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Punter dropped, will BCCI take the cue?

india Updated: Feb 21, 2012 01:42 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Amol Karhadkar

The Brisbane fans did not get to see the much-awaited batting milestone on Sunday, but still when they left The Gabba after Australia's drubbing of India in the CB Series, they had indeed witnessed a landmark game.

In all likelihood, the cricket world has seen Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, two of cricket's all-time great batsmen, play in the same game for the last time.

What was ironic was that the two, who have over the last two decades dominated all sorts of bowling attacks, struggled against bowlers who were not even close to being termed as modern-day greats. Stand-in skipper Ponting's fifth single-digit score in a row in the tri-series brought swift action from the Australian selectors, who dropped him from the one-day team. What was heartening for an Aussie cricket purist was the no-nonsense approach of the selectors.

End of an era?

Not only did they drop Ponting, they also seem to have given an ultimatum that despite his achievements over the years, the time has come for Australian cricket to look beyond the batsman regarded among the finest produced by the country.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/21feb_pg17b.jpg

"Of course there are implications for Test cricket," chief selector John Inverarity said in Sydney on Monday.

"For a man who has played cricket like Ricky Ponting has for 15 or more years, he has been an integral part of the Australian team for the One-day Internationals and Test matches.

"If he drops out of the ODI team, then there's a possible lack of momentum there. There are three Test matches in the West Indies, then as I understand it, there are no more Test matches until October or November."

And, as it was announced late in the night that Ponting will address the media in Sydney on Tuesday, don't be surprised if the 37-year-old not only calls it a day from ODIs but also announces his intent to bid farewell to international cricket in the West Indies in March-April.

As one followed the events unfolding throughout the day in Sydney and Brisbane, one strongly felt the Indian cricket set-up needs to take a cue from its Australian counterpart when it comes to pushing the seniors out.

There is no doubt Tendulkar's body is feeling the strain of coping with the limited overs' format.

And MS Dhoni's comments on Sunday that young batsmen who can save 20 runs extra are more useful than a 'slow' Tendulkar or Sehwag only reinforces the feeling that the master batsman is not welcome in the existing team set-up.

It is perfectly understandable for a great cricketer - be it Tendulkar, Ponting, Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman - to let go. That is where the selectors need to step in.


Now is the time
If they have to take a tough call looking at the future of the team, the time is now.

Even Tendulkar would know he is not going to last till the 2015 World Cup.

If he doesn't give up the 50-over format, he should be asked to give it up.

The selectors won't get a better opportunity than while selecting the squad for next month's Asia Cup.