Two ageing champion batsmen — India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Australia’s Ricky Ponting — have come a cropper in recent times.
Things are hardly going their way.
Tendulkar has a colossal aggregate of 15,562 runs in 192 Tests at 54.60, while the Tasmanian has an impressive 13,366 runs in 167 Tests at 52.21.
Clearly both are in the twilight of their careers.
Some have expressed pity at his present plight, but feel that Tendulkar has some more bright days in international cricket and wish him well; there are also some who, without any ill-will, want him to seriously contemplate and take a call on his future.
Sunil Gavaskar is clear in his mind that Tendulkar should talk to the selectors and tell them about his plans for the future. The former Indian batting maestro maybe suggesting a way out because no selection committee will have the courage to drop Tendulkar on their own volition; the BCCI too will not allow this to happen, for both and the cricketing fraternity acknowledge his humongous contribution to Indian and world cricket.
Tendulkar made 73, 32, 41 and 80 in the Melbourne and Sydney Tests some 12 months ago and since then he has had a poor run with scores of 15 and 8 at Perth, 25 and 13 at Adelaide, 19, 17 and 27 against New Zealand at Hyderabad and Bangalore and 18, 8 and 8 against England at Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
It’s not that Tendulkar’s preparation for a competitive match has dropped a wee bit. He’s perhaps the most occupied Indian cricketer at practice and net sessions. Of late Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh too seem to be putting in the extra bit. They all want to excel.
“Sachin used to be at the gym at 10 a.m. every day even during the IPL tournament. Such is his dedication,” revealed Sameer Dighe, former India and Mumbai stumper.
Recently Tendulkar told a television channel: “I am 39 and I don’t think I have plenty of cricket left in me. But it depends on my frame of mind and my physical ability to deliver. When I feel that I am not delivering what is needed, then I will re-look at the scheme of things. I am already 39 and no one expects me to go on playing forever. I will go with what my heart says.
“There are two different things — scoring runs and what I feel. For instance, if this three-wicket ordeal (bowled against New Zealand) had happened when I was 25, no one would have questioned it. Incidentally, it happened when I am 39, so questions were raised. This is natural. But I am still the best judge of what happens to my mind and body. When I feel it is time, I will take a call. It is going to be a tough call nevertheless. It is going to be tough because this is what I have been doing all my life. It is going to be difficult to suddenly hang up my boots one day.”
Ponting on the other hand is reported to be having the support of the selectors; he has been named captain of the Prime Minister’s XI match against the West Indies at the Manuka, Oval, Canberra on January 29, 2013. Ponting has not been in good nick against South Africa and has been bowled twice by Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn.
The former Australian captain who made 221 and 60 not out against India at Adelaide, and since has been below par with scores of 4, 14, 17, 41, 23 and 57 in the away series in the West Indies.
According to Australia coach Mickey Arthur, Ponting, who will turn 38 on December 19, is in the radar for next year’s Ashes, but there will be pressure on him to score some runs.
“We want Ricky Ponting to go to the Ashes, there’s no doubt about that. Like any batsman though you’ve got to keep scoring runs and Perth is a big Test (against South Africa) for him and that’s by Ricky’s own admission.
“I am 100 per cent sure though that confident Ricky will come through in Perth,” Arthur told the media in Australia.