Just like all cricket loving fans, especially Indians, I too have been captivated by the aura that surrounds Sachin Tendulkar.
When asked who has been my mentor or player I love to watch, I have had no hesitation in stating that it’s Sachin.
It’s not uncommon for me to cease doing whatever I am doing to watch Tendulkar bat. He has captivated my imagination and when I had the chance to meet the man (who may I say is not that much taller than myself) it reinforced all the perceptions I had formulated of him I had from afar – he is a genius.
It’s no surprise that he is a player that has been so successful in all parts of the world despite the conditions he had faced and yet always looks so calm and in control.
You might recall that I mentioned briefly in my article last week that the decision by the Indian selectors to replace Sehwag with Dhawan was brave and necessary.
It would have been a difficult decision to drop one of the greats but Dhawan repaid their faith in the most impressive manner possible.
His 187 runs on debut saw him collect the records of the fastest century by a debutant and the highest Test score by an Indian debutant – not bad at all!
This causes me to wonder whether there will now be a create a louder conversation in India around Sachin’s place in the team and when would be an appropriate and fitting time for him to retire from Test cricket.
Even during the last Test match the commentators began to ponder whether this would be Sachin’s last innings on home soil and the local crowd certainly gave him the ovation ‘just in case’ it was his last innings.
Having looked at the current Test schedule, India’s next home series will be against West Indies in October 2014 when Sachin will be 41. Between that time India will travel abroad to South Africa, England and New Zealand.
With India being such an inexperienced side in regards to playing abroad, no doubt he still has an important role within the team in terms of mentoring the younger players and sharing his experiences about how to perform at your best while being out of familiar and comfortable environment.
Of course he may choose to retire while overseas, but I could just imagine the Indian fans’ disappointment if this was to
I am sure all of India, not just the true cricket fans, would hope he retires while playing at home so they can give him the fan fair, a tribute, the red carpet farewell that is one of the most extravagant sporting bon voyage anyone has ever witnessed.
I wrote an article recently on my blog about how does an athlete know when is the right time to go? I was adamant that I wanted to leave on my terms (before the tap on the shoulder), still be at the top of my game and to not be holding up talent ready to blossom.
These things mattered to me after having had the benefit of witnessing a number of players, male and female, that simply played on for too long and finished in a way that took some of the gloss off what had been an amazing career.
I think all cricket lovers want to see the greats go out on top. A prime example that comes to mind is the retirement of Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and Shane Warne from Test cricket compared to Ricky Ponting’s.
McGrath, Langer and Warne all retired from Test cricket at the SCG after thrashing the English five-nil in the 06/07 Ashes series.
If we compare this to Ponting, who had to deal with Australian media intensely calling for his blood for a couple of seasons before he eventually retired last season at the WACA, it just didn’t seem fitting for someone who has been Australia’s most successful batsmen to finish in those circumstances.
Questions are certainly being asked about Sachin and whether he will choose to retire or be asked to step aside by the selectors.
Given Sachin stops a nation whenever he does anything and has dominated cricket for over two decades, I highly doubt the selectors will drop him from the team.
So, would Dhawan’s performance cause Tendulakar to ponder retirement soon? Only those close to him would know.
I know for me, a performance like that would have me reflecting more intensely about if it was time to retire.
My only question is what other young Indian batsmen are waiting in the wings for a chance to experience Test cricket?
If Dhawan is any indication of what talent is waiting it can only be exciting times ahead, not only for Indian fans but for Test cricket as a whole, as with just one innings Dhawan has already captivated the audience with his impeccable timing and the twirling of his manicured moustache.