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If Ponting can be dropped, why can’t Sachin be?

By Biswajit Jha | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 17:35
Biswajit Jha
French Cut

‘Rotation policy’ has become a bit of a joke in Indian cricket of late. The policy, which is supposed to be a way to safeguard players from injury, is now a new way to satisfy the egos of our stars. In a culture where certain individuals are considered bigger than the team, you need different connotation to drop senior players.

Ponting can be dropped, but not Sachin. Not even Virender Sehwag or Gautam Gambhir. At best, they can be ‘rested’.

It’s quite evident that Dhoni does not like the idea of having three openers in the team, for it not only spoils the chances of younger players; it also makes the team’s fielding a lot dilapidated.

It’s no secret that Sehwag, Sachin or Gambhir can never match the fielding skills of Raina, Rohit, Tiwary or Rahane. Unlike the Tests, limited-overs cricket requires some added qualities. Here, fielding or running between the wickets is equally important as batting or bowling.

Apart from that, one has to see the balance in the team. Everyone has to have a clear role in the team. It’s often found that teams with good balance win more matches than, say, batting heavy or bowling heavy sides. So, Dhoni is spot-on when he feels that Sehwag is slow on the field, and the team combination does not fit Sachin, Sehwag and Gambhir in the final XI. Dhoni is also correct in feeling that the players who would play the next World Cup must be given more opportunities. This kind of far-sightedness will only help India establish as a ruthless cricketing nation like Australia.

No doubt that the Tiwarys and Rahanes are no match for Sachins or Sehwags in terms of batting class. But in sports there is another important aspect: form. You can’t simply ignore it. You cannot persist with an out-of-form player game after game, match after match.

In a mortal world, nothing is permanent. Everything has to perish. Everything good has to come to an end. It’s the rule of nature. And sports are no exception.

No matter how bad we may feel, Sachin Tendulkar will one day leave the field, so will Sehwag. Life moved on without Don Bradman. Life won’t certainly stall after Sachin’s retirement. Cricket is bigger than any individual.

It’s evident that some of the senior players are taking everything lightly. The way Sehwag has been getting out for the last few months is horrible. More than that, the manner in which he and Gautam Gambhir spoke against skipper MS Dhoni in public tells us a lot about a team which is in complete disarray.

There seems to be no one to rein in these players, who instead of planning a revival, are busy fighting with each other. Only God knows what the selectors or the BCCI administrators are doing.

What is the reason behind the exclusion of a talented batsman like Ajinkya Rahane from the ODI team? Why does rookie Rohit Sharma need rest after playing just 5 ODIs? Why is Manoj Tiwary warming the benches despite scoring a century in the last match he played? These are the players who would feature in the 2015 World Cup Down Under. It would have definitely helped them to get accustomed to the bouncy hard tracks.

But reasons hardly rule the roost in India. We play our game emotionally. We also run our game that way. We remain blind to the future concerns. So, we keep repeating the same mistakes. People like John Inverarity, who says that there is no place for sentiment in elite sport, don’t exist in our system. So we suffer and will continue to suffer…

First Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 17:35

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