When two of the three opening batsmen in the squad were rested for a game each as part of the team’s rotation policy, logically it should be the turn of the third for the next game. However, when that happens to be Sachin Tendulkar, logic, just as it defies Indian cricket administrators, defies the team as well.
Naturally, the team’s top-order rotation policy in the ongoing CB Series came to a halt after just two games as it was clarified on the eve of India’s key clash against hosts Australia that the plan was “not set in stone”. On the eve of the game, every member of the India camp knew that the touring media contingent would bombard the team management over the rotation policy.
But rather than asking someone from the team management to explain the issue, the India team made R Ashwin the scapegoat yet again on the tour. All the young offie could say was he wasn’t part of selection matters. That’s it. Media manager GS Walia then stepped in to clarify that the rotation policy was not hard and fast and the team’s primary objective was to qualify for the finals. If the team had decided not to ask Tendulkar to rest, which seems to be the case right now, all they could have done was to say they didn’t “want to change the winning combination”. Instead, they preferred to adopt a wait- and-watch approach.
The only change in the team that beat Sri Lanka in Perth on Wednesday could be the inclusion of Umesh Yadav or Rahul Sharma in place of R Vinay Kumar if the Karnataka medium-pacer is ruled out on fitness grounds. Vinay didn’t bowl during the team’s rigorous training session at the Adelaide Oval and headed off in a hurry, with physiotherapist Evan Speechly, to a hospital.
Irrespective of the India eleven taking the field, they will start as underdogs against Australia, who have dominated the first round of the tournament.
If Australia get their act together in terms of top-order batting, even an Indian side featuring Tendulkar will find it hard to handle them. But the big question going into Sunday’s tie is not whether Tendulkar will score his 100th ton, but if he gets a chance to reach the