Even if many speculate Sachin Tendulkar retiring at the end of his 200th Test, almost certainly against the West Indies in Mumbai in November, the Little Master may have other ideas. The owner of a record 15837 Test runs, is still keeping cards close to his chest and is in no mood to oblige the media with his reactions on the 'extra' series the Indian cricket Board had planned immediately after the ODIs against Australia at home. (India's tour of South Africa put on hold: reports)
As per the BCCI's rotational policy, it is not Mumbai's turn to hold a Test match. Mumbai, which hosted a Test against England last season, is third behind Bangalore and Ahmedabad, but may get the nod due to 'sentimental' reasons. (Related read: Can BCCI help Sachin play his 200th Test at home?)
In a text message to NDTV, Tendulkar said: "No reactions now...will take it match-by-match." The brief message quite sums up Tendulkar's mood. The 40-plus Tendulkar has always kept his fans guessing on his retirement plans and whether the West Indies will be his last is therefore not clear.
The "match-by-match" message can mean a lot of things. Tendulkar could either retire on a high -- probably with his 52nd Test century -- on his home ground or may just want to prolong his career and tell the world that he was still good on seaming wickets overseas. As former teammate Sourav Ganguly recently told NDTV, Tendulkar deserves to choose the time to leave the stage. Tendulkar has already quit ODIs and T20 Internationals.
The representative of the BCCI and the Indian Premier League chairman, Rajeev Shukla also said that it is up to players to take a final call. "All these media reports are purely speculative. The player has to take a call. The player has to decide."
Tendulkar's Test form has been on a decline. He hasn't scored a century in his last 38 Test innings, since the 146 at Newlands, Cape Town in January 2011. The closest he came to a century was against the Caribbeans at Wankhede in November 2011. Tendulkar was out for 94.
While it is seems the hurriedly arranged home series against the West Indies is tailor-made for Tendulkar to go out on a high, it is a fact that the BCCI wants to curtail the duration of the tour of South Africa. Plus, any home series generates more revenue for BCCI broadcast partners. (Also read: New Zealand confirms trimmed India tour, 1 Test and only T20I scrapped)
The decision to invite West Indies for two Tests and five one-dayers was taken at the working committee meeting in Kolkata on Sunday. This means the 2 T20s, 7 ODIs and 3 Tests series in South Africa, scheduled to start November 21, will now be heavily pruned.