End the Talk of "Endulkar".
I have been meaning to ridicule the talk of "Endulkar" by a well-reasoned post, but was rather busy in the past week. Then I came across this beautiful post. I do not think I can do a better job than this. This post does a very objective job of analysing Sachin's recent record to justify the position that he can still give a lot to Indian cricket.
Let’s view Tendulkar’s performances objectively. Since January 2004, he has figured in 38 ODIs and scored three hundreds. But what has got tongues waging is the fact that, in these 38 innings, he has failed to get past the teens in as many as 20 innings. Though he has averaged over 36.77 in this phase, it’s the downswing from his own high standards that’s caused heartburn among a section of the people. Virender Sehwag suffers in comparison, but he has not invited the kind of criticism the “Little Champion” has. In the last 31 ODIs, Sehwag has scored 795 runs at 25.64 with no hundreds and two fifties. But he has escaped censure because of his excellence in the Test matches. But the fact remains that though both masters have been under-performing, they have not looked lost as batsmen tend to in the midst of inevitable poor patches in their careers.
Tendulkar went through a lean trot 2002-03 against New Zealand and Australia when a stretch of 12 innings yielded just 209 runs. But he silenced his critics with successive innings (of 44, 241*, 60* against Australia and 194* vs Pakistan at Multan). Then came another run-famine in which he could score just 136 from 10 innings. Tendulkar came out of that spell with an unbeaten double hundred against Bangladesh and followed it with consecutive scores of 94, 52, 52 and 41 against Pakistan. There’s absolutely no doubt that the old consistency and authority are missing, but there is no need for us to become prophets of doom. Is there anybody remotely close - even with his diminished abilities - to replace him? His highest Test average was 59.17 (in his 93rd match), it’s now 56.14 after 129 outings. His top average in ODIs was 45.35 (324th game); after 35 more ODIs, his average now stands at 44.19.
Let’s compare Tendulkar’s position with Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. Hayden’s Test average had plummeted from 58.97 in 2004 to 51.31 by the end of the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last year. But Australia kept faith with Hayden for the final Test. The burly opener, who drew comparisons with Sir Don Bradman not long back, began another hot streak with scores of 138, 0*, 111, 77, 37, 118, 110, 46, 47, 87*. Gilchrist’s Test average plummeted from a 61.48 in 2004 to sub-50 last year. The Australian selectors, who do not hesitate in asking their greats to leave when they feel it’s time to leave, have persisted with Gilchrist. Players like Tendulkar, Hayden and Gilchrist are a class apart and deserve special treatment. Remember: Form is temporary, class is permanent.
I would like to believe that Tendulkar will not stay a minute longer if he doubts his own abilities. Let us treat a man who has given so much for the country with the reverence he deserves. If there is one thing common between Viv Ricahrds and Tendulkar it is their abilities to answer in a manner few can hope to. Somebody is going to pay for the humiliation heaped on Tendulkar. If I were Michael Vaughan, I would be a worried man.