Mumbai, May 31: Every cricket fan in India and the West Indies was amused when Sachin Tendulkar, opted out of the Test series in the Carribean Islands. The reason for the withdrawal was amusing and annoying at the same time as the batting legend is fit and had a good chance to notch up his 100th international ton against the West Indian bowling line-up.
Some even advocated that the little Master opted out of the series to ensure that he has a chance to bring up his 100th international ton at the Lord's, considered as the 'Mecca of Cricket, that will host the 100th India vs England Test (July 21-25) and the 2000th game in the history of Test cricket.
In an interview the MiD-DAY on May 30, Sachin, considered by many as the greatest batsman ever to have played the game, retorted back asking, "How can you plan such things?"
He then went on to explain the reason for his withdrawal and stated, "I just want to spend some time with my family. I have not had time with my children. If I don't spend time with them now (during their school holidays), I would have to wait for one more year to do so. The kids (daughter Sara and son Arjun) are very thrilled because we hadn't discussed this with them, so they didn't know anything. It was a surprise for them."
But then who can make the fans, who are ready to do anything to watch the little master play, understand? Leave aside fans, even celebrated cricket writers are ruing the fact that Sachin won't be playing in the West Indies.
Fazeer Mohammed, one of the best Cricket Writers in the West Indies, related the master's withdrawal from the series with his country's dismal state of affairs in cricket administration.
In his column in the Trinidad Express, he wrote, "But there was obviously something missing that made India's batting maestro determine that a month in the Caribbean and the prospect of a couple really big innings was worth passing up. Maybe it was the challenge. Maybe it was the sense of occasion. Maybe it was both."
And added, "To put it bluntly: milking our bowlers on the way to a 100th senior international hundred in a near-empty stadium would have been the equivalent of Barcelona defeating Manchester United on a Sunday morning at the Aranjuez Savannah with ten men and two dogs in attendance and two vagrants sleeping at the back of the pavilion."
Whatever others may say, now that the master has cleared the air over his decision to skip the Test series in West Indies, the fans will certainly have some relief before again joining the craze about his 100th international century. Till then, wish the master a very peaceful and happy holidays as he certainly deserves that after a glorious and eventful season of cricket.