If someone else is out of form, it may escape the public and media glare. But the noise over Sachin Tendulkar failing consistently with the bat is deafening.
More so now, with the senior batsman touching the age of 40 and not scoring enough runs to merit a place in the team (his average in 2012 is in the low 20s). In the second Test at Wankhede, which is his home ground, he managed to score just eight in each of his innings.
Add that to his record of scoring just 153 runs in his last 10 innings, and one may be forgiven to think that if it was any other player but Sachin, he would have been dropped.
But cricket expert Ayaz Memon believes that the selectors cannot think about dropping him: “You cannot afford not to have him, because he brings with him huge experience which the team needs now (with the series at 1-1).”
Names like Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary and Shikhar Dhawan crop up if Sachin was to be dropped, but then again, blooding a youngster now could prove to be an even worse decision: “If you throw in a youngster at this position, you might become more vulnerable. You just have to believe in Tendulkar and hope that somewhere he’s going to come good.”
He also adds that Sachin is probably the one most concerned about his form and something could emerge at Kolkata, but even if he is dropped, there is no one left to cover.
“What do you have remaining (if you drop Sachin)? You only have Cheteshwar Pujara— your man in form. The rest are all looking very vulnerable. You have to trust the man who has got you thousands of runs and remember, England still think he’s the man who is the difference between winning or losing the series.”
The cliches about class being permanent may always be an excuse, but Sachin fans will hope that he doesn’t have to justify his place in the team by virtue of only his past exploits.