Australia romped to a big win against India under their stand-in skipper Ricky Ponting, but a day after guiding the team to such a convincing win, the stalwart was dropped from the One-day side. I feel that, with so many new faces in the squad and with the return of the likes of Shane Watson, it will be difficult for Punter come back into the One-day side.
Ponting and Mike Hussey have had the sword hanging over them for long. They came through with flying colours in the Test series. On Sunday, Ponting failed and was shown the door. Hussey came through and survived. But one will never be able to forget Ponting's contribution in the shorter version of the game. He has been part of the three World Cup wins, two as captain. It will not be an overstatement if I say that we lost the 2003 World Cup final Ponting. His cricketing feats will not be a real measure of his talent and attitude.
Coming back to the tri-series, one can say that all is not well with India ahead of the crucial tie against Sri Lanka at Brisbane. Their skipper, and the most consistent batsman in this ODI series, MS Dhoni, has been banned for the match. They are, most likely, not going to get the services of Sachin Tendulkar, who was hit on the helmet by a Brett Lee bouncer. There are also reports that Sehwag is physically not hundred per cent okay. If that is the case, then India will not be at their best mentally. The team has to really turn things around because if a reversal happens on Tuesday, it will be a big blow to their aspirations of making it to the finals.
There has been talk of rotation but even after having failed to deliver in five matches, players have been persisted with. To win a One-day game, you need smart and sharp fielding. But fielding alone cannot win you matches if the batters are not capable enough of putting runs on the board. A few batters are perishing in the same manner in every game. So, you need to put them on the bench and give them time to rectify their faults. In the meantime, give chance to people waiting on the side bench for long.
It's been only Dhoni, Kohli and Gambhir who have scored consistently in the tournament. But if you depend on select few, the day these people fail, India is sure to be in trouble.
Sri Lanka will be in an upbeat mood after their convincing win against Australia. They will be eyeing the opportunity to put it across a weakened India. With Mahela Jayawardene going up the order, and with the addition of Maharoof, the team seems to have achieved a better balance. The Gabba will provide a little bit more assistance to Lasith Malinga, Maharoof, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera.
(The writer is former india captain and BCCI technical committee head)
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