The summer the great batsmen fell
Looking back at the recently concluded summer of cricket, it will be remembered as the season that some of our great batsman fell.
The hype was all around Sachin Tendulkar’s milestone of 100 centuries in international cricket. With the Australian summer behind us, we are still waiting. Will Sachin ever get there?
For others the pressure was on from the first ball. Questions over the future of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey appeared almost every day in the papers and were a big discussion point in most office lunch rooms.
India had some greats under pressure too. V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid have been part of a formidable Indian top order for over 10 years, but some argued it was time for them to be shown the door.
Ricky Ponting’s century in Sydney and double century in Adelaide saved him from the chopping block. But a drop in form in the 50-over game saw Punter punted after 375 ODIs.
Like a true champion Ponting bounced back yet again with two centuries in his past two games is Sheffield Shield cricket. We may get to see Ponting bat on for a little longer yet.
As for Mike Hussey he also scored a century in Sydney and made some handy contributions throughout the Test series. Hussey found himself coming in at the deep end, trying to score quick runs in the recent ODI series. There still might be some questions posed about his place in both forms of the game.
The upcoming tour of the West Indies could be his last if he doesn’t make a good score. It is a hard task for someone who has to come in at six.
Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from cricket last week after a poor summer in Australia. Known as the Great Wall of India, he was a problem for any bowler on his day. But poor scores in Australia saw the curtain fall on a great career. Dravid finished with a bating average over 50.
Questions remain over V.V.S. Laxman’s future too. Always a handful for Australian bowlers in years gone by, this season saw Laxman only manage 155 runs from eight innings.
The little master Sachin Tendulkar was not at his dynamic best either this summer. But like Ponting, he is a fighter. Tendulkar might not have got that elusive ton here in Australia, but I’m sure he will get there soon. Maybe when he does he will bring the curtain down on a great career.
I’m sure we wont see Tendulkar play Test cricket in Australia again, but with the success of the KFC Big Bash this summer – and former greats like Shane Warne coming out of retirement to play – you never know, we may well see the master batsman on our shores in some form.