Australia in England 2012 July 8, 2012

Australia have been 'bullied' - Arthur


Shocked by the margin of Australia's ODI series defeat to England, the coach Mickey Arthur has challenged the tourists to stand up to the bullying they have received so far in the final match at Old Trafford on Tuesday. In a stinging assessment of the one-day side, Arthur said there had been "something missing" for Australia in the 50-over format since he took over as coach last November, and stated the team had been too submissive in allowing England to sail to a decisive 3-0 series lead - inflicting the first loss of the captain Michael Clarke's 15 months in charge - for the cost of just 11 wickets.

Arthur gave the touring team a stern post-match address following the eight-wicket hiding suffered at Chester-le-Street, and followed it up by airing his concerns in public. While he did not question his players' work-rate or desire to succeed, he was worried about the vast gap that had emerged between training displays and what they were then capable of in the middle. Arthur was at a loss to explain why the ODI team had battled over a period in which the Test side has gathered strength.

"I think our Test team is really good, it's really settled, it's got that hard edge. The Twenty20 team, we haven't really had that much time together, but the one-day team there's just that something missing," Arthur said. "I've said it all through our home summer, there's just something missing. I'm not sure what it is. Is it character, is it ambition? I'm not sure - there's just something clearly missing. I've challenged the players, I'll always be honest and I'll say it how it is. I'm really looking for a response.

"I want to see a bit of mongrel come Tuesday, I really do. I think we've been a bit submissive this whole series. We've allowed [ourselves] to be bullied, and we're better than that. I don't think we've had a presence this series. I'm talking absolute presence when batters are out there, like the presence our Test team had against India - when we walked on that field there was body language, we were strong, we were decisive, there was that presence.

"But we haven't had that presence in our one-day side. We didn't really get that presence in our one-day side through the international summer at home as well, and that's something we've been fiddling with, trying to get. We just don't seem to have the answers at the moment."

Since losing despite having the better of the conditions in the series opener at Lord's, Australia have laboured under the weight of their own expectations. With each match the margin of defeat has only grown, making many of the tourists' pre-series boasts look empty in the extreme. The most pointed of these was the prediction that England's batting was on the thin side due to the selection of five bowlers. Having highlighted Tim Bresnan's presence at No. 7 as a possible weakness, the tourists are yet to bowl at him.

"We're looking for the guy who's going to take responsibility and say 'I'm the champ', I want to change the momentum. We seem to be a little bit submissive"
Mickey Arthur

"When we won the toss in favourable conditions at Lord's, I thought we bowled well. I'm certainly not having a go at any of the bowlers. I thought we bowled well," Arthur said. "England just seemed to find a way though, you looked at the scoreboard and they were 0 for 60, it was bizarre. We felt as though we'd beaten the bat and were well on top, but you looked at the scoreboard and they were 0 for 60 in about the 18th over.

"I guess in both disciplines we haven't found that way, and that's disappointing and worrying me a bit to be honest. I'm searching, I'm looking for those answers, I'm looking for that mongrel, looking for that guy who's going to stand up and change the game. We're looking for the guy who's going to take responsibility and say 'I'm the champ', I want to change momentum in a game. We seem to be a little bit submissive - we haven't stood up and we haven't grasped an opportunity like England have.

"We've spoken at length that if we can get them three down we're towards Craig Kieswetter then we're into Bresnan. Well, we've seen Kieswetter bat once at Lord's and we haven't seen Bresnan bat yet. And yet our batters, who are world class, seem to be getting out and put under the pump. Again, hats off to England, they're outstanding, but they're only doing the basics well. Cricket's about basics - we've got to do the basics better, we've got to be nailing those basics. I want to see them nail the basics like we do in training. We don't do it in the middle, and that's my worry, that's what I'm looking for."

A fourth defeat at Old Trafford would all but guarantee Australia's loss of the world No. 1 ranking in the ODI format to the winner of the subsequent series between England and South Africa. The ceding of top spot would confirm the slide of the one-day team from the group of solid practitioners who held on to top spot through the years of decline experienced by the Test side, to the muddled team swept away by England in this series.

"We're a changing team as world No.1, and I'm not having a character assassination of our team at all," Arthur said. "I'm looking for answers that are going to strengthen our team and lift our team again. It's certainly not a character assassination of them. I know those guys are bursting a gut to go out and do well. For us as management it's about finding that balance between their talent and performance, but somehow they are just not transforming that. That is what is perplexing me."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on July 11, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    @AKS286 on (July 11 2012, 15:01 PM GMT) As I have said before. Ashes and being number 1 in tests was rightly or wrongly Eng's top priority. Whether that is how it should be or not is a matter of opinion but that's how it was.

  • Anupam on July 11, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    JG2704 on (July 11 2012, 10:59 AM GMT) being a no.1 test & ODI team is a endless fight. every team has to loose their first stop. it matters only how long you keep it but winning a WC is an opportunity which comes in 5 years and the battle between 14 teams of different caliber and strength. many legends retires but they don't have the honorable chance to hold the WC. WC is above to ashes and WC is not sandwiched between other series lies pre & post WC. Oz fans will never be agree to you because they won ashes & WC both and maintained their No1 spot from many past year.

  • John on July 11, 2012, 10:59 GMT

    @AKS286 - Yes ODIs and tests are unrelated but I'm sure most fans will agree that we prioritised the Ashes win of 10/11 and the India win to become number 1 in tests above the WC which was sandwiched inbetween. Personally I'd have loved to have seen us win an ODI WC but we were indifferent in that WC as we have been in ODIs in recent years.Somehow we are currently number 1 in 2 of the 3 formats and number 3 in the other one and current T20 WC champions. Obviously we could come out of the SA series losing our number 1 status in tests and relegated to 4 in the ODIs if it goes wrong. If (a big if) it somehow goes right we could come out of those series top of rankings in all 3 formats which would be number 1 in all 3 formats which would be amazing

  • Anupam on July 11, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    @JG2704 i'm talking about the ODI's because INDIfan comment "eng has to win WC to call a no.1 odi side". as you say the priority is to become test no.1 is out of blue to this comment.

  • John on July 10, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    @AKS286 - England's prioities over the last few years would have been to win the last Ashes and become number 1 test side. These 2 things they have achieved. They said they wanted to become number 1 in all formats (which doesn't look as far fetched as it did 8 months or so ago) and I know they have said they wanted to bewcome a dominant test side. I'm pretty sure they'd also have loved to have won a WC but that's been and gone and I'm sure if they had the choice of being the official test number 1 side or winning an ODI WC they'd have chosen the former. And I read the Smith article and it does say that a tearful Vaughan quit after that series but it does not say or intimate that he quit captaincy because of that series results.That's just folk putting 2 and 2 together to make 5

  • Mike on July 10, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    5wombatz- Why are you only looking at Indias ODI record away from home against Australia and England? why not consider the other matches India have played away fro nhome? Fact of the matter is, over the last decade, Indias record away from home is much better than Englands. Its just in the last year where India has fallen away.

  • Anupam on July 10, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    @JG2704 so A/C to you different horses for different courses means priority OK. so ENGLAND priority is to be rank 1 in odis is above to win a WC. OMG what happen to you.and about vaughan retirement just read that column. "Smith is ready for toughest eng series"

  • Martin on July 10, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    @cricket_lover1969 on (July 10 2012, 09:08 AM GMT) You state; "I am waiting to see this English team in the sub continent". You've already seen them; lost 5-0 in india and won 4-0 in UAE. In ODI that's won 4 lost 5. What's your point, exactly? What was india's ODI record in England and Australia in the last 12 months?

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    the is a lack of ricky ponting but he is retired According to the condition of team he must be back in team . hussey is also fit and fine player

  • Alistair on July 10, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    How delightful to be an England supporter at a point when the opposition is doing the soul-searching rather than us. I don't really understand why some folks on here are getting upset about other teams - I couldn't work out at all why Murali had come up! What a digression. I'm pretty sure the point originally being made by some is that,eventually, after losing so many genuinely great players, there comes a time when Australia aren't really that great any more. They're not bad, and England aren't great at ODIs either - they've just been better throughout the series. That reflects roughly where the teams are right now. I'm going to enjoy all this until the serious cricket starts when we'll have a big fight on our hands against the South Africans who are probably just as good as us...

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