Sachin bids adieu to one-dayers

Sachin bids adieu to one-dayers

Maestro wants India to prepare for next World Cup

Sachin bids adieu to one-dayers

India’s star batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday ended his one-day cricket career after 23 glorious years. The end was rather quick and simple for the batsman who has played 463 ODIs scoring 18,426 runs with 49 hundreds. It came through a to-the-point statement issued by Tendulkar through the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“I have decided to retire from the one-day format of the game. I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup winning Indian team. The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest,” the 39-year-old said.

“I would like to wish the team all the very best for the future. I am eternally grateful to all my well wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years,” he added in the statement.

Tendulkar’s last one-dayer was against Pakistan at Dhaka in the Asia Cup earlier this year, while the last one-dayer he played in India was the World Cup final at the Wankhede stadium in April 2011, with the victory there over Sri Lanka ending India’s 28-year wait for the coveted title. But now, India will miss Tendulkar’s classic blade that blunted and conquered bowlers from Imran Khan to Dale Steyn with aplomb for well over two decades.

Intense speculation

There has been intense speculation about his future after a modest run dating back to India’s tour of England mid-last year.

His last Test hundred was that remarkable 146 against South Africa in January 2011 at Cape Town, and his last ODI hundred came against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, which was also his 100th international hundred. But largely, Tendulkar remained a passive spectator in this period, failing to check India’s slide in Australia, England, and more agonisingly against England at home recently in Test cricket.

The batting maestro was a pale shadow of his old self against England as left-arm spinner Monty Panesar and pacer James Anderson opened up chinks in his fast-rusting armour quite ruthlessly. There were also reports about chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil having a word with Tendulkar about his future plans post-England series, but retirement from one-day cricket came as a surprise for many.

However, BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said Tendulkar’s decision to retire was taken after mulling over it for a good period of time.

“It was not sudden. He informed us before the selection about his decision. He spoke to me and the president (BCCI chief N Srinivasan) about his decision. A person of his calibre knows what to do. He has always taken the right decision at the right time,” Jagdale said.

Tendulkar, though, hasn’t conveyed anything about his future in Test matches to the selectors. In the last year or so, his average in Tests has dipped to the low 30s, and quite a few experts have been vocal about giving more chances to youngsters like Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary in the traditional format.

India will face Australia in a four-match home series in February 2013, and it’s a possibility that Tendulkar may decide his future in the five-day format depending on his outings against the Aussies.

“Any decision regarding that (retiring from Tests) will be taken only after he assesses his performance against the Australians. The four Tests against Aussies will make it 198 Tests and if he does well, he might just think about going to South Africa to complete 200 Tests,” said a source close to Tendulkar.

Some of the best performances of Tendulkar have come against the team from Down Under — in Tests and one-dayers.Tendulkar has nine one-day international hundreds against the Aussies, a record for the most number of centuries for a batsman against one team.

Now, with Tendulkar unavailable for the ODIs, onus is on the younger generation to guide India in the preparatory process for the World Cup. These sure are exciting times for Indian cricket.