Off-field issues compromised Perth's preparation - North
Marcus North, Perth Scorchers' captain, confirmed that breaches of team discipline harmed the squad's Champions League campaign but would not name which players were involved.
"All I will say is that there are players that played today and players that didn't play today that let the team down in preparation last week," North said at Scorchers' final appearance in the tournament. "Last week, against Delhi, there are players in our side that didn't reach the standards of preparations that we require from them. It was not the night before the game against Delhi, but our preparations for the Delhi game in Cape Town."
The Scorchers' lost that match by three wickets, after posting a below par 121 for 5 and were knocked out of the tournament because of that. They also lost the opening game against Titans in Centurion and had one washout but came back to earn a consolation win in their final game.
Knowing that the result would have no bearing on their chances, the Scorchers made three changes to their starting XI. Their leaving out of both Marsh brothers, Shaun and Mitchell, and Nathan Rimmington led to speculation that those were the players who had breached team protocol, especially since the Marsh brothers have been in trouble for misbehaviour previously.
North did not verify that but stuck to his line about giving everyone a run in the event. "We brought 15 players over for this tournament, it was a dead rubber for us and we wanted to give those guys an opportunity to play in a big tournament like this," he said.
Scorchers' coach Lachlan Steven had earlier said there would be "further discussions about things" once the team returned home, hinting that some corrective measures would be taken. But North could not say whether there would be any action: "I have no idea. I can't speak on behalf of Cricket Australia."
Instead, he chose to focus on the reasons for the teams' poor performance in South Africa, especially after they were expected to do better. "It's been a frustrating campaign for us. We had the Titans first, who were very hungry on their home patch. And then in Durban against Kolkata, [we were] very much on our way to posting a winning total … " North said. Rain came down with the Scorchers on 91 for 2 and they did not get back on the field.
"Against Delhi we came back against a side who have four players who have been international captains [Mahela Jayawardene, Ross Taylor, Kevin Pietersen and Virender Sehwag] and are so good that David Warner can't even get a place. It was good to get a win today. Titans' Martin van Jaarsveld, who I played with at Glamorgan, came to me and said we should do them a favour and we did." Scorchers' victory meant both the Titans and Delhi Daredevils qualified for the semis.
What awaits the Scorchers once they're home is uncertain, especially after national chairman of selectors John Inverarity told SEN radio station that there needed to be "some changes," at Western Australia to "recapture their culture". North dismissed the seriousness of that comment when he said, "He is not part of Western Australia management."
The team has suffered a few barren years, having last won silverware in 2004, and are believed to have a number of behind the scenes problems. North did not delve into any of them but said he is "excited" for the season ahead. In the meanwhile, he thinks his countrymen at Sydney Sixers could go on to win the Champions League and called them the "best performing unit" of the tournament.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent