Amidst the growing clamour for Sachin Tendulkar's retirement, former India skipper Anil Kumble on Thursday hit out at critics questioning the veteran batsman's place in the team, saying he should be left alone and given the "emotional space" and respect he deserves.
Tendulkar's prolonged lean patch led many people to question his place in the Indian team but Kumble says it's not the time to point fingers at him but support him.
"There have been instances when he has been the sole reason for India's wins, but he has never been the sole reason for India's losses. It’s best to leave it to him to deal with what is in front of him now, because no one else has been in his position. No one else has played 192 Tests, made 34,000 runs, or scored 100 centuries. Let's not jump the gun, let's give the man the respect he deserves," Kumble wrote in his column for the 'Week' magazine.
"For 23 years, he has helped people dream, he has made them feel better emotionally. More's the reason why we need to give him his emotional space now," he wrote.
"...This is the time for him to be left alone. He is such a great player that he doesn't need anyone else's advice on how to score runs. He just needs people to back off and allow him to work out what he needs to return to run-scoring ways, which I am confident he will," he added.
Kumble said that it's not only Tendulkar, who is going through a bad phase but the whole Test team and implying that team is doing bad because of Tendulkar's poor form would be highly unfair.
"For the first time, people are questioning his place in the team. The expectations are that he should retire because his performances over the last year or so haven’t matched the standards he has set over the previous 22 years. Yes, we have not seen the best of Sachin in this phase, but it is not just him alone. If you look at the overall picture, the team has struggled in Test cricket, so are we suggesting that India are still a one-man army, still totally dependent on Sachin? I think not," he said.