Opinion: BCCI bow to Tendulkar

Blog Opinion

Sachin Tendulkar, in all likelihood, will reach 200 Test caps at the Wankhede Stadium – and there is little arguing the conditions and opposition will pose a considerably weaker challenge than the Proteas at Newlands should have.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India have all but obliged the veteran Sachin Tendulkar with a record 200th Test cap in front of his home crowd, after confirmation of November's two-match series against the West Indies on Wednesday.

Tendulkar, in all likelihood, will reach the mammoth milestone at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai – and there is little arguing that the conditions and opposition will pose a considerably weaker challenge than the Proteas at Newlands should have.

Indeed, the decision to snub South Africa – Cape Town, in particular – can bring the BCCI cash cow and so-called flat-track bully Tendulkar big numbers against a Windies unit some three positions inferior in the International Cricket Council rankings.

Tendulkar's records against the African and Caribbean outfit, at their bare minimum, open a telling tale. Bar inflated aggregates against minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, the stalwart right-hander doesn't have a greater average against any other team. 19 fixtures against the West Indians have yielded a prolific 55.21 – some three runs stronger than his career aggregate. 25 Tests against South Africa, though, and the deficit – between career and team average – is more than 10 runs in the red.

The argument, however, is countered by the 40-year-old's statistics at the Wankhede and Newlands. The latter venue has, in fact, treated Tendulkar very well – to the tune of two centuries and a ground average of 81.50, to be exact. The Mumbai-born batsman, though, has scored just one of an unrivalled 51 Test centuries in his hometown – and none against the West Indies, noted.

Moreover, Tendulkar – who is nursing a fragile palm after recent surgery – will be less prone to pain on a reasonably placid sub-continental pitch than a lively sub-Saharan surface. This won't instill false confidence, though, as the right-hander will remember well how Australian spinner Nathan Lyon made him his proverbial 'bunny earlier this year – and England slow bowler Graeme Swann before that.

In short, Sachin has not scored a Test century in 21 innings – over 30 months' worth of failure. This trend was primed to continue against the South Africans, but is very likely to be broken against the West Indians. An opposition attack serviced by Fidel Edwards and Tino Best hardly sports the a threat akin to that posed by Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.

While fans will be allowed to witness the latter eventually, it won't be marked with the same honour promised before the BCCI – influenced by one player rather than the greater good – soured the arrangement.