Mumbai. Lakshman Guha, one of the staunchest critics of Sachin Tendulkar and someone who holds the world record for writing more than 3,000 columns, blog posts and tweets in the last three years asking the batting genius to retire, has retired.
“I cannot take the pressure anymore,” he said, addressing a crowded press conference in Bangalore on Sunday, April 21, three days short of Tendulkar’s 40th birthday. “I am fighting a losing battle. I think the time has come to put my pen down.”
Guha, 35, said he wants to retire from asking Tendulkar to retire so that he can pass on the baton to someone younger, someone with better reflexes and who can hound the little master at post-match press conferences, IPL after-parties and commercial endorsement sets across the world.
“I am fatigued,” Guha said. “I stalked Sachin everywhere since 2010, but the pressure of travel and filing columns, blog posts and tweets got to me. I think someone younger can take my place and carry on this rich tradition for at least three more years.”
The cricket writer warned the younger generation, however, that it too may be on the side of a lost cause. “I cannot discourage you enough,” Guha said, when a young 24-year-old reporter from a national daily asked him at the press conference whether he could take on the role. “Even though I fervently wish someone has the energy and the stamina to take on this onerous task, cricket writers and critics have just not got it in them to take on the might of Tendulkar; whether it is writing in newspapers, blabbering on TV or sharing opinions on Twitter.”
About his critical tweets, Guha said, “I just could not take the abuse on Twitter anymore. You write one thing against Tendulkar, and those @sachin_rt-wingers swoop on you like vultures. If I wrote about his second-innings record, they would abuse me with first innings facts. If I wrote about his captaincy, they would scream me down with his patriotism and how he wears the tricolour on his helmet.”
He said Tendulkar made his Test debut in November 1989, and even after playing for more than 23 years, has not shown any inclination to retire from Tests and the IPL. “I can singlehandedly take the credit for his One-Day International retirement in December 2012,” a teary-eyed Guha said. “It was a rare victory and is testimony to my relentless pursuit of just one mission.”
But when it comes to Tests and IPL, there is just no progress in sight, Guha said. “He just won’t retire, so I did. Tell me, what else should I’ve done,” he said, raising his arms in the air in desperation.
(Sachin, the author of the above report, tweets here)