Does India have the courage to drop Sachin?

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Published: Monday, February 20, 2012, 18:22 [IST]
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Will India be tough and drop Sachin?

Australia is always known to take tough decisions when it comes to cricket. The latest to that list is the axing of one of the game's greats, Ricky Ponting, on Monday.

The former Australian captain was struggling for runs and this has resulted in his axing. With just 18 runs in five tri-series games, this call was round the corner.

If Cricket Australia's National Selection Panel can pick players on form and fitness, does Indian Selection Committee have the same courage to hand Sachin Tendulkar the same treatment?

One would like to know what chairman of selection committee, Kris Srikkanth thinks on Tendulkar's struggles in the current tri-series.

Does Srikkanth have the same audacity of Australian national selector, John Inverarity and his team to ring in the change. Does Srikkanth and his team consult Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) top men to make such a bold move?

“Ricky Ponting has been dropped from the squad due to his lack of form. The team will not seem the same without him, but moving on from the omission of players who have been outstanding over a long period of time is the nature of elite sport," this is what Inverarity said after replacing Ponting with Shane Watson.

Statements like these are rare when it comes to Indian selectors. Imagine Srikkanth talking on same lines if Tendulkar had to be dropped. The most important part of Australian selector's reaction was "moving on."

Knowing Australia's way of handling things in a professional way, Ponting would have been spoken to, by the selectors. They would have thanked him for his excellent services to the team over the years and the committee would have also made him understand what the team requires as they look ahead to the next World Cup at home in 2015.

Tendulkar, in the current tri-series, has 68 runs in four matches without a half century. He was also rested for one of India's games as part of rotation policy.

To add to that, captain MS Dhoni called Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir as slow movers on the field which was resulting in fielding lapses.

After the World Cup final in Mumbai on April 2, 2011, Tendulkar had opted out of the 50-over games and it was surprising that he chose to play in the tri-series. Many feel that he decided to stay back in Australia after Tests only to get his 100th international hundred. What would have happened if he had reached that milestone in Tests. Would he have still played in ODIs? But that has not been achieved and the wait continues.

His last ODI century was during the World Cup against South Africa in March in Nagpur. Since then he has gone eight innings without a three-figure score in the shorter version.

Srikkanth, who was Tendulkar's first captain on the tour of Pakistan in 1989, should talk to the 38-year-old and make it clear what the team needs.

Dhoni was right in terming Tendulkar as slow. One Day cricket is for the young and Tendulkar seems to have been left behind by fast moving young legs.

With 18,179 runs in 457 ODIs, there is nothing else left for Tendulkar to conquer in the ODI arena. As former greats Kapil Dev and Imran Khan said, Tendulkar should have retired from ODIs immediately after winning the World Cup. It would have been the perfect way to bow out.

By the time the next World Cup starts in Australia and New Zealand in 2015, Tendulkar will be nearing 42 years. Is he still hoping to be around till then? It looks highly unlikely.

If at all there was any better time to make harsh decisions to benefit Indian cricket, it is now. They need to learn from Australia. Will Srikkanth and his team have the courage to bid goodbye to Tendulkar?


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