Australia news March 23, 2013

Clarke smarting from 'kick up the backside'

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As Michael Clarke left for India in February, he forecast the tour as the most difficult of his captaincy. He landed back in Sydney on Sunday with that grim prognostication very much intact, having presided over three consecutive defeats, a breakdown of team discipline ruled punishable by the suspension of four players, and the further deterioration of his troublesome back.

In Clarke's absence from Delhi, the tourists have belatedly found some semblance of the competitive under the interim leadership of Shane Watson, showing a visible rise in aggression on the second afternoon. Clarke watched these events in Singapore between his flights, and said he hoped the team would salvage a belated reward from the tour with a closing victory.

Such a result would indicate some progress within the team, but there are plenty of questions to be asked of a tour that now seems as though it was doomed before it began due to the players' scant preparation, faulty skills and jaded attitudes. Answering for the results in a clipped manner, Clarke conceded the unprecedented events before the Mohali Test had been a "kick up the backside" for all.

"It certainly made us realise that what we thought were the little things are quite large in our group and important to our group having success," Clarke said. "I think the team have responded very well, the players who were left out have come back really well, and it's good to see a few of those guys getting opportunities in this Test.

"It was one of the toughest challenges of my career and I'm sure it has been for the other guys as well. Travelling to India and playing there is always tough. We knew we were going to face a lot of spin bowling and we have done. I think we'll learn from that, everybody will walk out of India as a better player and certainly more well prepared next time we go there for Test matches."

Better prepared for India perhaps, but the most pressing matter now is how this series sets up the team for the Ashes. Clarke's own fitness is clouded after he missed a Test match due to his back problems for the first time. Clarke also admitted he was still carrying a tender hamstring from the home summer, and said he would "do as I'm told" by medical staff in deciding whether or not to return to India for the IPL.

"I'll have scans this week and spend plenty of time with the physio, fingers crossed it turns out okay," Clarke said. "Sitting down for 12 hours has made it a little bit stiff, but I'm really confident that I'm in good hands with my physio here in Sydney.

"I'd be silly to make that decision [on the IPL] right now, I think I need to wait on the results, listen to the experts and then make a plan from there. I've had my back issues since I was 17 years of age so this is no different. In regards to my hamstring I hurt it throughout the Australian summer and it has just lingered on. I haven't had the opportunity to get that 100% fit due to how much cricket we've had."

Plenty of other questions about the tour remain to be satisfactorily answered. Clarke said his deputy Watson was not included alongside the coach Mickey Arthur and the team manager Gavin Dovey in discussions around the decision to suspend four players in Mohali because "he was one of the players the decision was getting made on" but was otherwise steadily involved in decision-making.

Nathan Lyon's handling across the trip has also been wondered at by many, his omission from the team to play in Hyderabad made to look still more bizarre by his success as a confident and aggressive off spinner in Delhi.

"I think it's exciting for him, again to get a little reward at the end of the tour would be very satisfying for him, and I think for the team if we could get a win in the last Test would show the hard work we've put in and the lessons we've learned. It would be lovely to take a little reward away."

Clarke offered no substantial explanation for his call to limit James Pattinson to two spells of three overs each on Australia's first bowling day of the series, despite the young fast bowler ripping out two early wickets and looking the team's most dangerous bowler by a distance at arguably its most pivotal point.

"It's just the way it goes, sometimes you bowl 15 overs straight or 21 overs straight like Nathan Lyon yesterday, sometimes you bowl short spells," Clarke said. "There was no real reason behind that."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Caino94 on March 25, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Clarke should not be thinking about the IPL, he should be signing up to a english county team to climatise to english swinging and seaming conditions. If there's one thing they can take note of from this tour of India is to be better prepared next time for an important series. Ed Cowan has made the smart move by signing up to an english county. Australia needs their top 6 batsmen (and bowlers) to be playing atleast a month before that first test starts in england. You saw the preparation the english had when they came doiwn-under in 2010-11 and look at the result... my starting IX for the Ashes 1. Cowan 2. Warner 3. Watson (bowling too) 4. Hughes 5. Clarke (c) 6. Khawaja 7. Wade (wk) 8. Siddle 9. Pattinson 10. Lyon 11. Bird Im sick of this "must have an all-rounder" policy..our 4 bowlers with the help of some part timers (Clarke, Warner) have the talent to bowl the english out... We played Hussey (a batsmen) at No.6 and had success plus I expect Watson to be bowling soon.

  • DeckChairand6pack on March 25, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    If only Lyon and Siddle could bowl they would make half decent all rounders!

  • Raju_Iyer on March 25, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    The beauty of this wonderful game is its unpredictability. Even as NZ are on the verge of defeating England in the final test, it is clear that no one can predict outcomes with certainty. Certainly even the most ardent of Indian fans could not have foreseen such complete dominance, so there is definite hope yet for the Ashes turning out to be an exciting contest

  • adityakrish7 on March 25, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Next time better prepared???This is exactly what they said when they came and lost here during 2008 and 2010..yet they learnt nothing...now after loosing 4-0,they are repeating the same answer..pity them!!

  • Meety on March 25, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    @handyandy on (March 24, 2013, 11:02 GMT) - there is no history of Clarke alienating North. Katich was dropped from the Oz side for failing to disclose the extent of an injury during the Ashes which prevented him contributing properly to the team. Symonds was a train wreck waiting to happen.

  • Amith_S on March 25, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I am a big fan of Khawaja and Hughes. In Khawaja's case i also think he was dropped unfairly but many players before him have so i won't get into that call. THe key thing is he showed positive intend by going to the Bulls and the results were obvious, he is a great ambassador for the subcontinent community and the support on this site other other sites from our subcontinent fans shows that but he has to be picked on merit and runs only and on that basis he does deserve selection. No doubting he would have played today in Mohali, so lets hope we see him in Dehli in the 4th test. And I know Hughes had a dissapointing tour but he will get better in the ashes, stick with him.

  • bobagorof on March 25, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    @handyandy: Has David Hussey managed to get his season's average above 21 yet? Despite his experience, it's no good picking a guy who can't score a run. That's why Ponting was tapped on the shoulder.

    But selecting form domestic players is what kept Australia strong and helped to form a winning team. Drop non-performers and bring in someone who is in-form. Burns, Smith, Doolan, Khawaja, have all shown form this season. They're not stars yet, but they're all (reasonably) young and will be around for a while.

    And look at what the coaching staff are actually telling the players. Watson's ungainly swipe and Maxwell's yahoo on a dodgy pitch did not convey a lot of smarts. What is the role of the coach regarding shot selection? Aren't they supposed to be helping them prepare properly?

  • bobagorof on March 25, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    I'm really not surprised by the result, given the preparation (or lack thereof) and the selections that were made. The team arrived in dribs and drabs, trying to cover all bases (indicating that they didn't have a solid plan), and with personnel who were obviously out of form or selected on ODI performance. It's hard to remember a team with such a poor build-up to a series, except maybe the last time Australia went to India (with Hussey and Bollinger playing Twenty20 until a day or so before the Test). Australia got what they deserved.

    Perhaps the management will decide to properly prepare players - if not having them arrive earlier, then preparing practice pitches at home that simulate conditions the way Hayden did in 2001 before his amazing series. Selecting based on form, too, was recommended by Argus but ignored for this series (Doherty and Maxwell). Picking players adept at the conditions (Smith, Khawaja) may have seen a better batting effort, too.

  • farkin on March 25, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    its hard to make runs when there is only 6 batsmen in the team and 4 of them are bowlers

  • satishchandar on March 25, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    IPL should be the last ting Clarke should be worrying at the moment. He has a back to back Ashes t look upon which will require him in full form and 100% fit..

  • Caino94 on March 25, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Clarke should not be thinking about the IPL, he should be signing up to a english county team to climatise to english swinging and seaming conditions. If there's one thing they can take note of from this tour of India is to be better prepared next time for an important series. Ed Cowan has made the smart move by signing up to an english county. Australia needs their top 6 batsmen (and bowlers) to be playing atleast a month before that first test starts in england. You saw the preparation the english had when they came doiwn-under in 2010-11 and look at the result... my starting IX for the Ashes 1. Cowan 2. Warner 3. Watson (bowling too) 4. Hughes 5. Clarke (c) 6. Khawaja 7. Wade (wk) 8. Siddle 9. Pattinson 10. Lyon 11. Bird Im sick of this "must have an all-rounder" policy..our 4 bowlers with the help of some part timers (Clarke, Warner) have the talent to bowl the english out... We played Hussey (a batsmen) at No.6 and had success plus I expect Watson to be bowling soon.

  • DeckChairand6pack on March 25, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    If only Lyon and Siddle could bowl they would make half decent all rounders!

  • Raju_Iyer on March 25, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    The beauty of this wonderful game is its unpredictability. Even as NZ are on the verge of defeating England in the final test, it is clear that no one can predict outcomes with certainty. Certainly even the most ardent of Indian fans could not have foreseen such complete dominance, so there is definite hope yet for the Ashes turning out to be an exciting contest

  • adityakrish7 on March 25, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Next time better prepared???This is exactly what they said when they came and lost here during 2008 and 2010..yet they learnt nothing...now after loosing 4-0,they are repeating the same answer..pity them!!

  • Meety on March 25, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    @handyandy on (March 24, 2013, 11:02 GMT) - there is no history of Clarke alienating North. Katich was dropped from the Oz side for failing to disclose the extent of an injury during the Ashes which prevented him contributing properly to the team. Symonds was a train wreck waiting to happen.

  • Amith_S on March 25, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I am a big fan of Khawaja and Hughes. In Khawaja's case i also think he was dropped unfairly but many players before him have so i won't get into that call. THe key thing is he showed positive intend by going to the Bulls and the results were obvious, he is a great ambassador for the subcontinent community and the support on this site other other sites from our subcontinent fans shows that but he has to be picked on merit and runs only and on that basis he does deserve selection. No doubting he would have played today in Mohali, so lets hope we see him in Dehli in the 4th test. And I know Hughes had a dissapointing tour but he will get better in the ashes, stick with him.

  • bobagorof on March 25, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    @handyandy: Has David Hussey managed to get his season's average above 21 yet? Despite his experience, it's no good picking a guy who can't score a run. That's why Ponting was tapped on the shoulder.

    But selecting form domestic players is what kept Australia strong and helped to form a winning team. Drop non-performers and bring in someone who is in-form. Burns, Smith, Doolan, Khawaja, have all shown form this season. They're not stars yet, but they're all (reasonably) young and will be around for a while.

    And look at what the coaching staff are actually telling the players. Watson's ungainly swipe and Maxwell's yahoo on a dodgy pitch did not convey a lot of smarts. What is the role of the coach regarding shot selection? Aren't they supposed to be helping them prepare properly?

  • bobagorof on March 25, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    I'm really not surprised by the result, given the preparation (or lack thereof) and the selections that were made. The team arrived in dribs and drabs, trying to cover all bases (indicating that they didn't have a solid plan), and with personnel who were obviously out of form or selected on ODI performance. It's hard to remember a team with such a poor build-up to a series, except maybe the last time Australia went to India (with Hussey and Bollinger playing Twenty20 until a day or so before the Test). Australia got what they deserved.

    Perhaps the management will decide to properly prepare players - if not having them arrive earlier, then preparing practice pitches at home that simulate conditions the way Hayden did in 2001 before his amazing series. Selecting based on form, too, was recommended by Argus but ignored for this series (Doherty and Maxwell). Picking players adept at the conditions (Smith, Khawaja) may have seen a better batting effort, too.

  • farkin on March 25, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    its hard to make runs when there is only 6 batsmen in the team and 4 of them are bowlers

  • satishchandar on March 25, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    IPL should be the last ting Clarke should be worrying at the moment. He has a back to back Ashes t look upon which will require him in full form and 100% fit..

  • hamathite on March 25, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    Again, australia WILL be white-washed in the ashes. team in down-ward spiral!

  • heathrf1974 on March 25, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    Australia need a lot of work with spinning decks, but it is no surprise given their experience and abilities as players. I hope Haddin plays wicket-keeper in England and bats at number 7. We need six batsman and to stop experimenting with allrounders. I hope Bird, Pattinson, Siddle and Harris will be in the squad along with Lyon. Many people are bagging out Lyon, but people need to remember he is 25. Swann and Ajmal were not representing their nations at that age. Regarding the batting, the Aussies have limited options. I guess Clarke, Watson, Warner, Hughes, Cowan, Khawaja, Smith and Marsh. I'm fine with Clarke as captain but would like to see Lehmann and coach and for him to bring his own team.

  • handyandy on March 25, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    blink182alex ... I explained why he wasn't a good captain. It has nothing to do with his tactics but rather his people handling skills and ability to build team spirit.

    One incident I recall with Katich, which apparently nearly ended in blows, was when Clarke refused to hang around for the post match victory celebration. It may seem trivial but it is the sort of thing that bonds team members.

    The fact that Clarke seems to rub his team members the wrong way does nothing for team unity.

  • farkin on March 25, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    no ipl for your boy get back in the nets for a long time to help your batting

  • Beertjie on March 25, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    Clarke's non-answer to the Patto question is revealing. My guess is that he was afraid of him breaking down and only bowled him when India took control when holding him back became less of an option. Further this suggests he is a prime mover in the selection of Wade at 6 and the all rounder at 7. This is a clear failure and should be immediately discontinued. The batting very evidently is the main weakness and it is better to pick the best 6 specialist batters and 4 bowlers. In identifying the players the strength of the opposition needs to be appreciated. Players who are believed to be capable of playing the swinging ball provided they are coming off a good FC season need to be picked. That rules out Steve Smith, but requires the stop-gap Rogers. Too many lefties and poor keeping standing up means Wade's demotion behind Haddin (new v-c). Sure these are stop-gaps but they address the issue of experience and familiarity with conditions. Khawaja too needs to play alongside other batters

  • MacdaddyOZ on March 24, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    @blink182alex being a good captain is more than just tactial nouse. Clarke suffers from an arrogant disposition which unfortunately does not help garner the respect of his team mates. He might very well becoming a great test batsman but he is far from ever being a great test leader.

  • RandyOZ on March 24, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    There is no doubt about it, Watson and Cowan are protected speices. The current crop of Aussies are literally the least deserving to wear the baggy green in history.

  • on March 24, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    @RaadQ Here's some homework for ya, chump.

    Check out S.K. Warne's average with the ball in India.

    I'll be waiting right here...

  • on March 24, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    Make George Bailey captain for The Ashes and let Clarke concentrate on his batting. Swap Watson with D Hussey ...we have nothing to lose. Clarke needs to concentrate on his batting...if only Ponting were available...

  • indiarox4ever on March 24, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    Clarke and Mickey Arthur will slowly but surely lead this jaded team to disaster. Clarke's popularity within the team is also questionable. For the ashes, Clarke will face his counterpart Cook, who is not only performing better than him but also has 100% backing of his team. if one was to pit all test playing nations against each other over a popularity contest, the West Indies and Australian sides would stand on the two extremities and no prizes for guessing the most 'likable' team. Indians used to complain about Duncan Fletcher but after Australia's debacle in India we feel we are lucky that we do not have someone like Mickey Arthur. How we miss a certain Mr Kirsten. The best coach in the world at the moment

  • ihaq1 on March 24, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    well clarkes selection's and tactics have been questioned..he should have brought a tougher team both mentally and in their ability to play spin...obviously teh coach did not prepare teh players for playing spin...as for indian spinners they bowled better than they did against england...i would suggest that inverarity look at the team selected by shane warne which has a greater depth and strengths both mentally and physically....teh selectors also should look to have two or three batsmen in reserve in case teh normal team fails...also when u have fast bowlers in teh team than they thers is no point in having four spinners...once u see the pitches two fast bowlers and two spinners with teh alrounder preferably being a spinner too...when u fail batting first so many times it is better to put in teh opposition in to bat on teh pitch where they played last...the team should also know which spinner is tobe preferred...and even when punishing palyers there is no point in penalising teh best

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 24, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    Clarke has proved himself one of the worst man-managers currently in the game and now has the historic record of captaining two whitewashes: One inflicted by England last year, and now this whitewash by India. His selection ideas have been appalling (he seemed more than content with going to India without a spinner) and Australia need to get rid of him soon in order to start this 'transition phase', which hasn't even begun yet. Watson is a better choice as captain and should remain there.

  • blink182alex on March 24, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    @handyandy. Clarke isn't a good captain? what a ridiculous comment to make, tactically he is the best captain in the world by a mile, but no matter how good a captain is they are only as good as their team. Stephen Fleming was a superb captain for NZ but that didn't mean they would beat everyone. Dhoni's test captaincy in England and Australia was embarrassing and whilst Smith is a good captain, he is an excellent leader but was way short of Clarke last Nov/Dec, however is blessed with a team with 7 future legends in it.

  • on March 24, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    It is a massive injury and there are culprits..even when they play Ashes..the disaster will haunt and this series will be talked about.

  • on March 24, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    As captain, I am surprised Clarke didnt stay on to watch the fourth test. I thought when he was appointed it was a poor choice but he has proved me wrong by making lots of runs. Saying that I don't think he had a very good summer as captain and this series was terrible. Some blaringly obvious mistakes like poor selections and the nonbowling of patterson in the first test. I also think he should have supported Lyon more or at least should have told him to stop bowling darts. While I am also not a fan of Watson (the batter, as an allrounder he has a lot of merit) I think he tried some interesting things and got Lyon bowling more to his potential.

  • on March 24, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    The disciplinary proceedings against players for flimsy reasons, has affected the rhythm of the australian team. Though, India played better cricket than their counterpart, still India had some agonising moments before finishing off well. Murali Vijay was in a hurry to finish the innings by trying reverse-sweep even before settling.

  • handyandy on March 24, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    Clarke is not a good captain ... but who else is there?

    He has a long history of alienating other players. Symonds, Katich and North are all well documented and it has been hinted that there have been more problems in the current squad.The problem is that Clarke's authoritarian methods aren't producing the results they should.

    That Australia isn't winning isn't the problem. The problem is that the players are performing poorly.

    Apart from Clarke no current Australian batsman is averaging 40 runs or more an innings.

    A lot of changes are going to have to be made starting with Clarke himself. He need to start consulting with players like Ian Chappell, Ponting and other Australian skippers about how to manage players.

    Darren Leehmann needs to be made Australian coach ASAP.

    Top shield performers need to be promoted to the test team ASAP. Players like Chis Rogers and David Hussey.

  • Ms.Cricket on March 24, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    The Australian team looks tense, anxious and under-pressure when playing under Michael Clarke, not the sign of a good leader.

  • SASANK360 on March 24, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Forget IPL, who would care to play it.. I hope Clarke has all the energy to regain full fitness and lead his team to the top. No doubt he's a top class batsman. Defeat against us Indians doesn't matter. Even we are not getting carried away by our victory. Go ahead and work hard and try winning Ashes. You have tons of respect from our Indian fans.

  • Paul_Rampley on March 24, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @Sunil and @hycIass i can see your points and agree with them. I think its best to put the homework saga behind us and move on. This squad should be the one we take to ashes as its only by putting faith in our guys will we become a stronger group. And yes agree that Khawaja should get his crack soon, he is too good not to. And We can't find another Mike Hussey overnight, legends don't come around that easily. Clarke will lead us into the ashes and i look forward to seeing him belt the Engllsh bowlers.

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 24, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Michael Clarke is a terrible T20 player. Ponting is your man. Ponting was great in T20 before T20 was popular. I was shocked and upset that Ponting quit T20 but glad when Clarke did.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 24, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    I don't think he will play in the IPL. His contract should be bought out by the Pune Warriors and given to another better player of T20. Clarke can relax and contemplate another looming defeat in the Ashes. Thanks for coming to India Pup.

  • I.Aziz on March 24, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    First man needs kick in back side is coach who is trying to discipline a well disciplined Australian team instead of putting more efforts to improve cricket he is trying to show how good an administrator he is. CA please for the good of Australian cricket get rid off him.

  • Romenevans on March 24, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    He quietly left India and left Watson for last match series presentation and handful of after series press conferences of humiliation by the media. But guess what? Watto has led the team a lot better than pup.

  • Greatest_Game on March 24, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    Clarke's answer to questions about Pattinson's limited bowling is not the answer of the brilliant tactician portrayed in an accompanying article. He is either evading answering for his tactical errors, or a simpleton if he rotates his bowlers without any reason. It seems that without Ponting or Hussey to lean on he is adrift, and somewhat clueless. The myth of Clarke the super captain is rapidly unravelling, and the truth is emerging. With such questionable competence at the helm, the big question is the one Chappel poses - who is the candidate for Aus' next captain? Chappel was theorizing about a change in leadership on 4 or 5 years. The reality might be 4 or 5 months.

  • Mitty2 on March 24, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    The pattinson issue is a trivial and inconsequential matter. It provides little baring on the series' results and if any one does think so, it would be like saying that doherty's erroneous LBW decision as number 11 would have lost us the match at mohali. Sure, it could have got us a draw, but wondering over these aren't going to be helpful in the future. Not to mention that patto constantly gets injured and it was a good idea to bowl him in fast, short sharp spells to get wickets through pace as the pitch wasn't helping

    The main thing for this series is for players to grow and gain experience. Cowan, patto and siddle were the stand outs in other wise regressing standards. Cowan has had two wrong decisions against him, and has shown a great way to graft, occupy the crease and build an innings in difficult conditions. He looks adaptable and intelligent. Siddle, with a terrible average in India, has overcome that and found a different way to bowl with reverse swing. Patto looks the goods

  • RaadQ on March 24, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Nathan LYON is a joke. He is averaging 44 with the ball in the most favourable of conditions possible. Jajeda and Ashwin are averaging under 20, that is more than TWICE AS GOOD. Just remember, these bowlers struggled against England, they aren't even the top 5 spinners (ajmal, swann, herath, rehman, panesar). And you can't use the excuse the Indian batsman are too good, they too struggled against England. In summary, Indian club cricket could produce better bowlers than this joker. A third grade cricketer could yield better results than him.

  • Clyde on March 24, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    Journalists do not focus their cameras on Mr Arthur in coaching sessions on the field or in back rooms. Is Mr Arthur relevant, or not? On the one hand he is said to have been an instigator of the homework crisis. On the other, all we spectators get on his actual performance - what he says and what he does, as coach - is hidden. We got a glimpse in the term 'skin fold'. Generally, all we get a few of his facial expressions as he sits in the stands. Either he is relevant or he is not and I would like to know which is true.

  • Jayzuz on March 24, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    I suppose the haters will come out in force again. But the fact is that Clarke has done a great job with the team over the two years before this tour. And there's no reason to think the good work cannot continue beyond this tour. The current team is very inexperienced, and most are on their first tour of India. There are other factors also, but I'm tired of repeating the obvious, and complaining about them doesn't help anyone. That's what I like about Clarke. When the Indian and SL teams got whipped in Australia their captains were constantly moaning publicly about pitches, umpiring, ball tampering, biased media coverage, sledging, games being called off b/c of rain etc. Anything to deflect responsibility away from the teams' performances and blame someone else. You won't see Clarke and the AUS team playing the victim game.

  • hyclass on March 24, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    I hope everyone takes the time to read the Rick McKoscker article on cricket in Australia before the malaise of political correctness and rampant over-controlling and over-coaching became a feature. This along with selecting far too early in Shield careers to promote unsustainable self-serving policies by CA has unnecessarily impeded Australian cricket's progress. People should take particular notice of this exchange between Ian Chappell and Rick McKoscker on his debut. The first thing that Ian Chappell said to me - and I had never met him before - the day before my debut, was, "Congratulations. I'm not asking you to change anything. You got this far by playing the way you play, by being the way you are." That was all I needed to hear. I was never coached at any stage in my life. You just do things that come naturally.By god I wish that Ian Chappell had been in charge of this Australian group. Guys like Hughes and Hauritz would have been left to play their own games, their own way.

  • Sunil_Batra on March 24, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    Fact remains that with all that's been going on in the last days we forgot that the real reason we are down in this series is because of our top order, Hughes needs to improve, he had issues with Martin before and now with spin, Clarke likes him, i get this, but if he doesn't get runs in the second innngs then surely he has to go back to shield. And these issues aplly to the whole team and not just these 4 guys. Lets not use this series to put blame on guys who forgot their homework, Pattinson and Johsnon will be important bowlers for us in the ashes and Khawaja will be one of our better players of swing bowling in the ashes and needs to be given his chance. To me it all feels like they used these 4 guys as scapegoats for bad performances in this tour(when 2 of these guys) haven't even played a game when the punishment was handed.

  • hycIass on March 24, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    This situation should have been dealt with betteer. As a season business traveller myself, if I was forced to submit "wellness reports" to my boss I would do more than tell him to get notted.The problem is, a bunch of hangers on, with no real talent or ability themselves,need to justify their existence by exerting their authority over a bunch of young talented sportsmen… and the sportsmen are getting tired of it. Ive been on footy tours before, someone i always late… someone always wears the wrong tie.. etc… its what happens on tours. The usual thing for an indiscretion is you put $20 in the jar for the end of trip party and you have to carry some stupid mascot like a stuffed seagull around until the next guy screws up, that would be a much better way of handling this situation. How Pattinson and Khawaja did not play in a must win match in Mohali was not acceptable and Khawaja didn't even get a single game in this series so he can't be blamed for much.

  • on March 24, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    .. whatever you deduce from the events of the past month .... unreservedly we should conclude that having the captain and the coach as 'selectors' is an experiment that didnt work ! Also I dont see how we can proceed successfully under a coach and management team that allowed ( caused ? ) the "homework" fiasco to be an internationally public disaster/embarrassment in the middle of a difficult tour . And why does Australian cricket need a Sth African Coach and English and Aust. Rugby administrators to be calling the shots. Does anyone out there really think that Australia cant find suitable candidates for these roles within the extensive and highly trained and experienced( not to mention passionately and patriotically committed) ranks of past Australian Test players who now populate the coaching fraternity worldwide ....and while we are at it ... I don't suppose Mr Sutherland who has presided over this whole mess could find a suitably sharp sword that he might crawl away and fall on ?

  • ARad on March 24, 2013, 0:35 GMT

    After his cricketing career, I hope Michael Clarke would start a Public Relations company that specializes in damage control of celebrities and corporations. If the Aussie performance shows improvement, it is not, as Clarke claims, because of the effect of the homeworkgate. These are the reasons: Smith was not in the team before Mohali. Lyon did not bowl too well in Mohali. Starc made Australian scores look much decent but he failed in his specialty, bowling. Only Hughes can be claimed to have been improved by the homeworkgate but he could only go up, couldn't he? Given all this, if Aussies are performing better, it is because of the pitch and/or Watson's captaincy and/or Clarke not being in the team. I am sure that is not how Clarke wants to SPIN this. His other answers re. dropping Lyon, the lack of input from Watson re. the homeworkgate and Pattinson's short spells in Chennai indicate that Clarke could be part of the problem rather than solution.

  • hycIass on March 24, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    What we need to do is stop blaming the off field excuses for our on field issues. We lost this series simply because of our batsman, they were not able to handle spin with Ashwin destroying our lefties and that was the end of it. Our spinners did not perform in the first 3 tests and their batsman got away. The gang of 4 were not responsible for this debacle and its good to see Clarke acknowledge that the 4 have respnded well to the punishments but lets not start a blame game and focus on the ashes. Johnson, Khawaja, Pattinson should all be key part of our ashes attack.

  • hycIass on March 24, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    What we need to do is stop blaming the off field excuses for our on field issues. We lost this series simply because of our batsman, they were not able to handle spin with Ashwin destroying our lefties and that was the end of it. Our spinners did not perform in the first 3 tests and their batsman got away. The gang of 4 were not responsible for this debacle and its good to see Clarke acknowledge that the 4 have respnded well to the punishments but lets not start a blame game and focus on the ashes. Johnson, Khawaja, Pattinson should all be key part of our ashes attack.

  • ARad on March 24, 2013, 0:35 GMT

    After his cricketing career, I hope Michael Clarke would start a Public Relations company that specializes in damage control of celebrities and corporations. If the Aussie performance shows improvement, it is not, as Clarke claims, because of the effect of the homeworkgate. These are the reasons: Smith was not in the team before Mohali. Lyon did not bowl too well in Mohali. Starc made Australian scores look much decent but he failed in his specialty, bowling. Only Hughes can be claimed to have been improved by the homeworkgate but he could only go up, couldn't he? Given all this, if Aussies are performing better, it is because of the pitch and/or Watson's captaincy and/or Clarke not being in the team. I am sure that is not how Clarke wants to SPIN this. His other answers re. dropping Lyon, the lack of input from Watson re. the homeworkgate and Pattinson's short spells in Chennai indicate that Clarke could be part of the problem rather than solution.

  • on March 24, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    .. whatever you deduce from the events of the past month .... unreservedly we should conclude that having the captain and the coach as 'selectors' is an experiment that didnt work ! Also I dont see how we can proceed successfully under a coach and management team that allowed ( caused ? ) the "homework" fiasco to be an internationally public disaster/embarrassment in the middle of a difficult tour . And why does Australian cricket need a Sth African Coach and English and Aust. Rugby administrators to be calling the shots. Does anyone out there really think that Australia cant find suitable candidates for these roles within the extensive and highly trained and experienced( not to mention passionately and patriotically committed) ranks of past Australian Test players who now populate the coaching fraternity worldwide ....and while we are at it ... I don't suppose Mr Sutherland who has presided over this whole mess could find a suitably sharp sword that he might crawl away and fall on ?

  • hycIass on March 24, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    This situation should have been dealt with betteer. As a season business traveller myself, if I was forced to submit "wellness reports" to my boss I would do more than tell him to get notted.The problem is, a bunch of hangers on, with no real talent or ability themselves,need to justify their existence by exerting their authority over a bunch of young talented sportsmen… and the sportsmen are getting tired of it. Ive been on footy tours before, someone i always late… someone always wears the wrong tie.. etc… its what happens on tours. The usual thing for an indiscretion is you put $20 in the jar for the end of trip party and you have to carry some stupid mascot like a stuffed seagull around until the next guy screws up, that would be a much better way of handling this situation. How Pattinson and Khawaja did not play in a must win match in Mohali was not acceptable and Khawaja didn't even get a single game in this series so he can't be blamed for much.

  • Sunil_Batra on March 24, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    Fact remains that with all that's been going on in the last days we forgot that the real reason we are down in this series is because of our top order, Hughes needs to improve, he had issues with Martin before and now with spin, Clarke likes him, i get this, but if he doesn't get runs in the second innngs then surely he has to go back to shield. And these issues aplly to the whole team and not just these 4 guys. Lets not use this series to put blame on guys who forgot their homework, Pattinson and Johsnon will be important bowlers for us in the ashes and Khawaja will be one of our better players of swing bowling in the ashes and needs to be given his chance. To me it all feels like they used these 4 guys as scapegoats for bad performances in this tour(when 2 of these guys) haven't even played a game when the punishment was handed.

  • hyclass on March 24, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    I hope everyone takes the time to read the Rick McKoscker article on cricket in Australia before the malaise of political correctness and rampant over-controlling and over-coaching became a feature. This along with selecting far too early in Shield careers to promote unsustainable self-serving policies by CA has unnecessarily impeded Australian cricket's progress. People should take particular notice of this exchange between Ian Chappell and Rick McKoscker on his debut. The first thing that Ian Chappell said to me - and I had never met him before - the day before my debut, was, "Congratulations. I'm not asking you to change anything. You got this far by playing the way you play, by being the way you are." That was all I needed to hear. I was never coached at any stage in my life. You just do things that come naturally.By god I wish that Ian Chappell had been in charge of this Australian group. Guys like Hughes and Hauritz would have been left to play their own games, their own way.

  • Jayzuz on March 24, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    I suppose the haters will come out in force again. But the fact is that Clarke has done a great job with the team over the two years before this tour. And there's no reason to think the good work cannot continue beyond this tour. The current team is very inexperienced, and most are on their first tour of India. There are other factors also, but I'm tired of repeating the obvious, and complaining about them doesn't help anyone. That's what I like about Clarke. When the Indian and SL teams got whipped in Australia their captains were constantly moaning publicly about pitches, umpiring, ball tampering, biased media coverage, sledging, games being called off b/c of rain etc. Anything to deflect responsibility away from the teams' performances and blame someone else. You won't see Clarke and the AUS team playing the victim game.

  • Clyde on March 24, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    Journalists do not focus their cameras on Mr Arthur in coaching sessions on the field or in back rooms. Is Mr Arthur relevant, or not? On the one hand he is said to have been an instigator of the homework crisis. On the other, all we spectators get on his actual performance - what he says and what he does, as coach - is hidden. We got a glimpse in the term 'skin fold'. Generally, all we get a few of his facial expressions as he sits in the stands. Either he is relevant or he is not and I would like to know which is true.

  • RaadQ on March 24, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Nathan LYON is a joke. He is averaging 44 with the ball in the most favourable of conditions possible. Jajeda and Ashwin are averaging under 20, that is more than TWICE AS GOOD. Just remember, these bowlers struggled against England, they aren't even the top 5 spinners (ajmal, swann, herath, rehman, panesar). And you can't use the excuse the Indian batsman are too good, they too struggled against England. In summary, Indian club cricket could produce better bowlers than this joker. A third grade cricketer could yield better results than him.

  • Mitty2 on March 24, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    The pattinson issue is a trivial and inconsequential matter. It provides little baring on the series' results and if any one does think so, it would be like saying that doherty's erroneous LBW decision as number 11 would have lost us the match at mohali. Sure, it could have got us a draw, but wondering over these aren't going to be helpful in the future. Not to mention that patto constantly gets injured and it was a good idea to bowl him in fast, short sharp spells to get wickets through pace as the pitch wasn't helping

    The main thing for this series is for players to grow and gain experience. Cowan, patto and siddle were the stand outs in other wise regressing standards. Cowan has had two wrong decisions against him, and has shown a great way to graft, occupy the crease and build an innings in difficult conditions. He looks adaptable and intelligent. Siddle, with a terrible average in India, has overcome that and found a different way to bowl with reverse swing. Patto looks the goods