Why Sachin shouldn't skip WI tour

Published: Friday, June 3, 2011, 10:16 [IST]
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Why Sachin shouldn't skip WI tour

Mumbai, June 3: The Little Master may be in the twilight of his career with persistent injuries and grueling schedules weighing him down. The fact that he has emerged in one piece after the World Cup and the Indian Premier League is in itself a minor miracle. But old as he is getting, his career graph just doesn't stop soaring.

Such a phenomenon is substantiated by the fact that his run-aggregate was the second-highest in the global tournament 2011. Indeed, his present day exploits are indicative of a man possessed by a sort of a youthful vigour which defies age and makes even exuberant new-comers look pedestrian. Sachin's gungo-ho attitude may have diminished in the face of a relentless itinerary, but the Windies tour is something he shouldn't be skipping...

After all, he is on the threshold of a mighty epoch: just one century away from getting a hundred tons under his belt. Talk about an appetite! And when it comes to feeding off the Windies attack, Tendulkar seems to be in his element. Consider this - a one-day average of 48.84 at a strike rate of over 90 in the 32 matches he has chalked up against this team.

Plus, on the innocuous batsmen-oriented wickets on the Caribbean, it should be relatively easy pickings for him. Tendulkar may insist that he is not after creating any records, but now that the World Cup is over and retirement is still not a word in his active vocabulary, he has undoubtedly set his sights on 100x100. And the sooner he reaches that milestone the better will be his approach to subsequent games.

But there are other reasons why Tendulkar will be conspicuous by his absence. Interest in cricket among the public in the West Indies has witnessed a sharp decline over the years with ticket sales to international fixtures dwindling. Sachin possesses just the sort of star power that could draw back the aficionados in droves. With fellow-batting legend Brian Lara long since off the scene, the common man in that neck of the woods would be aching to have a gander at the sheer class, grace and power of a veteran.

Who wants to see a wholly second-string unit play against another potentially mediocre side? With Tendulkar in the Indian squad, the Windies will be compelled to up their game and engage in a truly compelling series. If he is saving himself for a perceptibly more challenging series in England later this summer, then he is missing out on some crucial batting practice.

After all, the Windies bowlers are no pushovers and if Ravi Rampaul and Devendra Bishoo find their groove, a rivetting contest could be in the offing. The Windies desperately need to improve as a unit and that won't be possible if the World Champions hold back their trump card.

Oneindia Cricket

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