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Monday, March 11, 2013

Test Cricket India Vs Australia: Four Australian Players Axed!

After playing some of their worst cricket in recent times and trailing India 0-2 in the current Test Series hosted by India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2013 Australia seems headed for more serious trouble. As the third cricket Test, a must win for Australia, begins in Mohali from 14th of March four players of the Australian team including two key playing ones Shane Watson and James Pattinson were axed by Team Management. Earlier, dashing Indian opener Virender Sehwag had been dropped from Team India for the last two Tests and this piece of act had been generating a lot of politicking over the past few days. However, in the Australian case it is not politics, but protocol that means the four axed cricketers did not complete their homework as desired under rules. 

Why politics in the Virender Sehwag case? He has been a non-performer for at least the last five Tests and scored his last century two years ago. His steadier partner Gautam Gambhir was dropped at the beginning of the India Vs Australia Test Series. In the first two tests against Australia that India won convincingly Sehwag contributed just 27 runs in three innings. But…yes... there is a ‘but’.
First, Sehwag had been dropped for the ODI Series against England recently which in a way means he had been recalled for the first two Tests against Australia. If you recall a former great you normally give him enough time for a glorious comeback. Second, India won the both the Tests so far and you normally do not disturb a winning combination. Third, Harbhajan Singh had also been recalled and despite similar non-performance he is still retained. This means Sehwag is the lone player to be axed. Fourth, cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and skipper MS Dhoni himself sailed through without being axed after consistent non-performance. And not the least, Sehwag got dropped from the ODI team on earlier occasions too largely due to his growing differences with Dhoni. When the whole team gets demoralized for all alleged reasons and fails totally you cannot pick and axe individual players. Naturally then, politicking rages when you drop a veteran from a winning team coming good at last.

For the Australian players it is strictly ‘punishment’ and it is unprecedented in Australian cricket. They did not comply with the team orders that asked all team members to make a fact finding report on the team’s disastrous performance and suggestions for possible improvement. There are more disturbing reports that Australian Vice-Captain Shane Watson had already left for home after being axed which is of coursed denied by Cricket Australia. With Kangaroo keeper Matthew Wade also injured the Australian team practically gets reduced to 11 to choose 11 from. Brad Haddin is reportedly being called in to replace Wade. The axed players will be allowed to play in the last Test, but that could very well be after losing the Test Series.

The contrasts of politics and protocol make the Mohali prospect a markedly attractive one. As some solace for the troubled Australians the ground staff of Mohali had reportedly stated that the pitch there would retain its greenness promising a lot of pace and bounce.

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