Monday, October 27, 2008


India v Australia: Ricky Ponting's Two Lemons


Bishan Singh Bedi has seldom been one to pull punches when it comes to the big issues. Bedi has remained true to form after accepting an invitation from Australian manager Steve Bernard to have a chinwag with Jason Krejza and calling for Krejza to replace Cameron White in the starting XI for the third Test. Question being, what did Bedi see in Krejza?

The spinner’s slot in the final XI must be one of the biggest headaches for Ricky Ponting in the current environment. He has effectively been asked to choose between two duds. One was hammered and humiliated by the next generation of Indian batsmen and the other was only selected because he wasn’t in the country to play a tour game and had been thus unscathed. Who says more warm up games are better?

Bedi is one prominent ex-player who generally has the best interests of cricket, and especially Indian cricket, at heart when he speaks. With this in mind I must admit to gaining some sadistic pleasure in seeing Bedi in a pink shirt emblazoned with a prominent BCCI logo trying to raise the stocks of a has-been team in varying levels of turmoil, depending on which media outlet you favour.

While Bedi recommended the specialist route for Ponting and his Aussies, it seems likely Bedi’s advice will fall on deaf ears. After all, Ponting doesn’t have the aggressive bent of Steve Waugh (nor the world class resources now) and it is highly unlikely that he will risk Krejza against the likes of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar & Mahendra Singh Dhoni when any of them are 100 not out on a Kotla road. It speaks volumes of Australia's plight when Cameron White is considered the most dependable lemon for a marquee Test series.

One might opine that there is just cause for Ponting to shelve his ego and take up Shane Warne’s offer of a comeback. However, I think we all realise that a Warnie comeback is about as likely as serial pest offender Matthew Hayden turning down his hot air nozzles.

This is not to say that Team India may not be surprised by an Aussie resurgence in the next couple of Tests. However, an aggressive approach by Anil Kumble and co will go a long way to ensuring a clean sheet.

Update: Ponting now opines that he believes Krejza is "definitely in the running" for the third Test. Personally, I think Ponting is trying to play mind games with his two lemons, as well as the Indians and will prefer Cameron White over Krejza. I simply do not believe he has an attacking captaincy bone in his body.

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