Kolkata, Apr 25: When you are playing the Indian Premier League (IPL), past records of a cricketer count for nothing. The owners want the team to win at all costs and don't mind benching even the legends of the game. And some great players volunteer to sit out due to poor form.
Ricky Ponting, the captain of Mumbai Indians was the latest in the list of players dropping themselves in the interest of the team. Ponting handed over the responsibility to Rohit Sharma as the Australian struggled to come to terms with Twenty20 format.
Ponting was bought by MI in this year's player auction for $400,000. The former Australian skipper had retired from international cricket in 2012 and was expected to do well in IPL 2013. But things have not gone well for Ponting. He has had a poor run of form with the bat - 28, 6, 0, 14, 4 in five innings.
On Wednesday, with the team ready to face Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, Ponting decided it was time to take a break.
"Ponting himself opted to sit out in today's (Wednesday) game. We wanted to get our foreign players' combination right, and he volunteered to stay out. It takes a big heart to take such a decision," said Rohit after the match which MI won by 5 wickets in a last-over thriller.
Last year, Royal Challengers Bangalore's captain Daniel Vettori did the same by giving chance to others. Kumar Sangakkara was another captain who put team's interest ahead of self. This year, Pune Warriors saw regular skipper Angelo Mathews making way for Aaron Finch. Next in line could be Kings XI Punjab's Adam Gilchrist, who is going through a horrendous run.
Captains aside, there is no room for other players also to carry on without runs or wickets. Sachin Tendulkar could be the next star player who might opt out or dropped or will the owners ask him to continue playing despite poor form?
Tendulkar was bowled by Sunil Narine for just 2 runs on his 40th birthday on Wednesday. Many feel if Ponting can do why can't Tendulkar?
Tendulkar's scores so far in IPL 2013 are 23, 0, 1, 44, 1, 54 and 2. Whenever Tendulkar plays, expectations are always high. And he too will know that he is not at his best.
MI started opening with Ponting and Tendulkar. That did not work, then they split the pair. Now, Ponting is out of the playing XI. What next?
Will Tendulkar go Ponting's way?