THE debate rages. Every failure in the recent past has made its case — to force Sachin Tendulkar to realise that it is probably time for him to say goodbye. Nearly every dismissal has been borne out of technical flaws that have crept into his game with age.
The microscopic scrutiny has only intensified as the end looks nearer. But the master of 100 international centuries is hanging on. He is battling the odds to cross the seemingly insurmountable challenge, perhaps for one last time, before he bids farewell.
A resolute Tendulkar batted at the nets for two hours in the morning on Saturday, and had a special visitor in England great Geoffrey Boycott. The Yorkshireman, who scored 8,114 Test runs but is primarily known to Indian viewers as a stalwart in the commentary box, eagerly walked to the nets after hearing that Tendulkar was practising.
“Where is he? I can’t see him,” Boycott asked near the nets when informed about Tendulkar’s session. He immediately went into the enclosure behind the main stadium and Tendulkar, who was getting ready to face a bowler, stopped to welcome him. Boycott patted his back and gave him a light hug.
He spoke to Tendulkar for nearly 10 minutes before departing. The warmth in Boycott’s eyes could not be missed.
“He should be left alone. We all need space in life. Give him some space. All the talk about his retirement is just ridiculous,” Boycott told MAIL TODAY.
Asked to comment on the maestro’s bad patch, he said: “He has the experience. Let’s hope for the best. He will be among runs soon.”
Tendulkar practised against throw-downs from the team’s support staff, and had only a left-arm spinner bowling at him. He has been troubled by England’s Monty Panesar in the series, though he was bowled by pacer James Anderson in the first innings here on Friday.
Tendulkar said he had a “normal” talk with Boycott. “It was a normal (conversation), nothing about cricket. He is the president of
the Yorkshire,” he said, coming out of the nets.
It was at Yorkshire where the two greats first bonded. In 1992, Tendulkar became Yorkshire’s first overseas player after Boycott and the club’s cricket committee voted out the old policy that disapproved of taking players not born in the county.
Both share cordial relations since then. He has already been invited by Boycott to be part of celebrations of the club’s 150th year next year.
On the match situation, Boycott felt that it would tough for India to save the series.
“They are in a difficult situation. They have to play really well to get out of it. Test cricket is all about adapting to situations. They have to think positive,” he said.