"Selection is not about looking at the scorebook." Owner of the vocal cords that drummed these words out also owns cricket's most illustrious record book. He is known as the 'Milestone Man', for whom scoring runs was once a left-hand job. But of late the 'requests' for him to step down have outnumbered the runs from his bat, which makes this statement from Sachin Tendulkar ring a bell.
Before our readers frame conclusions, this is not about suggesting that Tendulkar is preparing ground for his selection for the Test tour of South Africa. That is a given, considering the tough South African conditions that demand Tendulkar's experience in a young middle order.
But the timing for this statement is surely an awful one, coming at a time when three Indians - Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina - have scored a century for India A in a four-day match in South Africa A. It may be just a plain coincidence, but coming from an out-of-form Sachin Tendulkar, it makes pens go into an overdrive.
"A selector can pick up players who have scored heavily but that does not work out," Tendulkar said while speaking at the KSCA's Platinum Jubilee Celebrations. "When it comes to selection, one has to analyze a player. Even if he fails in a few matches, one needs to see if he has the ability to withstand pressure and execute at the international level," he added.
Tendulkar's three half-centuries in last 23 innings, last Test ton two years ago in South Africa and a Test average of less than 25 in the last 10 matches are evidences that support the above argument. But Tendulkar himself urging selectors "to not look at the scorebook" is not odd, it's very odd.