New Delhi: As questions over his retirement keep growing, CNN-IBN has learnt that Sachin Tendulkar faces the possibility of being ignored for the three-ODI series against Pakistan which runs from December 30 to January 3.
Sources have told CNN-IBN that certain BCCI officials have debated Tendulkar's ODI future, and feel he may have outlived his 50-over career. While Tendulkar still has a number of dedicated backers within the BCCI – and this includes the current board president, N Srinivasan - there are certain individuals within the higher echelons of the board who believe that it is time to give the 39-year-old a signal. And it is this thought that has given birth to the possibility of ignoring him for the short series against Pakistan.
The problem, however, is that Tendulkar himself, is believed to be eager, and available, for the three matches and the traction that could be attracted from dropping him would surely be huge.
In 10 ODIs in 2012, Tendulkar averages 31.50 with one century – his record 100th, scored in India’s defeat to Bangladesh during the Asia Cup – and one half-century. His last match was against Pakistan on March 18, when he scored 52 off 48 balls. Tendulkar opted out of India’s next and last ODI assignment, a five-match tour of Sri Lanka in July-August.
Since then, he has played six Test matches in which he managed one half-century, totalling 175 runs at an average of 19.44. Against New Zealand in August he had scores of 19, 17 and 27 (bowled each time) and Tendulkar was clearly at sea during the recent Tests against England, in which he managed 112 runs in six innings at 18.66. It was the third series over the last 18 months in which he did not score a century.
If indeed the idea of ignoring him gathers more heat, then it would be the first time in his 23-year-old career that Tendulkar would miss out on selection to the ODI squad. However, a lot could change between now and Sunday when the selectors convene in Mumbai to pick the squad. At this moment, it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty whatsoever, that Tendulkar would be ignored, and lose his 'undroppable' status in Indian cricket. But what is certain is that the rumblings within the Indian cricket board that have now started discussing the champion batsman’s future, for the first time in more than two decades.
If indeed Tendulkar is ignored, it will be a matter of great interest as to how the message is conveyed, and how it will make life difficult for the current selection committee.
India host Pakistan for three ODIs, followed by the one-day leg of England's tour which comprises five matches.