Australia's ego 'battered' - Buchanan
Just weeks after calling for his side to be tested more by the opposition, John Buchanan has admitted Australia's ego took a blow following a run of six defeats in seven matches. The bowling was awful during the Chappell-Hadlee series, twice failing to defend 300-plus totals, and there are serious question-marks over the attack without the pace of Brett Lee and variety of Andrew Symonds.
"There is a bit of ego battered more than anything else," Buchanan told The Courier-Mail. "At the moment it highlights our defence. It's something we have to get right. It is a matter of making sure we do all the homework and do specific training for the team we are about to play."
As Australia strutted their way through the first half of the CB Series, Buchanan voiced concerns that his bowlers were not being put under enough pressure. The first cracks appeared in Perth as Jacob Oram slammed an unbeaten century, then the CB Series slipped away to England and the wheels well and truly came off in New Zealand.
"That is a major area for us to concentrate on," Buchanan said. "If you are getting belted around the park all the time you have lost confidence. It comes back to being very clear on our opposition. And having the ability to execute what we have to do. You have to know your rivals and train that way. We just have to make sure that area is improved in the World Cup."
Nathan Bracken said his desire to bowl at the death had not flagged despite a disappointing tour of New Zealand. Bracken conceded a six to Brendon McCullum with a full toss from the first ball of the 50th over at Hamilton to all but hand over the third match of the series.
"After I saw a replay of the ball, I noticed that the batsman was already a metre down the pitch before I bowled," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I couldn't see where he was standing. I didn't adapt well enough, but from where I was I couldn't see where he was standing. Usually, Clarkey [Michael Clarke] or Punter [Ricky Ponting] will be standing closer to the batsmen and signal to me where the batsman is standing. But in the end, it was my stuff-up."
Bracken said with Lee ruled out of the World Cup, he was desperate to continue the role as Australia's finisher with the ball. "I want to do it, I love to do it," Bracken said. "It's great fun at the end, knowing that whatever you bowl, the batsmen is trying to hit you for four or six. I actually hate not being able to contribute at that stage of the game."