CLT20 and Michael Hussey - Unearthing the skeletons buried underneath the Southern Cross
But all these above facts were known and throughout the Ashes series, every expert has dissected the possible reasons about Australia’s failure. However, while all the experts only nibbled around the edges of the main problem, the final nail in the Aussie’s coffin was hammered in by Mike Hussey, who came out with some startling revelations that’s send stutters down the spines of the cricket world.
In his upcoming book, Underneath the Southern Cross, Mike Hussey has ripped open the real reasons that’s crippling Australian cricket.
In his book, Hussey expressed his concerns about how the Australian team culture has deteriorated since the retirement of Ricky Ponting, which led to cracks in the team and insecurity among the younger players.
“We were fostering an environment where guys only cared about their positions and didn’t think about the team. The dressing room became just as stressful and tense as [it was] out in the middle…. Our dressing room wasn’t relaxed or calm, or conducive to good play. I didn’t enjoy that tension, and I’m sure some of the guys weren’t enjoying it.” – Mike Hussey
Hussey goes on to reveal that he had a chat about his concerns with the then coach Mikey Arthur but nothing much happened because Mickey Arthur had other issues to focus on and as Hussey puts it, had a “tunnel vision” approach.
However, the thing that strikes the most is the inability of Michael Clarke as a captain to lead his troops off the field. Michael Clarke has often led his team from the front with some sensational knocks in Test cricket and has wowed the critics with his inspired bowling changes and imaginative field placings but it seems now that a serious disintegration of the team culture fostered under his watch.
The retirement of Mike Hussey and the axing of Simon Katich were only the tip of the iceberg but the fall out with Shane Watson and the consequent spurts with various other players painted a sorry picture of Australian cricket. The distinct divide of camps in the Australian set up became evident and the upcoming cricketers, sadly, became a victim of dressing room politics. Their insecurities surfaced even during the CLT20 where they tried too hard to outperform themselves.
Moreover, Clarke’s vote in the selection committee also drove a wedge between the captain and the players. According to Hussey, Clarke’s presence in the dressing room made the Aussies dressing room a suffocating place. The younger players went out of their way to impress the captain while the veterans found it hard “to keep their head down”.
By his own admission, “Standing down as selector one of best things I’ve done” – Clarke too felt the pinch and relinquished his selection duties before the Ashes but the split was already too wide to be bridged.
However, even with all his flaws, Clarke is the only stamp of class that Australia bears and without his presence, Australian cricket looks pedestrian, lacks a leader and would struggle to put up any fight against the Indians and the English during the next two months.
But then again, cricket Australia needs a fresh start and Clarke’s injury might be a blessing in disguise. May be, it’s a good thing to have some else as the top dog instead of the “Pup”. After the forgettable CLT20 performances, Australia needs to straighten their domestic cricket and instill a sense a security among the young players and a new leader might help in building better connections.
Australian cricket is now in a dark tunnel and Hussey’s revelations along with the CLT20 performances have proved that the tunnel might be longer than one thought it to be. Who knows how many more skeletons are still buried Underneath the Southern Cross!