By Vinay Anand
Doug Bollinger has been ruled out of the 2011 World Cup with a “posterior impingement”. Bollinger will be flying back to Australia without making his World Cup debut. Bollinger has had a dream run ever since he made his debut a couple of seasons ago and briefly lead the Australian attack when Mitchell Johnson was not at his best.
But since Brett Lee made his return to the one-day side, Bollinger has had to bite the bullet in spite of being one of Australia’s most consistent performers over the past 12 months. Nevertheless, one only hopes Bollinger would undergo a successful surgery so that he can force his way back soon into the thick of things for Australia.
Now that Bollinger is heading home, the question arises: Who will be the replacement? With Australia’s pace battery operating at full tilt, it’s an opportunity for the World Cup champions to bring back Michael Hussey – a gamble worth taking. The ICC has confirmed that teams can bring back withdrawn players, which gives Australian to get back Michael Hussey. It’s a golden opportunity for the Australian selectors to rectify an earlier wrong. Hussey has already proved his fitness. But Hussey’s return could hinge heavily on Shaun Tait and Lee, as both are susceptible to niggles/ injuries.
But again, the selectors could have Hussey if they want him. John Hastings can always come in as third seamer – something Australia have done before - with Shane Watson chipping in with a few more overs. That would still give Ponting loads of options to play with and would hugely boost the batting lineup.
I might be sounding a tad too optimistic, but as an Australian cricket admirer, I wish Hussey gets the nod. He is adept at playing the waiting game as well as be aggressive, depending on the circumstances. But if trends are anything to go by, the selectors will get a fast bowler in as replacement for Bollinger than recall Hussey.
I fear that another exclusion and Michael Hussey might just throw in the towel. The man was fuming at being left out and expressed his disappointment at the selectors. Hussey is not going any younger and with Australia’s selections generally revolving around the Ashes or the World Cup, we may just have seen the last of “Mr. Cricket”.Here’s hoping that my optimism prevails and the selectors use this pass tactfully by naming Hussey as the replacement for Bollinger.
(Vinay Anand, 17, has an uncanny eye for detail. He revers cricket - looking beyond the glamour into the heart of the game where true passion, perseverance and grit meet. To him, there is no greater joy than coming closer to the sport while exploring its intricacies through his writing and treading ahead to establish himself as a writer and presenter)