The two Tests against Windies will be a good ground to judge him against fast bowlers

The BCCI is like a Bollywood director who loves to throw in a bit of masala where it’s unnecessary. One thought that it was only the travel agents who were going berserk creating attractive packages to South Africa clubbed with Tendulkar’s 200th Test. But obviously not.

How can the BCCI stay behind when so much hoopla is involved. It has invited the West Indies to India before the South Africa series so that Tendulkar gets to play his 200th Test on his home turf.

As is the custom when a landmark approaches, people are arguing if Tendulkar should quit after playing the 200th Test. His contemporaries and former colleagues have insisted time and again that it is Tendulkar’s call.

Timing of quitting

The timing of retirement is something that the best of cricketers haven’t got right. Unceremonious ousters have resulted. Vijay Manjrekar’s last Test innings was an unbeaten 102, against New Zealand in the first Test at the Corporation stadium, Madras, in the 1964-65 series.

It is true that cricket isn’t just a game for any of these players. However, what many do not see is that their love might be hindering someone else’s love for cricket. There were legends who kept playing or were allowed to play and this delayed the entry of aspiring and performing youngsters.

Had Javagal Srinath started playing international cricket a couple of years earlier, he would have easily crossed the 300-wicket mark with his brilliance. But the selectors allowed Kapil Dev to play because he was approaching a record.

A genius

Tendulkar is not just another great player. He is a genius. Every time a question is raised about his retirement, he silences his critics with his performance.

He plans his nets and gym sessions to perfection even at the age of 40. He prepares methodically and meticulously.

Last season, even against a Ranji attack which was ordinary for him, he planned to spend more time in the middle and he did. One should learn the art of staying at the crease from him.

His quitting T20 means that he has decided to concentrate on the longer version and people who know him feel that he will continue after his 200th Test.

But as history shows, one never knows when a well-drafted plan goes wrong. As much as you try to tie up the loose ends, things don’t necessarily work the way they are expected to be.

Tendulkar is a page dipped in gold in the book of Indian cricket. But sadly everything fades away and so will he one day. Maybe it’s not time yet. The two Tests at home against Windies will be a good ground to judge him against fast bowlers.

The precise movement of the feet, the position of the head, the front elbow and the ability to handle pressure… the tasks are many but it is a 40-year-old Tendulkar who stands in front of us.

He has triumphed over all such hurdles, match after match and year after year. The month of November will decide the fate of that one slot in the Indian team.

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