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Change, change and more change

POOR Greg Blewett. One bad tour and he seems to get it in the gut. It was not long ago that he was considered a vital part of the batting order only to be dropped for the series against the West Indies. Then he made a comeback, proving that he had it in him, only to fail on the tour of India. And, promptly, out he goes again.

The same logic does not seem to apply to every player. Blewett seems to be one of those who has to prove his ability every time he comes back to the team. India is an experience which the Australians would like to forget as soon as possible for there was nothing much achieved in the Test series, something which Australia considers itself to be best at. The one-day victory was little consolation. Nobody did much on the tour of India and singling out Blewett does not seem exactly fair.

While there is no doubt that Colin Miller has done well on the local circuit, he is at an age when there is not a great deal of cricket left in him; not at the international level, anyway. The selectors are certainly funny people; one day they put forward the theory that they are investing in youth and the next day in comes Tom Moody who is not exactly in the first flush of his youth. And now, doubtless for the same reason, in comes Miller.

Australia may have had a great deal of success in Test cricket in the recent past but the selectors sure have played around with the careers of many a player. Ricky Ponting was inexplicably dropped during the 1996-97 series against the West Indies and then suddenly he was being spoken about as a future captain about six months ago. Until his uncouth behaviour in India, that is.

The reasons for Jason Gillespie being left out are not very clear. It may have to do with the fact that there is more than a 50 percent chance that Pakistan would prepare slower wickets as it was known long back that Shane Warne would be missing the trip. Glenn McGrath will return, however, and it would have been good for the pair of them to develop as an opening combine for the Ashes series.

There is no doubt in anybody's mind that Mark Taylor would like to stay on as captain for the Ashes series and also for the tour of the West Indies which comes up in 1999. It would be interesting to see what happens if Taylor loses in Pakistan; the Pakistanis are an unpredictable bunch but one cannot see them losing at home. There is at least one point to prove: if India could do it, the argument would run, we can as well, only much better.

What would the selectors do if Australia comes off second best? Go with Steve Waugh as Test and one-day captain? One cannot see anybody other than him succeeding Taylor. And as Waugh automatically commands a place in the one-day squad, one cannot look beyond him for a leader there either. Would that then mean a jettisoning of the practice of having two captains? There is a lot of interesting stuff to come; remember you read it here first.