Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Sports and Games

Ricky Ponting Dropped

Ricky Ponting was dropped from Australian ODI team on 20/2/2012. He was captain in the previous match which Australia had won by 110 runs against India. He had hoped to continue in ODI team. John Inverarity, chief selector, said Rick Ponting would not be considered for future ODIs. He said “Ricky Ponting has been dropped from the squad due to 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.”

Ricky Ponting was captain of the Australian team that won World Cups in 2003 and 2007. After Australia’s defeat against India in World Cup 2011 he stepped down from captaincy. Ricky Ponting’s predecessors had ceased to be team members when they ceased to be captains. Australian policy was not to have former captains in teams. In Ricky Ponting’s case an exception was made and he continued in Test and ODI teams.

Ricky Ponting was successful against India in the Test series. He had a double century, century, three fifties, total of 544 runs and the average of 108.8. In ODI series he did not score many runs. He scored 2, 1, 6, 2 and 7, a total of 18 runs in five matches. There was criticism when he was made captain for two matches when Michael Clarke could not play due to injury. The critics felt David Warner who was vice captain should have been made captain. About his poor form Ricky Ponting had said “People asked me similar questions before the Test series against India, and during it as well. I had a lot of questions asked.” Selectors thought he did not deserve to be in ODI team.

Ricky Ponting retired from ODIs on 21/2/2012. A great ODI career came to an end.

Doubts about DRS

BCCI has consistently opposed DRS, or UDRS as it was originally known, since India under Anil Kumble’s captaincy lost a Test series in Sri Lanka. The decisions went against India. Other countries agreed on DRS. It was part of World Cup 2011.

Some decisions based on Hot Spot during India’s series in England in 2011 raised questions. India lost the Test series 0-4, five match ODI series 0-3 one match being a tie and another abandoned and the one T20 match. After that India did not have DRS in India and Australia.

Then came England-Pakistan Test series in UAE. England lost 0-3. Now English cricketers have raised questions about DRS. Many LBW decisions went against them and they are not happy about DRS.

BCCI has said it is not against use of technology but is not sure of ball-tracking technology and Hot Spot. It is likely that more Cricket Boards will oppose DRS when their cricket teams lose. In case of England the change was dramatic, from 4-0 victory and No. 1 Test ranking to 0-3 loss and No. 1 Test ranking under threat.

Ball-tracking has to be automatic and not someone’s imagination against field umpire’s imagination. It is said when there is DRS field umpires give more LBW decisions and many of the decisions are upheld. Batsmen do not get the benefit of doubt.

There will be winners and losers due to DRS. When winners turn losers they will complain about DRS. DRS to be acceptable to all should not have any room for error or manipulation.

India lose Test and series

On 15/1/2012 India lost Perth Test by an Innings and 37 runs and consequently the series 0-3. The Test was over within three days. India scored 161 in the first Innings. In the second Innings India fell from 171/6 to 171 all out. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was banned for one Test for slow over-rate. He lost 40% of his match fee. Other players lost 20% of their match fees.

Krishnamachari Srikant said it was collective failure. It was more a failure of batting, fielding and captaincy. The bowlers did well in Melbourne and Perth. They should have bowled many bouncers. In that way Australian batsmen would have scored less runs. With bouncers, if India had not won Sydney and Perth Tests they would not have lost by Innings either. Australian bowlers got many wickets by bowing bouncers.

Dhoni’s captaincy has come under criticism. His captaincy of Tests is like that of ODIs. When he began as Test captain the Tests were in India. The grounds were spinner-friendly and suited batsmen. In one case he gave money, call it gift or tips or whatever you want, to a groundsman who prepared the ground to suit India. Dhoni’s batting in Australia has not been good. However there is no replacement for Dhoni in sight. Other players have not done anything outstanding to stake claim to captaincy.

Duncan Fletcher is also under criticism. There is demand to sack him as coach. Many Test players have been in the team for a long time. They do not need a coach to tell them what to do or what not to do. India did well against England and West Indies at home. When the team does well the coach gets credit and when he does badly he gets the blame, whatever may be his contribution or lack of it.

No Indian scored a century in Australia. Australians scored four centuries; two remained not out, one of them on a triple century. It is said Virender Sehwag has not done well in England, South Africa and Australia. Rahul Dravid’s poor form has perplexed people. Some months back he scored three centuries in England. May be age has caught up with him. At 39 he is the oldest Test cricketer playing and his reflexes may have slowed down.

IPL is blamed for Tests debacles abroad. Young cricketers dream of playing in IPL. Playing Tests is not a priority. There is lot of money and glamour in IPL. The matches are over in three hours. Bowlers have to bowl four overs at the most. Batsmen have to just hit without caring for the consequences. However how long IPL will last is another question. TRPs have gone down. One IPL team folded up in its first season. The owner of another team is facing bankruptcy. No team owner has made a profit.

Adelaide Test is left. India can play for pride and to retain No. 2 Test ranking.

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