Why the Australian cricket team is dull and boring

Steve Smith’s side has provided ample evidence this Australian side lacks heart and hope.

 |  Gloves Off  |  4-minute read |   24-09-2017
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India vs Australia in any form of cricket is turning out to be an exercise in mediocrity these days. One look, or two looks to be precise at Steve Smith’s side has provided ample evidence this Aussie side lacks heart and hope.

Before the start of the ODI series last Sunday in Chennai, there was plenty of talk if the visitors could come to terms with the wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

They had hired S Sriram as the spin consultant. If getting specialists as consultants could solve problems, then world cricket would become so much more standardised. It’s like how a specialist could help the Indian team when it goes abroad and struggles against pace, swing and seam on livelier wickets.

To be sure, wickets around the world are getting far more predictable, though the two surfaces used by India in Chennai and Kolkata were typically flat. Before the start of the series, former Aussie captain Michael Clarke, arguably one of the better players of spin, had predicted a 3-2 win for his side.

Clarke has spoken to the media in India and at home about his feelings. As one who read spin well, Clarke used to have a simple plan. Watch the ball as late as possible before the bowler released it.

maxwell_092417123328.jpgGlenn Maxwell. [Photo: Indiatoday.in]

In this Aussie side, which is in rebuilding process, there is no grit or character. Batsmen like Steve Smith, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell have been unable to read the two wrist spinners.

In two matches till now, Chahal and Yadav have looked menacing, with the latter’s hat-trick at the Eden Gardens grabbing headlines. It’s not as if the Aussies have never played wrist spin before.

Yadav and Chahal are fearless bowlers. If they look more than menacing, it’s not because they have produced unplayable deliveries. It’s the lack of spine in the Aussie batting which looks so pronounced. Statistics are revealing. In the last five years, the Aussies average against the spinning ball is the fifth best in the world, coming at 41.16 in ODIs.

Worse, when the Aussies come to Asia, their average drops even further by five runs. Statistics point out that even Canada has a better record in Asia. In contrast, India’s average of 51.59 runs, home and away, is the best in the world against spin.

If Steve Smith was almost in tears after watching his team collapse after being unable to score even 250 runs in the Kolkata chase, former Australian greats are distraught. Even in the past, the Aussies may not have looked elegant while tackling spin but to consistently lose ODIs away from home is a huge embarrassment.

Former ODI batting great Michael Bevan took to social media to express his angst. He wrote, “Would love to be considered for the role of ODI batting coach -- where do I apply.” Bevan had an average of 53.58 in 232 ODIs and was with Chennai Super Kings as coach for one season in the IPL 2011.

In a way, this Aussie side is lucky they are not getting too much flak at home as this is their Grand Rules football season ending peak time. For those who are on air and penning columns, watching Steve Smith’s team play without flair is so un-Aussie like. This is almost like a re-run of what one saw at the start of the year when they came to India and lost the Test series.

As far as ODI cricket is concerned, there is a huge slump today. Teams which dominated for long are in the dumps, with West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and now Australia in that list.

Flip through the annals of cricket, you would notice how the Aussies waged great fights, even if they were in trouble. The problem is, unless you have the heart to fight, you can never win. To come with a defeatist attitude and get deflated in two matches is inexplicable.

For a side which fought with its cricket board over salaries and has now got what it wanted, the inability to perform on the field makes for poor viewing. These days, cricket is watched more on television. Yet, if fans are going to witness only one-sided matches, interest in the series will slump further.

Luckily, the third ODI on Sunday is to be played in Indore. Major centres would not care about matches of this nature. Perhaps, Indore would be lucky if it gets to see the Aussie stage some sort of a fight back comeback in a series shorn of competitive interest.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Also read: Why India must treat the Rohingyas with magnanimity


S Kannan S Kannan @kannandelhi

Sports columnist.

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