Too much planning and flawed execution: The Australian way of playing spin
Planning is important, in many ways it forms the basis of striding ahead and putting the plans into actions, it is what inherently makes the execution flawless.
Planning is all about vision, the ability to forecast the future and then formulate strategies, but it all boils down to execution, for when the dust settles if the execution is awry, there is a very bleak line between vision and hallucination. Hallucination is no good, judgments are clouded and then what transpires is flawed decision making… all shrouded in self-doubt, slithering away into ignominy!
And thus when Australia faltered again in front of spin, all over again, in Ranchi, this planning was dragged out, naked and exposed with nowhere to hide.
Ever since they unravelled in Chennai against wrist spin, the Australians have spoken about planning against their menace, they have spoken about conjuring a new ‘game plan’ to take on the Indian spin. They sound confident during the pressers, chest swollen out, a grin while fielding questions, and as soon as they waddle out to face spin, they freeze, swat away, prod without purpose, hack at almost anything and they are dismissed without any significant success to show for their aforementioned efforts.
Glenn Maxwell moves around in the field with a lot of purpose, he jumps around, throws verbals at the opposition players, there is so much confidence in his demeanour, until he takes the bat and faces Yuzvendra Chahal. Bear in mind, in Ranchi Maxwell was making a comeback after being axed for the final two ODI matches. He responded by making room, exposing his stumps, and then hacking his bat, more in hope and prayer than with any conviction. Another coat of varnish on the stumps and the ball would have met with the stumps to end Maxwell’s upcoming misery.
This did not happen, and Maxwell took guard against Pandya, who kept banging the ball on a length with subtle changes of pace, he continued slashing at anything remotely close to him, it was as if someone had convinced him to smash the ball out of shape and get his strike rate to 250 from the first ball.
He was struggling against pace, but there was still the twinkle in his eyes, but then Chahal was introduced into the attack.
Shortish ball on off, Maxwell goes back cuts it to deep point. Sedate.4
Next ball on a length, bites the surface, turns a touch, Maxwell shapes up to cut, outside edge taken and the ball flies past a vacant slip towards the boundary. BOUNDARY, yes, Maxwell settled, no!
And then Chahal decides to fire one in, it was a filthy flat ball, short and sat up, Maxwell decides to pull it with almighty power and spoons it up to Jasprit Bumrah at short mid-wicket. He was looking to dominate, so much so, that he forgot survival.
4th dismissal in four attempts for Chahal as he covered his face with guilt more than pride after that abysmal ball, but the result screamed out to console him. Maxwell whizzed off the field… the execution was flawed, what is the need for plans?
Aaron Finch was gliding at the other end, using power and finesse in equal measure, and yes he was sticking to his ‘plans’. He faced Kuldeep Yadav and decided to sweep him, he did it for 5 consecutive balls, getting down low and belting them towards deep square leg.
Kuldeep paused a touch before his sixth ball, modified the position of the deep square leg fielder, hopped in and fired in a full quick ball. Finch shaped to sweep again, panicked at seeing the full ball, then decided to flick it away, all too late, that white nut snuck in between bat and ball and demolished the stumps!
Plans yes, execution too rigid, it became flawed, what was the need for plans then?
“I found sweep was the safer option. One, to get off the strike, and [two,] to get a boundary as well if I could pick out a gap. But I kept picking out a fielder. The ball that I got out on was a little bit of brain fade, I went to sweep and just tried to chip him on the on side for one, and missed it. It happens in the games, in particular in T20s," Finch conceded after the match.
The planning is so evident the flawed execution is even more glaring.
And then there was Moises Henriques, who did not want to muck around, or so it seemed, kept charging down the track and kept trying to slog the ball away, only to miss it, only to be befuddled by the flight, the dip, the length and the lack of bounce. He was castled, his plans were in place, but it lay flat, much like his middle stump!
"We had a chat after our second game about the spinners, particularly hitting the ball down the ground and things like that and hitting the men in the deep and I thought we did that for a couple of games," Steve Smith had said after the annihilation in the ODI series.
There is no lack of effort, there is no lack of intent, and by no means, there is any lack of the will to fight. However, there is a lack of purpose, a lack of effort to slug it out, play dirty, and minimize risks!
"We're just not taking our words out in the middle and doing it with action, unfortunately," Smith said.
This is where the problem lies, too many words, plenty of planning, clouded mindsets, and flawed execution!