Sachin has enough time to mull over his future

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 27, 2013 09:31 hrs

The epitaphs for Australian cricket are pouring in thick and fast, but the reaction has been typical and somewhat reminiscent of the 1980s when the Aussies struggled in the wake of a spate of retirements. I vividly remember a tearful Kim Hughes walking out of a press conference after another debacle.

Of course, I do not expect anything similar from Clarke who has more serious concerns regarding his problematic back and a nagging hamstring, not to forget the thousands of dollars he stands to lose for sitting out IPL-6 beginning in a week's time.

Anyway, of more importance and significance is India's 4-0 rout of the Aussies in the series just concluded. Even before we could savour the success, the IPL tamasha is upon us, but such are the times that we live in where one event is telescoped into the next.

As well as the young guns performed for India, the series triumph only projected the relevance or otherwise of Tendulkar whose presence in the middle was barely noticeable or at least nothing compared to the ovations he received each time he walked into the ground. With over six months left before the next Test series, Sachin has enough time on hand to mull over his cricketing future and I feel, he deserves some privacy rather than non-stop baying for his retirement.

As for skipper Dhoni, he would be a relieved man after the string of defeats that nearly caused his exit and he didn't waste much time to have a dig at the Media after completing the 4-0 rout in Delhi. Such is the fickleness of public memory that almost overnight, the villain has turned into a spotless hero who can do no wrong.

I would ascribe the Aussie debacle to the relative inexperience of their batsmen who were far too tentative and clueless playing quality spin. In each of the four Tests, the Aussie batsmen flattered to deceive, getting out just at the time when they looked to be getting on top of Indian spinners. It takes a lot of patience as much as skill to tackle top class spinners, and the two virtues complement each other.

Ultimately, the ill-equipped Aussie batsmen stood exposed and they had no place to hide. The Indian spinners did bowl well, but I would rather judge them on their performance abroad; ditto Indian batsmen who thrived in familiar conditions that blunted the Aussie bowling.

The real test would be in South Africa where the pacy and bouncy pitches can unsettle the best of batsmen. While congratulations are due for Dhoni's men, it is best the euphoria is tempered with reality which is that Indians have not performed as well on foreign soil. A series win over South Africa this winter would be far more worthy of celebration.

So, with the series consigned to the history bin, it is time for the loud, garish and shallow tournament that is IPL which is more about entertainment than serious cricket. The tournament is already beset with controversy with nearly a before its commencement and those who naively believed that it was possible to keep politics out of sport, will have to re-think.

The blanket ban against Sri Lankan cricketers playing in Chennai is indeed a sad development, but politicians Worldwide hardly blink in leveraging anything and everything to score a political point. I am not sure how by keeping the Lankan cricketers out of Chennai will help resolve matters, but try talking sense to our politicians who at best of times are thick-headed -  like why not focus attention on issues at home?

In any case, I am not a big fan of IPL, for I detest the peripherals that seem to increasingly intrude into cricket. There is far too much suspicion of match-fixing to take the results too seriously and IPL itself holds a mirror to the ways of today's World.

So, given a choice, I would rather head to the hills than watch a sporting soap opera whose riches are the swelling bank balances of the cricketers than the sport itself.

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