Should not the BCCI step into the matter and sit down for a cup of coffee and discuss about his possible retirement – on a positive manner? The time is ripe for the selectors to give a serious thought to it. But, Sachin deserves a fitting farewell – for his contribution to the Indian team.
His recent performances does not talk too high of him. His last seven Test innings score read 15, 8, 25, 13, 19, 17 and 27. We do not associate Tendulkar with such kind of figures, a player who averages above 55 in his overall career. He has made numerous comebacks with huge scores against his name, when experts called for his head, but this time around it is not about the scores alone, but also his mode of dismissals. He has got clean bowled on a number of counts. We are not questioning his technique, but the bowlers today are aware of his suspect ability with the moving ball. With technology, they have exploited Tendulkar's weakness. In his last three Test innings, Tendulkar has been clean bowled.
He may be one of the most passionate cricketers in world today. He may have a huge heart to represent the nation, but his limbs and thighs are getting weaker day by day, as he has already crossed 39. He truly understands this, so he makes himself available for crucial tours only. This shows BCCI's respect towards the player. Name any other cricketer who would play matches as per his choice. Even if he is selected, he might opt out of the team for his own personal reasons and the Board just agrees to it. What can the BCCI say to the God of Indian Cricket?
But, in the latter stages of Tendulkar's career, we are not giving enough opportunity for our youngsters to play against the best of the best in international cricket. It is almost assured that in the upcoming series against Australia and England, Tendulkar will make himself available and steal yet another chance for a deserving youngster. So what does this actually mean in the long run? Indian youngsters would be playing against smaller teams and not so competitive sides like West Indies, as Tendulkar might not wish to play against the weaker Indies team. But, how will these youngsters get to learn until they are not thrown open against top quality teams?
If we look at the current crop of youngsters, such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, A. Rahane, M. Tiwary, C. Pujara etc, they have it in them to replace Tendulkar. If any of these players even achieve half of what Sachin has, he will be considered as a great Indian cricketer.
So, it is very important for the BCCI to sit down with Sachin and talk to him in detail about his plans. He certainly must have some target, which he wants to achieve before he hangs his boots. If those targets seem to be a bit unrealistic and not helping India's progress, then the board must take a call – without hurting the sentiments of the player. The BCCI has been very good to Tendulkar, so it could be wise if Sachin makes a call on retirement pretty soon, else the BCCI also needs to take a tough stand like the ACB (Australian Cricket Board) which follows a principle, 'perform or perish'. Had Tendulkar been an Australian player, he might have well hung his boots much before.