'Time for Sachin to introspect'

The search for his 100th century has become a burden for the team, said former Australian captain Ian Chappell.

Calcutta, (The Telegraph):
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell said time has come for Sachin Tendulkar to introspect whether he is playing cricket for right reasons.

"When a player of Tendulkar's ability starts blaming other people for his failure to deliver, it's time he looked in the mirror and asked himself: 'Am I playing this game for the right reason?'

"There's only one reason to play cricket; to help your team win matches. If a player gives everything and the team loses there is no shame in that, but when individual statistics start to overshadow the team result then clearly there is a problem," the senior Chappell wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph.

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According to Chappell, Tendulkar's search for his 100th international century has become a "burden" to the team.

"That's been a huge hurdle for India to overcome all summer — Tendulkar's search for his 100th century has become a burden for the team as well as the player."

"It's not surprising that fans in India revere Tendulkar; his outstanding performances over the years have earned him exalted status. However, when a player is constantly accorded star treatment on the field it starts to annoy other cricketers, and not necessarily only those in the opposition," Chappell maintained.

Chappell was also critical of Tendulkar's gesture after he was run out during a tri-series match in Sydney.

"What could have been a glorious farewell tour of Australia for Sachin Tendulkar has turned into an ongoing tale of missed opportunities, leading to frustration all round."

"With each failure to score his coveted 100th international century, Tendulkar has become more desperate to the point where, when he was run out at the SCG, he gestured in Brett Lee's direction as if to say: 'It was his fault I was caught short of my crease'," he said.

Chappell said Tendulkar looked in good touch when he was playing freely in the first half of the Test series, but showed vulnerability when he batted conservatively.

"The strange part about this saga of missed opportunities is that Tendulkar started the tour in really good form. In both the MCG and SCG Tests, he looked good when playing his shots and it was only as he either neared a break in play or his landmark hundred that he began to clam up.

"When he was playing shots he looked like Tendulkar of old, but when he batted conservatively he looked vulnerable. His dismissal in the SCG Test, prodding forward defensively to an innocuous Michael Clarke delivery following a period of cautious batting, was a case in point," said Chappell.

"As the tour wore on and India wore down, Tendulkar's form deteriorated. The Australian bowlers eventually got inside his mind and, along with thoughts of his century, this was too much to process," he maintained.

Chappell insisted Tendulkar playing in the tri-series after deciding not to play ODIs after the World Cup showed "strange" Indian selection process.

"His return to the one-day side, after missing all of India's games since their 2011 World Cup victory, has resulted in an even stranger than usual Indian selection process," he said.

Chappel also took a hand at Tendulkar's habit of ensuring things are in perfect order when he bats. "A good indicator of Tendulkar's distracted state of mind is his habit of ensuring everything is perfect before he faces up to the bowling.

"He's always been fastidious about his surroundings when batting. During the 2011 World Cup, an umpire was asked before the game if a camera could be placed just above the sightboard. "It'll be all right today," came back the reply and then as an aside he added, "but you'll have to remove it for the game on Wednesday."

"The inference was clear; on the Wednesday India were playing the Netherlands and Tendulkar would be batting."