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Should Sachin Tendulkar Retire? [Lets do some maths!]

Udit Misra
Published: 27, Nov 2012

I have been with Forbes India since late 2008 and currently work as Assistant Editor. In the past , I have reported for Mint newspaper and produced special shows for CNN-IBN news. In my spare time i follow sports, esp cricket, and enjoy reading/listening urdu poetry. You can reach me at and follow me on twitter @misraudit

That seems to be the all-important question in India today. And I intend to answer it without actually answering it. It’s simple. I will point you towards some numbers and leave you to make up your mind.

In the TV debates that followed India’s embarrassing loss yesterday, very few former players dared to suggest that Tendulkar should resign. For most, the argument was that Sachin is a legend and he can decide better than anyone of us can.

Many others said it is only the last two series in which Sachin has faltered – too small a time span to rule against the master.

Then, the ever provocative yet often correct, Saurav Ganguly seemed to suggest that there are others in the team who haven’t exactly covered themselves with glory. But Ganguly refrained from spelling out names.

So what’s the truth?

Let us look at the performance of Sachin Tendulkar over the past two years, i.e. we will go back up to November 2010. Then look at his average and the number of centuries scored.  I am sure that statistically this would be a long enough period to suggest, with some confidence, that he is losing his touch.

That number is 35.72 runs per innings ( in 37 innings) with 2 centuries to his credit. Keep this figure in your mind since this is the benchmark for the rest of the analysis.

Now since we are debating retirement, let us compare it to the other two legends who have actually retired recently – VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid.

Would it surprise you to know that Laxman had better figures than Tendulkar over the last two years that he played? He did.

Laxman has an average of 39.65 runs per innings over 47 innings with 3 centuries.

Now, would it surprise you that Dravid had even better figures than Laxman? He did.

Dravid scored an average of 42.63 runs per innings (in 47 innings) with - hold your breath – 8 centuries.

 Sachin Tendulkar

So then the question is: why is it that Tendulkar is still playing, even when the other two have retired?.

Some of you may be curious about Ganguly's record in the last two years of his career.

Even he scored at an average of 41.47 runs per innings (in 48 innings) with 4 centuries to his credit.

So if you compare Tendulkar to the other big three of the famed Indian middle order, it is clear that Tendulkar is staying put even when he has performed the worst among the four of them. Never mind the brickbats thrown at Ganguly for being the weakest test player among the four (which is a fact, by the way, if you go by overall test career stats). Never mind the obvious lack of grace with which Laxman was pushed out of the dressing room. Never mind the fact that it took just one bad series against Australia for Dravid to pack up his bags.

So should the selectors now ensure that Tendulkar’s career gets a dignified burial? Perhaps they should.

Will they? I am not too sure and here are the reasons for the uncertainty.

Lets apply the same principle of analysis to Sehwag and Gambhir – the established batsmen who can shoulder the additional responsibility if Tendulkar was to leave.

Sehwag has scored at an average of 38.14 runs per innings (in 35 innings) with 2 centuries. It is funny that both the centuries were in Ahmedabad. One against England in the first test match of the current series and the other against New Zealand in the test match played exactly two years ago on November 4, 2010. Nothing in between.

Now let’s come to Gambhir. He has scored at an average of 31.14 runs per innings (in 34 innings) with no centuries. Hmm.

So, I suspect there isn’t much of a case that the existing senior order is outperforming Tendulkar.

But what about the young turks?

Pujara who made his debut in October 2010 has had two years of test cricket but Kohli has not. Although Kohli now has more test innings under his belt. So just to complete the argument I have taken all their test innings till date.

But here the results are mixed.

While Pujara has scored at an average of 59.25 per innings (in 12 innings) with 3 centuries, Kohli has scored at 34.63 runs per innings (in 22 innings) with 2 centuries.

I am sure, by now some of you might be wondering why is it that the better players keep retiring and the poorer ones stick on – or at least that is what the numbers suggest.

Short answer is another number: the player’s age. It has a huge bearing on the degree to which a player can improve and what he can offer in the future.

Last time when the English cricket team whupped us, we just lost our top ranking. If they win this series - and it seems pretty likely right now - they will cause the demise of our Top order itself.  But then, looking at the numbers, who could say it would be a bad thing!

  • Asutosh

    sachin should not quit. sachin tendulkar should not quit. he should not retire now...

    on Dec 24, 2012
  • sanjeev chopra

    Sachin , the greatest cricketer the world has produced. It is shame that GOD of cricket is treated like ordinary cricketer by media and fellow cricketers. people who criticize him must realize what they are doing, this is disgusting. he should have been beyond selection pressures because believe me,you will never see another sachin tendulkar in time to come .

    on Dec 23, 2012

    Their is no instrument available which will calculate the will power of an individual in number. Otherwise that instrument also could have failed in case of SACHIN R. TENDULKAR and may have proved that mathematical lines has infinity and are always a part of statistical data of his cricket career.

    on Dec 17, 2012
  • Rajkumar

    I strongly believe we Sachin is very selfish and not thinking of Indian cricket pride. It is the high time for Sachin tendulkar to announce his retirement. Current England series 7 innings and less than 150 runs.... it is really bad...he should keep his respect for his great show in Indian team. SACHIN..........please go away..give chance for young stars and keep Indian cricket alive

    on Dec 15, 2012
  • Bhushan Shirgaonkar

    Sachin Tendulkar should retire at the top of his career, he should not give chance to the selecters to drop him.

    on Dec 13, 2012
  • Vinish Garg

    All players find it difficult to cal it a day, SRT is no exception. However, the fact is that it is time for him to let Indian cricket move ahead. A stretch of 10 test matches (around 15-18 innings) is good enough to reflect at the form of a player. Here is another reason of why:

    on Dec 12, 2012
  • John Nair

    The reason we arenot doing great in Test is that we are giving more oppurtunities to Legends. If you look in the Teast areana all Individual records India has reason the so called legends have played for 10 to 20 years how will young blood come into the team . Everyone has taken their place for granted in the team . What is the use of a selection commitee for selecting the team when the entire cricket following fans in this country knows the team even before it is published. It is not that we cannot select a good team when we won the T20 world cup see the team so many new faces and we got results but now back to same. I have stopped following Indian cricket and love to watch matches when other cricketing playing nations play cricket. All due respect to the Legends of Indian Cricket they have done a wonderful job but remember one thing with sge you become old and youngsters need to be given oppurtunities I have great regard for mark Taylor of Australia who really played for the country and retired when he was doing well

    on Dec 10, 2012
  • GDM

    There is much more to life than a win/loss. A few setbacks do not take away anything that the little master has done for the country. While reading the article, I felt like listening to a typical Indian cricket fan--When things go right, we celebrate and when they go wrong, we become pundits and come out with all sorts of facts, data, stats and what not. He is and will continue to remain the man who redefined the sport of cricket in this country. As rhetorical as it might sound, he knows best. Let's not be armchair-quarterbacks (or armchair-all rounders in this case) and decide for the great man. It's a decision that should be best left to him.

    on Dec 1, 2012
  • Anish John

    You have compared tendulkar with the greats.. why don't you compare him with the current players playing in the team. Also I understood from your article that Tendulkar has 2 more years left in his career so that he can break the records of the legends you mentioned.

    on Nov 29, 2012
  • Ash

    it is all politics and greed. He and his associates want to make sure that no one breaks his record.

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • sandy

    udit misra...plz concentrate on your stream ie economy and policy issues..your post is absolutely meaningless and lacks the zeal. i guess you are not so good in your line of work and now you just want to grab the attention because this topic has become a national issue.

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • Srinivas

    It is soldiers like Dravid,Laxman and sometimes Sehwag that did hard work and put Indian cricket on pedestal and it is Tendulkar who received laurels He scored runs the way a queen ant produced eggs, but hardly having any bearing on the overall performance of India's success rate in Test matches. At least I have never seen him playing a winning-innings when India's chips were down. Mr.Tendular, please vacate the pitch, seek a corner and groom your child. Anyway, you have joined Congress, so sooner or later you will know how to groom a successor well.

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • yaswanth

    SCREW THE MATHS , he will be back

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • Aj

    I think he should bat at 5-6. I don't think he has any personal ego in this. With age his reflexes seems to be slowed down, but he is not down and out.

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • Srinivas

    The century Sachin scored for Mumbai in the recent Ranji Trophy match suggests that he has still something to deliver goods for the country. He should be given chance to play two more Test matches to prove that he can deliver goods at International level. If he can't, then it is better for the selectors to counsel him so that he could understand that he is not a bar from poor performers.

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • Sudarsan

    Statistically very correct to drop him if he don't retire. But his fans are still crazy talking about his centuries. Wait a minute just tell how many of his test and ODI ceturies are converted into victories. You should have made a comparison of that conversion rates with other greats of his time like ponting, gilly, inzi and lara(lara saves tests for WI) and even second string of players. Today Sachin is a burden on Indian team which started looking weak

    on Nov 27, 2012
    • Vinodh

      if by success rate u mean that he alone will score some 80 or 100 runs and will get out and as soon as he gets out the entire team will collapse like a deck of cards... if thats wht u mean, then YES SACHIN alone is totally responsible for that all these years... BTW i m nt supporting sachin on his retirement or out of form issue, its jus that ppl like u always talk abt his success ratio in terms of team victory.... one guy alone cannot win a match every time.... that too especially playing as a opener... how many times have the indian score card read wit sachin scoring some 80 or more runs and no other player would have managed to cross even 20 or 30 ...

      on Nov 27, 2012
  • S. Srinivasan

    This is perhaps the correct way to look at the issue. I am sure the writer will get knee-jerk responses from one side or the other, but one should stick to the objective, no-nonsense way displayed in the story here. Sachin Tendulkar has spoiled his own reputation by sticking around much beyond his expiry date. His 100th Century came very, very late, and when it did, it was so laboured that it raised not pride in the game's greatest player ever, but only sympathy for a struggling has-been. People say the nation is bigger than any individual but they don't seem to follow this in the case of Sachin Tendulkar. They say he doesn't need anybody to tell him when he should retire and that he will decide for himself. My only submission is that the Indian cricket team, and the 11 places it has, are not Tendulkar's hereditary property or earned through his numerous endorsements. They are reserved for the players who can contribute the most to the team at a given point of time. Sehwag's and Gambhir's failures are part of a career; God and Man know how many such failures Tendulkar has had during his career. The two can't be compared. We should know the difference between a slip and a fall.

    on Nov 27, 2012
  • Vivek

    This is utter bullshit article aiming to get highest Views just by grabbing Sachin's retirement issue. If the article is just about stats, the main heading could have been Gautam and Sehwag to retire.

    on Nov 27, 2012
  • Babubhai Vaghela

    Not retire. He should be kicked out. Over-pampered & Under-performing. Shamelessly Greedy Guy.

    on Nov 27, 2012
    • sandy

      its really pathetic that u feel so proud sitting and judging others who have made their mark in the history of our nation. the least you could do is appreciate them. they are proven masters in their fields and u are a nobody. atleast have some respect. and cooking up stories,distorting facts and seeking attention in internet is a childish thing to do,anybody can do that but i bet it would be very difficult in the real world. so why dont u get REAL job for yourself instead of shamelessly analysing what others do?

      on Nov 28, 2012
      • Babubhai Vaghela

        In the epic Mahabharat, Guru Dronacharya taught archery to Princes of Kauravas and Pandavs, not to Tribal boy Eklavya who learnt on his own praying before the earthen statue of Guru Dronacharya that he made. Self made Eklavya was far superior than Arjun the best Pandava in archery and Guru Dronacharya was simply scared that Eklavya would beat Arjun. Therefore, without teaching Eklavya the archery and not entitled Guru Dakshina from him, Guru Dronacharya shamelessly demanded Guru Dakshina from him. And, a bizarre one. Right Hand thumb of Eklavya that would make him incapable of archery. Still, Eklavya cut his Right Hand Thumb, gave it as Guru Dakshina and Arjun became to unconquerable Archer . That is the ground reality. Those who are made BEST like this are by such corrupt and immoral practices. NOT NECESSARILY the BEST. That is my view about Sachin Tendulkar also. You are at liberty to hold your views. I love public discussion like this and would like to continue, if you wish.

        on Nov 28, 2012


      on Nov 28, 2012
    • sachin

      Look, now check the stats for ur captain, and one more point i will say is that when only sachin was the one who performed a bit better during the aussie series, did u force others to retire? And these are just two series of under-performances... U are a going nowhere piece of paper who just fly with the air, now if sachin performs again, u will b mum and if then again he doesn't for a match or two, u will again pop ur head up....

      on Nov 27, 2012
      • Babubhai Vaghela

        No. 1 : My comment is for the entire career and not the 153 runs in last 10 innings. No. 2 : Any reasonably good cricketer if given chance to play in an uninterrupted manner like him for over two decades would break records. No. 3 : The way he got an excellent chance to play at very young age, others should also get. Let him now stop playing just for own self and graciously pave way for other deserving youngster.

        on Nov 27, 2012
  • Sachin

    I accept this. But show me stats of Mr.Captain Cool Dhoni . It is worse than Sachin's. its not a talking point because he is the captain of Team India. Can't understand the logic. Have a poll that Dhoni should step down or retire..

    on Nov 27, 2012
    • Yogesh

      hi Sachin, Do you have actual stat of Dhoni since 2010?? blogger or any1 whi has it..... pls post !!

      on Nov 28, 2012
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