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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 101

Emulate the Australians

By Ramu Sharma - Syndicate Features

For long the Australian team has been the most dominant one in world cricket. There may be questions raised about its sledging practice and maybe some odd unpleasant comments which enrage the opposing teams but no one will doubt the toughness that goes to make Australia a winning combination. It has proved itself time and again that cricket is a team game and individuals no matter how great can always be dispensed with. That has been amply demonstrated by the recent retirement of four of its top players at one go.

And can one think of a bigger name than Shane Warne? Well past his mid-30s, still the best bowler of his type in the world, the leg-spinner has called it a day at the height of his form. He was not alone to retire from the game. Joining him in bidding good-bye to cricket were Glenn Mcgrath, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn, all of them still having plenty to offer to the game. Which other country can afford to have four of its regulars leaving the game at the same time? Australia is the only team which could have absorbed this massive shock!

In a way the retirement of these four players is part of an Australian tradition. The players know when to quit. The selectors do not have to tell them. It happened so with Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, his twin Mark Waugh and so many others. In quitting at the right time they enriched the game in their country, allowing other aspirants a chance to wear the national colours. In no other country a player still at the height of his career would be allowed to step down. But Australia is different.

One wishes some of Indian players would follow the Australian example. So far, among the known stars only Sunil Gavaskar stepped down from the international stage without being asked to. He still had a lot of cricket left in him as is evident from his 150 plus knock in his last game, played in England in 1986 but wisely he called it a day well on time. Most of the other stars allowed themselves to be axed after a series of flops instead of voluntarily retiring.

It is all a matter of approach. It is perhaps the money involved or maybe that there is not enough talent to replace those retiring from the game but in India a top star generally does not take the retirement decision on his own.

We can take the classic example of Sachin Tendulkar. Having been on the scene for seventeen years, he is obviously not in the best of form these days. For a man who has scored the maximum number of centuries in both forms of the game, he is now having to struggle for an occasional 50. But he will not step down... He is reported to have said that he still enjoys the game but surely that is not what counts. The public wants runs from him and if he is not able to score than it is best he goes. But he knows that the selectors will never drop him.

In fact that is one of the tragedies of Indian cricket. In this country a cricketer becomes so big that the selectors dare not even think of dropped him. It has happened earlier too when the selectors instead of taking a decision on cricketing basis waited for the player concerned to go one his own. This sort of thing does not happen in Australia.

Sachin is one of the best loved players in the world and almost worshipped in India. He has been such a great player that people should remember only his great deeds.

Unfortunately now when he does retire while they may talk about some of his tall scores they will also remember that he was scared of Shoaib Akhtar on the tour of Pakistan, the same Shoaib Akhtar whom he had forced on the sidelines after just one over in the last World Cup. They will also recall his recent scratching and searching for an embarrassing 14 runs in the second innings of the third Test against South Africa recently.

The longer Sachin continues in his present form the more the negatives be notched against him. Surely that is not the way he would like to be remembered?

- Syndicate Features -

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