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Bangalore: Is age finally catching up with Sachin Tendulkar? Twice in the ongoing Test series against New Zealand, Tendulkar was caught on the crease, and his stumps were rattled.
When he was bowled through the gate for a second time on Saturday, there were quite a few voices in the commentary box that felt the master batsman’s footwork was to be blamed.
Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar, who were on air when Tendulkar was dismissed by paceman Doug Bracewell, felt that the master batsman is not taking a big enough stride and is getting stuck on the crease.
To Bracewell’s credit, he pitched the ball up despite being hit for a four down the ground off the previous ball. On that occasion, Tendulkar showed the full face of the bat to an over- pitched delivery.
Bracewell altered the length a bit in the next delivery and Tendulkar tried to play it across the line through midwicket, as the ball swung back and found its way through the gap between bat and pad.
“He is not taking that big stride forward,” remarked Gavaskar.
Manjerakar agreed with the observation even as the two discussed how Virat Kohli, who is going through a purple patch, has been showing exemplary foot movement.
Inadvertently, Tendulkar scored a half-century he would have loved to avoid.
It was the 50th time that cricket’s most decorated batsman was castled.
However, former Test wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani felt that it was not proper to criticise Tendulkar.
However, a veteran radio commentator felt that Tendulkar’s reflexes were slowing down.
“Age is probably telling on him. It seems he is not as quick to play his shots as earlier,” he told Mail Today.
There is no questioning the fact that Tendulkar, who now has a Test run-tally of 15,506 runs, has played right through his career under immense pressure of expectations from his legion of fans. He has enthralled them on innumerable occasions, but has also disappointed them at times.
Tendulkar has found the going tough since the high of the World Cup. In 13 Tests which included the disastrous trips to England and Australia, Tendulkar has scored 814 runs at an average of 35.39, a far cry from his career average of 55.18.
There has not been a single Test century from the master’s blade since January 2011.
In 10 ODIs that Tendulkar has played since the World Cup, he has scored 315 runs at an average of 31.5. There was a long wait of a year before he completed his century of centuries against lowly Bangladesh in Mirpur.
Tendulkar has cut down on his ODI appearances and has been focusing on Tests. He maintains that he is still enjoying his cricket and would continue to play as long as he feels motivated. His longevity has been such that he seen almost two generations of players retire before his eyes.
Even Bracewell’s uncle, John, a former New Zealand off- spinner, dismissed Tendulkar in a Test way back in 1990.