his first mistake by opting out of WI tour in 2011 and since then he faltered.Hence he should have retired with Laxman and Dravid!! He looked pedestrian in the series against Australia especially after Chennai test. Everything else he did is fine... at least he decided he wants to go now!! The reason why I say this is it is easy for us to analyse retrospectively as you did now, but what if he scored centuries and it looked different??? At least now we, as Sachin's admirers, do not regret his decision now. I THINK SACHIN DESERVES THIS BENEFIT OF DOUBT! What do you think?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 17:43 GMT)

I agree with the article for the most part, with hindsight it would seem that retiring after the 2011 WC would have been the perfect end but he was in good form at the time so why retire if he still had the desire.

I am not sure about the point of moving aside to blood new players, with Dravid and Laxmans retiring there were plenty of spots available in the side. Three players out of the top six is a lot to lose at once. Him staying my well have helped the likes of Pujara settle in

Posted by Lodhisingh on (October 14, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

for all the dravid fans speaking about his selflessness, he averaged in mid 30s for 30 test matches(no innings) betweek 2006-2009. Not sure why the selfless dravid did not retire. Do you know what dravid scored in his last 2 tours to SA, SL and AUS? selfless man that he is, decided to carry on for the sake of the team. Take the one series in England(3 100s all in losing causes) in the last 5-6 years, and you know what he was worth to the team and I am counting his performances against BD and against NZ in India. Against top teams excluding BD, ZIM, NZ and WI, dravid averages 35.3 since June 2006 compared to sachin's 48.79. I am not even couting the ODI perforamances here.

Posted by akpy on (October 14, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

Mukul is a dravid fan and has always highlighted all things negative about sachin, so this article was long coming and would be lapped up by sachin haters. He has used stats to beat up sachin over last two years talking about averages, etc. Frankly, even if he had got some runs, mukul would have used something else. There is merit in saying sachin tried to get back to form but he failed, but he very clearly said to retire when you are at the top of your game is selfish and now retiring when he probably feels he has gone down as a batsman. He batted beautifully in Australia and also started very well in the last home series after struggling against England. To be at the top for such along time, you cannot have any negativity around you and may be mukul can learn this trait from sachin

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

For me Sachin is always been someone who kept the Team in front and not himself and all of you who are trying to tag him selfish may be need to re look at the smile on his face whenever INdia did well (not him).. as far as debate about SA Tour is concerned i guess BCCI is the one to blame who these days are just mere group of businessmen and trying to show their dominance over other Boards. IT is BCCI who is trying to take monetry advantage of sachin"s 200th test.Somewhwere i think Sachin felt the need to carry on to see Team India through Transition which in my eyes is not as bad decision as some of you are making it.

Posted by pramodslk on (October 14, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

The writer seems to be more of a statistician than a cricket fan. Did he even see the Aus tour of India.... Tendulkar looked in such a sublime form... He didnt get big scores but anyone who has even a little knowledge of cricket would conform that he was playing well. He is talking about the last 2 years. Did he miss out the 2 fifties Sachin scored in both Quarter and semi-final of world cup... w/o his efforts India would have surely struggled. He didnt win single handedly but cricket is a team game. What was Dhoni's average before the aus home series, no one points a finger at him.. sab sachin ke piche hi padenge. Not everyone gets a fairy tale ending but Sachin looked like he will get it every time he walkd out to bat. Look at the cover drive off Shane Watson.

Posted by SL-USA-Lions on (October 14, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

Thank You Sachin for the memories... We will miss you.. Truly one of the best two batsmen of the Cricketing world since 1990 (The other being Lara) When I say the best two batsmen it's purely based on the natural gift and spark bestowed on both of them by a Higher Power...

If you consider the hard work aspect in rating a Cricketer all the other great batsmen since 1990 would fall into that category...

Both had the ability to destroy any bowling attack in the world any given day. In terms of retirement it was and will be a sad occasion on both players careers... Nothing lasts forever...

Lara entertained, took risks and won games. Sachin too entertained, won games and accumulated a boatload of International runs which may never be surpassed.

Who timed it better? People will say anything now. But we all know we all have a short memory... To me Lara retired MAKING US WANTING HIM MORE... There is no question about it. Sachin has NO CHOICE… FATHER TIME CATCHES UPTO EVERYONE. PERIOD.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

For a change, somebody dares to speak the truth

Posted by Phantom96 on (October 14, 2013, 17:15 GMT)

I don't not see why people are praising this article just because it is an anti-tendulkar article. I myself, without menaing to sound too arrogant or over-confident, seem to have spotted several flaws in the article

Posted by BigINDFan on (October 14, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

Very true and unbiased article. It is a fact that Sachin dragged on his retirement for 2 years too many. I would have loved to see him bid a great farewell after the 2011 WC. It took him more than a year to let go of ODIs and more than 2 years now to let go of tests. Agreed this is more damaging than doing any good for him or indian cricket. Ponting would agree too since he was guilty of it. Pairing the two as openers by Mumbai Indians was a disaster.

However the selectors, BCCI and us fans should have helped him with this transition to be smooth. We kept giving him the hope or excuse to hang on. It is only fair we accept the outcome. Now SA-Ind test series is overrated. SA will clearly crush Ind at home. CSA and BCCI should have sorted out the schedule and it is not fair to drag Tendulkar into this.

Stop comparing Sachin to others and give him a proper farewell since he deserves it even if it is later than many wanted!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 16:55 GMT)

This is absolutely right, we always love records and Sachin has given us plenty of them.He should have retired much earlier, and made way for the younger cricketers.

Posted by Phantom96 on (October 14, 2013, 16:53 GMT)

People blame Tendulkar far too easily for this tragedy, where as I think that that blame lies elsewhere. Blame should be portioned to the BCCI, for sucking as much money from the Indian players as possible, without ever thinking of hindsight (could go into more detail, but would take me over 1000 word count.) Blame should also to portioned to the media, who heaped on pressure onto Tendulkar for his 100th hundred, expecting every game to be the historical one. Blame should also be put on the unreasonable supporters of tendulkar, who demand that he is at the top of his game 24/7 and do not accept a dip in form and do not understand the crushing weight of being sachin. Blame should also go to the indian captain, who amongst many of his own failings, pushed sachin out of the ODI arena and made tendulkar know that his days were numbered. However, blame should not be put on sachin. He is not accountable for this tragedy, and it is a tragedy, but he is by far, the biggest victim of it

Posted by HumungousFungus on (October 14, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

I applaud the fact that a writer has been brave enough to put his head above the parapet and be anything other than fawningly subservient when faced with the Legend Of Tendulkar...Of course he should have retired earlier, and the World Cup would have been perfect timing. Sadly, it is abundantly clear from the behaviour of the BCCI in recent times that no risk should be taken with their cash cow, and that every effort will be made to milk the last drops of value from him. Whilst the series against the WI will no doubt be extremely popular with the Sachin worshippers, I shudder at the damage that is being done to SA and world cricket in the name of Tendulkar, even if - and I stress this - he is not himself responsible for the change to the Future Tours Programme. Oh well, roll on the MS Dhoni Farewell Tour after the next World Cup...

Posted by Phantom96 on (October 14, 2013, 16:41 GMT)

@Rajeev Batra, @ Devesh365, @Mayan005 absolutely agree with the points you make and i hope that people who say tendulkar should have retired after the world cup read your comments, nice to know that there are still people of intelligence in the world

Posted by itischandu on (October 14, 2013, 16:40 GMT)

Cricinfo once again has proved that they are hard nosed when it comes to reporting "as is" facts . I liked Mukul's previous article on Sachin where he pointed out Sachin's retirement against his endorsements . Kapil and Gavaskar indeed prolonged their career rather painfully than gleefully , but their extended run did not come at the cost of chances to new players . Kapil , I am sure did not have too much competition for his place . Well nothing has changed since then , as I still don't see enough competition in the team for the fast bowler's spots ( Anyways , that is a discussion for some other day) . But in case of Sachin , there are far too many people competing for his place and ideally a retirement in 2011 would have ensured adequate chances to players like Rohit Sharma , Rahane , Pujara or may be even Dhawan and Raina . It would have also ensured that Sachin retired at peak , which is certainly all the cricket fans want including Sachin himself .

Posted by Adnan-Ahmed on (October 14, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

For me, Tendulkar's perfect farewell opportunity was at the moment the Indian team won the Worldcup...what a way to leave that wiould have been. Now watching him play is painful, it just hurts when these legends miss good opportunities to say farewell.

Great career for a wishes to him.

Posted by suresh_lv on (October 14, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

Nice article ! Let me start by saying, am a big fan of Tendulkar (for his contributions/entertainment) during mid - late 90s and probably early 2000's. I see it in three different ways : - BCCI Selection Committee - Should have dropped Sachin when his performances were not upto the mark. Plain and simple. - Sachin - I don't think we can blame him completely for NOT retiring. Every human being is selfish. He may have wanted to carry on forever. Its BCCI's fault for NOT dropping him. - Fans - a lot of people say, it should be Sachin's decision. As a devil's advocate, where I pointed out that he may have wanted to go on forever, he has to remember- He plays FOR the audience. Without the fans he might as well play in his backyard. Yes, he had a glittering career, but at the end of the day, I will just remember him for his performances in 90's (just like Federer from 06-08). Let's be open to all comments and personal opinions. Calling him GOD is just plain ridiculous. !

Posted by soumik on (October 14, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

Let's not define Sachin by his landmarks.All his landmarks came late - 34000 runs, 100 centuries as so forth.Let's think about it - how do we define and remember Sachin 10 years from now.Would it be the number of runs or number of centirues he scored? I doubt it.I think and I'm sure most of his urdent fans would, his best legacy would be couple of things - Bradman said himself that Sachin plays like him and also Sachin's prime used to give us a glipse of Viv Richards.I'm a beliver that it's the self-belief that makes legends different than the rest and that belief comes from the extraordinary skills.When skill wanes, so does the belief.Great sportsmen would still do better than the rest with the diminished skill and belief but that's not what we look for from them.We know they are blessed and it's the blessing that we want to see from them and remember them for.

Posted by wynand494 on (October 14, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

Sachin has always represented the collective aspirations of his country. In the ninetes, we could not hope to see an India victory as much as a Sachin fifty. Over time it became a habit. Rather than pin our hopes on India we put our hopes on Sachin. We egged him on; we speculated wildly about all the records he could break because of both age and genius being on his side. Is there any Indian fan who would not have looked at statsguru in crinfo and not mentally calculated how much time it would take Ricky Pontng or Jacques Kallis to catch up with our hero? Did we not want him to get so far ahead in the numbers game that the mantle of "Best Batsman" remain with us for a long long time? If it was Dravid's job to play with a straight bat both on and off the field, it ws Sachin's to garner every record possible. We wanted it. He only did our bidding. Ten years from now he will be remembered for his 15000 runs and not how the last 1000 came. Indian cricket witll survive this indulgence.

Posted by VIJAYCHUX on (October 14, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

An objective view of the autumn of Sachin's career by Mukul. However, hindsight is a beautiful thing. When Sunny Gavasker walked into the sunset after that magnificent 96 against Tauseef and Qasim , many thought he had frittered away two more years of heavy run scoring by retiring early. Also Sachin's 2010 was momentousby all counts. So he might not have seen this slowdown coming. Again Rahul Dravid had a great series in England in 2012. The moment it was confirmed his wicket has became cheaper in Australia he walked off in a hurry. Sachin took a bit longer to realise that. Agree with Mukul the stage management of his retirement (nearly a state occasion with a weakened Windies invited to play the role of ceremonial leather chasers) also blights a remarkable career which started by trading blows with the best of the world's fast bowlers 24 years back.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 16:04 GMT)

Very courageous article!!! I was waiting for one like this that comes from the heart of a real cricket lover. Indian cricket and the careers of several talented middle order players were spoiled by the selfishness of so called HEROES OF INDIAN CRICKET. Despite knowing all these not many(cricketers or writers) voiced out what they felt in their heart. Hats off to you Mukul Kesavan for writing this GREAT article. This is a real eye opener for all of us. Let us stop the madness of hero worship. Good times starting soon for Indian cricket.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 15:53 GMT)

Great article and very well written. Sachin did not take cue from the subtle farewell that the team gave him following the 2011 world cup victory which would have been a fitting farewell. Agree with all the comments and great comparisons to other people who left on a high note.

Posted by RamSenaXI on (October 14, 2013, 15:53 GMT)

This article has made the best use of hindsight! It seems to suggest that the other great batsman - Ponting, Lara, Dravid, Steve Waugh etc - made a note of their last 25 innings and then chose to retire! How lucky would we be if we could predict our own gradual decline at the initial step itself and then retire at that point in time! Just based on statistics and averages, as this article is, if Sachin were to make 2 centuries in his last 2 tests and remain not out, this article would then be withdrawn for inaccuracy and the consequent irrelevance!

Posted by balbirs on (October 14, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

I hope he gets out for a duck in all 4 remaining innings of his career. Shame on everyone calling him "god" of cricket, like no other players matter. Why don't they just put up his picture in their homes and start worshiping him? He has been clogging up a younger players place in the team for many years. Shame on the board for not having the courage to drop him. We Indians are very good at putting people on a pedestal and then those people start believing that they really deserve to be there. Congratulations Mukul, on having the courage to write "breath of fresh air" article. You should think about getting some private security. You never know about all those "god worshipping" crazy nuts out there.

Posted by Nampally on (October 14, 2013, 15:27 GMT)

Mukul, You are absolutely right & a majority of real fans of Tendulkar agree with you. Greats such as Gretzky, Sampras, Bradman, etc have retired at their peak. Fans always remember a guy in his final years. A string of lower than the average scores do not do justice to such an outstanding career of SRT. However SRT's decision had to be tempered with the BCCI's dictates, fans feelings & of his own colleagues. You reflect this partly by saying "Destructively delayed retirement" isn't his fault alone. Counselling sportsmen like "planning for Retirement" is needed. This also happens to all "Super Experts" in their fields- judging the right time to retire from careers. Many of these experts are so good that whole industry rides on their backs. Yet one day they have to cut off the ties- some do a clean break whilst others linger on with part time work! Just like death is inevitable outcome of Life, retirement from a career is inevitable- Retire at your peak! Thanks for great memories SRT!

Posted by Vindaliew on (October 14, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

To be fair to Kapil Dev, he did manage to rediscover himself as a bowler towards the later years of his career against Australia in the early 90s, and it wasn't as if the other pace bowling options bar Srinath were automatic names on the team sheet. After most people had written him off, he suddenly took over 20 wickets in that Australian series, and suddenly everyone, including himself, believed that he could still play.

I was also under the impression that the BCCI have ignored South Africa because of politics in protest of CSA appointing someone who BCCI did not like, and that it had nothing to do with Tendulkar.

Posted by thebrownie on (October 14, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

Thanks for the memories Sachin. However 5-6 years ago the thought of tendulkar retiring would have had me in grief. Now I am happy, he has stuck around way too long. And to ask BCCI to host his farewell in Mumbai is just arrogant. I have lived outside India for last 9-10 years but rarely have I missed following a game. Between the circus called the IPL, CL20, the insane selection policies ( Ishant/ Rohit/ Vinay ) my interest in cricket is at its lowest. It beggars belief that despite the conflict of interest (Srinivasan), betting by CSK /RR, the arrogance of Srinivisan and BCCI, people are still crazy about the IPL. It is only a matter of a year or two when I would complete stop watching.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

He gave it his all and he retired. So give him a break. I am sick of people going after tendulkar just because they get to generate attention. He has gone in and out of form before. As for the indian team carrying tendulkar. Do you have any Idea what tendulkar means to people? If you had that much sense you would have never written this article. And all those senseless people who think this article is anything but mudslinging on the man should really question themselves as to what they will acheive criticizing a person who has given more to the game than any other living being. So thanks for writing this- it shows that no matter how great you are someone or the other without a life is always trying to pull you down.

Posted by test_cricket_lover on (October 14, 2013, 15:15 GMT)

"If he had left, as Dravid did, in early 2012, after the rout in Australia..." Mr.Mukul, how can you expect a batsman to retire after scoring 287 runs in 4 Tests in Australia? Is that a total failure by any means? The real failure for Sachin was the home series against England were he scored only some 100 runs in all the 4 Tests combined.

But then one series cannot be a deciding factor for a batsman who has played for such a long time. In the next home series against Australia he scored 192 runs, which included a vital, aggressive, counter-attacking 81 in the first innings when India had lost early wickets. One can say Sachin had an average series.

Finally, the last 25 innings of Sachin you are talking about is not the last 25 innings of Sachin's career. He's yet to play 3 or 4 innings, and SRT has it in him to better the last 25-innings records of Ponting, Lara or who ever you are talking about !!

Posted by wakaPAK on (October 14, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

I think Sachin as a player is still better than many from test playing nations but given the tremendous amount of talent in India, he was blocking the way for youngsters and that was what irking many. lastly I'd have liked it if 199th was his last test. It would have sent a message that Sachin does not care about personal milestones or centuries. A good lesson for young cricketers.

Posted by Sarangarajan on (October 14, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

So the Tendulkar bashing continues.Is scoring hundreds is the only bench mark for a cricketer?The 81 he scored against the Aussies in in the first test at Chepauk february this year which set the tone for the entire seris was worth more than a century.Some have such creepy pleasure in bashing at Sachin .That is life.We have watched him from his debut and till now- we all know what he contributed to Indian cricket and what pleasure he gave us through his batting in particular.Yes.Public gratitude is not permanent.We have seen his phase and we shall see the phase after him in Indian Cricket.Bashing shall continue -today it is Sachin- and tomorrow who knows - it may be the Virat/Pujara bashing.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

Definitely I accept the points of the article. Sachin could have left earlier. His lingering on for the last two years did damage his reputation to some extent. Definitely we all accept that he had been a very much gifted batsman who has done a lot. Still he has to accept that the slump in his form was because the age has caught up with him. The unfortunate rule of the World is the age catches up with everyone and no one can continue perpetually with the same form. And no one can continue in the team based on past records also. If someone is not delivering in the present, he has to go. Especially for a player of such a status, if he had chosen to retire when he was in a better form, his reputation would have been better.

Posted by Beertjie on (October 14, 2013, 15:02 GMT)

This much-needed article had to be written so well done, Mukul. "These two years have damaged Tendulkar, the Indian team and cricket as an international game." Perhaps, but not as much as the contrived 2-test series v WI has undermined SRT's memory! Why is he playing at all? To reach 16 000 test runs? I hope he reaches it, but would have rather he had already retired. It's so harmful to test cricket to see the SA series undermined in this way. Perhaps he had no part in that, but that's not how the world will see it. This obsession with stats detracts so much from the game and I am of South Asian origin!

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

Whilst almost everyone will agree Sachin delayed his departure beyond what it should have been, this article is a bit like fault finding with someone who has just paswed away, that is, not done and in poor taste. Come on, lets celebrate what he achieved and not be bitter about when he should have left. Lets be all thankful to the great man for what he gave us esp as our sporting history has been steeped in mediocrity and largely bereft of genuine world beaters.

Thank you sir, you will be missed.

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

A Taylor made series for a batsman considered as god! I am totally against Sachin being called as good of cricket. That's a totally different argument. coming back to the topic of Taylor made series, why didn't other players like Dravid, laxman ... Get the same Taylor made series or consolation series? This is an insult to a man who has played cricket for 20+ years, I expected Sachin to fight in SA. Note: exit gracefully, no hard earned rule that you need to score a double century or a century during your exit.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

Very true. Mukul congratulations on this bold article. If someone says things not complimentary about Tendulkar, he is considered unpatriotic.

Some of feel greatly relieved. Tendulkar does not have to pretend that the ball kept low, when he gets bowled out through the gap between bat and pad to an incoming ball. He has to acknowledge that with age reflexes are slower.

Did Viswanath not edge far too often in the last few innings, while the same shot used to be a beautiful square drive earlier in his career?

Posted by yenjvoy1 on (October 14, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

This article is senseless. The author starts off saying we should not write obituaries before the 2nd test against WI is over, and then proceeds to write one. The only way this article makes any sense is if Tendulkar gets out clean bowled 4 times to inswinging balls in his next 4 Test innings, for low scores. An, even if that happens, we the fans want to see him one last time, even if to glimpse a mere shadow of the greatness he represented; even if to wallow in nostalgia for what once was. Go away MK, and let us grieve in peace.

Posted by Rajdev on (October 14, 2013, 14:32 GMT)

Very well-written article. I am a great Sachin fan, but he should have retired by now. As someone (Andy Sandham of England?) one said, retire when people ask why and not why not. Sunny, Dravid, and Laxman timed their retirements well. Rajan

Posted by lee_man on (October 14, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

I agree with the article that the West Indies Team was chsoen as a soft target against which Tendulkar may go out with a bang. Windies team is perfect for this situation: they have history, they seem to be improving, they have a few marquee players, the bowling's not that bad. So in the end if Tendulkar gpoes out with a bang it will be against a 'credible' opponent. SA is a different kettle of fish, at his age he would definitely struggle against the likes of Steyn, Philander and Morkel. I also agree that he probably should have rertired before maybe 2 yrs ago when he was in good touch. He will still be one of the greats of cricket, but staying on too long often dulls the shine of greatness in the short-term.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

yes this was what i was waiting for.....a useless debate at tendulkar's expense.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (October 14, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

When Sachin scored his first Test 100 at Old Trafford he and Parabhakar I think it was, saved India fromcertai defeat. Because of the legend that preceded him the English team to the man looked on awe as he backed to the pavillion. At the WACA it was much the same though India lost. I cannot forget the likes of Mcdermott, Whitney Hughes and Jones rushing upto him to shake him by the hand as he walked off.The point is that Indian cricket till then despite the CKs,the Merchants,the Mankads and the Manjrekars,Indian cricket remained just a greenhorn in cricketing relevance.It was after Sachin that many other aspects of the collective Indian game fell in place and the world started taking notice. Who can deny the feel good factor that it generated to long time followers of the game. There was this curly haired boy with a squeaky voice that showed the way. Public graditude is not permanent. That is life. For those that have watched him from his debut to now this kind of debate is that life.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

REPLY TO Shrigadi:

"dear all critics, Even if Sachin is out on duck for the next 4 innings vs WI, he will still be the GOD OF CRICKET"

Dear Shrigad, this is exactly the point of the article, that sachin could have 4 Ducks or score 4 centuries or as is likeley score about 20-30 runs in each innings. It was your very point that is being proved,. it doesn't matter, the only difference is that the ego of a nation and the ego of a cricketer is being massaged and is proving that his retirement is bigger than test cricket. When it should be about india winnig and nurturing new talent.

Brian Lara was Best Batsmen and IMran Khan Best Allrounder, Sobers, Greatest Cricketer, Tendulkar and Bradman, Best Accumulators.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 14:08 GMT)

I agree nobody should question his decision on when to and when not to? However the manner in which this drama is carried out is DISGRACEFUL. All true cricketing fans were looking forward to 4 test series with SA which is in Jeopardy because of One man? WHY SO SELFISH? I was looking forward to see who will come terms with likes of Steyn Philander and Morkel, Will it be Pujara, Kohli, Dhawan or Sharma? In my heart I knew SA is a far better team, However If India team competed well enough, that would have been interesting. Now the thrill is dead with absolutely useless series coming up where Ashwin will take 10 wickets in each test and Sachin won't be able to score more than 25 unless he gets best out of the blessings of umpires and absences of DRS..

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

I disagree with this article on many points. 1. Why is leaving at the top considered a good thing. So that the fans still have an impressive last memory of the cricketer ? But isn't it selfish to leave the team when you could have contributed, just so that your legacy remains intact and people remember you as great ? 2. That the series against WI was organized for Tendulkar's farewell is a mere speculation with no basis. 3. There is no merit to the statement that Tendulkar's replacement couldn't have done any worse in this period had he retired earlier. Moreover, how would a player know he is going to have a lean patch until he hasn't. Till WC 2011, Tendulkar looked like in his best form of life. Leaving on a high might be good for public memory, but giving your every last bit to your team's cause till you have nothing left in you; looks to be more in line with the way Tendulkar has played his game throughout his career !!!

Posted by K_Srini on (October 14, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

A well analysed & written article. Like anyone else, I too am a fan of SRT. But, there is no need for people like Mr. Anurag Kapoor to become too emotional about it. If you read the article without any bias & keeping future of Indian Cricket in mind, its fairly written. SRT's retirement a little early would have given more than one player a deserving chance. And its definitely everybody's dream to 'call it day' on a high note. Its sad that people were looking out for retirement announcements from legends like Kapil Dev & SRT .

Posted by suubsy on (October 14, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

We will see more good and but also few such scathing articles on Sachin over next one month. I would agree in parts, but analyzing his average in last 25 innings is not a good measure, he is much bigger impact player, his presence in cricket was always a need. He was doing fine till the boxing day test at MCG and also at SCG till he got out at 80 of innocous Clarke delivery. That is when he must have realized this 100th century is much bigger expectation than playing and doing well for India. I personally thought he would play with more freedom after winning World cup 2011 but the media and public expectation of 100th century landmark never helped him. Hence in hindsight everyone feels he should have retired after World cup. Now 200th test is another landmark either he is chasing or he is being told to chase…whatever worth that is…Also remember there is no point blaming Sachin to the administrative fiasco of Ind-Saf series.

Posted by chikoo08 on (October 14, 2013, 13:59 GMT)

Everyone luvs to be on top....but only those remain on top for long who, in spite of failures, believe in themselves, make efforts again and get success. SRT did have these lows in his careers (u talk about injuries, lack of form) and he, with all his determination and dedication for the game, tried and succeeded. Perhaps that was the key to this wonderful career. This time, perhaps, he didnt get the expected results even after trying all he can and he has decided to quit. Put aside why he did this now and not then.....Cherish what you have enjoyed till now and what wud be just in recordings and articles......SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR...will never be 'LIVE AGAIN'....

Posted by S.Rahul on (October 14, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

@hhillbumper - I don't want to argue about the fact whether Sachin should be called as GOD or not. I just want to answer your further queries.

First you were telling us to find a game which we can win outside India. Hope you do remember the victories (be it tests or ODIs or T20s) of India in Australia, England, New-Zealand, West-Indies etc.,. I don't know about your country but wanted to tell you that every test playing country did loose to India in India at some point or other, so no one is perfect and I can bet that you will not find a team which can consistently and continuously will win forever :)

Second, the reason behind not able to find quality athletes in a country of 1.5 billion is pretty simple. Well apart from the athletes/sport-persons most of the people here in India are like you and me, so we will only sit and comment but will not like to be part of the action due to various reasons - difficult to put it in 1000 characters space provided here :)

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 13:56 GMT)

As I have said many times, the question isn't when Tendulkar should have retired (the answer is whenever he wants to) , but if the selectors erred by not dropping him when he had a long run of low scores. I think that they did and it would have given the Indian team some opportunity to try others. Besides, Tendulkar wanting to go on after he was dropped a couple of times would have underscored his passion for the game ,which would have forced the Indian fans of viewing him as a determined and supremely committed competitor (which he has been for almost all his life) rather than an infallible God.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

Ponting could have continued for one more SL test; he declined saying he doesn't want to surpass Waugh for the sake of doing so. Note SL was not a formidable side and he could make some amend to his disastrous show for some time. He wouldn't have become a better player by either scoring a century in that test or overtaking his former captain in some irrelevant way. Nor is he considered a lesser player only because he didn't pass 15k runs and someone else did. One more thing: his century in the WC, while looking inadequate, did offer some challenge. He was not obstructing such players as could have posted a formidable total; he was missing them.

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (October 14, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

A much hyped and overrated player in my opinion. Would have Lara over him any day. The only reason he's got the reputation he has is because he comes from a large country with a lot of voices that can should loudly and are deluded enough to think that that's the same as winning the debate. He wasn't even the best batsman in his own team, let alone the world. Give me Dravid over him any day. And why does nobody ever give any credit to Kumar Sangakkara, who also kept wicket for a lot of his career and played in a team with far fewer resources?

If anyone thinks Tendulkar is any kind of deity they should seek professional help.

Posted by kurups on (October 14, 2013, 13:49 GMT)

Very well written and balanced article...Its a shame that we have to see Tendulkar not going in a blaze of glory. But instead of all our thoughts and arguments to this why not celebrate the immense talent, skill, dedication and passion Sachin brought to this game! The sheer passion and interest is what would have made Sachin continue albeit his lack of scores..the media and us wrongly put it as his never ending quest for records!!! For his longevity and carving out a fantastic career with magical performances inspite of the continuous pressure from over a billion people and the manic media, Sachin is a true genius, a real master cricket!

Posted by Vpd23 on (October 14, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

What a Waste of a Retirement plan! What else there is to Say. But Wishing him all the best..Its pure cricketing politics... At least lets give him a final farewell!

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 13:44 GMT)

the author points out what is painfully obvious. India has had a tendency to stick with the big boys even when fitness was an issue. Having removed the old guard from the odi team has proved to be very good for the team. England might not have won earlier this year had the selectors been more ruthless earlier. india look a decent fielding team for the first, and Yuvi looks in good nick having risen to the criticism. it is a shame he has hung on too long and nobody has been able to accelerate his retirement.

Posted by Rugsy on (October 14, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

Mukul's analysis is best supported by the fact that for the last two years or so, all Tendulkar fans (like me) have been holding their breaths, crossing their fingers, not moving from their chairs and generally feeling stressed whenever he came in to bat. His survival at the crease became more important than his savagery of the opposition. Earlier, all of us used to get goose pimples watching the thrilling sight of the Master strolling in, settling back in comfort among the cushions, opening a beer and waiting eagerly for the artistry to commence.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

Perfectly timed if you ask me (SA fan). 200th game at home, about to turn 40, just won the 1 trophy that has eluded him (CL T20) - fairy tale career!

Posted by baskar_guha on (October 14, 2013, 13:21 GMT)

What if someone were to tell you that you should have retired on a high and well before you wrote this article which caters to the stingier and pungent side of fandom? All sportsmen like other seekers of professional glory want to leave on a high and they hope that the lull they are going through is only temporary. In that regard, Tendulkar is no different. To critique him is far too easy; to be empathetic is probably out of reach of many. Here's hoping that he goes out on a high for his sake.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

Fortunately Mr Kesavan is not writing Tendulkar's biography else we would have been made to believe it was a selfish, lesser skilled player who managed to con a billion people for over 2 decades. SRT played and focused his energies on cricket, and on ensuring his conduct outside the game was impeccable. So that he was and is a role model - in all sense of the word. And being a mortal (no Mr Kesavan, SRT is not immortal), he probably had no energy left to manage expectations of people like the writer who wanted to dictate the terms of departure to him. And he kept on playing for simple reason - he loved it - and a lot of us agreed with that. So we will cheer for him - the last time when he descends in whites. So long mate - you gave us so many reasons to cheer!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

BCCI has hit two targets with one stone...appeased wannabe thinkers like Mukul by expediting the great man's retirement and simultaneously filled their coffers with the hype around his farewell...

It's clear that you no idea what mentoring is., u have no idea about succession planning (u want laxman, dravid, off-form sehwag and gambhir, and sachin to go out together), and most importantly you don't know that NO ONE is knocking on the doors of the team with tons of runs to replace u know what material a cricket bat is made of??? go home mukul...ur article stands out but has no substance

Posted by murali_88 on (October 14, 2013, 13:09 GMT)

Great Article Mr.Kesavan!

I think the terminal decline started at hundred no. 99, since then there was so much hype and hysteria that it clearly weighed on him. He just hasn't properly bounced back since. Surely you don't think that SRT at WC 2011 was anywhere near decline. He was great. The longer the 100th 100 debate raged on and became a source of huge hype and hysteria, it started weighing on him and his form.

IMHO, SRT or VVS should have been the first players to go/retire. I would have loved Dravid to stay as he produces results and doesn't have the 'forcefield' around him.

Whilst all this stuff isn't SRTs fault and i am hoping (naively?) that he doesn't want the attention, indian cricket has suffered- at times- because of it. This is sad because I am sure this is the opposite of what he wants- at least I think it is!

That being said, the BCCI seems to work against the good of indian cricket, therefore excaerbating the situation.

All said and done, I still love sachin <3

Posted by hhillbumper on (October 14, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

To all the people with the inevitable defensiveness and calling Tendulkar God.You do know it is a game and he is just a batsman? Some of your behaviour is incredible and I feel sorry for Tendulkar to have to live with this. On the bright side though in other countries people can play more than one sport so may be India should find a sport they can play away from home? Lets face it 1.5 billion people and not one world class athlete. Honestly how do you manage that?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

I think this is a rushed conclusion.Everyone plays for respect alright,but for some people it's more than just respect.It's their extraordinary passion and love for the game that drives them.If you look at his scores in the last year or so,even though he didn't score a century,he came close many times.Not many people remember but in the HORRIBLE tour of Australia (2011-12),SRT was I think the only batsmen who proved a challenged for the Oz seamers. He played some amazing knocks down under that year. Similarly there are many other instances. SRT wanted to retire on his own terms and he is doing just that.And I have never been more proud of that man.He already had many 'RECORDS' and more than enough money to chill for the rest of his life but he continued to play because of the LOVE,nothing else.

Posted by Temuzin on (October 14, 2013, 12:52 GMT)

One more thought, why he announced his retirement in advance? Is it to make a great spectacle out of his retirement? Give BCCI a chance to make arrangement to honor him? Is it some narcissistic attitude in Tendulkar which was hidden under his soft spoken nervous, nail-biting tendencies? What ever it is but some one in BCCI is a great business man. That guy knew BCCI can make an economic killing out of this and did all to arrange that test at Mumbai. The sales pitch is now being prepared. Dhoni has already said he want to see full capacity crowd. Watch for more advertisement to coax spectators. Great Tamasha is now officially on.

Posted by dtnair on (October 14, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

this article is dishonest because it does not compare the performance of Sachin with that of other Indian batsmen for the same timeframe. If such a comparison shows that other people did well but Tendulkar did not then there is a grain of truth in what the author says. Otherwise he is just spitting in the air!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

Since you mentioned Sunil Gavaskar's retirement , pls note his final international cricket was not the test match against Pakistan but the 1987 WC and his last innings was againgst Englanfd in the semi-final... I think he got 9.

Posted by CricketChat on (October 14, 2013, 12:28 GMT)

Glad to see an(y) cricketing author question the timing of Sachin's retirement and its undesirable impact on Indian and world cricket in general. Looked like nobody wanted to be left behind in singing praises with any and all adjectives they could muster. As he himself revealed recently, he doesn't know much beyond cricket and no Ind selection committee was prepared to drop him even when his performances warranted it. Public memory is short. Before long most will forget his struggles in his last few yrs, but only remember 200 tests, 100 100's, highest runs in tests, ODIs etc. Though he played as long as he did, only for a brief period from 1994-2000 did Sachin's performances directly impact Indian team's fortunes. Starting 2000, his contributions were no greater than that of say, Dravid, Shewag, Sourav and Laxman along with few other players.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:28 GMT)

"Tendulkar carried India, so the argument goes, for more than 20 years..." Mr. Keshavan, the keen observer of the game, must remember Indian Cricket in the late 80s and 90s. Back then, Indian TVs were turned off with the fall of the No.4. And, when that little giant secured an improbable win, the country celebrated holi in winter or diwali in spring. "The argument", as the good writer puts it here, is much more than a bag of dry argument. It is laden with human emotion. Indians of my age remember their boyhood & early adulthood via landmarks planted by Tendulkar's sublime innings. Now when he has announced his will to leave, I find it quite heartless for someone to say, 'too late for any good mate'. Mr. Keshavan accounts for lack of runs in the last 25 tests; he ignores that people still pay in time & money to see him play. Records come and go, but how I felt after those days of 'Desert storm' will stay. And that is how most of us, barring a Keshavan or two, will remember Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

Not sure whether this article is one seeking uniqueness when the entire world is bragging about his achievements or plain truth. I recently read another article where he had brilliantly compared the "so-called" career's of Ponting and Dravid who according to many retired on a high or when they felt they weren't contributing but apparently they should have retired way before if we use the same yardstick that we use for Tendulkar. I know Sachin is surely way below his usual self, but as somebody who has dedicated his life for cricket I don't mind him carrying on for a little longer time even if it means this is affecting the Indian cricket. Why don't we all accept the fact this happens at so many places? Even the writer, if you get to know people aren't liking your article or not getting many hits; will you just walk away? Let's not be that harsh on a man who has given so much for us to cheer. You don't get to see a Sachin Tendulkar ever again! We are with you, Sachin..

Posted by Temuzin on (October 14, 2013, 12:19 GMT)

Excellent article summing up nicely the greed for making personal records at the expense of everything including teams growth. No wonder all foreign fans rate Tendulkar very low when comparing Lara, Ponting and others. While adoring Indian fans (more emotional than knowledgeable) may have granted him demi god hood, his records still stink as a filthy personal account.

BTW who is this Mukul guying emerging as an upright, straight shooting author in the midst of sycophant, spine less cricket journalist plaguing the game since a few years? I am your fan Mukul. Keep writing.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:15 GMT)

There are so many slippery things that make it almost impossible to attempt an objective assessment. The fundamental assumption that a player should retire at his peak is itself arguable. In any walk of life, generally one 'lives' long after passing one's peak. Nature itself does not seem to believe in cutting off immediately after one is past his prime. Gautam Buddha and other philosophers have pondered about the reason and purpose of old age and disease and death. Next, 'what if'? What more Sunil Gavaskar cd have achieved had he stayed on for 3-4 years more? May be he cd have delayed Sachin's entry into Test cricket? Or he cd hv shepherded him into more rounded cricketer and India cd hv started climbing up earlier? It is all slippery speculation. Third, gratitude. Performance earned the 'god' status for Sachin. When it is not coming, comparing him with 'lesser mortals' is tragi-comic. Sadly, all this irrational behavior of fans and media allows BCCI to swap cash for cricket!

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (October 14, 2013, 12:14 GMT)

Thank god for some honesty. Tendulkar can deny all he wants but he was and is chasing records. He should have retired about two years ago and believe his retirement from one day games was not his.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:09 GMT)

@Mayan: Federer plays an individual sport, Sachin plays a team sport for a country! Period.

Posted by Arrow011 on (October 14, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

Mukul's article is like a pariah in a society

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:03 GMT)

Benefit of hindsight. Critics have asking for his retirement since time immemorial but he has come back and silenced them many a time. Maybe his two last tests will be his swansong and then his last 25 innings stats wont look so bad after all!!

Even if he doesn't score much in this last two tests, I do not believe that Tendulkar plays cricket to break records. He believes he has the ability to do well for his team. If the selectors disagree, they have been amiss to not drop him. Not him.

Posted by RAJEESHKUMAR on (October 14, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

I cannot agree with the article. Of the first part of the mentioned 25 innings sachin was in good form. But he could not convert the starts to 100 s. Even in the home series vs Australia, he started brilliantly. In the first innings he sent pattinson packing with two consecutive boundaries. Pattinson was firing with two wickets in quick succession. I think he decided to continue due to the once scheduled SA tour. He may thought of adding some experience to the side in SA. Now, he decided to quit due to 3 reasons 1. Poor form in CL T20 2. SA tour is highly unlikely to happen 3. The 200th test is scheduled in home. Human beings always has the tendency to bring down others achievements. That is something hidden in this article. Also, the timing of publishing such an article is not good at all.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

@all Supporters of this article Stats only tell half just seen and discussed what this author wanted to wrire..I'll show other pictures. While it would have pleased Mr Writer that Sachin hang his boots in 2011 25 Test innings prior to WC 2011 my GOD scored 1386 Runs at an Average of 63.

What say Mr Author....

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

sachin more than an being an amazing player is a fighter ,his greatness is marked by numerous instances where he had to carry on playing despite being injured and playing in close to a 200 tests is only a testament of his indomitable will and love for the game, his so called "delay" in retirement can be for one reason only ,that his belief that he still has something left to give to indian cricket, and lastly "The history of the world is history of few men ",likewise the history of cricket will and should be about SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR...

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:55 GMT)

presently i feel almost close to 100 percent of indians are in highly positive frame of mind to talk, hear and read good things about the GOD of cricket.

writing such an opinion, is like committing harakiri. however true you may write - none will support you.

there is nothing i wish to add or delete from what you have said.

i must congratulate you to a well thought out article.

let me put it this way. if one could read minds - probably there will be a lot of humans who will actually agree with you.

congratulations - mukul kesavan on a well written article.

Posted by Shrigadi on (October 14, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

@dear all critics, Even if Sachin is out on duck for the next 4 innings vs WI, he will still be the GOD OF CRICKET

Posted by hnlns on (October 14, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

A very good article which highlights even legends have to get their retirement timing right rather than waiting to be sacked or asked to leave. I suspect SRT must have got ample hint from Sandeep Patil of getting dropped if he did not perform well enough to go to SA, hence this announcement came at last, as was expected for quite some time now. It is good that he has made up his mind on retiring without getting sacked.

Posted by Amit_13 on (October 14, 2013, 11:46 GMT)

I refuse to believe that Sachin doesn't have an ego... not a negative one but a fiercely competitive one. It is difficult to let go when you have spent an entire life trying to be number one. He may have considered the morale of the side in his absence... the impact of his leaving is evident. Imagine the contrary - imagine a sudden retirement, the nation wasn't ready for his going, still isn't. He must be acutely aware of what he means to the people, a sudden retirement would possibly have destablised the cricketing public. Think Australian team!!! Virat Kohli may well have returned from a tour or two not knowing what it means to play for the country, possibly banned for showing a finger too many. Rohit Sharma may never have known the virtues of hardwork! What he contributed to the dressing room, we will never know.

I choose to believe Sachin wound down his career in stages to make it easier, to get people accustomed to him not being there. Just rejoice, it won't happen again!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:36 GMT)

Poor article . A lot can be said in hindsight but at the end of 2011 world cup probably Sachin was in his best ever form after 1998 . India ,at the time had two massive overseas tours to follow ,so there was all the reason for him to continue playing . After these series both Laxman and dravid quit If Sachin quit at that time ,there would have been inexperience so it was crucial Sachin stayed at that time remember what happened with the great Australian team when all greats left together ? In fact ,if we carefully see Sachin was second highest run scorer in both England and Australia .Maybe by that logic the whole batting line up should have retired . In the home series vs Aus His 80 in first test match set the series up and others picked up from there and won it for India . He has given the country immense joy ,and cricket is something he loves ,so as long as he wanted to play ,he should . And Writer blame sachin for Ind-Sa series problem Do you know whats happening ?

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (October 14, 2013, 11:26 GMT)

Being a Sachin fan for well over 20 years and defending him at every turn (which he justified with his performances), this last move is hard to justify. The reason is pretty simple. If he was not planning on going to SA, where India needs him the most, there is no point in playing all those home test matches after returning from Australia. If you have consumed all these test matches, then you must take that forward to upcoming series abroad. Yes, he is 40. And if he wanted to leave, he should have when Dravid left the scene. It pains to believe Sachin is anything but a team man. And he was always one. But on this little farewell, we would love to listen what the great man has to say. What has playing those 13 Home test matches achieved, if you were never going to SA? What will the next 2 achieve, apart from a personal milestone?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

Well Mr. Kesavan, I agree with much of what you write, but the fact is, I was at the Eden Gardens last year to watch the India England test match on Day 1, and Sachin was still the best Indian batsman on display. The fact also remains, that in the last two years, Murali Vijay, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane etc. have been tried in many other places left vacant by retirement of other seniors - and none has actually put the stage on fire. True, that there have not been centuries, but I can remember at least 2 90's and a few 80's. And the biggest consideration should be, that it is very hard for a person who possessed a magical batting ability for almost 38 years of his life, to come to terms with the fact that that ability is waning. I can easily forgive him for the fight he had with himself for the past to years in trying to believe that he cant tame bowlers any more and that he can no longer shoulder the hopes of a billion. He tried and I admired the hunger to succeed.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

That is the nature of Indo pak circkter nobody wants to retire on his peak career, we have seen MiC Hussy he has reitred when he was in good form but he has left with pride and left the space for youngster when we will follow that policy?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

How conveniently has the author ignored the Haroon Lorgat issue? How conveniently has the author ignored the fact that the BCCI would make a loss this season had it not played a single series at home? How conveniently has the author ignored that Sir Viv Richards averaged around 25 during his last 2 years in International cricket (barring his final series). And if I am not wrong, Sir Viv Richards' legacy is still intact as one of the modern-day greats. Oh, and the author seems to have also forgotten that Ricky Ponting's career test average fell from 56 to 51 during his last few years in cricket, Tendulkar's is still almost 54.

Does anyone remember the 'Endulkar' articles back in 2006? Tendulkar fought his way back to win so many matches from thereon. And he thought he could do the same again. Alas, time doesn't wait for anyone - and there was no treatment to the slow reflexes and bad eyesight :-/

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

Mukul Kesavan, I absolutely disagree that Tendulkar has "delayed" his retirement and that his legacy or the Indian team has suffered due to this. Sachin Tendulkar is not your regular "great" cricketer. Money is not everything in sport and in life. People watch sport and pay to do so to be inspired. Every time Sachin walks out to bat the chants of "Sachin Sachin" only gets louder, be it up north in Mohali or down south in Chennai. What I am trying to say is no other cricketer/sportsperson ever has or ever will stay in our hearts and mind the way Sachin has and for him to get two more matches in front of his home crowd is honestly not asking for much. The man more than anything else deserves at least a proper farewell. And writers like you need to respect that by not undermining his achievements.

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (October 14, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

Benefit of hindsight is always good isn't it? While Mr. Kesavan has surely has exceeded himself this time. Everyone's allowed to have an opinion, so does Mr. Kesavan, but so do I and Sachin's fans.

This article is a classic case of choosing a conclusion and working backwards to twist facts to suit it and an apparent desire to stand out from the crowd by contradicting the popular sentiment. It starts with the title itself. Now that Dhawans and Pujaras and Kohlis have started performing, writer is questioning the last stage of a stellar 24 year long career. If anyone is claiming they could have foreseen all of this in 2011, sorry but I am not buying it.

Lastly Mr. Kesavan, we all know who's responsible for the SA tour fiasco. If it is your desire to protest that(which it isn't), we fans look forward to your articles criticizing cricket administrators,if and when they appear.

Sachin's legacy is safe Mr. Kesavan. This article however will always be remembered as one in a very bad taste

Posted by N.Sundararajan on (October 14, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

N. Sundararajan from Chennai---Sachin says he knew only cricket and he lived for it. But for IncomeTax purposes, he claimed on record that he is an artist (advt films) and he also played cricket ! He never moved out of his no. 4 position--never mind the team's needs. He continued to play because he had commercial endorsements and contracts ! He said he did not care for records, but he announces that he will retire after 200 Tests ! ! He was absolutely great--but certainly not in his greed to stay on for at least two years more than he deserved to! He should have retired at the end of the 2011 England tour when he failed miserably !

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

I do not agree Mukul Kesavan's ideology in general, but agree 100% to all his cricketing articles and this one is no exception. Sachin is legend, but his last 2 years have been like the great meal with not so great desert - leaving a queasy after taste. After the 2011 win, there was nothing substantive left to achieve. And this victory was in front of us in his hometown. Having said that, let's remember him for his first 22 International cricketing years and not focus too much on the last 2.

Posted by SRRY on (October 14, 2013, 10:48 GMT)

There is no one to be blamed here. He made a lot of money for himself and for all the cricket boards around the world. He played a big part in turning cricket into a spectator sport. Sometimes it seemed the spectators wanted to see him fail in 200 innings to be convinced that balls bowled won't take an edge or sneak through or be taken by a fielder. He liked to play - but who doesn't ? He liked to drive Ferraris, but who doesn't ? There are only 11 spots in the team from a country of a billion. but who cares ? No one dared to open their mouth. Even the bowlers from other nations waited to take home a souvenir. The cricket boards wanted the moolah. The politicians wanted their picture taken with him which they could then hang in their living rooms.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:46 GMT)

Good article with many pertinent observations but unsure why Steve Waugh was singled out for praise in comparison. As fine a player as he was, his last test series was similarly indulgent and left him open to accusations of selfishness. Waugh really should have finished his career after the 2003 Sydney test against England. Anyway, Tendulkar's batting has given cricket fans great pleasure over the years, but retirement two years ago would have been far more appropriate.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:43 GMT)

Well Mukul what makes Sachin the best is his combined record of tests & one dayers. It could be argued that Dravid or for that matter Sehwag are equally good test players for the kind of impact they have had. In fact, Dravid was a better test player than Sachin. The way he dominated the bowling & his longevity make him a giant & gives him a pedestal the rest cannot ask for. Taking Lara, there were sustained periods of inconsistency associated with him. He was also Shane Bond bunny. Sachin is certainly not undeserving of his glory the way you sound it to be.

Posted by nareshgb1 on (October 14, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

It definitely has dragged on for a while. Either he just could not figure out in good time that it was time to go - or was just hoping to score more hundreds (heck, we were also hoping :).

To be fair to him, he played quite well in first two test in Australia and was not as bad as Dravid and Laxman - so he thouhgt "maybe"? But definitely, it showed he did not have the timing of Sunny when it came to retirement. Unfortunately, he just managed to be worse than Kapil Dev - which is saying a lot really in this regard.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

Yawn..This article would have been written even if SRT had retired in 2006..Such is hate that MK n others have for SRT..Boring article not worth reading..

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

@Pri DeSilva - Dravid was not at top of the game when he was made to retire. He got bowled 7 times out of 8 innings in Australia, which was pathetic. Do not make him to be a selfless cricketer which he is not. The recent CL is a point in case, where he failed miserably but did not give his place in the team to a more deserving youngster.

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (October 14, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

Contd...So when you combine those facts, it is very likely that he would have felt that he can overcome this slump in form with his tried and tested methods, i.e. working hard to identify a new technique to suit his body, and then make a comeback.

As for the 'retiring when you're on top' argument, Sachin made it clear that he considered it selfish to retire when you can still contribute to the team's cause so knocking him up by drawing meaningless parallels with others doesn't hold water. Same argument can be turned around and said that those who retired when on top cared more about keeping their averages intact rather than helping team's cause.

What's wrong in him getting a chance to retire in front of home fans? For all the gushing over him, Lara got that chance in '07 despite his consistent poor form in ODIs leading upto WC didn't he? Sachin didn't get that chance in ODIs so now he deserves it.

Lastly attributing SA tour fiasco to Sachin is a completely ridiculous and illogical.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

I agree with the article that Tendulkar has stayed playing cricket at the highest level beyond his current abilities. The BCCI must be considering the money to be made out the West Indies -Tendulkar-Retirement series, rather than team development, the SA series and the problems of carrying an older player. Many Indian and Tendulkar fans need to build a bridge and get over it.

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

Implicating Tendulkar in the West Indies/ BCCI / CSA brouhaha is unfair. It runs well with the tone of the article but that doesn't make it fact. There is absolutely no evidence Tendulkar asked for this tour. From the rumblings from Srinivasan's BCCI about asking the man to retire and the CSA imbroglio, the BCCI saw an opportunity to flex their might and did so, especially after CSA handed them their excuse on a plate with their own high-handedness about the tour schedule. Would the BCCI have done this without Tendulkar? Hell, yeah! However, the financial implications of the 200th Test made it that much sweeter for the BCCI to twist the knife. Unless Mr Kesavan is referring to inside info not available to all, there is no fairness to the suggestion that the tour scheduling is Tendulkar induced though it is inevitably Tendulkar centric.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:10 GMT)

There is no doubt that Tendulkar should have retired earlier. His achievements are remarkable and he had nothing left to prove. The right time to go was after the 2011 World Cup. He played brilliantly in India's tour of South Africa in 2010/11 but has been a liability for the team from the England tour in 2011. One individual cannot be bigger than the team. There was no need to play 200 tests. He will be remembered as one of the greatest batsmen of all time and I think people will eventually forget how he extended his career too much. However, what he has done has had a negative impact on Indian cricket.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

Dear friend, it seems that you have made a lot of assumptions and tried to justify them with the brute force of illogical arguments. From which point of view can you relate the cancellation of SA tour with Sachin's late retirement. That is a pure ego related issue for BCCI and has nothing to do with Sachin or anyone else except some hothead, egoist politicians sitting on the top of Indian cricket tree. I know for sure that now if India looses in next oversees tour, you (or some like-minded journalist) will again put Sachin on blame for retiring late rather than poor quality of cricket played by cricketers. This article embodies the fact that in Indian cricket (and the sports media) anything written around Sachin sells.....

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

Completely agree with Mukul Keshavan. As one of Sachin's fans it has been painful to watch the great man bat in the last 2 years or so. He has looked a shadow of the man who millions adored for his fearless and aggressive batting. In the last 2 years he has diminished his own reputation almost to the point where the question being asked by all was "when will he retire?" Understandably the other cricketing nations have been delighted to see Sachin extend his career as he no longer posed a threat to them..his record in the last 25 innings is testimony to that.

The timing of his retirement is also done to allow the BCCI and Mumbai Cricket Association the opportunity to make a mega event of his final test. A truly humble cricketer would have played his last innings and then announced his retirement and walked off into the sunset. Not so our Great SRT!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

I dont want to fall into any discussion here but it is NOT the first time Tendulkar has averaged less for a year or so! But every time he did so, he DID manage to come back as well and serve the game and his team. Yes, this time he has announced his retirement but NOBODY has the right to call it late because no one during those tests were performing so good that Tendulkar should have left the legacy for them.

Speaking and taking out negatives is always easy but "Life isn't a Mathematics that u can define your future form as functions of some factors and announce your retirement in accordance with that."

Moreover, I agree with a quote in yesterday's TOI: "Those who say you should retire at the top are selfish because when you are at the top you should serve the country instead of retiring!"

Posted by Rohan_K on (October 14, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Its like every writers wish, that my article becomes famous even though it is criticized by many. Who better one can select to put down, most people's favorite "Sachin". One drags his name into anything. Its just a newly adopted fashion among writers to compare two great players by statistical means and create hatred among readers/followers to make their article interesting.. Had the S.A tour been on as per itinerary Sachin would have easily accepted the tour and post would have retired. The BCCI has arranged this W.I tour and embarrassed him with publically asking where the 200th test will be played. Is that fair on a cricketer who has been an icon for over 20 years. Its just a habit of people to get noticed in a forum to put down the great man's name. This article is in the same lines.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 9:54 GMT)

Kesavan who r u to deside time of sachin's retirement ? If u r looking at number's of last 25 .. 2 tests r yet to go .. So after that average should be different ..

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 9:50 GMT)

The writer can talk about form etc and have an opinion on retirement. But it is very sad and stupid to blame the South Africa series mess on Sachin or even relating it to his retirement. All tours and fixtures are based on monetary grounds, there is no sentiment attached, otherwise over the years India would have played more tests than ODI's and Indian team never has sufficient warm up games, like this there are many examples of tour decision not being rational. So no point in dragging Sachin's name in the South Africa tour mess.

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (October 14, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

I'm a die-hard Tendulkar fan, always have been and always will be. If you ask me the question whether he delayed his retirement, the answer would be yes. But do I agree with the author that it was delayed by 2 years? No not at all! Imho the right time was after the Oz series win in India.

If you care to look closely rather than jumping to conclusions, Sachin's retirement makes sense for two reasons. I think Sachin exemplifies adapting to adverse conditions, pushing himself as far as he could, and making comebacks. Adverse conditions need not necessarily be only playing conditions but also injuries, slowing reflexes etc.

Through sheer hard work and by modifying his technique, he managed to overcome an injury like Tennis elbow, which essentially would have meant full-stop for many of his contemporaries. Similarly he was able to modify his technique to overcome age-induced slowing of reflexes. And he always made sensational comebacks, be it after a bad patch or an injury layoff...Contd

Posted by Naresh28 on (October 14, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

@numberX1 - well thought out comment. Exactly if one had to divide the writers with the one side for and another against, Keshavan would be in the 2 % against.Now is the time that writers should delve deep into his stats and pull out the classics a lot has happened in his 24 years in the sport. Celebrate his greatness - a WI player said in another article today - Sachin scored 94 and was out to Rampaul when he had century no 100 in sight - the crowd when quiet when he failed. The fact that he got to 94 should be celebrated and not the failure. It took a great amount of concentration and energy to get to that point.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

The obsession with Tendulkar's legacy has damaged everyone else - the Indian team, the future tours program, the south africa series, the re-jigging of priorities which seems to confirm that cricket is not the focus - Tendulkar is. There can be no doubt about the fact that Tendulkar's legacy has been badly damaged by this

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

Excellent article. Taking the scores of the last 25 innings gives us a good indication of a player's performance towards the end of his career - and Sachin's is definitely below par. And as most of the readers say, having seen the greatness of Sachin till a couple of years back in the many matches he has won for India, it is painful to see him struggle against lesser known mortals. It is definitely time that Sachin bid good bye. It is a tearful goodbye indeed !!

Posted by Mohit_KS on (October 14, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

so let me get your stupid facts right ! Sachin was the 2nd highest run scorer vs england in english tour. he was the joint first or close second highest run scorer in australian tour. So,you can't question his place for these 2 series !

after that in home series vs NZ,he faletered after getting in 2 digits in every inning. a signal but not gud enough ! then he played home series vs england. Missed out in first test trying to attack ! He didn't score much either after that first test but others didn't do as he wasn't sure whether he was relatively bad or played series vs Australia. Scored very well in first test. He seemed to be on track. and next 5 innings read like 7,37,21,32,1 ! then he played IPL n CLTs and realised that he is not good enough to play more. Meanwhile,BCCI rearranged for a WI series in place of SA tour where sachin was needed badly,because we always play our worst in SA except sachin ! but BCCI changed the plans.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

This article will sound sweet song to may countries like Pakistan, Srilanka, Australia and many other countries that they don't have to deal with such an extraordinary player. If Sachin was so bad drop him from the playing 11 or from the team. Dhoni even didn't dare to touch him because it gave him extra edge. He scored 200 in one dyers when everyone thrown the towel. He scored century in 20/20 when he was twice the age of most of the players present in the ground. He never prayed to anyone to keep him in the team except his performance. Many are relieved as they either push an agenda of degraded players like murali v or that wicket keeper who cannot even run or Rohit Sharma and many more from CSK. First produce a player who has scored 17000 international runs or 89000 runs in his career then even speak one word about a man who forced you to sit in front of TV and cheer.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

Comparison to Jordan would be more appropriate as compared to a Federer or Schumacher. Jordan is the only other person who played a team sport. It was in a highly competitive league with 30 teams and a 360 member roster as against 16 member squad where youngsters are losing out on their prime years!

In this context - Federer prolonging his career does not take away any body else's chance of playing the sport - especially at their prime! Unlike Tennis or F1 - cricket is a team sport. Him prolonging his career does not take away the sheen from his statistical achievements or his greatnes or his ability to keep you home a weekend evening!

Who is to say that Srinath would not have been out highest wicket taker had Kapil Dev not dragged along for 4 years. Likewise, with all the if's and but's who is to say that we wouldn't have had a stronger middle order before the trip to South Africa had Tendulkar retired earlier.

Now we have a scenario where a Rahane/ Rohit face Steyn & Philander!

Posted by VivGilchrist on (October 14, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

Totally agree with the article. From a non-Indians point of view his greatness has been diminished. He has put himself ahead of the team, and only succeeded in reaching a milestone. This has made Dravid look even more dignified, if that is possible.

Posted by Mohit_KS on (October 14, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

Why should sachin have retired after WC win? that's plain selfishness. You got to serve your country when you are at your peak. Sachin has never cared for his standing among the greatest batsman of all time. And that is the criteria your article bases itself upon. Sachin is a humble man and a team man. He cares more for his team than his legacy. And that's why he was not hesitant to change his batting style post his injury days in 2003 !!! your problem is that you are comparinbg sachin with his own high standards. Compare him with his teammates if you wish to know whether he should have been in the team or not. Go check your numbers Mr mukul. Sachin was still better than many of his teammates.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

A brilliant piece taking off the lid of nostalgia. Weel done, Mukul. It takes guts to tell this cricket crazy country that the god of cricket had feet of clay.

Posted by amitgarg78 on (October 14, 2013, 9:10 GMT)

One can never aim to keep everyone happy. Just like mukul, there are others who feel sachin shd hv retired earlier. At the same time, there are those who do not agree. If we did not get to tell mukul to stop writing, then what gives mukul the right to ask sachin to go earlier than the time of his choice? Who are we to set the rules?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

Finally an article that makes sense around the Sachin's retirement. He could have gone on in blazing style after the World Cup win. It's painful to see the legend you know being humbled by mere mortals for the past few years.

Posted by Mohit_KS on (October 14, 2013, 9:01 GMT)

Mukul ! Last time you wrote an article,you criticised sachin for being selfish.

First of all, the great man is going to retire. Now,He deserves wonderful tributes for what he has done because people like you have criticised him enough in last 1 year or so.

Now let me come to this article. . He has the sole right to decide his retirement. If you want then just drop him from the side. You can't force him to retire.

The basic thing you do not understand is "Tendulkar the cricket lover". He does not think like you. Sachin has always said that he will play till the day he loves the game and if he thinks he can contribute to the team. He has never worried about his standing in the "greatest batsman of all time" list. That is why he shifted to this less risky batting style post his injuries. He cared only about the team.

Posted by aniorth on (October 14, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

Dear Mukul,

Hindsight is always 20/20. Had sachin known that next 2 years would be a drought, he would have retired after the world cup. You need to understand that people like him operate at a level which defies logic. Every journo and his mother-in-law asked him to retire in 2007. Wankhede booed him. TOI dared to call him "Endulkar" on front page. Yet he scripted many magical innings including an ODI double century after that. The same TOI then ate its words and cried " GOD ALMIGHTY" on the front page. The thing to understand here is that if HE had listened to every Tom, Dick, Harry, You & me, he would not have been what he is. Most probably he would have ended as a senior clerk in MNREGA because in high school some logical teacher would have told him to leave cricket as it does not pay much. Rather than criticizing him, I would rather thank him for what he gave me all these years. HOPE & PRIDE. Few things in contemporary India will give you that.

Posted by Devesh365 on (October 14, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

You have thrown another stone, after 2 tests the legend shall make it another milestone

Posted by Dravidoholic on (October 14, 2013, 8:56 GMT)

Mukul Kesavan has hit the nail on the head. Thank you for a refreshing article like this.

Posted by CrickFreak2012 on (October 14, 2013, 8:56 GMT)

WONDERFUL Artcile! Finally someone had the courage to tell the fact as it is!

I have grown up watching Sachin like any other die-hard cricket fan would do. Loved his batsmanship for years. But of late, he was batting like any other average first class cricketer. This kind of dragging/staying on happens only in India

Quote:"No. It can and has, but it shouldn't have. Children ought to be indulged, not great men, and Tendulkar is an immortal. These two years have damaged Tendulkar, the Indian team and cricket as an international game."

How correct the author is while mentioning it !! Kudos to you!

Posted by NumberXI on (October 14, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

All one can say to writers like Kesavan is that Tendulkar's career has much to be celebrated about. Like everything else in life, Kesavan had a choice. He could have celebrated a successful and glittering career and, more importantly, how much it has meant for Indian cricket. Or, as he did, he could indulge in statistical cherry picking. The fact remains that surly detractors like him will remain sullen and unhappy, while the rest of us will revel in having watched an exceptional cricketer like Tendulkar play. Tendulkar's legacy, much as Kesavan would wish it, is not dependent on how long it has taken him to retire, but in a career spanning nearly 25 years which has been so full of glorious batsmanship. But then Kesavan, a self-proclaimed historian to boot, has shown little appreciation for a body of work, seeking instead to disparage a great batsman using selective stats. One feels sorry for Kesavan, because Tendulkar has little to be sorry about, as a cricketer.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (October 14, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

What a lame senseless article , you blame Tendulkar for SA tour delay ? Thats Gross ! Have you ever heard of a person named "Haroon Lorgat" ? Lorgat is the soul reason of the SA tour delay ! And as far as this 25 innings or test standard that you have set , havent you heard of this line by sachin himself "I think it is selfish to retire when you are at your top form" , its all about giving your best until the very last moment you can give to the team , he struggled for 2 years trying to give his best to the team , is that is fault ? Leaving the game when you have nothing left to give is the best way to retire , who know Lara or Gavaskar or Bradman or Waugh might have contributed 5-10 more test victories by their contribution !

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

Nice objective article. Well written and to the point.

But, Sachin is a great man :P

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

Daer Mukul. Super collection of facts!! Well written. Loved reading it.....

But remember, Tendulkar is not just any player.... Lots of lives and brands are dependent on merely his presence on the stage. So please do not compare him with the seconds of teh game (no offense to all the 2nd greats) 'TENDULKAR' is a phenomenon. For the kind of career he has had, or played for the country, me and you are too small to even talk about it. Just enjoy the stuffs happening buddy!!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

I fully agree. He should have hung his boots post the world cup. Everything was anti climax after that. He has probably spoilt chances for a couple of young guys in the way.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

Bravo Mukul, for having the guts to write this article, against the tide. But I'm afraid this will earn you a lot of hate, especially by Indians all around the world, which is about 75% of cricket viewing audience. They obviously dont want to look at Tendulkar critically. He is "God" and God can do no wrong. Oh well....

Posted by Lodhisingh on (October 14, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

WOW! just went through some of the previous articles by the author and damn I regret even replying to this article. He has been a sachin hater even since 2008.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

@ Lodhisingh............Spot on mate...................Why setting last 25 inns why not choose a set of 25 poor innings in any phase of carrer post 33 age............If u choose u will figure Dravid had avg of 29 from 2006 t0 2009 - 3 years long patch............Same for Ponting & Waugh was never in the league of tendulkar. In a star studed Aus team he was always a borderline player.

Posted by omairhr on (October 14, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

Sometimes even the presence of a player in the dressing room contributes much more to the team than his on-field returns.

Posted by anshumangupta4 on (October 14, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

Firstly, i will wait to see how Mukul Kesavan plan his own retirement in years to come...there will be a stage when people around him will ask him to put down his pen, but I am sure Mukul will listen to what his heart says..

Secondly, Mukul talks about England, Australia away series of 2011 - look at the stats and you would see that in both the series Sachin was the second highest run getter behind Dravid (England) and Kohli(Australia) respectively.

Thirdly, I would like to ask each and every Indian - How many of us thought that Sachin should retire at the time he was been carried on shoulders after wc win ? No one had that thought even after months. So this is all an argument that he should have retired after wc win.

Fourthly, there is comparison against Brian Lara ,was Lara having the tremendous pressure of scoring his 100th century by billion people. Sachin got out 4 times nearing a century (England-1, West Indies-1 , Australia-2)

space restricts for further comments

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Finally, an honest assessment. SRT was dragging his feet around and how! True personality is determined by how a person behaves when he has it all; SRT had it all at the end of WC'11 and still dragged on!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

Finally someone has the guts to write objectively about Tendulkar. He should have quit after the Aussie series. He has dragged his career these last couple of years.

And what the BCCI is doing with this 2-test home series against the West Indies just so Tendulkar can have a comfortable send-off at home, is an affront to Cricket as a sport. If the FTP and other cricket boards are going to be bullied around by BCCI in this manner then Cricket as a sport is in serious trouble.

Posted by arunisnowhere on (October 14, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

@PriDsilva " Dravid, selfless as ever, bowed out at the perfect time and so did Lara to a certain extent. Both were at the top of their game and Tendulkar clearly is not."

Actually not. Dravid played for 3 years without touching bat against ball. He struggled everywhere. Then he had a very good England series. Then a poor Australia series. Then he retired. Now, should he not have retired 3-4 years ago? Younger players could have got chance…People simply apply different standards to judge SRT.

Wrt Lara in the article, Lara was not ageing inconsistent genius. He was always an inconsistent genius!! Mukul Kesavan has extrapolated too much and given ridiculous arguments to support a viewpoint that is, in fact, a reasonable one.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (October 14, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

While I agree with Mukul Kesavan that Sachin Tendulkar could have retired earlier, maybe along with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman I think it is churlish to write suc things and debate upon it at this stage. Incidentally Sir Jack Hobbs retired at 51 and did not score a century in his last 6 Test matches. In fact half his centuries came after he had crossed 40. I am not sure if anyone said that he should have retired earlier.That was because even if the big scores were missing, he was playing well. While many people would say that Sachin's getting bowled frequently in recent times betrays the inescapable fact that age had finally caught up with him like everyone else, he himself has often emphasised that he was playing well. I believe he should know. John Wright, a respected coach too has said the same thing. In any event, I think it would be downright tasteless to rake up such a subject now. When people are getting ready for his swansong. Sachin is not just a cricketer. He is much more.

Posted by KapilsDevils1983 on (October 14, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

Perhaps Sachin might have stayed on a year too long. But the way you choose to draw conclusions, whether it is about Kapil's legacy or Tendulkars does not suggest that these conclusions are based on well reasoned argument but rather on a personal distaste for Tendulkar. It is almost as if you made your conclusion first and then found your reasons.

I can see how you stand to gain personally from that, making strong statements about Tendulkars legacy amongst emotional Indian fans would throw the spotlight on you atleast briefly, hope you enjoy it.

Posted by tests_the_best on (October 14, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Although this article has some valid points, it goes a little too far in criticizing the timing of Tendulkar's retirement. One major point that the author fails to consider is the fact that India were reliant on the big 3 and for all of them to leave so soon would have created problems for the team. Ponting didn't face this problem (with Hussey and Clarke still around) and Lara was a lone act to begin with.

As Tendulkar himself said, it's selfish to retire at the top of one's game and one must contribute to the team's cause if one can. If India indeed tour SA, none of Kohli, Rahane, Raina have ever toured SA and assuming Sehwag/Gambhir are not selected even Dhawan and M Vijay would be having their first outing in SA against Steyn & Co. One would surely want atleast one senior player to guide the newcomers. If Dravid or VVS were still in form and in the team, then the case would have been stronger for Tendulkar to retire earlier but not with the team in such a big transition.

Posted by SADARAJE on (October 14, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Good article. States a heartfelt pain. Without in any way diminishing Tendulkar's greatness. As for comparison with Lara. It just does not stand. Tendulkar's effect is far greater than Lara's. During Lara's time, the Windies team went from heights to depths. Became a junk team. His presence eclipsed everything else and we saw the painful death of a great cricketing nation. No legacy. During Tendulkar's time India rose to greatness, with him as centre. That is the difference between the two. They just cannot be compared except for their runs.

Posted by arunisnowhere on (October 14, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

A reasonably nice piece spolit by taking arguments to extremes. SRT's retirement came late, from a fan's perspective. Fans always expect the player to retire at the peak, but the players themselves try to solve the problem and retire only as a last resort. Same with Federer: everyone but him is looking at him going to retire. When you decline, you want to fight it, not run away. That's how you get to be on top in the first place. By not giving up.

The article itself talks about Ponting. Ponting's stats was inflated by good scores against a woefully inadequate Indian team. Secondly, to blame SRT for SA tour disruption is absurd and ridiculous. The disruption happened more than a month before the retirement. Its alright to apportion some blame to the player for staying on, but blaming him for everything is inexcusable. Next thing, cyclone Phallin would be SRT's fault! The ridiculpus logic there and its extrapolation spoilt the article completely.

Posted by Kaushiktrendy on (October 14, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

Dear Mukul, we, Sachin's fans, everyone of them know that this is a late decision. No on's denying that. Every sportsman goes through struggles during his twilight [ Federer is a live example of that] but the passion and self belief that drives the legends are something you and me will never understand.But the way you have written is very misleading. No one makes all the right decisions in life and Sachin is no exception to this. But for the contribution that he has made to this sport he deserves all the accolades that he gets despite his last 2 years. The only mistake that he has done is try as hard as ever to contribute to the teams sucess without considering the fact that there will be people like you behind his back in case you fail. Great job by the way for your " calling a spade a spade"!!! You just made many to stop and think "Hang on Sachin! Carry this blame too along with all that you've carried in the last 24 years " Bravo Mukul!!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

Is 25 tests the standard benchmark to do an analysis or is it something chosen with convenience? Has the author analyzed a period of 25 test matches for all international test cricketers and decided when each one of them should've retired? When the author says "destructively delayed" I wonder what he means. One player (known to be the best cricketer of this generations) staying on in a team and performing below his average "destructs" the team? Would his experience not count for anything in the dressing room? Blaming the problems regarding the SA tour on sachin's retirement is a cheap shot the author is taking just to make an argument.

This might not be such a bad time for Mr. Mukul Kesavan to retire from writing about great cricketers. His skills of analysis are beyond pathetic. Infact I think he should've retired before he even started writing about cricket since his last few articles have been lame. Would this argument work?

Posted by Lodhisingh on (October 14, 2013, 7:40 GMT)

Should dravid have played on after the last tour of SA before the world cup where he hardly got bat to ball? People want to talk about Sachin being slefish? he was the first one to put up his hand that he did not want to play the first t20 WC, which forced selfish players like dravid and ganguly to do the same and the rest as we know is history. How many low key ODI series did Sachin skip to give youngsters chances althoguh he was the number 1 batsmen in the world in ODIs? if he was selfish, he would have taken up the captaincy after dravid quit(despite winning series in england to just make a point), instead he suggested to give it to a younger player like dhoni, once again the rest is history.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

Amazing article. I really wish the blind Sachin fans, at least try to understand this. I personally feel had Sachin been playing for any other country, his career would have finished 2-3 years ago. I remember Mickey Arthur, the Australian coach warned Ricky Ponting in 2011 that he will be picked in the Test side only on merit. Can anyone imagine an Indian coach saying the same thing to Sachin? Haha

Great job Mukul Kesavan.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

A must read for all cricket lovers that someone thinks objectively and is not lost in the great man's feats

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:32 GMT)

Best piece I read about Sachin's retirement & backstory of it. Nicely said everything.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:31 GMT)

And lastly.....about sabotaging the SA tour.

No other words to put this in....HOW DARE YOU? What sort of a weasel of a man, would suggest that someone as famed as Sachin for his clean work ethic, has sabotaged a series with SA, and inserted a dummy series just so that he can score some runs and retire at home? This is the man who wanted to go and face the Quartet for his debut. If anything, he will want to whack Dale Steyn all over the park for his retirement party.

Why dont you consider this; BCCI has used this tour to punish CSA, and they are using Sachin to cover their tracks? Because they know how much everyone will love this, avoiding any reaction that they may get otherwise for removing such an exciting tour as SA. Because if there is one thing we love more than cricket, it is Sachin. Ever thought of that?

And lastly, Mr. Kesavan: there are people in India who dont know cricket as anything other than "Sachins Game". Yes, Sachin is bigger than the game. Deal with it.

Posted by Lodhisingh on (October 14, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

And ppl want to compare with lara? has there been anymore selfish player in the history of the game? his fights with the board for extra pay, his playing till the 3rd morning for the record 400, his playing carelessly to keep his ego up not worrying about the team? wat did lara had to lose anyway when he retired? his team was hopeless regardless he scored 100s and 200s and lost almost everything. if he really cared about the team, he would have played on and worked with the team and guided them with his experience to make them a better fighting team and not quit when he was still contributing well. Mukul, if we have to take a period of 25 innings slump as the standard, dravids, laxmans, laras should have retired lot early than they did.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

and even funnier is that you trying to suggest his legacy got diminished..just go to a ground when he is batting and tell that to the crowd. lets see whether his legacy diminished or not

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

Just like his cover drive, Tendulkar has lost his sense of timing

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (October 14, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

Well,my parting thoughts on Sachin .Never being a fan but no doubt a v good player and 1 of best Ind have produced .And at his peak he could claim to be up as 1 of the best in the world with likes of Lara, Ponting and Kallis. These 3 were the best of this gen. and I wouldn't include Sachin in their class .Though a great run accumulator, he didn't catch my awe in strokeplay,elegance or dominance of these 3 bats and also he laked the pure match winning acumen in tough situations in diff. conditions of a Lara or a Ponting. But,can't deny his very long time at top level - more than my age!- and his contribution to Indian Cricket .Better late than never,though,if not a bit too late already .But the way he's playing for a while now,it would be more apt if he did selfless thing calling it quits now itself,so giving young 1 like Rahane or Samson a chance of a debut at home v lower ranked side. As the likes of Hussey and recently Dilshan have done .Congrats on an excellent career !!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

3. Sachin surely hasnt saved the team anything in these last 2 years. But, like I said, India does not want a one man army now. And if the fools in blue still depend upon Ol' Sachin to save their hides, they deserve to lose. And as for Sachin not contributing to the team, thats a joke. His contribution with the bat has been ordinary, but still existent. And, his contribution is not all quantifiable. His experience and advice count for a lot. But that, since we are statisticians, doesnt matter, does it Mr. Kesavan?

4.I keep going back to this comparison with other players, but this is a pertinent point. The players you cite retired at their peak, not ready to push themselves further for fear of breaking themselves, and for fear of hurting their reputation and their legacy in the eyes of critics. Lara could surely have helped WI for a lot longer, dont you think? Does that make them cowards? Their retirement untimely? What say you to that line of thought? Every coin has 2 sides, you know

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:23 GMT)

Ponting played on one series too long, should have bowed out after the India series. Lara wanted one last farewell in England but the board didn't pick him. Dravid left somewhere near the top as too did Mike Hussey. Tendulkar should have left after the England series at home at the very latest.Some players have impeccable timing such as Steve waugh, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:21 GMT)

2. Ending on a high is something you have to consider, surely. But are we sure Sachin is done? How could we be sure? The stats I have laid out tell a story by themselves. He has been ordinary; but this is a man who has remade himself many times, from ordinary to extraordinary. Was allowing him the chance to try his strength a mistake? Again, I think not. When things decidedly turned for the worse, he quit. He is playing two last tests; by your own volition, not an important series. Not much of an ask, for a man who has given so much.

Was there a viable replacement? Yes, now there is. In 2011, not so much. In 2012, in the Aussie tour, again, not so much. And now, with Sachin gone and the middle order all set to accept his replacement, who ever gets added will have an easier time in the SA tour. If the entire middle order were freshers, this wouldnt have been the case. The SA tour will certainly be an opening for a new player; so its the right decision for Sachin to retire now.

3. ..

Posted by metal001 on (October 14, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Statistics can show you only statistician's narrow point of view...but have u ever think why these great player take so much time to retire because of their never say die attitude... Tendulkar never lose a single practice session even after played successfully for so many years..He always try something out of the box for the cricket...your kind of statistician when wrote him off in 2009 then he come back and made the highest runs in test matches in 2010.... So it is not late Mr. Statistician but a right time to say good bye such an illustrious career anyone can just dream..... If you can not Praise the great players Please be simply shut up.....

Posted by KanAloshFozter on (October 14, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

The article sums up what i had to say.Sachin should have retired from ODIs after 2011 WC,which is according to Sachin,his greatest achievement.His 100th ton against Bangladesh was a pain to watch.Comparing with his Indian contemporaries,of the Fab4,Ganguly retired on a high,winning against the mighty Australians,Dravid after the first series he reckoned he is no longer the Wall and Laxman too after the same Aus series.Sachin has outlived his expiry date.It was painful to see Trent Boult getting Sachin bowled in the home series against NZ.It was the time we knew his bat us no longer that magic willow.Frankly the decline of Sachin was so terrible that i start to forget his early heroics.In his final matches every Sachin fan was biting his finger nails.Still adieu legend.

Posted by SamRoy on (October 14, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Kapil Dev's is India's greatest cricketer ever. He carried on for at least for two years than he should have and barring that exceptionally brilliant century in SA in 1992-93 has nothing to show for. Tendulkar is India's second greatest cricketer ever and India's finest batsman ever. He carried on for at least two years than he should have and also he has nothing to show for in that period.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

..confirms this. He averages only 18.67. His long leash has run out, now, if he were an average player. But, since he is a great, people still have faith in him. Besides, this series is remembered for Dhoni asking for rank turners, and the entire India team being shown up for this; a batsman in decline has failed on crumbling wickets against the best off-spinner there was at the time( Swann, though one might say the same of Ajmal). Still, these are again things that cannot be quantified, and surely, a great critic like you wont consider this.

The Australia series after that, he averages 32. An improvement, so perhaps he has shown some benefit for the faith shown in him? And now, he is playing his last 2 tests, after that series. He has declared his retirement. He played two very bad series, and then an ordinary one, and then decided things arent going to become better, so he has decided to retire.

Still think this is the wrong decision? I think not.

Now, your second argument:

2. ..

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

Very disappointed by the post ... Though agreed that sachin has performed way below his past performances but leaving other things apart , to book a place in the team one should be amongst the top 6 batsmen playing the format, and as emphasized above taking the past 2 yrs records only 2 batsmen have fared better than sachin - Pujara and Kolhi (that to marginally) .. So how can you say that it was bad for the team to play this man. So talking about legacy , we should be well aware that there's a difference between being selfish and being patriotic. Sachin's got nothing left to conquer so in no way would he be still playing to achieve something else. All he was playing for was because Dravid and Laksman had retired and leaving the team totally off guard would have not been a good thing to do. As long as he thinks he's fit enough to play and as long as he can contribute to the team he would play. N even if sachin would have carried on for a couple of more yrs, I would still write d same

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

I met many people who said Sachin plays for records ... I never believed them until now.. The only reason he shud have played the home season vs Eng and Aus was to get into form and go to SA. If he is not going to SA, the BCCI should use the WI tour to try some new face at no. 4 But somehow the WI will manipulate its way in Mumbai .. What else should we expect .. WI bowlers bowling volleys so that Sachin scores a decent total in his final test ?

Posted by Mihir.Malani on (October 14, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

A great piece written.and some pretty accurate stats there.Your writeup made me do some quick analysis of Sachin, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.Going by the 25 inning THUMB RULE, if we look at Ponting's average of his last 25 innings, it is indeed 38.But look closely and you'd notice that the the average bumps up solely due to his 134 and 221 agains india.Ignoring these two innings, his average for the last 40 odd innings drops to way less than 30.

Coming to Steve Waugh, His last 14 innings present a staggering average of 50+.However, if you look closely, his 25 innings before those 14, were at an average of 30.Should sachin be given some 14-15 innings more?? especially when he is known to follow up his lean patches with exceptionally brilliant performances.The point being, a blanket analysis of numbers could be way too sure you'd know better. Lets just wait for the final 4 data points against westindies, which could potentially render the above analysis useless.

Posted by Karthi_2K11 on (October 14, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

How can one know if one is leaving one's career on a high-note, unless one has the 6/6 vision in hind-sight (like 20/20 vision or Monday-morning Quarterbacks have in American parlance) that one was going to perform better, or worse, if one did not quit at that stage? Quite simply, SRT cannot know this, unless retrospectively talking, & there is no precedent, (Gavaskar, Waugh, Lara, & Ponting) /role model /mentor, who has achieved as much, as SRT has, at this stage of his career. SRT should be measured by his own standard. Ananth Naryanan, in his article entitled "Test careers that started & finished strong;" (Source:; says, when analyzing the avg. of the 1st 10 (76.5 %) to the last 10 Tests (45.4 %) in SRT's career, as a %age of his entire career batting avg., he fares poorly. SRT had to go through the motions, to get the inputs for this conclusion. So, don't blame SRT, for not having the luck to go out with all guns blazing!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:13 GMT)

Mukul Keshwan, I have few questions for you?

1. Did you write a column for cricinfo in a middle of world cup 2015 if your father dies?

2. Have you been loved by your society where you live?

3. Have you ever united religion with your skill?

If not, please don't be critic to one who has one all of the above things without any greed and motive...

Think about it....

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

failing WI team of Lara, India does not need the 38 year old Sachin to play a match winning knock to win.

The Aus series after that, he averaged 35.9. Again, poor, lets say. But in the first two matches, he averaged 113. Against Australia. Again, where everyone was failing. And, if anyone saw that series, they will remember how well he was playing, and how unlucky it felt to see him go the way he did. If anything, the pressure of all the critics and press was getting to him, finally, after all these years of incessant harping. But surely, you wont consider that; its just stats for us, right?

The NZ series after that, and this time, there is the sign of terminal decline, one from which even Sachin wont be able to escape. He average 21, and in his last four matches, he has averaged only 17.7. Now, it is the right time to call for his retirement. Different conditions, different teams, and he has consistently (for 4 matches!! OMG!!!) failed.

The England series after that confirms this..

Posted by ThinkingCricket on (October 14, 2013, 7:10 GMT)

This is all very good as analysis, but placing the blame on Tendulkar is misguided. Even once earlier, at the age of 35 he had a terrible patch and came out of it even stronger. Great men don't give up, and they don't see the possibility that they aren't good enough; without that self-belief he wouldn't have been the great that he was.

You are right about the fact that he shouldn't be playing, but that's not his decision to make, it's the selectors decision and blaming him for their cowardice is very wrong.

Posted by vicku on (October 14, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

Mr Mukul Kesavan, you are a novelist. Sadly you lack cricket knowledge. A poor article intended to garner hits. You guys wont leave Sachin even after his retirement. I wonder what you poor souls will do and whom will you target post Nov 18. Anyways, coming to your doomed logic. A cricketer like Sachin is not just valued by the amount of runs he scores. In 2011 aus tour he showed batting masterclass even though he didnt score centuries. Many Indian cricketers have acknowledged his value in the team and the ideas he bring to the table. Those things will never be the same without Sachin. And you are saying if Sachin retired early, SA tour issue would have been solved better. Such a horrendous logic from a self-proclaimed essayist by you. I wonder why cricinfo, which maintains such high standards, publishes crap articles time and again from you. Please get a life and stop your tendulkar bashing. We all know you are anti-sachin, so please dont sugarcoat your articles with words like legacy

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

Yes, its a drag on of a career .. but Mr. Writer, have you ever considered that Sachin is not just a player, he is a phenomena, he is the life force, the soul of cricket in India. He is the reason we hoped, reason we smiled and reason we believed that we are equal and sometimes even better than our western counterparts. Its not his batting or records or contributions to win that make him great. Its his humble presence, his boyish enthusiasm and unfaltering dedication. He is the reason we love cricket, he is the reason we watch cricket and he is someone who told us how success is to be handled. No sir, even if he keeps failing i would like to keep watching him coming in to bat, coming in to cheer us, coming in to put a smile on our faces. Oh and by the way .... statistics can be manipulated which u did ... Sachin scored about seven 90´s in run up to 100th hundred, with multiple 50´s and a couple of 80´s. He did well in Australia, although home series havent been very fruitful.

Posted by Vinodhaiyar on (October 14, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

hahaha.. brilliant article! thank god there is someone who has the guts to express the truth!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

Mr. Kesavan, since you are engaging in the masquerade of a balanced critic, let me indulge you. I am a Sachin FANATIC, but for the purpose of a debate, I will try to match your arguments.

1. You have compared the last two years of Sachin's career to that of many others. Surely, you are not comparing skill or capability of the individual here, since if that were the case, you would surely have compared the AGE of the players in question as well, right? Since you are the "sensible critic", lets assume you havent done that, and your argument is about the players ability to serve the team.

Mr. Kesavan, how many tests has Sachin played since 2011? In the England series, where everyone except Dravid failed, he averaged 34. An average average, agreed. But who was going to replace him that was, in 2011, better than him? Please specify.

In the WI series of Nov 2011, he average 43.6. Not a bad average, though below his standards. And certainly no match winning contribution. But unlike the....

Posted by DHFI on (October 14, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

This is a completely biased way of analyzing a legend's career. The avge comparison that has put in is absolute crap. As many different stats can be brought up to show Tbeen endulkar's greatness. Too blame the confusion over SA series on Tendulkar is ridiculous. It isn't as if Tendulkar has blocked any youngster's Path. We have seen the so called Talented youngsters have still not been able to hold on to the place vacated by Dravid, Laxman etc.. This is total injustice to a guy who was the bedrock of Indian Cricket for so long. Mr Kesavan's attempt to present an alternative view on Tendulkar's retirement is Pathetic.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

I understand this is your third article regarding this topic in the last year or so....but just imagine what would have happened if Sachin had retired alongside Dravid and would've left a huge hole in the Indian middle order...people would be talking about the 99 centuries for an eternity(they still talk about bradman's 99.94 not being 100)...Indian team would be totally unstable...Sachin's stay ensured none of these far as legacy goes...Sachin's legacy is not his records or what he did in the last two years...but simply the fact that HE IS THE SOLE BIGGEST REASON WHY KIDS HAVE ASKED THEIR PARENTS TO BUY THEM CRICKET BATS AS BIRTHDAY in no way is that going to be tarnished...

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

many would agree with the writer that tendulkar should have retired after the world cup..and surely last 2 years have been painful to see sachin struggling against mediocre bowlers..but it seems sachin was of the view that he wont retire at his best..rather he would prefer to retire when he felt he cant contribute much to the team as a batsman..n i think if u go by this logic he has retired at the right time but surely retiring after the world cup as world champions and highest run getter amongst his teammates in the wc would have been an ideal stage to retire

Posted by fairplayer on (October 14, 2013, 6:53 GMT)

Just wondering about the averages of other Indian batmen who played for another 25 innings along with Sachin and whats the best contribution.

I am not a blind Sachin fan. But when You are a critic, You should consider many other things rather then just pointing out the averages / statistics of a few retired batsmen.

The overall test performance on Indian batsmen were in dire straits for last two years, so why to blame only Sachin?

Posted by Silverbails on (October 14, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

This article is spot on in it's assessment! Even if one compares the last two batting legends to retire from active Indian Test duties: the legendary Dravid and VVS. They both retired at the right time, before declining powers made them more of a 'burden' to the Indian Team than a boon. And, they've ALWAYS been Team players first, rather than playing for themselves as Tendulkar often seem to have been doing in his twilight years! There really should not be too much room for sentiment in essentially what is a hard sport: the Indian authorities could learn a lot from the tough Aussie attitude. Look at Steve Waugh's retirement. Again, perfect timing, without the mere whiff of over - sentiment. Similarly, with Lara bowing out: perfect timing again. Hopefully, the Indian Team can now move forwards, in all formats, to develop and retain future talent...

Posted by NarayananSubramaniam on (October 14, 2013, 6:51 GMT)

In India we tend to exaggerate what we have and over glorify several things. Its probably because of lack of depth in the area. The T20 World Cup success celebrations and SRT's career are two stark examples. I am no fan of this.

However, I am tempted to ask if SRT's contribution in the twilight of his career should be looked at beyond just the numbers. His presence in the dressing room, I am sure, counts for a lot. The article should have explored that facet too.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 6:49 GMT)

Excellent article! To be frank, this is the only one on subject Tendullkar, coming out since his long due retirement announcement, that I have read. I am a huge fan of Sachin, but not a blind one. I for one, won't be waiting with bated breath for his farewell test innings. For me, it is as meaningless as his 100th international 100! The selfless nature of Rahul Dravid's cricket, is the biggest reason of my rating him above Sachin. Someone said in his comments "No one on the planet can diminish his legacy". Largely true. But I believe, one person who could, has done it. And that's Sachin himself!

Posted by KRISCO on (October 14, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

extaordinary article...........a fitting tribute to a limping career...... kudos kesavan..... its time we be pragmatic and look forward to bright new dawn beyond the dusk of SRT!!!!!!!! come on brave new India... they will falter but they will fly!!!!!!

Posted by moBlue on (October 14, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

sachin is arguably the greatest batter of his generation. being a life-long IND fan, i remember sachin carrying IND on his lone shoulders for a decade in the 90s! ...which means, i would certainly give sachin his due by letting him choose when he wants to retire from test cricket!

the question to ask is not by how much sachin's average dipped in his last 25 innings when compared to his career average... the question to ask is if there was a suitable #4 ready and able to replace sachin in the last 2 years! as SA's tour might prove, the answer is: "most likely not... virat kohli honorably excepted!" but sachin did not get in the path of a kohli or a pujara, did he? i've racked my brain, and there doesn't seem to be anyone else who has the talent and the temperament (yet) for #3, #4 or #5 in test cricket in SA or oz or ENG - not rohit, nor rahane, nor raina... so what exactly was the problem with sachin playing for IND since 2011?!? it seems to me he was still the best #4 available!!!

Posted by KM01 on (October 14, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Bravo, sir! It is refreshing to see a columnist stand up for the truth and fearlessly face the inevitable rabid hoarde of mindless Sachin fanatics.

I salute both your courage and insight in writing this article

Posted by Muyeen on (October 14, 2013, 6:44 GMT)

I am a Tendulkar fan. but I agree with the author here.He should have retired couple of years back. When I started watching, I started with Kapil's chase for the record.No matter how much people elder to me tried to convince me that Kapil was a great player and all that, it was very difficult for me to accept it.Same way I fear kids who would have started watch cricket now might feel about Sachin. Though it is a emotional feeling about not getting to watch sachin bat anymore , for Indias sake and for sachin sake it should have happened two years back.

Posted by Paracha420 on (October 14, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

A fantastic article which have highlighted that why he should have retired after the w.c Sachin greatness aside this is a thought provoking article for those player who are near the end of there career

Posted by AmeyaN on (October 14, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

Why does one have to retire when he is at the top of his game? That means he can still actively win / save matches and he is still going. Doesn't make much sense. Rather one should go when he feels he can no more contribute to the teams cause. I think Sachin has dragged on for a while in that respect. But to say he should have gone on top...

Posted by apki100 on (October 14, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

Some people spread happiness wherever they go! Some people spread happiness Whenever they go! Thanks Sachin for the happiness.

Posted by thestunner316_15 on (October 14, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

ha ha - Mukul Kesavan trying to become famous by writing such a ridiculous article... Remember what happened to Manjrekar after the whole "White elephant" article in 2006? Fans including myself have never forgiven him... And he literally had to eat his words and his hat.

I think Mukul should look up the words legacy and legend... They can NEVER, EVER be diminished.. And we should feel privileged that we were born during the time of Tendulkar, for people shall still speak his name long after all of us have perished....

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

He may have had a torrid time since the 2011 WC with the bat...but that said...his legacy remains great...Fact remains that the name 'Sachin Tendulkar' will never be forgotten even a hundred years from now...the names of several other legends like Dravid,Laxman,Mc Grath,Gilichrist,Hayden,Ponting,Kallis,Viv Richards etc. may be forgotten in another 50-100 years...but Sachin along with Sobers and Bradman will never be forgotten...50 years from now,kids will be wondering what sort of a batsman Sachin Tendulkar was...Besides i believe Sachin's legacy is not the 100 centuries or his great batting records...but simply the fact that he is the sole biggest reason why so many kids have asked their parents to buy them cricket bats as Birthday presents...

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (October 14, 2013, 6:29 GMT)

Yay Mr.Kesavan has come crawling out of the woodwork!!

Posted by cgs2606 on (October 14, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

Make up your mind. Had Tendulkar retired early, kept his 'legacy' and numbers intact he would've been branded as selfish by people like you. Actually it doesn't tell anything about Sachin, it tells more about others who observe him from their perspective. Bitter writer. His archive backs me up.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

What an immense article, very directly expressing what many in the cricketing world have thought for the last 2 years. Very well written, sir.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 6:21 GMT)

A cynical appraoch can only result in a article like this. Its easy to write an article but difficult to be in the middle of tbe ground and face the music. Sachin is and will remain the greatest batsman ever

Posted by ninad008 on (October 14, 2013, 6:21 GMT)

Bold article this! The retirement took long to come and definitely took away some sheen of an illustrious career.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Knowledgeable people have been calling for his retirement since 2007 and he has played some of his best cricket after that. It is impossible to know when it is really the end, rather than a slump. And the sportsman himself (ref Federer today) is the last one to know for the very trait -- self belief -- that made him great also stops him from seeing the end. He'll always believe he can perform again. But cricket is a sport mainly played for one's country and there is a selection committee that decides who plays. All Tendulkar could do was make himself available. The rest was decided by others. Why aren't they held accountable if indeed he played too long? The problem is that with a Tendulkar or Ponting who want definite proof that it is really over. You don't want such brilliance to leave early so they will inevitably leave late. Forget perfect timing in retirement and take the next best case. Would you rather Tendulkar retired in 2007 when the calls first started or in 2013?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 6:14 GMT)

Since he haven't scored 100 from 2 and 2.5 years span, average cricket fans will speak about Sachin's downfall looking tho those stats. After-all anything below 100 is considered as failure to this immortal's stature. If you retire on high time despite knowing fact that you can produce reasonable well to the team, then it is pure selfishness as per sports view. If you retire on downfall then it comes as selfishness as per fans view. the point is: Weather Sachin takes last stand on high note or downward slope, he will always be criticized. #Sachin #GOD

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (October 14, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

Great to see more people FOR this article than AGAINST it!! Excellent work Mr Mukul for fearless journalism. And daring to state the bare facts.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

This. Thanks for providing a different perspective, when everyone else is blindly lavishing (arguably deserved) praise. Cricket should always be greater than any single individual, even Tendulkar, who could've (and should've) gone out on his own terms, rather than having the BCCI dictate his swansong.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

No one on the planet can diminish his legacy...

Posted by Dagur on (October 14, 2013, 5:54 GMT)

Very well said Kesavan ! There is some Indian willing to call a Spade a Spade and with sound reasoning and rational. Salute

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:54 GMT)

players who go on high are selfish... if they are ok and hitting 100s then what is use of exiting... shud continue.... sachin is right !

Posted by FLIPPER_99 on (October 14, 2013, 5:49 GMT)

Tendulkar ideally should have retired at the end of the world cup triumph on a high. Instead, by choosing personal milestones ahead of team milestones he has damaged his reputation albeit just a bit compared to the status he has achieved. he should have taken murali as an ideal example as the bowling legend retired in his peak & in doing so gathered more questions in the right light in contrast to tendulkar. but anyways i as an SL fan hope my neighbor can get the 130 odd runs & reach the 16000 mark & yet again break another barrier. all the best sachin.

Posted by Longmemory on (October 14, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

Excellent article - with a superb balance of fact and interpretation to nail the argument that Sachin definitely overstayed. What is heartening too is the number of posters who've agreed with the author and seen the validity of his arguments. Its not amiss to wonder if this isn't a national trait - this inability to be objective about our 'greats', to break rules for VIPs, to idolize and deify humans as gods, etc. For the longest time I had hoped that Sachin would retire at the peak of his powers. Instead we've all been subject to this frankly pathetic spectacle of an aged warrior with slow reflexes getting out repeatedly to the most mundane of bowling talents. Sachin will know in his own mind that he has besmirched a glittering legacy - all because he chose to listen to the crowd we always seem to have in plentiful supply. l

Posted by Rajeshj on (October 14, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

Fantastic article Mr. Kesavan.. You have dared to speak what millions of fans in India have been whispering for the past few years.. Tendulkar should have retired long back after World cup win or at least after his 100th century, but sadly he didn't.. People wanted to hear from him openly about his plans, but as always he never opened-up or spoke to public ... all that was received were statements from his wealth management advisors (WSG).. I don't have hesitation to say that Gavaskar is forever the best India has produced and Sachin comes only second to him.. Sachin might have the numbers and statistics, but one can't hide the fact that Gavaskar scored more than 10,000 runs against fiery, top pacemen in seaming/bouncy pitches without a helmet.. Sachin can never do that..

Posted by Srivatsas on (October 14, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

I am only surprised that Mukul Kesavan hasn't blamed Tendulkar for global-warming and India's burgeoning trad-deficit.

Posted by CricFin on (October 14, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

If you retire at your peak then you r selfish who worries for legacy....

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:30 GMT)

what about dravid,laxman n ganguly during their last yr of test cricket

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:28 GMT)

To Editor, You will not need Tendulkar server after November '13!! Regards, Rohan


Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

Great indivisuals retire when it suits them best and great team men retire when its best for the team...and thats exactly what sachin did.......btw how can anyone take a man seriously who thinks that the whole South African series mess is because of sachin....What a joke!!its clearly an issue between the BCCI & CSA....Please go ahead and criticize sachin but dont find the maniacal reasons

Posted by SG70 on (October 14, 2013, 5:24 GMT)


When you go to a restaurant do you always feel the guy next to you ordered a better dish ?

You are the typical self loathing Indian. And you will use all sorts of straws to back your rona-dhona. For instance Lara retired at Age 37. But at Age 37 (or 4 weeks short of 38) Tendulkar played a major role to put India into the WC finals. He also chalked up a small matter of 1500 runs in Test Cricket that year which Lara never managed in his entire career. Contrary to what you say Lara signed off after the WC-2007 at home where he made a grand sum of 269 runs over 8 inngs with one measly 50. Infact his last 3 yrs in ODI cricket were ordinary. So its not like Lara left on a "high" as you make it sound.

All this is nothing new comming frm you .In the past you have tried to put down the 100 Intl hundreds arguing that FC hundreds is a better landmark to celebrate. Enuff said.

Posted by Cricros on (October 14, 2013, 5:23 GMT)

Please take a break.. And don't blame the tour on SRT, it was BCCI to call WI for two tests just for the sake of making profit which was lesser as compared to last year. Sachin would have happily retired in SA. I don't understand these overambitious underachiever people who like to blame Sachin every now and then to get self satisfaction.

Posted by bullzilla on (October 14, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

It is hard for great batsmen to accept that they are not at their best. They always feel that the next century is just around the corner. That said , Tendulkar would have called it earlier if he felt he was not enjoying it. The last 2 years involved 8 test matches against Australia and 4 against England, by no means they are easy. And that too 8 of these 12 are overseas. Sachin deserves a little break here, not that his replacement would have done wonders. Rather the famous 4 have each gone out in a phased manner, which has helped Indian cricket. I guess the author wants to garner attention by posing a contra-opinion.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

Oh, you had to be different, isnt it? Everyone is praising Sachin, you have to be different.

Posted by pulls on (October 14, 2013, 5:20 GMT)

At last , an article which calls a spade a spade. I have been a great fan of Tendulkar for years, except for the last two years when he stubbornly refused to see the writing on the wall. One was left anguished to see him struggling and succumb to bowlers who would not stood in his shadow in his hey days.And worse, the great man trying to disguise his failing powers by stooping to indicate that the ball has kept low..Am i being uncharitable when I say that his exploits its have been tarnished by his single minded goal to get to records,while all the time denying that records dont mean any the 100th hundred.. and India ultimately lost that game. He has had everything in cricket one can ask for.. and what one expected from him was a bit more graciousness in knowing when to leave the stage feel that the Press and peers were extremely kind to him,mainly due to the fact that in a setup like ours,Tendli is bound to return in an admn capacity

Any way All the best to Tendulkar

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

Frankly a very balanced view and has tried to call a spade a spade!!!! However i am sure you are going to be misunderstood by the milions of Sachin Fans!!!

Posted by srniv on (October 14, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

Well written article Mr Kesavan. Sachin is certified legend in the pantheon of the all time greats who played this game but unfortunately, he got this one wrong. I also believe that despite Sachin's best (likely) intentions, the last 2 years have brought nothing else but diminishing the aura of greatness and were holding the team from moving forward. I hope you are in a safe place Mr Kesavan because the fanboys are going to come down on you like a ton of bricks for mentioning the inconvinient truth.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

This is an extraordinary work. He has spoken the sentiments of most cricket lovers who go by the rule "no cricketer is bigger than the game". Very happy someone has had the courage to speak up. Hopefully no cricket board will ever make the mistake which BCCI had made: picking a player on reputation rather than form. And backing that up with stats add a lot of perspective to it. Kudos to Mukul and thanks to cricinfo for giving us such a brilliant piece.

Posted by smalishah84 on (October 14, 2013, 5:12 GMT)

Absolutely briliantly written. Tendulkar's twilight stretched on for too long. He is still a great but his final memories will not be the same as his glorious career. Should have retired after the 2011 WC.

Posted by drvvs on (October 14, 2013, 5:12 GMT)

The author mentions it like its all done for his selfish motives, but then leaving the team when you are in prime form to protect your legendary status, isn't that selfish enough? Shouldn't you be contributing further for the teams cause when you are doing well? "Teams give ageing, inconsistent geniuses the benefit of the doubt because they believe they are still capable of match-turning bursts of inspiration. Lara repaid that faith; Tendulkar hasn't."-- Do you think Tendulkar didn't work hard for that? Cricket does not run based on a script, you have to be prepared to unexpected things. He realised he could not fulfil the faith and has announced the retirement, why again? You think people consider Kapil a lesser player because of his overstay? Very sorry. You wanted all the seniors to retire at once? Have you seen any Australian test match recently? Having known Sachin for these many years, you think he has any role in bringing the WI? ever heard of BCCI's quest for more money?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:04 GMT)

Seems like all of Mukul Kesavans' articles are generally biased against one of India's greatest servants of the game. For whatever obsession you have against Sachin Tendulkar please don't try to ruin the occasion by being a wannabe naysayer. It is a sincere request. But atleast you'll be happy that this so called "Accountant" rather than "artist" of recent years will be gone, leaving a void & leaving people like you to move on to writing freely about their flaws rather than their greatness

Posted by Vijayum on (October 14, 2013, 5:03 GMT)

Another cynical attempt to make ones name by throwing mud at Sachin.

Please understand...the joy he has given us is so large and so beautiful, that your attempt is a waste of pen/paper/whatever other vile device you use to play your dirty trade.

It sickens me to see another one get carried away by the easy availability of mass publicity... Mr whoever, if at all, at least get inspired by Sachin and try and rise above the pettiness of your survival instinct and create something beautiful of your own. Instead of, vulture like, pecking at the innards of a giant who is still a mortal like all of us.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:02 GMT)

Some daring truths indeed. All were afraid of telling this naked truth so far.. Hats off you sir for taking the cat out of the bag. Sachin was more than pathetic in his last 2 years not only by his standards but also others in team india. Jus prolonged his career for reasons known only to him. Its a real shame that none of the selectors or others in BCCI showed the Guts to tell sachin about his own form. In my life the best retirement i had seen is done By the Great Pete Sampras,, Who won the US open in front of his home crowd and retires there. Sachin also could have a glorious retirement if he had announced it right after 2011 WC victory, Sadly he didnt... What a shame to such an Illustrious career

Posted by striker_force on (October 14, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

totally agree to this. if you are a god, be like one. dont disrespect cricket and keep playing like its politics. play with your heart and spill your blood on the field. sorry to have said this about him, I am no one to judge the great man but there it is.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

Okay, you don't like Tendulkar. We get it. India is a nation of 1.3 billion people. I or any other person who was born and started watching Cricket when Sachin started batting, have no need to care about those who don't like Sachin, but have the power to write an article in ESPNCricinfo.

Posted by DarthKetan on (October 14, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

Yes, he overstayed, but it is misleading and unfair comparing the last 25 innings stats with those of a few.....For a fairer comparison, how about including Viv Richards and all others, say with 8k+ runs and/or at least 45+ avg. Particularly the comparison to Ponting & Lara....want to compare the 3's home vs. away record too? A rubbish poorly timed article really...

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

Finally, someone writes about this topic the way it is! Let's hope we can all move on after November.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

I appreciate and respect everything Tendulkar has achieved for India and cricket in general, but there is no doubt in my mind that he has tarnished his legacy over the last few years, well written

Posted by rperi on (October 14, 2013, 4:51 GMT)

Very well said Mukul......I, personally, feel that Sachin would have had a more graceful exit had he retired couple years early. He is a greatest cricketer of this era without any doubt but he is a human and aging impacts every man.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 4:50 GMT)

Of the 2 years decline the author was speaking about, he seems to have forgotten about the immense scrutiny and hype built up by the entire cricketing world and media on the 100th 100 which drained him mentally and physically. This almost lasted for more than a year. Remember he was the highest run getter for India on the tour of SA in early 2011 and second highest run getter for India in the WC.Only in the disastrous tours to England and Australia he looked below his average.(Immeasurable expectation of 100th 100). One can easily observe that he was the only other batsman who looked comfortable in Australia after Kohli. So the 2 year twilight argument does not hold. Fact is he is not his usual self in the past one year

Posted by jynterpek on (October 14, 2013, 4:47 GMT)

Hi Mukul, Thanks for your article. I think this whole retirement saga is a bit overdone. Sachin has always pursued extraordinary excellence and the pursuit of these monumental records (100th hundred, 200th test) are perhaps a natural extension to his uber-competitive spirit - a spirit that we as a nation celebrated in extreme hyperbole for two decades. Greats can be greedy, in fact they always have been- we only have a problem when we take notice.

However, your point on India-SA series being moved to accommodate Sachin's retirement is rather mischievous, to say the least. Is it a fact or is it merely an opinion? It sounds like the latter - if so, it is an unfair point (perhaps even desperate) to state what may be otherwise considered as a reasonable PoV.

Posted by Gobhav on (October 14, 2013, 4:45 GMT)

It is a relief that there are still some columnists in India who can voice their neutral view without the fear of antagonising the majority. We are a populist cricket nation and we like individual masters and appreciate the team game. It won't change for ever.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

totally unwanted article.....looks like Mr. Kesavan has a long standing negative view on the great man of Indian cricket. Sachin had a decline in form between 2005 and 2007 as well and many "experts" as the authour were calling for his head even then. Cant understand how can people have an issue with everything that Sachin does. At least let him play his last 2 tests without any judgement and lets celeberate his service to Indian cricket

Posted by Jerseyite on (October 14, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

Brilliant article and 100% factual. At least someone has the courage to state the facts and write the truth even if its is against Tendulkar. Seriously, in all honesty, Tendulkar has overstayed his welcome by more than 3 years, not 2. He should have retired at 37 years old, not 40 years old. But his obsession for records slowly became a mania. There is no other explanation of him huffing and puffing to overtake 15,000 runs and looking like a journeyman over the last 3 years. In fact, in my mind ever since 2002-03, Tendulkar has been a journeyman. There has been very little brilliance since then. In fact Tendulkar was someone who became old at a very young age. He was old at 31 years old. I can't remember him playing the pull and hook shots since 2002. It has been a run accumulation exercise and wicket preservation exercise at the cost of entertainment. Brian Charles Lara was the best batsman of the last 25 years, of that there is no doubt whatsoever.

Posted by bobpeecee on (October 14, 2013, 4:40 GMT)

What can I say - he's just a selfish individual. He's had a great career but should have finished playing after the 2011 world cup. That 100th century he scored against Bangladesh was one for the statistics solely.

I will be watching his final two Tests just because he's a great Cricketer - I don't subscribe to all this god nonsense.

He'll be done with Cricket and that's probably the one of the last times we'll see of him publicly. I don't expect him to be doing any commentary or writing columns. I don't think he could do them. He doesn't have the intelligence nor is the most engaging personality. He's always guarded and is not opinionated so not much going for him on that front. Will be interesting to see what he ends up doing.

Posted by Rajavicky on (October 14, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

"There's an exception to that rule now: for the duration of the series against West Indies, till the end of Tendulkar's 200th Test, Test cricket will principally be an occasion for rehearsing Tendulkar's greatness." Awesome thought about the game being marginalized. I fully agree with Mukul. I believe the Best Time for him to say goodbye was after the World Cup win in 2011.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (October 14, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

Thanks Mukul for putting Sachin's retirement in perspective amidst an chorus of hosannas to the little master.

Posted by JAMIAWALA on (October 14, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

Thankyou Mukul for putting into words what millions of Indian cricket lovers feel about Tendulkar's behavior in the last few years. He has been nothing short of selfish, in my opinion. He is neither the greatest batsman of his generation(that is Lara) nor is the greatest batsman of his own side(Darvid)

Posted by former-wisdener on (October 14, 2013, 4:21 GMT)

Let's see whether there is a packed, full-house or half-empty stands during Sachin's 200th test match. Let's see what India's paying public (and not merely India's dim-witted media hype machine) really thinks of Tendulkar the present edition, and the dying concept of five-day cricket. Hopefully with Tendulkar, five-day (or 'Waste' match) cricket also retires. India can move on to being a more hardworking, time-respecting country than wasting priceless working hours watching (legitimately or on the sly) other grown-up men play schoolboy bat-ball games all day long, five-days of a week, and many weeks, months of the year. Just as the T20 format (this true gift of the gods to keeping alive a noble game) ensures there is no place to hide the real truth of one's cricketing skills, or lack of it, so too will truth be exposed of whether Tendulkar really played for his team, his country, or he only batted for personal statistical records. The truth always prevails, sooner or later, but always.

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

Thanks Mr. Kesavan, ever since the announcement this is the most neutral and cricket worthy (in cricketing sense) piece on the man. Be it the greatness of the man or his tales, nothing can be bigger than the game. In this so called Cricket frenzy country people seem to forget that their god is god because of the game. This ill timed scheduling of the West Indies series to accommodate Tendulkar's retirement is the reflection of the mindset of the people who deliberately try to put players above the game. To be very honest i wanted to see Indian young guns facing Steyn and Morkel. Somehow our willingness to see Sachin's Retirement is reflection of our reluctance to change.

Posted by Wd-X on (October 14, 2013, 4:17 GMT)

Great great article!!! You've hit the nail on the head. He should've retired gracefully a couple of years earlier. Instead the current situation just looks pathetic along with the BCCI running roughshod over everything. And it's about time people stop hero worshipping the cricketers. Its a team game, not about individuals.

Posted by CanGrit on (October 14, 2013, 4:12 GMT)

I totally disagree with you!! There is always exception to any rules or cliches as you put it, and when it comes to cricket Tendulkar is THE exception!! This game of cricket gained many fans just for Tendulkar and that's an undeniable he can choose to go whenever he wants. He is the greatest cricketer ever...

Posted by srinideva on (October 14, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

Finally, someone has the guts to speak loud and clear...No individual is greater than game...Sachin served the country for 20+ years, but he got all those things in life by playing cricket for india...His financial status improved like no other sport man in the nation..

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

Mukul, you have exactly echoed my sentiments. The farewell articles which followed Sachin's retirement left me to think that all critics who wanted Sachin to retire 2 years earlier are gone now but I appreciate you for calling spade a spade.

Posted by The_other_side on (October 14, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

Kudos to the author for this article.... Tendulkar is past expiry date is nothing new though! The only redemption would be FAREWELL HUNDRED! even if it is West Indies!!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

While we've seen many pro-Tendulkar articles, this one is completely anti-Tendulkar. Well done, sir. Journalism with fierce words and a point to prove. And, some statistics here and there.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (October 14, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

To add to what I have written, why wasnt Dravid, Ganguly and Kapil not given similar send offs? Kapil,who singlehandeldly shouldered Indias bowling for 2 decades, and who gave India its first world cup win, which shifted the sporting landscape in the country(to other sports to cricket), played his final match in a forgotten ODI at Faridabad! Dravid was a better player overseas than Tendulkar(Forget the stats for a moment). He batted at No 3, which was tougher considering India never had any good openers until Sehwag and Gambhir. And Ganguly transformed the team from a meek average one, to a team which could play overseas.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (October 14, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

I don't belong to the anti-Sachin brigade, but I and many others are very disappointed that the whole episode seems stage-managed to accomodate the requirement of one man. THe man may be a legend, the best batmsan of the mordern era, but its ridiculous that he is considered bigger than the game. It seems that Tendulkar clearly gave a notice to the BCCI that he wishes to retire this year in front of his home crowd, and the BCCI being subservient to him, accomodated his request, ignoring the FTP, the tour obligation of SA and the fact that none of the legends before him(gavaskar,dravid,kumble etc) were given such liberties(as articulated by Vijay Lokapally in the Hindu yesterday). Just because Waugh's was done in such a way dosent mean we do the same. When Roger federer retires, will the ATP 'arrange' a draw for him such that he'll go out victorious in a Grand slam?? Sad state of 'hero' worshipping in India!

Posted by AhmadRyan on (October 14, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

If Tendulkar has retired even 10 years before there is no guarantee that South African tour wasn't curtailed. It was thus because BCCI wanted that, because of their difference with the CSA chief or for whatsoever reason. Blaming Tendulkar for that West Indies tour is like blaming Wright Brother's for plane crash. Tell me Mukul, what are the chances that WTC would have been destroyed in a terrorist attack by plane if Wright brothers hasn't invented plane? Zero. That is how your logic sounds like in the last two paragraphs. Yes, many of us may agree that he delayed his retirement a bit but then the logic you gave is, well put most mildly, extremely stupid. And in case you don't know, centuries aren't the only way of measuring contribution to a team!

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (October 14, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

Excellent one Mukul! It is absolutely true that Tendulkar left it two years too late, and he didnt serve anyones purpose(including MI) by hangin on and on.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (October 14, 2013, 3:51 GMT)

Wow! What a forthright article! They say "Truth hurts" and it is really the case here. Tendulkar should have retired after the World Cup win, but he definitely overstayed. Nobody is bigger than the game and the team. There is no doubt that Tendulkar (along with Gavaskar) is the best batsman India has produced. But that should not make him bigger than the team. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened during the last two years. Selectors and BCCI are also to blame here. They did not have the courage to talk to Tendulkar about his plans. Having said all this, like all the fans, I will miss watching Tendulkar bat.

Posted by ICF_Lurker on (October 14, 2013, 3:48 GMT)


Lovely article, one of the rare ones that calls a spade a spade at this time.

One quick critique though. Your criticism of Kapil was off-base. If you use 25 innings criteria, in his last 22 Tests (26 innings), Kapil scored at 30.29 and took wickets at 26.47. I would take that all-rounder for India even today in a heart-beat.That said, one of the best tributes I have read about Kapil is indeed in your book Men in Blue and how when you get/got depressed you remember the poster of Kapil in delivery stride and are reminded of what he represented - passion and hope.. So Kesavan saab you get a pass!

Sachin is an all time great, will be sorely missed. Maybe we can give him a pass as well and enjoy his last couple of Tests. Cheers!

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 3:48 GMT)

I think no one dare to ask him to retire because it is SAcHiN!!you can't compare any players in the world to Sachin,and talking about number of centuries he scored last couple of years he hasn't played that many international games!!

Posted by Shasheen on (October 14, 2013, 3:46 GMT)

Players like Sachin Tendulkar, Leander Paes, Sanath Jayasuriya, Ricky Ponting, Roger Federer, Micheal Schumacher etc... do not play their respective sports for creating legacy.... they play the sports for their love of game and their passion for the sport... Legacy would be the last thing on their mind.

Posted by nikkam on (October 14, 2013, 3:39 GMT)

a well written comparison...its true that the indian team carried tendulkar for two years in his india we do not tell great people to in the case of australia, SA..Here the player becomes greater then the sachins case it definitely was...a few indian greats who retired on time were VVS adn Dravid..but they were not considered greater than the was painful to watch him plod towards landmarks for the past two years..what could be achieved with a sword...required an axe...but his late retirement has not damaged the indian test team significantly as it has been balanced by the other players retirement and given opportunity for the youngsters...

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 3:35 GMT)

Far too much conjecture in this article. Is there substantial proof that the South Africa tour was put aside only to accomodate Tendulkar?

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 3:24 GMT)

Finally a balanced article on Tendulkar's retirement ignoring the massive PR exercise to glorify his retirement decision.

Posted by Ven61 on (October 14, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

Good article. I wish there were more such honest men in the cricketing world. It has been painful watching this once-great batsman flounder. To me, Tendulkar will be special. But only as a batsman; not as a cricketer.

Let me add that the unscheduled tests in Nov further another agenda as well. They substitute matches on foreign soil with ones on Indian soil. That will make stats look better - India's and it's captain's.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 3:13 GMT)

Well and correctly said. All former players, who knew that the little master has overstayed his welcome lacked guts to say so. Only few readers made comments on few cricketing sites. Ideally he should have retired after worldcup or at least after Aus tour like David & VVS. But he kept chasing records. Better late than never......

Posted by smudgeon on (October 14, 2013, 3:12 GMT)

I read the headline for this article, and imagined the conversation Mukul Kesevan had with his editor upon presenting this article for publishing. In the back of my head, I see Sir Humphrey Appleby purse his lips and say "Courageous decision, Mr Kesevan". Despite the howls this article will no doubt provoke, this is an excellent piec of writinge and sums up a lot of my own feelings about Tendulkar. As much as I admire him for his mastery of his art, love for cricket, and the joy he brings to cricket's biggest fandom, there have been far too many allowances made for the latter two. Sachin is a tremendous servant of cricket, a humble man, but his love for the game and his fans means he isn't able to say no when people keep asking him to stay and shifting things around to accommodate this. It's an admirable flaw, but a flaw nonetheless.

Posted by vpyati on (October 14, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

Indian public considers him GOD; but along the line, I think, even Sachin himself have started thinking along the same lines. If the media reports about him - regarding his request to schedule his 200th test in Mumbai so that his mom can attend it - is correct, then it is really a sad state of affairs.

That is where Rahul Dravid ( inevitably, any discussion on Sachin nowadays involves Dravid !) was different from Sachin. He retired quietly, did not announce his retirement in advance to make his retirement a grand show and definitely did not ask BCCI to schedule his final test in Bangalore !

Posted by vatsap on (October 14, 2013, 3:10 GMT)

One real sane voice and much as most of us are filled with nostalgia and sadness, the fact is Tendulkar's form has fallen immensely in the past 2 years and the comparison to Kapil Dev is right. Whatever reason compelled Sachin to stay in, in the future annals it is not going to look great. India has never been good for grandstand farewells, I had hoped for standing ovations for Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, but both of them went out quietly and with dignity. Sachin will get his ( well deserved) ovations but it would look stage managed.

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (October 14, 2013, 2:59 GMT)

If Lara had not continued in his last year he would have averaged below 50 and reason for his two double hundreds and two centuries

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 2:54 GMT)

I totally agree! I would have like a longer test series against South Africa with or without Sachin... The greatness of the person is undeniable though the game is always greater for there is no cricketer sans cricket. #mixed feelings

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 2:52 GMT)

brilliant article & analysis- finally, a writer putting things in perspective.

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Mukul KesavanClose
Mukul Kesavan teaches social history for a living and writes fiction when he can - he is the author of a novel, Looking Through Glass. He's keen on the game but in a non-playing way. With a top score of 14 in neighbourhood cricket and a lively distaste for fast bowling, his credentials for writing about the game are founded on a spectatorial axiom: distance brings perspective. Kesavan's book of cricket - Men in Whitewas published in 2007.

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