Sunday, March 25, 2012

What, me retire?

According to a report in The Hindu :

Sachin Tendulkar made it clear on Sunday that he does not intend to retire anytime soon, and left open the possibility of playing in the 2015 World Cup.

The master batsman, who will turn 39 next month, took on his critics who have been suggesting that he should retire from the one—day format of the game and focus on Test cricket.

“I feel that the retirement decision is something I should decide, because the decision to start was (also) not decided by someone else.

Those who are advising me about retirement did not bring me in the team,” he said at a rare press conference here.

Sachin is right. He need not announce his retirement just because others are asking him to. He can choose to stay unretired as long as he wants.

In the same way, the selectors – if they choose to and if they look at the larger interest of the team- need not wait patiently for Sachin to retire. They can simply drop him and then sugar-coat the decision in suitable platitudes.

When Sachin says “I don’t need anybody to tell me when to retire” or when he says it will be selfish on his part to step down when he is doing well, what he forget is that there is such a thing as “law of diminishing returns”.

This law catches up with almost all cricketers by the time they reach 35 years of age. From this point, any further investment on this cricketer will not necessarily yield negative returns, but will yield lower returns than before. At this point, when you compare the 35-year old cricketer with a promising 21-year old, the former might look better, but if the decision to invest in the latter is delayed, the law of diminishing returns would reduce the former to almost zero in 2-3 years, leaving the team vulnerable and without a mature replacement. Sachin is 39 years old and it would be delusional to believe that he can escape the clutches of the law of diminishing returns.

Investing in a 21-year old on the other hand can result in accelerating returns in 2-3 years. In the next few months, India is due to play most of its matches in the sub-continent, and this is the best time to invest in a younger lot..

Dravid’s retirement was well-timed and characteristically unselfish of him. I am afraid I don’t feel the same way about Sachin. Cricket is a team game, unlike a game like, say, tennis. In tennis, a delayed retirement does not affect a team or other players. The selectors must remember this simple fact,

And it is ridiculous to say that someone has earned the right to decide when to relinquish his place in the team. Past performance deserves tributes, but cannot be held as a reason to stay on for all times to come.

1 comment:

ramesh said...

ab bhagwaan ko kaun samjhaye