Sachin Tendulkar (India, right-handed) and Brian Lara (West Indies, left handed) are two of the best batsmen in cricketing history.
In a critique towards the tail end of Tendulkar's test career, Mukul Kesavan writing for ESPN CricInfo contrasted the last 25 test innings of both batsmen, arguing that Tendulkar's performance in the twilight of his career diminished his otherwise long and illustrious record:
But it is the comparison with Brian Lara, by common consensus Tendulkar's greatest batting contemporary and his closest contender for the title of the best batsman of the fin de siècle, that speaks most directly to the "dying of the light" argument. Look at Lara's last 25 innings. He averaged just under 45, more than ten runs an innings better than Tendulkar [Tendulkar averaged 28], but that's almost beside the point: it is his big scores that stand out. Lara hit two centuries and two double-centuries in his last year of Test match cricket.
Teams give ageing, inconsistent geniuses the benefit of the doubt because they believe they are still capable of match-turning bursts of inspiration. Lara repaid that faith; Tendulkar hasn't.