He's 40 and he's not helping Team India's cause in the transition process. By picking and choosing tournaments in which he'd like to play he's not providing a steady combination for the national team. Everytime he makes a comback to the team, there's a lot of cutting and chopping of players not to mention a merry-go-round of the batting order. SRT who himself never bats at any other position than No1 and No4 (in ODI and Tests) should know better that nobody likes to give-up their favourite batting slot.
So the unfortunate victim happens to be a certain Gautam who has to come one-down or a Raina relegated to No7. Add to that, fringe players like Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane remain to be fringe players. One fine day they will be asked to step into the shoes of SRT and perform. And we know very well what happens in such an eventuality.
Surely a batsman of Sachin's calibre has earned the right to hang up his boots on his own accord, but doesnt he know that the interest of the team comes first? In how many countless post match interviews has he not said that the interests of the team comes first? Where has all that liberal-thinking gone when its time to put them into pratice? With 3 years to go for the next World Cup where India must defend her crown, we still do not have an established world-beating side. Its no secret that we won the last WC mostly because we played it in our background. Had the same team gone to West Indies or Australia or England we would have come a cropper.
Plus no matter how many times he insists that he doesn't play for the records, we all know theres no bigger lie than that. Otherwise why would the GOD of cricket take one whole year to get to his 100th 100? Moreover it was not like he had hit a bad patch - which happens to every cricketer. All through the year Sachin was in good form and its the prospoect of reaching that milestone that has veered him off track. Rewind back a few years to that Multan test when stand-in captain RD in the itnerests of the team declared the Indian Innings leaving Sachin stranded at 194. If Sachin really didn't care for records why would he have left the field with a dissapointed and stunned look on his face?
Surely Sachin has a bigger repertoire of shots and truck full of cricketing shots. But he lacks the killer instinct and leadership skills of Sourav Ganguly. He has the firepower and the muscle to bulldoze any opponent. But he doesn't have the mental toughness and steely resolve of Rahul Dravid. He has a child-like enthusiasm that keeps him going but he doesn't have the maturity as displayed by Laxman in hanging up his boots.
It is true that Sachin has won many matches for India and helped build India as a super power in the world of cricket. On numerous occasions he has pulled India through out of dire straits or atleast brought the team agonizingly close to respectability. And no, I don't agree to the notion that whenever Sachin scores, India looses. Thats just a case of sour grapes who can't digest a loss. His records speaks for itself. No passing comment can obliterate the good work he has done for his country.
Sachin has been a great force in Indian and world cricket. He is the reason why there are so many admirers of the great game. He's the reason why so many toddlers have picked up a bat and are currently playing along with or against him. He's the reason why there's a short supply of quality bowlers in the world. He's the reason why bowlers get nightmares and and captains evolve strategies. He's the reason why most batsmen prefer to talk back with their bats rather than with their mouths. He's the reason why stadiums are sold-out. Need I stress any more why every move of Sachin is closely watched, monitored and critiqued? Why everything Sachin does or does not, makes news? He has achieved everything that has to be achieved (except going past Lara's 400). Now its time for him to fade into the sunset of his cricketing career with reputation intact, rather than making special appearances in series' that catches his fancy.
Kohli's comment in retrospect has assumed greater significance now.