Boycott thought Tendulkar made a “responsible and sensible” decision to retire from ODIs
Former England captain Geoffrey Boycott has announced that he no longer wants to see Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar embarrass himself during every Test series, especially after his dismal performance against England last year.
Boycott noted that if Tendulkar fails to score any runs during the upcoming Test series against Australia, then he should consider retiring.
“He desperately needs some runs against Australia in the Test matches in March, because I don’t think any of us want to see him embarrass himself with more failures after failure,” Boycott told ESPNcricinfo. “If he doesn’t get runs against Australia, I’m reasonably confident that he’ll see the light and call his own retirement. But you cross your fingers and hope he can get some.”
Tendulkar recently announced his retirement from ODI cricket and now only represents India in the longest format of the game, which means that if he decides to retire, his illustrious 23-year career will come to an end.
Boycott stated that Tendulkar’s decision to retire was a “responsible and sensible” move, even though many others may suggest otherwise.
“It’s very sad, it’s a fact of life, that more of us, as we get older, we have to accept we just can’t do what we used to do,” Boycott said. “There’s no fun in accepting that, there’s no fun in believing it. There’s no fun in having to say it gets easier, because it doesn’t get easier. It can’t.
“So for him, it’s tough, is one-day (cricket). As wonderful as he’s been, we can’t live on the memories. He’s 39, and so I think giving up is very responsible and sensible.”
When asked if India still needed Tendulkar in Test side, Boycott said: “I’m not sure it’s about what India needs most, I think it’s about what’s best for Sachin. At this stage of his career, he’s done well for himself and he’s done well for his country. I think he has to do what’s best for him because if he plays better, whatever format of cricket, it’s going to help the team he plays for, which is India. That’s the most important thing.
“He (Tendulkar) hasn’t played in the T20s for India for a while. ODI cricket, today, in the modern game, has become so physically demanding on the player’s body, even 50 overs. As much as we all love Sachin, me included, he’s never been an outstanding athlete in the field. He’s never let anybody down, he’s been competent, but nobody could ever call him a top outfielder.”
The former England captain also mentioned that Tendulkar was definitely starting to feel all of his 39 years and added that it was clearly beginning to show whenever he plays.
“So, as he gets older, like all of us, me included, he just can’t run as fast as a youngster, he can’t dive around,” Boycott said. “Not that he was a great diver but when you do dive around in the modern day – as you are expected to; it’s a modern phenomenon – he’s going to hurt himself a bit more. As you get older, you’re going to fall the wrong way, your body hurts more, it bruises easier – it’s nature taking over.
“He can now focus on staying fit, playing as much zonal cricket as he can – and that’s important, trying to get some runs in that, which shouldn’t be too difficult. You know (in domestic cricket) they’re not as good as him. Even now, when he’s past his zenith, he’s still better than them. And he needs form. Form means runs, runs means confidence, and then he can play against Australia in March.”
Boycott noted that he was amazed Tendulkar had managed to keep himself fit enough to keep playing ODIs till 39 and refused to comment on whether the ‘Little Master’ had in fact transformed ODI cricket.
“Longevity more than anything,” Boycott added. “There have been other outstanding one-day cricketers, like there have been outstanding Test players. But it’s the longevity, and playing in all countries and playing well. That’s it.
“It’s easy to get sucked into believing, when he’s playing in the current day and doing well, that they’re the best player ever. Hang on. That’s being disrespectful to all the eras of cricket and all the players who’ve gone before.
“Sachin will be up there with the greatest in Test cricket and one-day cricket, but let’s not forget there have been other players. So it’s his longevity and playing exceptionally well all over the world.”