Bangalore: Ten Test innings without crossing 27. No century since the Cape Town Test against South Africa in 2011. Bowled or lbw seven times in the last ten hits. These are the statistics doing the rounds in the last couple of weeks as most of India obsesses over Sachin Tendulkar. Irate fans have written sharp letters to newspapers, bloggers have had their unrestrained say and twitter timelines are full of venom.
Sadly, through the course of the debate, if you can call it that, the focus has been on Tendulkar, what's good for him, and what he should do, rather than the Indian team. When any squad is picked, and from it a playing eleven, the first thing to think about is what gives the team the best chance of victory.
The situation being what it is today, with Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli being young in their roles, and Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman having retired, does Tendulkar's presence make a difference? When you look at how fragile the batting line-up has seemed post-Dravid and Laxman, the presence of a rock at No. 4 becomes that much more valuable.