New Delhi: In his last three innings, Sachin Tendulkar has been bowled out three times. Cricket fans are asking, is age finally catching up with the master?
Today, Sachin was castled by pacer Tim Southee for 27 runs, his highest score in the two-match Test series against New Zealand. He was evidently frustrated as he made his way back. In the first innings, Doug Bracewell had him bowled at 17. In the first Test, that India won, Trent Boult got him and cheap at 19.
This is the first time that the 39-year-old Tendulkar has been bowled in both innings of a Test at home. Over all it is only the fourth such instance in a 21-year-long career. The last time he was out bowled in three consecutive innings was in 2002 against England, where he was dismissed by Matthew Hoggard, Dominic Cork and Michael Vaughan.
Out of the 20 Test innings he has played, including England tour in 2011, Tendulkar has been dismissed BOWLED or LBW 10 times (five times each).
There are more disquieting statistics. Out of the 20 Test innings he has played, including the England tour of 2011, Tendulkar has been bowled five times and caught leg before five times. He has also not exactly been among the runs. Since August last year, Sachin has scored five fifties in 20 innings and has notched up a total 723 runs. No centuries. The last century (146) was in January 2011, against South Africa.
Tendulkar, who has scored 15,489 in 189 Tests for an average of 55.31 prior to this match (Bangalore Test), has now being bowled 51 times in Test cricket. Rahul Dravid (55) and Allan Border (53) top the charts.
A few days ago, former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar had worried about Tendulkar's foot movement.
Increasingly there are comparisons with Rahul Dravid, who retired earlier this year. Dravid made the decision to hang up his boots after he had a tough time reading the line of the ball in England and Australia last year.
Die-hard Tendulkar fans have resolutely argued that the Master Blaster still has some good cricket left in him. However, there are those who suggest that after a spectacular journey he should quit while still ahead.