Tendulkar closer to calling it a day for good

Alec Swann Columnist

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    Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar walks towards the pavilion. AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

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    Sachin Tendulkar’s announcement that he has run his course in one-day international terms is one step towards the curtain coming down on the career of the greatest player of modern times.

    I hesitate in being so forthright on an Australian forum, especially in the wake of Ricky Ponting calling time on his international days, but Tendulkar has no equals among his peers.

    The light may be dimming and in the recent series – in England he looked a shadow of the genius he is – but it seems he is in recognition of his own cricketing mortality.

    There can’t be many more miles left in his tank and it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if the upcoming clash with Australia is to be his swansong at Test level.

    And that would be symbolic to some degree because it is his record against Australia that makes him stand above his rivals.

    The pre-eminent team for so long only met consistently high opposition from Tendulkar and Brain Lara and an undeniable measure of ability is how it stand up to the best going around.

    Lara’s efforts hinted at an untamed wizardry, the sense that if the wind was in the right direction then he was close to unstoppable.

    But there has always been an element of certainty about Tendulkar, the apparent inevitability that, once set, he would make whoever was bowling pay. Not through force of personality or ego but via a game that has always been as rounded as anyone who has played the game.

    Those who have been the closest to matching Tendulkar have had slightly black marks on their resumes. Lara was believed to be susceptible to express pace, Kallis often doesn’t dictate proceedings as much as he could and Ponting’s record in India was relatively average for someone of his talent.

    But the Indians status has been built around the ability to produce regardless of opposition, conditions and situation time and again for over two decades.

    A lot has been made of the pressure that Tendulkar has operated under; the fact he can’t go out of his house, that many go to the cricket to watch him and him alone and that his country’s vast population expect him to deliver.

    Nobody else in the world game has this on their shoulders and this adds a weight to what he has accomplished.

    But purely from a batsmanship point of view he hasn’t been challenged for the majority of the time he has been around.

    The opinion of those you play against is often the best indicator of how you are perceived and very few would say anything different to what has been offered above.

    And that tells you all you need to know.

    Alec Swann
    Alec Swann

    Alec Swann is a former Northants and Lancashire opener turned cricket writer. Outside of the joys of a Test match, Newcastle United and golf generally occupy his other sporting interests with a soft spot for the Newcastle Knights.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • December 25th 2012 @ 4:43am
      Frank O'Keeffe said | December 25th 2012 @ 4:43am | ! Report

      I rate Tendulkar as clearly better than Lara, too.

      There was a period around 1996 to 1998 when Lara’s head just wasn’t in the game. I believe he averaged around 35 in those years.

      It seems like an odd criticism, but whenever Lara made a few low scores it was like seeing thunder clouds on the horizon – a storm is about to take place. Lara would make a double century, play better than any batsman I’ve seen play, and his average would be 50 for the series, despite only impacting one Test. But my criticism is: Tendulkar played more consistently in Tests, whereas Lara was more prone to a big score every once in a while.

      Viv Richards is a great example of an impact player. He never made huge scores all that often (except England against Tony Grieg), but when he got a century, his team won the game.

      That said, no cricketer since Bradman had the appetite for big scores like Lara. When he scored, he scored huge. And I was watching his best innings against Australia (1999) and Sri Lanka (2001) the other day, and goodness he was incredible.

      Tendulkar is the second best batsman ever, after Bradman. For many years I thought Viv Richards was the second best, but Tendulkar just keeps going and going and going and going.

    • December 25th 2012 @ 9:37am
      k77sujith said | December 25th 2012 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      Tendulkar is indeed a legend but I wouldn’t rate him a complete match-winner in Test cricket. No player can be perfect and like Lara, Ponting and Kallis, he’s got his chinks as well. For me, Dravid is far more reliable from India’s point of view, in Tests. Whatever said, Tendulkar will be missed for all the entertainment and joy he’s given us for over 20 years.

    • December 25th 2012 @ 11:24am
      Johnno said | December 25th 2012 @ 11:24am | ! Report

      I rate Laxman a better test batsmen than Tendulkar a real match winner Laxman, in big games too. Sewhag too occasionally could fire up in tests too. Many say Tendulkar was a flat track bully, and didn’t make the truly big innings when they counted, eg Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh,Alan Border, Laxman, Kevin Peterson,.

      • December 25th 2012 @ 11:39am
        GBv44 said | December 25th 2012 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        And who are they – ‘many’ that you mentioned in your post? I hope you can back up your claim by quoting people like Waugh brothers, Warnie, and/or Border. Good luck!

    • December 25th 2012 @ 11:59am
      James said | December 25th 2012 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      Why do people keep on parroting out the line that Kallis does not dominate proceedings etc, etc. It has become a reflex action. He was the cement that held a very fragile SA side together for many years. In his early days he operated as an opener because there were never any real opening stands. He batted 3 for a long period. Often he was 1st change fast bowler. His scoring rate, despite all of this, is not that far behind Tendulkar or Ponting and ahead of many other illustrious players – OVER A VERY LONG PERIOD OF TIME. You are probably not aware that he is in the top 4 of 6 hitters in test cricket. Note his last few seasons now that he is playing in a strong team where he can relax more. Averaging over 70 and strike rates better than Ponting or Tendulkar.I have no quarrel with people who think someone is or was better but why always a negative comment not founded in fact? If Tendulkar retires soon it is likely that Kallis may overtake him. Overtaking Ponting is only 20 runs away in 10 fewer tests with more hundreds etc, etc.If he had batted at 6 (like Sobers) in such a strong batting line up I shudder to think what his stats would be by now.
      Forget the “who is best” arguments and just relish the fact that we have been privileged to see these great cricketers live in action.

    • December 25th 2012 @ 12:11pm
      Johnno said | December 25th 2012 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

      Steve Waugh a double century vs west Indies 1995 deciding test, in the west indies with the series on the line, trying to break the west indies dominance. Facing a fired up Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Wlash at there pick and in the west Indies in a hot house intimidating athmpshore.

      Plus steve waugh made a vital hundred in 1993/4 to win the match for Australia vs STH Africa at adeliaide oval to save the series, and took crucial wickets in that match. He had a big 199/3 tour of SHT Africa to with the series finishing 1-1 all as well.

      1999 ODI world cup to steve waugh made vital runs when it counted vs SHT Africa.

      Alan Border made a lot of fifties and some good hundreds vs the west indies in there prime, when Australian cricket was in turmoil, he captianed and made big runs vs the windies, with no where near the same standard batting or bowling attack to back him up.

      Mark Waugh big hundred vs west indies in decider 1995. ANd big hundred vs NZ in 1996 ODI world cup when Australia were next to being knocked out.

      Laxman big hundred vs Australia eg Calcutta.

      And Shane Warne please , we do not need to justify his greatness, it would take a whole page to show his amazing record and match winning efforts.

      So there you go GBv44.

      And Peterson has made big runs in every ASHES series, carried the batting in 2006 when England humiliated 5-0.

      Also has made big secures deciding runs vs India in India, and hits the ball as hard as anyone ever .

    • December 25th 2012 @ 12:15pm
      ShakaZulu said | December 25th 2012 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

      “He was awesome. When he got out I went up to him and told him it was the greatest batting in a series I’ve ever experienced, for or against.”
      Brian Lara on Jacques Kallis’s amazing run-spree in the just-concluded series
      Jan 31, 2004

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