Australia: Nowhere to go?
Time is a great leveller. Not so long ago India were touring Australia which turned out to be one of their worst ever tours. Clarke and Mickey Arthur could do nothing wrong and India could do nothing right. A year later with the tables turned, nothing seems to be going right for Australian Cricket.
Two thrashings in as many Tests have brought the skeletons out of the cupboard. A frustrated captain, a rubbish spin attack, poor batting skills and the latest “disciplinary” issues have taken Aussie cricket to rock bottom. With things dragging on from bad to worse with new problems tumbling out each day, this tour promises to be a disastrous tour for the touring party.
Micheal Clarke’s batting has been the only bright spot in the tour. He has certainly lived up to the expectations of being one of the best players of spin in Australia, but unfortunately none of his teammates have managed to replicate that. The captaincy though has been below par, considering his high standards. He more looks like a frustrated man with no clue what to do next. He, along with the selectors headed by John Inverarity, has committed blunders right from the beginning of the tour.
For instance, the decision to play four pacers in the Chennai Test. On a bone-dry pitch with loads of promise for spin, Aussies made a blunder by roping in four seamers. The decision to play the lone spinner in Nathan Lyon backfired with Dhoni shattering his confidence by smoking him all across the ground.
Then came the Hyderabad Test. Lyon was dropped and in came the over-hyped million dollar man. Inverarity’s idea of fielding the so called “multi tasking” players backfired. Maxwell proved that he is not even fit for a no.8 slot in Tests and is not any good with his tweakers. Though he picked up 4 wickets eventually, it came at a time when nothing was left for Australia. The left armer “ODI” specialist, Doherty, proved no good either. With selectors overlooking the highest spin wicket taker in Sheffield Shield, Steve O’keefe, it was bound to be yet another disastrous call by the selectors. The blunders just didn’t end there. With India playing with two world-class off spinners, the decision to flood the top 3 with left handers turned out to be yet another fatal call. Eventually the match was lost by an innings and 135 runs. If that wasn’t enough, Australia didn’t even manage to score the runs scored by the Vijay/Pujara partnership in two innings combined. Lessons were to be learnt after this thrashing and Clarke being the fighter that he is, vowed to fight back and make his colleagues work harder.
Then came the shocker on Monday. When the whole world was trying to move on with the concept of teachers giving homework to students and then punishing if the latter failed to do it, the Aussie management still seems to be in the old mindset. Four players – Watson, Pattinson, Khawaja and Johnson – were sacked for the third Test. The four players, who were almost a certainty for the third Test, were kicked out for failing to do their homework. Watson, who among the lot is the second best player of spin, decided to leave home almost immediately. Pattinson, who was the only bowler to threaten the Indians, also had to bear the brunt of the decision. Khawaja, tipped to replace the struggling Hughes, and Johnson, who is the most experienced bowler in these conditions, had to learn the hard way the importance of homework ethics.
With the third Test being played in Mohali which is known to be the fastest pitch in India and the temperatures in north India. unlike the south, generally mild during this time of the year, Australia can hope for some respite. Although the grass on the pitch has been shaved off, Mohali traditionally offers an even contest between bat and bowl. India won both the games previously played against Australia with the last being a 1-wicket thrilling win. The odds might be heavily stacked against the Aussies, but it’s never possible for a sane man to write off the Kangaroos. With the Ashes coming up and this tour increasingly becoming a monumental disaster, Micheal Clarke’s tensions only seem to rise with each minute passing by.With the stalwarts Ponting and Hussey retiring in quick succession, Clarke’s task of handling an inexperienced side is increasingly becoming painful and stressful. Time to learn some yoga stress busters Mr.Clarke!