Known for making comebacks, Sachin may yet turn around his form. But with age, his comebacks are getting increasingly painful. No matter what he does from this point onwards, his place in cricketing history is assured. In addition to being the highest run scorer in both formats of the game, Sachin record of 100 international centuries is likely to remain a benchmark for a very long time. He will always be remembered as the first batsman to break the 200-run barrier in One-Day Internationals, while his legacy will continue to inspire generations of Indian cricketers to come. In such a scenario, Sachin has little else left to prove or achieve.
It important to note that Indian cricket today is in good hands with a battery of youngsters willing and able to take over from their seniors. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli have done well to fill the void left behind by Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman. Similarly, Sachin too should start thinking about making room for a talented youngster. He would do well to heed his mentor Sunil Gavaskar and retire when people ask why, not when they ask why not.
Master blaster will know when to go.
It that time of the year again. Heaven forbid that Sachin Tendulkar should bat less than brilliantly in a few matches lest the knives come out as we are currently seeing. This has been a regular feature of our cricketing calendar for over half-a-decade now. In all the hoopla, everyone forgets that the same concerns were raised in the latter part of the last decade when he had hit a rough patch. But he came roaring back to form and dismissed those concerns with the same contemptuous ease with which he despatches bowlers when on song.
What amusing about all this is the reasoning that he should quit now because he is past his peak and blocking the advancement of gifted young players. Who exactly are these paragons of youthful talent? Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara excepted - those two do seem to have what it takes - Suresh Raina seems to be the best we can find at the moment. And he is very far from being a genuine, dependable Test batsman. Or is it Rohit Sharma they are talking about? He has shown himself lacking in temperament more often than not. Yes, Sachin is past his prime, but he is still worth two of Raina and his ilk. Take his name out from that batting line-up and suddenly it begins to look very flimsy.
After decades of yeoman service to the national cricket team - after the joy he has brought to the nation time and again - the eagerness with which we rush to pull him down should give us cause for self-reflection. World cricket has rarely seen a genius like him. No one is better qualified than the man himself to judge when it is time to go. Another legend of the game, Glenn McGrath, made that point just a few days ago, as have others before him. We would do well to heed them.