Let the sky fall: Australia in India
‘This is the end. Hold your breath and count to 10.’
Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur would be forgiven for thinking that Adele had written this song for their team on their disastrous tour of India. As far as Clarke is concerned, everything that could have gone wrong on this tour has gone wrong. Lose the first 3 tests? Check. Suspend 4 players for indiscipline including the vice-captain? Check. Have former Australian players lambast the decision? Check. Lose your strike bowler and your best batsman due to injury? Check. And in between all of that, MS Dhoni and company have been doing their best Raoul Silva impersonations.
So the question that many are asking is this, ‘Just how bad is Australia?’ Funnily enough nobody has asked how good this current Indian team is. 8-0 and, more importantly, 2-1 at home are not easily forgotten. Imagine the backlash if we had lost to this lot. While not quite in the ‘can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field’ category, this series has been painfully one-sided.
I don’t think Australia is a bad team. They may have given a master-class on ‘how not to play the turning ball’ (Michael Clarke and Steven Smith exempted), but they are not a bad team. The Indian team that went to England and Australia wasn’t bad, it was just probably a tour too many for some. This Australian team is inexperienced and will do better. There have been encouraging signs; Ed Cowan has been prepared to fight it out; James Pattinson has proved that searing pace can have an effect no matter what the surface; Phil Hughes has looked a much more confident batsman in his last 2 innings, but after the tour he had up was the only way; David Warner has looked good and Peter Siddle has put in a lion-hearted effort.
Throughout the tour, Michael Clarke has stood up and lead from the front, whether with the willow in hand, while directing proceedings on the field and even while laying down the law in the now infamous ‘homework-gate’. While Clarke is not quite 007, Australia has a great captain who is also a pretty damn good batsman. There is a scene from the film ‘Dead Poets Society’, where some of the class stand up on their chairs and say ‘Oh Captain, my Captain’. While Watson and co. should not try anything as strenuous as standing on chairs lest they get rotated out of the next match due to ‘Informed Player Management’ or whatever they’re calling it these days, Clarke needs some support. It would be a shame if 10 consecutive Ashes tests are as one-sided as this series.