‘It&’s always a pleasure to meet Sachin, but haven’t met him for the last 10 months’
New Delhi, 18 September
Just two matches shy of his 200th Test, Sachin Tendulkar’s future today became a subject of intense speculation after a media report claimed that he had been told to consider his career plans after the milestone game, forcing the Board of Control for Cricket in India to issue a denial.
The 40-year-old champion batsman was reportedly told by chief selector Sandeep Patil that, after the 200th Test, which would be completed during the two-match series against the West Indies in November, his place in the team would depend on the runs that he scored. However, Patil himself denied it, saying that he had not met Tendulkar for 10 months, while the Indian cricket board was also quick to repudiate such a development.
“There is no truth in the report. We have spoken to both Tendulkar and Patil, no such conversation ever took place. It is for the player to take a call on his retirement, and the BCCI has always followed this policy,” senior board official Rajeev Shukla said.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet Sachin, but I have not met him for the last 10 months. I have not called him, neither has he called me. We have not discussed anything, It’s all nonsense,” Patil said. The report, quoting an unnamed selector, stated that Patil had met Tendulkar after the BCCI pencilled in an unscheduled tour against the West Indies at home comprising a two-Test series and a three-game One-Day Internationals contest. It also hinted that Patil had told Tendulkar that the selectors would decide the batsman’s future after his much-awaited 200th Test appearance.
“We have got a bunch of youngsters and they all have been performing well. No one can question Sachin Tendulkar. What he has done is remarkable but we also have to look at the future. We have several talented players waiting to get that one chance to prove themselves,” the selector said, according to the report.
Tendulkar has appeared in 198 Tests, the most by any cricketer in the history of the game, notching up a mind-boggling 51 hundreds in the five-day format of the game. He has also hit 49 ODI centuries. The batting veteran, who has scored close to 16,000 runs in Tests, has had a lean run by his standards over the past couple of years. He has scored only two half-centuries in the last 10 Test matches India have played at home, against New Zealand, England and Australia, and his last Test hundred (146) was in Cape Town against South Africa in January, 2011. This has prompted questions about his future in some quarters. He is currently gearing up to play in the Champions League Twenty20 League for Indian Premier League-holders Mumbai Indians with his first game against hosts Rajasthan Royals for 21 September.