South African batting great Graeme Pollock, who played international cricket against rebel teams till the age of 43, reckons the time is close for Sachin Tendulkar to decide how much longer he will be part of India's Test team.
"He's got to start deciding how much longer he is going to play. He has not had a great series (against Australia) and I was surprised to see him being a bit awkward against that Aussie off-spinner (Nathan Lyon)," Pollock told MiD DAY from Johannesburg on Monday.
Tendulkar, who will celebrate his 40th birthday next month, ended the four-match series with 192 runs. His highest in the series came in the first innings of the opening Test at Chennai where he scored 81 before being bowled by a beauty from Lyon, who trapped the master batsman leg before in both innings of the recent Delhi Test.
Pollock stressed that Tendulkar should continue playing till he is enjoying his cricket. He had no doubts that runs would come, albeit not that easily. "He is such a classy player that he is will always get runs. But he will not get them in the same fashion as he did five years ago. The hardest part is that the public expects him to produce the goods and that is putting him under more and more pressure," Pollock said.
Century at 43
The South African great's ability to score runs against international rebel teams while on the wrong side of 40 has been well documented in cricket history. In fact, he scored 144 at the age of 43 in his last international game against the 1987 rebel Australians' pace attack comprising Rodney Hogg, Terry Alderman and Rod McCurdy. Asked to turn back the clock to the evening of his career, Pollock (69) recalled: "I played till 43 and I thought it was time to get out (of the game). It was getting a bit more difficult. Irrespective of how old you are, everybody expects you to keeping churning out runs."