New Delhi: The selectors will be relieved that Sachin has finally taken a call about his future. For some time, as form dipped and a debate raged about the Master's future, it was evident this was one decision too big for them. Everyone knew the selectors did not have the courage to tell Sachin it was time to declare.
Before Sachin, Dravid and Laxman too took the selection issue in their hands, both decided when they wanted to exit. But Sachin's call to drop one format of the game is a top spinner, if not a googly. Deconstructed in simple terms, Sachin is telling the selectors (and everyone else) not to mess with him, not to rush him. The message is: I will decide when to call time; nobody will tell me when to depart.
By giving up on one-dayers Sachin has declared his intention to continue playing Test cricket and announced his availability for the forthcoming series against Australia at home. This should, at least for the moment, quell speculation about his future plans.
The emotional debate about any cricket greats' retirement, and related issues of selection, exposes the extremely vulnerable (and powerless) position of the selection committee. The 5 selectors hold high profile jobs and are paid handsomely (minimum 60 lakhs annually) but are often unable to act independently. Their work is subject to intense scrutiny, by media and fans, it is not easy to take on cricket 'greats' and, as Jimmy Amarnath revealed recently, there is also the BCCI to contend with.
The present group of selectors are men of integrity and sound knowledge but selection involves much more than just this, it is not an exercise reduced to statistical analysis or picking players on intuition and instinct. Good selectors need to be progressive, forward thinking leaders with a vision for the future.
In India, the selectors have failed to create a succession plan for the captaincy. That the vice-captaincy has been tossed around to Sehwag, Gambhir and Virat Kohli shows there is no clarity about the road map ahead.
That is why, by deciding his own destiny Sachin has done the selectors a major favour.
Note: The author's views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of NDTV.