Ricky Ponting’s axing has rammed home a message to Australia’s cricketers – perform or get punted. Even Tasmanian team-mate Xavier Doherty isn’t under any illusion that Ponting’s massive reputation could have saved his one-day career.
The Australian spinner stopped short of expressing any surprise over Ponting being dropped, saying players are fully aware there were no mortgages on their places in the national squad.
“Like Ricky said, if you don’t put the runs on or take the wickets, then you sort of leave yourself up for this sort of outcome,” Doherty said.
“It is unfortunate that this is the way it’s gone but, in professional sport, that’s sort of the way things go.”
Doherty’s comments would come as no surprise to discarded wicketkeeper Brad Haddin or paceman Mitchell Starc, both of whom were left out for Australia’s next two matches of the tri-series.
Shane Watson and Ryan Harris returned to the 13-man squad announced on Monday for games against Sri Lanka at Bellerive on Friday and India at the MCG on Sunday.
Doherty said replacing Ponting’s infectious enthusiasm would be the most difficult part for the Australian squad to come to terms with.
“Obviously having Ricky around there for the last 15 or 16 years, he’s sort of the guy who’s got all the energy in the group,” Doherty said.
“So that role’s probably going to have to shift to someone else now.
“It’s going to be a very different feel and probably very different for the public who come to watch.”
Tasmania’s Twenty20 skipper had an impressive Big Bash League but he is expecting conditions in Hobart – where the Test against New Zealand and Sheffield Shield matches have been played on green-tops – to suit the pacemen rather than the spinners.
“Spin traditionally doesn’t play a big role,” Doherty said.
“Both teams will probably only go in with one spinner and maybe some part-timers so I think it will probably be left to the quick stuff.
“It looks a pretty quick wicket and that’s probably the way it will be.”
That will be music to the ears of Tasmanian paceman Ben Hilfenhaus, who took 5-33 in his return to the ODI arena on Sunday, while Doherty nominated fiery Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga as a danger.
“With the ball, Malinga’s as good as it gets, I reckon,” Doherty said.
“He’s got all the balls you need and can bowl any time of the game.”
Doherty said he was under no injury cloud after suffering a back spasm last week that caused selectors to call in Jon Holland.
“It was just a one-off, nothing too bad there and hopefully a bit of rest and recovery this week and I’ll be right to go on Friday,” Doherty said.