Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Sachin Tendulkar, It's Time to Retire

Starting a sporting career is not complicated, with a bit of luck and a lot of skill you'll get a break. You can proceed calmly with the knowledge that only your performances are in your hands, the rest is dependant on other individuals such as favourable coaches and corrupt selectors.

The hard part is stopping, when should an international cricketer retire? There are several routes that can be taken:

  • The Australia Method - Retire when on top so that your legacy continues to live on fondly, notable examples include Gilchrist, Hayden, Langer... well everybody from the glory days except Ricky Ponting.
  • The Kiwi Method - After a ludicrous amount of injury layoffs and comebacks, there comes a time when its time to finally throw in the towel.  The most endangered species of all cricket are New Zealand fast bowlers, just look at Shane Bond, Dion Nash and Geoff Allott. Tragically unfulfilled careers.
  • The England Captain Method - Retire at the first sign of trouble after a few years of good work.  When the England zorb threatened to come crashing down the hill (thanks South Africa), Andrew Strauss opted for the gentlemen's exit so he won't be at the bottom picking up the pieces.  Smooth timing.
  • The Pakistan Method - Where retirement often means a quick holiday in the name of an angry protest against a rogue selector.  The beauty of this method is that it comes free with an un-retire and re-retire add on.  Just ask Shahid Afridi.

Yep I retired again, see you in a month!   © AFP

But there is one guy whose epic career continues to trudge on despite many of the symptoms displayed above.  He has had years of golden runs with the bat despite a dodgy run at being captain, a horrible run in the last 12 months, an injury lay-off or two somewhere in there.  He has been there and done that.  At the risk of having The Cricket Musings burned down by angry protesters (or rather by being spammed to death with profanities in the comments section) I am going to brave the internet world and say it.

Sachin Tendulkar, your time is up.  Time to embrace the setting sun.

You have been playing cricket since 1989, which means you have been batting for India longer than the entire under-19 World Cup fleet even came into existence as a single cell organism.  

You have painfully but surely climbed the one hundred 100s mountain, you have won an ODI world cup on your sixth attempt (!) and you have seen India to the top of the Test rankings, something they won't do again any time soon.  Enough is enough. You are quickly becoming that unfortunate uncle who everybody is too polite to get rid of, with the consequence that your tenancy is taking up precious other vacancies for younger promising cricketers.  

There is literally nothing else to achieve, you have arguably the most accomplished career in cricketing history with dozens of innings that are forever etched into our memories.  The problem with you staying on is that you are soiling those lovely memories of trouncing Glenn McGrath with images of being castled by Doug Bracewell.  

There was a time where I ate Kiwi's for breakfast.  © Assc Press

So dear Sachin, please say your goodbyes so we can thank you for more than two decades of great cricketing memories.  Don't tack on an extra half decade of pain.

(Oh and give commentary a miss too).