Australia's poor form suggests deeper illness

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 07, 2013 09:48 hrs

​So was it a shortage of intent or insufficient skill that saw Australia hurtle despairingly, and with such great haste, towards a most forgettable defeat? With Australia, not just in cricket but in all sport, absence of intent is rarely a concern. 

They come hard, they seek to win, they are always positive. But as player after player came in and went out, you just wondered if a sense of hopelessness had conquered them.

They have now lost five Tests in a row in India, their worst away record is six in South Africa but even that had a twenty-four year interval in between. These five have now come in five years and must point to a deeper illness.

There has been a lot of talk about Australia’s bare spin bowling cupboard post Shane Warne. That is an issue, but an even greater one, I suspect a more fundamental one, is a severe decline in batting. 

I can’t remember the last time I saw an Australian batting line up with four of the top six averaging in the mid-thirties and an opener, David Warner, only marginally over 40. 

And for the first time I am seeing players doing just enough to stay in the side, not winning matches but making it difficult to drop them.

Michael Clarke has said he will now bat at number four, a position where he averages in the twenties, and that was inevitable. Just as critical would be to put Shane Watson back where he belongs, at the top of the order where he has seen maximum success. 

There is a big difference between coming into bat when the spinners have already taken a couple of wickets and having a few runs behind you when they first bowl.

I won’t be surprised if I see a few moves in that batting order!

Professional Management Group

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