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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Cricket

End of ‘Pondulkar’ at the top?
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Jaipur, April 19, 2013
First Published: 00:04 IST(19/4/2013)
Last Updated: 00:07 IST(19/4/2013)

“It’s very difficult for us to pick the playing eleven”. When John Wright, the Mumbai Indians coach, said this on the eve of their last game, it came across as the gripe of a man spoilt for choices with a bevy of star players in the squad. An embarassing defeat later, at the hands of underdogs Rajasthan Royals, the same comment could be viewed in a completely different light.

Problem of plenty
The problem of plenty perhaps also has a flip side to it. Most glaring of it could be the little room for experiment it leaves in the squad brimming with stars and the pressure to give a long rope to them.

The point is, would Mumbai Indians have persisted with the struggling opening pair for five games had the openers been lesser mortals than Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting? It's doubtful.

Instead of seeing the situation as it is, the Mumbai Indians coach threw in abstracts like experience and the confidence the duo brings to the side by just being around to make up for the missing concrete numbers.

Ponting also admitted the form of the two was a cause for worry. “It’s a bad loss and it’s no secret that Sachin and I aren’t playing well. You could see some changes in batting order in the coming days,” said the MI skipper.

Tricky situation
That Ponting is the captain of the side too makes his struggle with the bat an even more tricky situation for the side.

If he doesn’t strike form soon, he might need to consider the option of dropping himself. While that will open up a spot for someone like Glenn Maxwell, the most expensive buy of the season who’s warming the bench, Mumbai's problems won't be over. Finding a new skipper half way into the tournament isn’t something any team looks forward to.


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