KARACHI: Calls for Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar's retirement have intensified, with former cricketers calling for him to make the final Test of the ongoing series against England his last, after India lost the third Test by seven wickets, marking a second consecutive loss in Kolkata.
Even though India were unable to put up satisfactory performances as a team, it was Tendulkar who had to bear the burnt of the critics' backlash. The criticism is not uncalled for as the 39-year old has only managed paltry scores of 13, 8,8, 76, 5 in his last three Test appearances against England in a run of lacklustre performances that date back up to a year.
The fourth and final Test, which starts in Nagpur on Thursday, sees Alastair Cook's men go into the match with a 2-1 lead in the series and a chance to become the first tourists since 2004 to win a Test series in India. They can also become the first English side to win a series in India since 1985.
Former India captain, Sourav Ganguly, who also played with Tendulkar, said that the recent lack of runs was enough to signal that it is time for the great batsman to retire.
“Sachin desperately needs to get runs,” Ganguly said. “He has achieved a lot. He is getting a long rope because of what he has achieved.
"By now he should know how to turn it around. As somebody watching it from outside, Tendulkar is not performing and I think if I were Tendulkar, I would go (retire). But it’s up to him at the present moment. We want to see the great man going with a bat held high and not in terrible form.”
England's former captain Michael Vaughan echoed Ganguly's sentiments and said that the decision will solely be Tendulkar's and it is time he makes it.
"England's performances in the last two Tests have been as good as anything I have seen from it, either as a player or a fan, and should leave Sachin Tendulkar heading into retirement after the Nagpur Test," Vaughan wrote in his column for the Telegraph.
"It is time for Tendulkar, great player that he is, to walk away now for the sake of the Indian team. Last week we had a call from a legend, a great, in Ricky Ponting. He felt his time was up and realised a young player would take his place," he said.
"I am hoping that Sachin will also accept he has to make his own call. There is no one strong enough in Indian cricket to go and knock on his door and say time is up," he added.
Vaughan added that Tendulkar's retirement will pave way for new faces who will help improve Indian cricket in the long run and said it was 'horrible' to see great players lose their touch and play badly towards the end of their careers.
"Sometimes senior players stick around for too long and the team gets stuck in a rut. When you want so desperately to finish with a hundred in your last few games, it actually becomes harder and harder. You can want something too much.
"I am sure he is still a magnificent role model in the dressing room and is respected by everyone, but it is horrible to see these greats go on too long and playing badly at the end," he wrote.
"Eventually even Sachin has to move on. It will take a while to get used to life without Sachin but it might bring new energy into the set-up," he said.