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Tongues wag over Tendulkar's demotion

December 28, 2003 18:59 IST

Sachin Tendulkar's non-emergence from the dressing room towards the fag end of third day's play left tongues wagging at the Melbourne Cricket Ground today.

Tendulkar did not take his customary position at number four at the fall of Virender Sehwag's wicket and it led to speculation Tendulkar did not want to put himself under pressure in the tense final moments of the day's play.

Tendulkar has scores of 0, 1, 37 and 0 from four innings of the series and the word gained ground he was not keen to risk his wicket at that moment of day's play.

Australia's captain-in-waiting Ricky Ponting termed Tendulkar's absence "surprising".

"I would say I was a bit surprised. No doubt he is under a lot of pressure. But then if the team does well tomorrow, the decision would appear a good one," said Ponting.

Indian leg spinner Anil Kumble said the decision to hold back Tendulkar was one taken by captain Sourav Ganguly.

"It was the captain's decision (to hold him back)," said Kumble, a reaction that was endorsed by team manager Shivlal Yadav.

Whatever may have been the thought behind Tendulkar's coming down the order; Ponting was disappointed that his bowlers could not have a go at him.

"We have got to get him out sometime. It would have been nice if we had him out there tonight, but it was not to be, so we will have to wait until he comes out tomorrow and hopefully get him out cheaply."

Ponting said given a same situation, such a thing "would not happen in our side".

"If they think that is the right thing then that is what they do. It probably would not happen in our side," he said adding, "I'm not saying if that is the right or the wrong thing.

"It was a high-pressure situation there tonight and he (Tendulkar) has obviously been feeling a bit of pressure so it will tell tomorrow if it was the right decision.

"If he makes a lot of runs tomorrow then it will probably be the right decision, but if he does not you can say anything you like about it."

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