Dubai, Feb 12: Sachin Tendulkar's 100th ton is turning out to be a huge burden on his shoulders, but legend Sunil Gavaskar feels the Master Blaster is going through a bad period.
Tendulkar's previous ton came 11 months and 27 innings ago during the World Cup clash against South Africa.
But the veteran batsman came close to reaching his elusive 100th ton, 94 against West Indies in the Mumbai Test and 91 versus England in the Oval Test.
"I think he is just going through one of those periods," Gavaskar was quoted saying by Sport 360°.
"If he was getting out for scores of one, two or three, then we could say bowlers were on top. But if you see every time he has got off to 30s, 40s, 70s and 80s. When that happens, you have to say that the player is going through a bit of a bad patch, because you are batting well but still you are not reaching the mark."
Gavaskar felt the main problem was missing cricket for a long period of time and Tendulkar should have taken a shorter break.
"He should have played in the West Indies, but immediately after the Indian Premier League (IPL) he wanted to be with his family. Not playing the one-dayers was fine as then he would have got three weeks of rest, but he could have played the Test matches," the legend said.
"What happens is that after the age of 35 and 36 you should not miss out on competitive cricket.
"I can tell from my experience that I did not really miss out for a long time as we did not have much cricket, though sometimes we used to have a big gap between April and September.
"If your mind is relaxed your body also relaxes. At the age of 35, 37 and 38, even if your mind comes back, the body's elasticity to come back is not there. That is why it is important to keep playing, whether it is tennis, badminton or whatever sport. As you get older, the more you play, the more you are going to stay at the competitive level."
Compared to Tendulkar's performance, the other seniors in the squad, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have been below average in the tour Down Under and India's Test future is at stake.
"I think the selectors have to be very clever," feels Gavaskar, while dwelling on the remedial measures.
"They have got to mix and match so that the youngsters, they feel are going to take over, are also blooded in along with a couple of seniors. The experience of the seniors in the dressing room, during practice and their approach to preparation for the big game is something that the younger players can learn from.
"You can't have all of them out of the team because then it becomes very difficult as there would be zero experience in the dressing room. It would be like learning from scratch. So it is important to have some experience, whether it is batting or bowling."
Batsmen from sub-continent have been criticised for their lack of skill against pace and bounce but Gavaskar thinks otherwise.
"Frankly, it takes lot more skill to play spin than pace. In pace there are just two movements either forward or back but for spin the skill levels are higher because you have to go down the pitch to get to the pitch of the ball to try and smother the spin, whether in offence or defence. Therefore a lot more footwork is needed to play spin while not so much footwork is needed to play pace.
"I have always believed to play spin requires lot more skill while to play pace, you may require a little more courage. At the end of the day, it is a game of skill. Good players are those who play spin bowling well."