As the failures continue to mount and the calls for his retirement ring louder, Sachin Tendulkar finds himself in a unique situation—struggling to make runs. His scores in the recently-concluded cricket Test series against England read: 13, 8, 8, 76, 5 and 2. Experts argue whether he should continue to play. The question is when is the right time to go?

When basketball player Michael Jordan retired, he said, “I just feel I don’t have anything left to prove." Rahul Dravid’s message to Australia’s Ricky Ponting after the latter quit the game recently, was, “The initial few weeks will be bad but trust me, the commentator’s box is a better place to be in." Dravid’s remarks came while he was commenting on the recent India-England series on TV.

For every sportsperson who retires while still on top of his/her game, there are others who drag it on or refuse to let go. On the one hand you have Annika Sörenstam, who quit in 2008 after she won three LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) events; Steffi Graf, who retired while ranked No. 3; and Brian Lara, who was still scoring heavily when he quit. On the other hand you have tennis player Björn Borg, who quit at age 26 and then tried to unsuccessfully come back; as did Formula One racer Michael Schumacher after his retirement in 2006; while Kapil Dev dragged his retirement for two years till he got the bowling record of most wickets in Tests.

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ACTIVE PLAYERS

(OVER 100 TESTS AND 8,000 RUNS)

JACQUES KALLIS, 37, South Africa (1995-)

Tests 158; Runs 12,980

Average: Career—56.92; In last 20 Tests—49.21

100s: 44 (home 22; away 20; neutral 2)

100s in matches won: 21

100s in matches lost: 3

100s in matches drawn: 20

SHIVNARINE CHANDERPAUL, 38, West Indies (1994-)

Tests 146; Runs 10,696

Average: Career—51.67; In last 20 Tests—35.76

100s: 27 (home 17; away 10)

100s in matches won: 9

100s in matches lost: 8

100s in matches drawn: 10

MAHELA JAYAWARDENE, 35, Sri Lanka (1997-)

Tests 135; Runs 10,640

Average: Career—49.86; In last 20 Tests—30.89

100s: 31 (home 22; away 9)

100s in matches won: 15

100s in matches lost: 5

100s in matches drawn: 11

KUMAR SANGAKKARA, 35, Sri Lanka (2000-)

Tests 113; Runs 9,893

Average: Career—55.64; In last 20 Tests—40.54

100s: 30 (home 18; away 10; neutral 2)

100s in matches won: 17

100s in matches lost: 4

100s in matches drawn: 9

GRAEME SMITH, 31, South Africa (2000-)

Tests 105; Runs 8,569

Average: Career—49.53; In last 20 Tests—40.09

100s: 26 (home 10; away 15; neutral 1)

100s in matches won: 17

100s in matches lost: 0

100s in matches drawn: 9

VIRENDER SEHWAG, 34, India (2001-)

Tests 102; Runs 8,559

Average: Career—50.05; In last 20 Tests—33.68

100s: 23 (home 13; away 10)

100s in matches won: 8

100s in matches lost: 5

100s in matches drawn: 10

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