It will be a moment of reckoning for Sandeep Patil & Co as they assemble on Sunday to pick the national team for the ODI series against Pakistan. The new national selection committee, formed only three months ago, has to take a call on a man who is polarising opinion in India. The meeting will decide the selectors position vis-a-vis Sachin Tendulkar.
The Little Master has apparently made himself available for the series but going by his recent form, his inclusion may not be a certainty anymore. In his 23-year career, Tendulkar never had the ignominy of being dropped. However, at this juncture, he is being viewed more as a baggage than a match-winner he once used to be. His Test form has been awful, having scored just over 100 in his last six innings at an average less than 20.
The impatience over the Tendulkar issue is palpable within the BCCI circles too. Although no official is willing to come on record, they admit it’s time tough measures are taken with regard to the batting legend. In fact, one board official confided to this paper that Tendulkar would not be picked for the ODI series.
However, there are unconfirmed reports that Tendulkar has made himself available for the three-match series starting in Chennai on December 30. The senior cricketer had been part of the last ODI squad during the failed campaign in Bangladesh in the Asia Cup where he completed his unprecedented feat of 100 international hundreds.
Tendulkar, whose retirement has been speculated endlessly in the media and by former cricketers, has been in and out of ODIs in the last few years by choice, but with his form dipping in Tests, the 39-year-old should be eager to rediscover his touch through the 50-over game for the upcoming four-match Test rubber at home against Australia.
The second and third ODIs against Pakistan will be held in Kolkata on January 3, followed by the last game on January 6 in Delhi. This three-match series will be followed by five ODIs against England starting January 11 at Rajkot. England will return to India after taking a Christmas break.
(With agency inputs)