Smashin' Sachin the complete batsman, says Geoffrey Boycott
English batting great shares his thoughts on the "Little Master"
More than most, Geoffrey Boycott can relate to Sachin Tendulkar, for he too retired from test cricket in his 40s. When asked if the Little Master had prolonged his stay at the top of the mountain a bit too much, Boycott brushed aside the "heretic" suggestion.
"It is up to each individual. He is going now. I played test cricket until I was 41 and I played county cricket until I was 46. The most important thing is, A, perform and get runs; B, stay fit and, C, have a passion for the game," says Boycott. "He has kept it all together for nearly a quarter of a century and that is because he has no weaknesses and he has been the complete batsman."
Boycott labelled Tendulkar's feat of playing 200 tests - the only cricketer to do so - as a "remarkable achievement" even in these modern times when cricketers play so many more tests than in the past. And he firmly dealt with the idea that perhaps Tendulkar should have retired a couple of years ago, at his peak.
Some brave enough to go against the wave of adulation sweeping over Tendulkar as he makes his farewell appearance in Mumbai against the West Indies have said he should have been like Brian Lara who stepped away at the peak of his prowess. Statistics show Lara scored more runs in his last 25 test innings than Tendulkar, whose last test hundred came two years ago.
"Maybe Lara should have played that bit longer, he was that good," conceded Boycott. "It's a difficult choice. Everyone has to make their own decisions. I made mine and I was in love with the game. I finished with England when I was 41, but played for Yorkshire until I was 46 making a lot of runs. It is a personal choice but everybody has to make runs."
Boycott has an affinity with Tendulkar who was the first overseas cricketer to play for Yorkshire. For the 130 years before, the county had picked only cricketers born in the county.
"He was only 19 and an embryo of the great player he would become but he had something about him. Some people say he did not make a lot of runs. But what was important for us was whoever we signed had to fit in. We could not afford any bad publicity and he was perfect. He has maintained that dignity. None of us wants to leave the stage. The passion, the emotion and love of the game is in our blood. We want it to go on forever. But the trick is knowing when to go."
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse