Sachin Tendulkar’s exit shows his regard for Tests
It was a different Sachin Tendulkar who turned up in the T20 League this season. Since the turn of the century, he had changed his batting style in limited overs cricket to mainly anchor the innings. HT reports.cricket Updated: May 28, 2013 09:20 IST
It was a different Sachin Tendulkar who turned up in the Twenty20 League this season. Since the turn of the century, he had changed his batting style in limited overs cricket to mainly anchor the innings - barring a few exceptions like the 2003 World Cup.
This season, Tendulkar decided to revert to his original approach where he would go after the bowling from the word go. That was how he played when he opened in the one-day game against New Zealand (in 1994). Experts call that his best phase when the reputation of many new-ball bowlers was damaged and he won over the cricket world with breathtaking strokes.
From the way he came out looking to attack, he was trying to turn the clock back. Although there were glimpses of his old self, the same sharpness was missing and the excitement was largely limited to a few power-packed strokes.
Hence, Tendulkar's retirement from the league after the final didn't come as a surprise. He had timed his decision to perfection with a winner's medal around his neck.
Although Tendulkar took to the game like fish to water in two formats, the same can't be said about his stint in Twenty20 cricket. The numbers tell the story. His Test and one-day cricket statistics tower over all others who have played the game. But he doesn't hold a similar exalted position in his six-year league career.
While he's been successful, he's not dominated the tournament like someone with his range of strokes would have been expected to. The explanation could be that the format was born late in his career -in his mid-30s.
He will go down as the best player ever in one-day cricket but Tests are his real love, and that can be seen in his decision. Most international stars retired from Test cricket and continued to play the T20 league but he's gone the other way, retiring from the T20 league while still playing Test cricket.
"Test cricket is the ultimate test for any cricketer and you are judged for your Test performances mainly. Tendulkar is a genius and one batsman who could adjust to any form of the game but Test was always his thing," said a former India Test stalwart.
"It (retirement) was on the cards when he retired from one-day cricket, next was the T20 League. The scrutiny was immense when he and Ricky Ponting opened together; they didn't click as a pair and the criticism began. Then when he got injured, he must have realised that the body is not responding. He had to retire in the middle of the game. Fortunately they won, but they could have gone the other way too. Anyway, he had made up his mind to retire at the start of the event."