Is Australia biased against cricketers above 35?

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
Published: Saturday, June 11, 2011, 14:44 [IST]
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Katich axed is Ponting next in line?

Bangalore, Jun 11: Simon Katich, a very consistent performer for the Australian cricket team over the past few years has been axed from the list of contracted players. Many fans, former players and Katich himself believe, that had performance been the sole criteria, the gritty south-paw's would have been the first name on the list of contracted players, but that is not to be. They all are firm in their belief that he was dropped because of his age. Now how familiar is that a reason for Australian cricketers to be dropped from the squad. Surprisingly, this is not the first instance.

Age and Australian cricket go a long way. But, reminiscing the recent past, there has been plenty of instances where age has proved deterrent to an Australian cricketer's career. Sample this. Steve Waugh, one of the finest captains of all time, according to popular perception was pushed to retire when he was still good enough. He was dropped from the ODI squad, this despite a not so bad-form and then asked to retire from Tests during the series against India in 2003-04.

True, he wasn't in good form, but he wasn't worst either. But nevertheless, he was forced to retire, very much in the manner as Mark Taylor before him was done.

It is not that the Australian cricket administrators alone are biased against the over 30s in the national team, several other former cricketers from the nation too have in a way echoed the same sentiment.

There is the much publicised spat between Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell and also the latter's efforts to get rid of the senior cricketers in the Indian team and instead bring in their places youngsters. Sachin, Sourav, Dravid- all of them over 30s. Chappell, in a way embodied the sentiments Australia's cricket administrators share on ageing players.

Even if one spares Cricket Australia and Greg Chappell over the thinking that they don't favour ageing players, by saying that Waugh and Ganguly were not in the best of the forms, how does one justify the axing of Simon Katich.

Ironically or co-incidentally, Greg Chappell is nowadays involved in the selection matters of the Australian team and then there is also the dropping of Simon Katich. Whether or not Katich's relation with Michael Clarke is considered an issue for the former's dropping, there is actually quite a resemblance in the manner Ganguly was dropped from the Indian team during Chappell's reign.

How Katich, goes on from here is entirely at his discretion, but he certainly was playing too good to be dropped from the squad. And if age was the criteria over performance, then Ricky Ponting, should probably have been the first player to be dropped than Katich.

Or is it that the Katich's axing is a hint at what might be in store for the over 30s in Australian cricket, including Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. Let's wait and watch.

OneIndia Cricket

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