Sachin Tendulkar has flatly denied that he has any plans of retirement from first class cricket in the near future. He has also almost made it clear that the selection committee has absolutely no role to play in his retirement plans. The present BCCI selection committee chairman K Srikkanth has agreed that Sachin alone can decide about his retirement. It appears that the selection of Sachin will be mandatory till he decides to retire! The way the things have turned out at so far indicate how the state of affairs of Indian cricket could be in the year 2025. The following could be the scenario:
Scenario 1: Occasion: The Test Match Series in Australia: The First Test in Melbourne
(The Indian team has arrived in Australia after losing the test series in England. The team includes seniors like Sachin, Laxman and Sehwag. Sachin has already completed 199 centuries in test matches and one-day matches put together. There are huge expectations that he may score his 200th century in Melbourne. Arjun Tendulkar (son of Sachin) and Aryaveer (son of Sehwag) are also in the Indian team. However, both of them are not in the playing eleven and have been asked to sit out. The commentary team includes Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Sastri, Rohit Sharma, Michael Clark, Shane Watson and Bret Lee).
Sunil Gavaskar: It is really interesting to find history repeating in Australia. Well Sastri! Do you remember it was exactly 14 years ago that we were expecting Sachin to complete his 100th century here in the year 2011?
Sastri: You are right Sunil! Now we are expecting Sachin to complete his 200th century!
Gavaskar: We should appreciate the spirit and determination of Sachin even at this age! Of course the only regret is that he has blocked the entry of his own son Arjun into the playing eleven!
Sastri: Let us hope that he completes his 200th century here and allows his beloved son to enter the big league.
Gavaskar: BCCI is right. They have allowed Sachin to play so that he can achieve the coveted 200th century. I feel the matter of retirement should be left to the individual in any field!
Clark: Pardon me Sir! I hope I am not misunderstood! Are you talking about the retirement of commentators also?
Gavaskar: This is what I call the Australian mentality! I am sure you are talking about me and Sastri! Am I right?
Sastri: Let me tell you Clark, we had a radio commentator called Vizzy (the late Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram) in the late fifties and sixties. He was so old that the audience could not even make out whether he was making cricket commentary or commentary on a horse race!
Gavaskar: He had forced himself upon the hapless listeners because he was a royal personality. You may not believe this! He was even the captain of Indian team in the 1936 test series even though he could hardly play!
Clark: I am sorry I raked up some unnecessary issue. (Hope Gavaskar does not walk away from the commentary team like he did in one of test matches here in Australia once upon a time!)
Sastri: Let us come back to the present game. Oh! India has already lost the first wicket for no score!
Gavaskar: That brings Sachin into the game. Hope he is not under pressure from the media to score his 200th century! He should be allowed to play his natural game!
Sastri: Oh! Sehwag has given an easy catch! That brings Laxman into the game. Hope he helps Sachin to achieve the coveted milestone!
Clark: Don’t you people think that it is such comments that bring pressure on Sachin? I feel we should concentrate on the game only.
Gavaskar: I agree. It appears that the team management is taking a decision to rest one of the seniors in the next match to help Arjun Tendulkar to play his first test match.
Rohit Sharma: I also heard that. Do you people remember that exactly 14 years ago there was this rotation policy to accommodate me in the team?
Sastri: True. But that you failed to utilize the opportunity is another story of course!
Rohit: I agree. In fact my test match career came to an end in view of the decision to retain the seniors indefinitely to help them create all sorts of records! Fortunately I ended up as a commentator! (That I have again landed among senior citizens is another story of course!)
Gavaskar: Oh! Laxman has given a simple catch again! And to think that Laxman was a hero against the Australian teams once upon a time!
Watson: That brings Virat Kohli into the game.
Rohit: He is the only cricketer from our generation in the present Indian team. The rest are all either the seniors or the younger lot!
Sastri: Oh! Virat has started well. Sachin is now nearing the score of 80. Hope he does not think of the milestone now!
Bret Lee: I am here in the pavilion now to interview Arjun Tendulkar! Arjun what do you think? Do you expect your father to achieve the milestone in this match?
Arjun: Of course! My mother has hinted me I can hope to get into the test eleven the moment my father completes this milestone!
Bret Lee: What happens if he continues to fail?
Arjun: In that case even my son Abhimanyu does not stand a chance! My father has made it clear that nobody else can take a decision on his behalf! (There is a huge furor in the stadium at this stage)
Bret Lee: Oh! It seems Sachin got out for 99! Let me hand it back to Gavaskar.
Gavaskar: Oh! We have to wait for the second innings now. Sachin is walking back!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
11th April 2012