Manager Abbas Ali Baig has warned the members of his cricket team in Australia that those among them whose performances have not been up to mark are to be sent back and replaced by other cricketers waiting at home. I hae been thinking that if this is put inot practice, it would be quite a formidable task. More or less, the entire team would be sent back and brand new team sent out to replace it.
To start with Captain Mohammed Azharuddin would have to be sent back. He is not physically fit and he is not in form; also, he is not able to get his team to exert itself and is spending too much time writing for newspapers. To replace him, we would need another captain, and I do not see anybody in India who would fill the bill. Perhaps, the best choice would be Sunil Gavaskar, who is already in Australia, so at least one air fare would be saved.
If Gavaskar does not want to open the innings, he could bat down the order. And we still have to refill the place of Srikanth, whose god seems to have failed him all over again. This should be easy - Navjot Sigh Sidhu, provided his arm has healed, and he does not break the other arm in his fame in Australia.
Ravi Shastri may be kept back, at least for the time being. His problems start when India begins to play well, then he failed, but when India is playing badly, he pays well, then he fails, but when India is playing badly, he plays well.
But Sanjay Manjrekar will have to come back to Shivaji Park. His place may be filled by some promising youngster in Madya Pradesh or Haryana. So promising youngsters in Madya Pradesh and Haryana should get their passports ready. Tendulkar also would have to be sent back and Kambli sent in his place. If nothing else, people will stop saying that grave injustice has been done to young Kambli.
Kapil Dev, of course, will remain in Australia, chasing his last 20 Test wickets, but with so many old veterans replacing the players who would be sent home, he may not be the senior player in the team any more. For instance, Dilip Vengsarkar would be returning straight home, with Gundappa Viswanath replacing him.
The rest of the team, since everybody has failed, may be sent back en bloc and replaced by new players from homw, who are all eager and waiting to bave a crack at the Australians. And with a totally new team, we are sure to win the next Test. And, in case we don't, we can replace Abbas Ali Baig.