Australia in India 2012-13 March 6, 2013

No. 1 still in sight - Argus

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Australia's ruinous Test results in India have not dissuaded the architect of the plan to rejuvenate the national team from his view that the world No. 1 ranking can be attained by 2015. Don Argus, the former BHP chairman, authored the review released in August 2011 that overhauled the structure around Michael Clarke's team, resulting in the appointments of Mickey Arthur as coach, John Inverarity as national selector and Pat Howard as the team performance manager.

Those changes wrought promising early returns, but the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey left Clarke to lead a gapingly inexperienced side to India where the vagaries of playing on the subcontinent have contributed to a humiliating duo of defeats. Nonetheless, Argus told The Age he was adamant that Australia were still capable of achieving for the sustained success striven for in his review, provided those in charge were not panicked into compromising on its dictums.

'I wouldn't compromise on that at all," Argus said. "It's like a five-year plan in a company - if you commit to something, you've got to get it, and all these players have committed to it. I don't believe in blind faith. I believe in a lot of hard work, and it doesn't come tomorrow. I think there's a lot of effort going into getting this team to its goals. I've got great faith they will get to where they want to get to.

''Stay the course, but also recognise the challenges that are there. We tend to fall back into thinking we've still got this side with seven champions in it. Maybe that will come again, but that just doesn't come overnight.''

Argus was largely supportive of the path taken by Howard, Arthur and Inverarity in following through on his directives, though he admitted it was "debatable" whether the area of spin bowling weakness was being adequately addressed. He stated that current impatience with the team's results could not be allowed to change the path that had been committed to.

''I think they have been quite bold in implementing a lot of the stuff and going down the recommendation path in the report,'' Argus said. ''Everyone wants instant success … and the trouble when you go through a transition or succession phase is that impatience manifests itself into a bit of emotion. Up until this series, the guys have done pretty well in trying to unearth new talent and things like that.

Everyone wants instant success … and the trouble when you go through a transition or succession phase is that impatience manifests itself into a bit of emotion
Don Argus

"Everyone is going to have to hold their steel here to get the ultimate outcome, because if you start thrashing around in water then you drown, and up until now I think they've held it pretty well. I think India is probably the toughest environment of all to blood new talent and that's what is happening over there.

''I'm not that despondent. I think it's probably teaching the selectors a lot more about the strengths and weaknesses of the squad. I don't think they could put together a better squad. They've tried a lot of people and you can add a few here and a few there, but they've gone about a process quite systematically that will get us there in the end, but it was never going to be a short-term fix.''

Addressing questions about whether the selectors had adequately fulfilled his stated goal that performance had to be rewarded more consistently with national team representation, Argus said Inverarity's panel had done so "by and large", though Xavier Doherty's Test recall after a barren home summer was a deviation.

''Selectors will sometimes make subjective judgments for whatever reason … I'm sure they can justify their selections," Argus said. "Up until probably that one [Doherty], they've stuck with what they've said they were going to do, and I think that has paid off for them.

''They've won in the West Indies, they've comprehensively won two series at home [against India and Sri Lanka, but also lost to No.1 team South Africa], and they go to the toughest environment in the world with an inexperienced side in those conditions, and it's tough.''

Suspicious in the review of the impact that the then nascent Big Bash League may have on international performances and focus, Argus said compromises in the name of commercial gains would result in the team being compromised.

''If you deviate from your priorities, if you compromise on your plan … you'll always get caught out," he said. "If Test cricket is the No. 1 game, and we say it is, that's the way it is."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul_Rampley on March 7, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    Mr.Argus is correct, have patience and it will get better. For the batting get Khawaja in the test lineup as he will add some solid grit to the batting. And even though Hughes may not play the next game consider him for the ashes. For the bowling stick with your best spinner and show him faith. And decide who our best keeper is, if its wade then stick with him and if he does well in the ashes he is fine to go for any other series.

  • bobagorof on March 7, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    I would generally agree that the team's fortunes have turned around and that some good decisions have been made. However, I think that recently there have been some questionable calls and some knee-jerk decisions that threaten to undermine the long-term plan. The selection of Doherty, based not on form (his domestic record this summer was very poor) but on preference, is an example. Maxwell's elevation to the Test side also seems rushed and based on 'potential' rather than consistent performance. Phil Hughes' return smacked of 'golden boy' syndrome, despite his Shield performance (which, by the way, included only one century). Meanwhile, noted players of spin are on the sidelines while the batsmen in the team look all at sea. Hopefully the remaining two Tests will show some willingness to address these issues and keep the long-term plan on track.

  • ygkd on March 8, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    Give them time and they'll get better is a true enough expectation - but in some cases that improvement won't be enough. And there has always been a place for improvement - it was called the first class arena. County cricket was a major proving ground for Australian batting - the freezing out of Australians from the English domestic scene is about the most successful strategy England have come up with since Bodyline! The Sheffield Shield seems no longer sufficient on its own to finish the players to Test standard yet it is precisely this competition and the grade ones below it that we must persist with, more so than some of the players. For it is the competition that makes the players just as much as it is the players who make the competition. And that is why, if some of the current Test team do not stand up quickly under the competitive conditions of the next two Indian tests, then their days should be numbered. And for some, their number is already up.

  • ygkd on March 8, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    It is true that quite a few of the Australian team are yet to reach their peak years. However, can anyone actually explain how, if peak years are so important, so many good players in their peak years have recently been ignored for selection - players like Hodge, Klinger, Rodgers, Hartley, McDonald, Hopes, Ferguson etc? All of these have been in their "peak" age bracket and that obviously hasn't been seen as an important factor. How come it is now so important to pick younger ones and let them grow into their job? And if we are going to do that, how come some like Handscomb (for his batting), Richardson or Ludeman haven't been included in their number? Some of the younger ones will most likely pay off. Starc comes to mind. Pattinson has something about him, even if it would be better if he let the ball do all the talking. Henriques may be worth perservering with. Warner, however many he makes at times, has technical issues. Hughes ditto plus. Wade ditto twice. Maxwell is bits & pieces.

  • Arrow011 on March 8, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Don Argus is just being over confident, he just wants everybody to support his so-called report so that his name keeps flashing in the media for more months to come. It is like an age old saying in Tamil language - Even when a fighter losses in a muddy wrestling fight he got up after losing & says his mostache has not hit the mud". This is what Argus is saying too.

  • fastrack10 on March 8, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    its not about being no1 on papper..india also got to that position some time back. but was they really no1 who can perform under all conditions??..no absolutely not..me being a india fan knew all through thats we were far off being the best test team in all conditions..similarly australia may become a potent side a couple of years down the line & get to that no1 position..but will they be able to perform under these spinning conditions?? i doubt very much..simply because of the quality of spinners in ther side.none look to the realy deal..all bits a pieces.its fine backing once's strength but let face the truth, u cant beat the conditions.their batters might start plying spin better, but i cant see how their spinners will better.

  • Paul_Rampley on March 8, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    I am sure in 1-2 years we can get to number 1, just need to stick the course and ensure performances are being rewarded. Khawaja should be bought in and rewarded for domestice performance and so should our leading spinners and fast bowlers. We do this and we will get there.

  • OneEyedAussie on March 8, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    Argus' thinking is correct. Players like Hughes, Warner, Khawaja, Wade, Lyon, Pattinson, Starc, Cummins are well off their prime in terms of age (prime being about 28-33 in my books for cricketers). Really, the only cricketers that could be said to be in their prime in the current lot are Cowan, Warner, Clarke and Siddle (and Cowan and Watson-minus-bowling are pretty ordinary as a test cricketers). This really is an Aussie team for the future - the players I listed above all have the potential to have 10 year/100 test+ careers as fantastic international cricketers provided they are managed with common sense. In the mean time some losses (and yes big ones too) must be tolerated.

  • ygkd on March 7, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    My eyes must need testing. I can't see a number one from here, unless it's a batsman's score or a spinner's wicket tally. We were lucky to get within cooee of SA at home, we can't match India away and if we have hope about the Ashes it's more to do with England's performance yesterday than our own ability. The 2nd XI of our glory years was better than our current 1st XI and no-one seems sure what that should be except that it involves tolerating flaky batting, bad glovework and bits-and-pieces all-rounders at the heart of the team. We can't back spinners without better keeping. We can't keep backing short-form all-rounders in Test cricket. And we can't produce enough quality batting. Sure, we have pacemen, but since when is 1 out of 4 a pass mark? So, I'm sorry Mr Argus, your argonauts may well look for the golden fleece of number one but I doubt they'll find it anytime soon, especially with the likes of Khawaja, O'Keefe and Paine/Hartley continually overlooked for lesser players.

  • NixNixon on March 7, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    Here is my opninion as a South African on the team for Aus going forward:

    1. Cohen (persevere with him - although he is not hot right now give him a chance to settle in, I like his temprament and think he is solid) 2. Shane Watson (one of aus better players - given him responsibility to focus on his batting solely) 3. M Clark (Impact player and match winner - get him in early so he can have the same impact as an Amla for SA - Clark is an awesome player and is wasted comming in at 5 or even 4) 4. Brad Hodge (now I know he is old and all that but aus need experience in the middle order and he is a quality player) 5. Ferguson - great talent 6. Brad Haddin - quality player (experience) 7. M Henriques - (extra bowling option plus batting depth) 8. M Johnson (quality bowling allrounder - plus x factor) 9. J Pattinson (awesome talent) 10. P Siddle (workhorse) 11. X Doherty (or okeefe)

  • Paul_Rampley on March 7, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    Mr.Argus is correct, have patience and it will get better. For the batting get Khawaja in the test lineup as he will add some solid grit to the batting. And even though Hughes may not play the next game consider him for the ashes. For the bowling stick with your best spinner and show him faith. And decide who our best keeper is, if its wade then stick with him and if he does well in the ashes he is fine to go for any other series.

  • bobagorof on March 7, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    I would generally agree that the team's fortunes have turned around and that some good decisions have been made. However, I think that recently there have been some questionable calls and some knee-jerk decisions that threaten to undermine the long-term plan. The selection of Doherty, based not on form (his domestic record this summer was very poor) but on preference, is an example. Maxwell's elevation to the Test side also seems rushed and based on 'potential' rather than consistent performance. Phil Hughes' return smacked of 'golden boy' syndrome, despite his Shield performance (which, by the way, included only one century). Meanwhile, noted players of spin are on the sidelines while the batsmen in the team look all at sea. Hopefully the remaining two Tests will show some willingness to address these issues and keep the long-term plan on track.

  • ygkd on March 8, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    Give them time and they'll get better is a true enough expectation - but in some cases that improvement won't be enough. And there has always been a place for improvement - it was called the first class arena. County cricket was a major proving ground for Australian batting - the freezing out of Australians from the English domestic scene is about the most successful strategy England have come up with since Bodyline! The Sheffield Shield seems no longer sufficient on its own to finish the players to Test standard yet it is precisely this competition and the grade ones below it that we must persist with, more so than some of the players. For it is the competition that makes the players just as much as it is the players who make the competition. And that is why, if some of the current Test team do not stand up quickly under the competitive conditions of the next two Indian tests, then their days should be numbered. And for some, their number is already up.

  • ygkd on March 8, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    It is true that quite a few of the Australian team are yet to reach their peak years. However, can anyone actually explain how, if peak years are so important, so many good players in their peak years have recently been ignored for selection - players like Hodge, Klinger, Rodgers, Hartley, McDonald, Hopes, Ferguson etc? All of these have been in their "peak" age bracket and that obviously hasn't been seen as an important factor. How come it is now so important to pick younger ones and let them grow into their job? And if we are going to do that, how come some like Handscomb (for his batting), Richardson or Ludeman haven't been included in their number? Some of the younger ones will most likely pay off. Starc comes to mind. Pattinson has something about him, even if it would be better if he let the ball do all the talking. Henriques may be worth perservering with. Warner, however many he makes at times, has technical issues. Hughes ditto plus. Wade ditto twice. Maxwell is bits & pieces.

  • Arrow011 on March 8, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Don Argus is just being over confident, he just wants everybody to support his so-called report so that his name keeps flashing in the media for more months to come. It is like an age old saying in Tamil language - Even when a fighter losses in a muddy wrestling fight he got up after losing & says his mostache has not hit the mud". This is what Argus is saying too.

  • fastrack10 on March 8, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    its not about being no1 on papper..india also got to that position some time back. but was they really no1 who can perform under all conditions??..no absolutely not..me being a india fan knew all through thats we were far off being the best test team in all conditions..similarly australia may become a potent side a couple of years down the line & get to that no1 position..but will they be able to perform under these spinning conditions?? i doubt very much..simply because of the quality of spinners in ther side.none look to the realy deal..all bits a pieces.its fine backing once's strength but let face the truth, u cant beat the conditions.their batters might start plying spin better, but i cant see how their spinners will better.

  • Paul_Rampley on March 8, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    I am sure in 1-2 years we can get to number 1, just need to stick the course and ensure performances are being rewarded. Khawaja should be bought in and rewarded for domestice performance and so should our leading spinners and fast bowlers. We do this and we will get there.

  • OneEyedAussie on March 8, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    Argus' thinking is correct. Players like Hughes, Warner, Khawaja, Wade, Lyon, Pattinson, Starc, Cummins are well off their prime in terms of age (prime being about 28-33 in my books for cricketers). Really, the only cricketers that could be said to be in their prime in the current lot are Cowan, Warner, Clarke and Siddle (and Cowan and Watson-minus-bowling are pretty ordinary as a test cricketers). This really is an Aussie team for the future - the players I listed above all have the potential to have 10 year/100 test+ careers as fantastic international cricketers provided they are managed with common sense. In the mean time some losses (and yes big ones too) must be tolerated.

  • ygkd on March 7, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    My eyes must need testing. I can't see a number one from here, unless it's a batsman's score or a spinner's wicket tally. We were lucky to get within cooee of SA at home, we can't match India away and if we have hope about the Ashes it's more to do with England's performance yesterday than our own ability. The 2nd XI of our glory years was better than our current 1st XI and no-one seems sure what that should be except that it involves tolerating flaky batting, bad glovework and bits-and-pieces all-rounders at the heart of the team. We can't back spinners without better keeping. We can't keep backing short-form all-rounders in Test cricket. And we can't produce enough quality batting. Sure, we have pacemen, but since when is 1 out of 4 a pass mark? So, I'm sorry Mr Argus, your argonauts may well look for the golden fleece of number one but I doubt they'll find it anytime soon, especially with the likes of Khawaja, O'Keefe and Paine/Hartley continually overlooked for lesser players.

  • NixNixon on March 7, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    Here is my opninion as a South African on the team for Aus going forward:

    1. Cohen (persevere with him - although he is not hot right now give him a chance to settle in, I like his temprament and think he is solid) 2. Shane Watson (one of aus better players - given him responsibility to focus on his batting solely) 3. M Clark (Impact player and match winner - get him in early so he can have the same impact as an Amla for SA - Clark is an awesome player and is wasted comming in at 5 or even 4) 4. Brad Hodge (now I know he is old and all that but aus need experience in the middle order and he is a quality player) 5. Ferguson - great talent 6. Brad Haddin - quality player (experience) 7. M Henriques - (extra bowling option plus batting depth) 8. M Johnson (quality bowling allrounder - plus x factor) 9. J Pattinson (awesome talent) 10. P Siddle (workhorse) 11. X Doherty (or okeefe)

  • BalaSenty on March 7, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    With such perfromances?, it is a great joke. Beating WestIndies, Srilanka and India at home can not make Aussies great, These teams are ordinary, still may be. Loss against SA signify that Aussies never reach No 1 team at least for a while. Hussey should have been in the team for a while.

  • brusselslion on March 7, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    @Barnbarroch on (March 7, 2013, 10:51 GMT): Please leave Hughes where he is. Make sure that you also bring Doherty and Lyon to England. Mitch can also come; he likes the UK! You can leave Clarke, Pattinson and Starc back in Oz, mind.

  • ultrasnow on March 7, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    Is Argus making the same mistake India recently made? Waiting for the hard overseas tours to be over before playing in your familiar surroundings? For an Indian fan this is just not the Australia of old on so many fronts. Aussies you can still SQUARE the series. Mohali can be seamer friendly and anything can happen in the last test. Learn from Cook and Co, they have gained our respect from the way they came back to stun a complacent Indian team. Aussies please live in the present. Right now, you are remind us so much of the India on the tours of Eng and Australia!!!

  • gnanzcupid on March 7, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    With such performances? You must be joking. Most of the people laughed on reading this. Its really painful to witness a one sided test series being played

  • hycIass on March 7, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Why arent we teaching our finger spinners doosra ? Spin bowlers now have 15 degrees of bend to play with when bowling the ball. This means that we have to move with the times and teach our young spinners the doosra.If we don't want to change with the times, we shouldn't allow the current Australian batsmen to use the technology that creates a 2 lb 8 oz bat with 45mm edges. Why not supply the entire team with all of The Don's old blades, then take the orthotics out of all the bowlers's boots.Inverarity and CA have missed the ball on this one. Why did they miss it? Because it was delivered to them with a slight kink in the arm and turned the other way upon touching the turf.The creation that has transformed the art of finger-spin bowling. @PaulRampley agree fully with you. Khawaja should be bought in and lets stick with one spinner and show confidence in our guys.

  • Barnbarroch on March 7, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    Please don't pick Hughes for the Ashes especially in England. He has no technique to deal with swing (Anderson) or spin (Swann).

  • arvindnandan on March 7, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Apart from many analytical thoughts put forth, I think there are 2 other factors behind these Australian defeats, and perhaps, many earlier defeats. I wonder if players are thinking in the same manner as a lot of fans. 1. Some people appear to be taking this series as an interim series before the main event of Ashes; and hence, they want to either ignore the results here, or at best, not get affected by them: Let the bad dream pass; the 'test that matters' will start only when they are back in the familiar and more serious contest against England. It is amazing that so many fans keep expressing worries about Ashes while the team is in the middle of a disaster here. 2. The other thing (as Mr. Argus also acknowledges) is discarding Indian conditions as alien, and hence, allowing the license to fail. After the short-term anger subsides, the loss will not count, as it has already been allowed inadvertently.

  • on March 7, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    I think Don Argus thinks he can do with Oz Cricket of what he had done either with NAB or BHP. Cricket is a game with committed players, right attitude and more importantly trust in one another in the team. At the moment, this simply does not exist in Oz team. It is very inexperienced with even people like Wrner, Watson, Wade and to some extent Clarke, seem to be arrogant in their approach when playing in sub continent. Basically this team has gone to India with over confidence and not reality check. So the utmost important for the team is to apply skills, treat each bowler on his merit and play the right stroke for each ball bowled, then they will succeed. Be cool......

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 7, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    Mr Argus, try to face reality if possible. Poor selection is hampering Australia's efforts to even start this transition phase, selecting a load of sub-standard players that are ill-prepared for an India tour is almost as bad as allowing Clarke to continue hiding down the order. You need to think progressively Mr Argus.

  • PhaniBhaskar24 on March 7, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Lol....live in reality mate..the Tag of No.1 is being imposed on this Aus team..yes..once upon a time they are no.1...Now the direction should be consistently win Oversea games with this team & in that process acquire No.1. Then pls speak of get along with it...No.1 is gone long back Mr. Argrus...its time to live in reality

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 7, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    The failure of the Indian series is not a disaster. This is in many ways an experimental series, as a 4-0 whitewash was expected before the first match started. Remember that Australia rarely win test matches in India. If Australia win 1 test or even draw 1, that would be a positive. I don't think that it has been a disaster at all. The selections may not have been perfect, and the utilisation of the players has been less than ideal. Peter Siddle playing in either test has been a disaster, dropping Starc, refusing to play Johnson, and having Lyon in the side at the expense of Doherty have all been major selection problems, not to mention persisting with Philip Hughes in spite of his disastrous form, having Watson down the order in spite of him not bowling, and having Clarke down the order when the top order keep on failing, not to mention the way that Pattinson and Starc were used in the first test. Phew! But if they get lucky a win could yet happen.

  • on March 7, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    Was just wondering about the Aussie team selections,and the inclination to try and bring more limited overs players into the test fold,as though in a crossover.Surely that is just backwards,isn't it?When one asks the question:When was the last time Aussies picked a pure test level player with the skills,patience,temperament and understanding required for the top game(We all know this tribe is for real,and prospering in FC cricket,despite all the alleged attempts by management and administrators to ignore them,and invest all their faith in highfalutin ideas of ambidextrous sportsmen,batsmen who can bowl doosras as well as they can play the Dil scoop.)?There are not many names that come to mind...there's Khawaja perhaps,but no one else who I can recall.Maybe the Aussie fans can jog my memory,and list out the names.They could be the blokes to form the core of Aussie pursuit to the top rankings.Would also like to know if there's anything in the A review about how to unearth spin talents?

  • on March 7, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    @Reversesweep , You nailed it Aus bowling attack should have been SteveOKeefe + Lyon + Bird + Pattison + Harris / Johnson. In India You need 2 good /Steady spinners , 2 steady medium pacers + 1 impact bowler. The chances of a pace bowler blast through a side for that matter even the tail is highly unlikely on indian pitches, so the likes of Starc are always a gamble in this part of the world.

  • GoatHerder on March 7, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    I don't think we're far off No.1 and we're on the right track to get back there in not too much time. My feeling, however, is that we too often do something stupid in selection to set us back again.

    Firstly, I feel it's poor form to drop a reliable player after one poor match. Lyon has been our best test spinner for a while---he can bowl attacking or defensively, although admittedly he has some work to do on his defensive bowling (perhaps another few months in India will help sort that out). Needs to work out how to tie up an in-form batsman, which no other Aussie bowler (exc. Siddle) seems to have any idea about.

    Secondly---I feel that Watson is our 2nd best batsman, he needs to open. If they're not going to give Khawaja a go, drop Cowan (or even Warner) down to No.6. I know it's not their preferred position, but it's better than persevering with Watson out of position at No.4.

    Thirdly, Siddle is our best bowler and a workhorse. Swap Starc-Pattinson-Johnson etc., not Sid

  • Wefinishthis on March 7, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    The problem with the Argus review is that there's no accountability. What happens if the selectors don't implement any of it and we lose every game? If we didn't have quality players like O'Keefe, Harris and Faulkner sitting at home, I wouldn't be complaining, but the fact that the selectors have indicated that ODI performance is more important than shield performances should ring alarm bells. Starc, Watson and Doherty are not test level players despite their success in ODI's. Philander and Steyn are amongst the greats in tests, but mere mortals in ODI's. They're two very different games. O'Keefe would have made a HUGE different in the past two tests, similar to how Ashwin ripped through us, especially if he was bowling in tandem with Lyon and we had two quality pace bowlers like Bird/Pattinson/Harris backing up.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on March 7, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    @wellrounded87, thanks for giving credit to Indian players. But who is Peshwar? Is he from same class of Darner, Mlark? lol. Just kidding. On serious note I don't know why you all do not trust Johnson. The way I saw him, he was pretty much improved and very close to what he was in start of his career. And we Indians have always had problem with left arm slingers. Stark was neutralized by Clark (Mlark?) himself by asking him to bowl round the wicket most of time. And about Watson, I have said it earlier too: as all-rounder he will be first one in team sheet in any playing XI, Aus, SA, Eng or anybody. But as batsman alone I am afraid only trade off could be Sehwag in current form. I am no sympathizer. We want to win, but we want strong Aus. World cricket need strong Australia. And we want to beat strong Aus. Complain whatever about pitches. As you did not knew about them before landing in India.

  • Mary_786 on March 7, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    @Wellrounded87 i agree 100% with your comments.

  • Mary_786 on March 7, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    My isues with our performance this tour are1 simple. When we cannot handle the Indian pacers bowling at 120k/h how are we going to face the pommies? And their spinners are better than the Indian spinners. And can anyone expect our batsmen to make runs out there? Cowan needs to convert his starts, he can't keep getting away with 20s and 30s? Watson who cannot go beyond 10-20? Hughes who ought to have been protected against the Indian spinners as he was against the South Africans?Wade who bats at 6 and should be battin at 7?bits and pieces players like Maxwell? Or Khawaja who is never given a chance and is good at warming the bench when he is one of our better test batsman? Whatever Border's team lacked they compensated with grit, application, determination and a fight till the end attitude.The team under Clarke is soft, lacks in application and patience that is negligible.

  • Benkl on March 7, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    SOK is sick or injured...

    Cowan doesnt deserve to be there BUT he should be there before Hughes or Watson and Warner is not much better. Hughes is very worying ... that shot where he copied an abysmal shot by Warner showed utter stupidity and impatience.. Warner worries against a shiny ball in swinging condition does he have the patience... Watson is never a match winning scorer and he is down in form.

    Agree too many all rounders but the specialist batsman are no better..and Moses Henriques has showed his true colours in difficult conditions. Kawalja will replace Hughes.

    As far as the bowlers you cant play Johnson and Lyon , at 5 per overs all pressure is gone. Lyon is a good 4th or 5th day bowler , when the pitch goes but he is not tight and Patterson cant bowl all day. So take your pick Lyon/Stark or Doherty / Johnson . No Australian spinner will do much better than Warne in his career on their first tour in India (Warne did about 40 pw)

    D Hussey should have been there

  • HowdyRowdy on March 7, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    No real surprise in Argus's comments - what else was he going to say!

    Australia's longer term prospects in the Test arena ultimately depend on the health of the Shield competition. Unfortunately the steady stream of outstanding batsmen emerging from the Sheffield Shield seems to have dried up recently.

    Your national team is only as strong as the competition which feeds it. The ACB must ensure, via scheduling, sponsorship and appropriate incentives for players, that the Sheffield Shield is the best domestic competition in the world.

  • wellrounded87 on March 7, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    Before i state my lists of issues with the selectors i'd like to think that no matter what team we pick India were always going to win this series. The Indian batsmen and spinners (in particular Dhoni, Peshwar and Ashwin) have been superb. And i think rather than blaming the Aussie selectors for the loss we should be crediting the Indian players for the win.

    I would've made 32 changes to the XI for the first test. Siddle and Starc out for Johnson and SOK (why SOK is in Australia right now is mind boggling) and Khawaja in for Cowan (the selectors can defend Cowan all they want but he's just not getting runs). In hindsight hughes should not have been in the team however prior to the test his ineptness against spin was not known. I would have also kept Agar around his performances in the warm up games were promising and should SOK or Lyon fail to take wickets he's a better back up option than maxwell or Doherty. I would also have Doolan and Burns there as backups for failures (hughes)

  • handyandy on March 7, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    John Inverarity policy of looking for "multi-skilled" players is the problem.

    Inverarity was himself a bits and pieces player and his test career was far from spectacular.

    Get the best batsmen and the best bowlers. If they have a second discipline then that is a bonus.

  • MinusZero on March 6, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    I have no doubt Australia can get back to number 1...however, the selection policy has to change.

    1 Give all players the same pay, no rankings.

    and

    2 Choose players on form, not history or captains mates.

    The rankings in CA mean that players get selected even when not performing (Watson) and also get picked on past performances, not current performances (again Watson).

    They need to select on current form, not past performances or this will continue.

  • popcorn on March 6, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    I like the steadfastness with which Don Argus maintains tha we ARE on the Right Track, and that we would be off the Track f Cricket Austraia succumbs to Commercial Gains from the Big Bash League and the Champions League. Like the selection of Doherty, I question the selection of Rob Quiney and his immediate dumping, as against pampering the INTERNATIONAL Failure Phil Hughes. Can we prepare "drop -In "pitches to simulate coditions in India? Try then out at the Olympic Park or at the Bankstown Oval,or at Allan Border Field.

  • on March 6, 2013, 21:31 GMT

    @truthfinder- I believe in the unity of management.Can't really see a huge rift between corporate management and sports management.Quantity is merely a means to an end,which is always Quality at the end of the day whichever team you turn up for or whichever company you go to work.Surely enterprises can expand,but not at the expense of quality,at least that is not the aim for the most part.Quantity does not necessarily have to mean clutter.Continuous quality is what sustains all great sports teams and businesses. Your example of a team representing a poor board,besting,a team from a rich board...a case of david vs goliath is as much a phenomenon in business and enterprise as it is in cricket or other sports.The odds against David are overwhelmingly low at both the places.You can check Bangladesh's test records to confirm this.

  • poms_have_short_memories on March 6, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    I think Argus is close to the mark, Australia has the talent to have the best pace attack in the world(fitness permitting) within 2-3 years, unfortunately the batting and spin bowling is a little thin.

  • truthfinder on March 6, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    One of the biggest mistake by comparing a sports team with a company is the cap of resources. A growing and successful organization can recruit as many personnel at different levels as possible permitting its human resource budget. So a company's performance is more quantitative than qualitative. However a number of a sports team would always capped by the maximum number of participants so a sports performance is completely qualitative than quantitative. That's why a sporting team represent the element of human quality and a team from smaller, poorer sporting body can defeat a team of supreme financial prowess, because they cannot employ more personnel to get the job done. So I believe a corporate management style in any sport is laughable idiosyncrasy.

  • on March 6, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    Australia making the same mistake the England team made in the 90s and early 2000s. Going for multiple bits and peices players rather than purist batsman and bowlers. Guess they may say whatever they like abt Poms but they donot realise that they are imitating them. At this rate might as well bring back John Buchanan. Who knows his bootcamp like ideas may whip this bunch of wusses into shape.

  • Chris_P on March 6, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Nothing wrong with your thinking, Mr Argus, too bad it wasn't implemented the way you suggested. Over to you, NSP & Clarkey.

  • on March 6, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    First things first.I am not a big fan of 5 year plans......other Indians might as well share the sentiment.It's the policy that has defined India's socio-economic planning since independence,promising the moon,but failing to deliver as a matter of habit.The term just reminds me of policy and executive failure. It's a good thing thus,that they choose to call it Argus review. Getting to the cricket now.I think Aussie selections have been just messed up.The selections made in the Hyderabad game defied logic.Some people might e'en go back further to the time the squad was picked and packed with batting all-rounders instead of the real deal men.Surely the BCCI didn't send out any mixed/confusing signals about these tests as just being a strange preparation for the IPL to follow??If not then it's quite inexplicable what the bits and pieces men are doing a good one month in advance,before the IPL starts on the sub-continent. If the Aussies are to be no.1 they need to cut it out.

  • dr.thirsty on March 6, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    No. 1 still in sight - Only from an observatory!

  • Beertjie on March 6, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    OK so basically Argus backs the selection of SO'K! But blind Freddie could tell you that Smith and Maxwell have dubious credentials based on Shield form this year. Also 4 openers was a risk and so was a keeper with batting talent but shown to be weak keeping to spin. So let's stick with Wade, shall we? He'll get better with time and undermine our spinners' confidence btw! This is what I've been calling a lack of savvy in order not to be deemed abusive. But let's just blame every weakness on lack of experience, even when blind Freddie could see the lack of footwork of Warner + Cowan + Hughes! No worries, they'll work it out as they play! Come on, Don, let's leave fairyland behind us and inhale the dust from the Indian tracks. Bring back the spinning tracks at the SCG and AO - that should be a start. Enforce the playing of a spinner in all Shield games. Get individual mentors for young promising age-appropriate batters. We need some post-Argus development in the relevant areas!

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 6, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    @guy1234: So you expect the Indian team to dish out green tops to visiting teams ? Besides, a green top is next to impossible in Indian conditions. Having said that, home advantage is JUST and within the rules of game. Blame the Aussies for being mediocre and weak against spin bowling. The Indian team is not an invincible team, nobody claims it is. They still have plenty of work to do when they travel overseas. But you cannot tarnish their home wins by any stretch. Australia have been pathetic, that's the bottom line. Indian pitches will always spin, that's the nature of the beast. Visiting teams better do their homework. England did that well enough, Australia didn't do so.

  • guy1234 on March 6, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    @Gautam N. Shenoy Go and watch Clarke's post-match press conference again and tell me honestly if we're in denial. Accepting that we're mediocre and setting a goal for the next two years is not being in denial. Writing off the 4-0 whitewashes as an anomaly and shielding the weaknesses of the Indian cricket team with extra spin-friendly pitches in India is closer to the definition of denial

  • blink182alex on March 6, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    Maybe number one in 2015-16 i would say is a distinct possibility. South Africa will loose Kallis although they still are stacked with world class players. As for England a lot of their main players are 31-32, give it another four or five years and the likes of Pietersen, Swann, Prior, Andersion etc will probably be gone or at least past their best. Our pace bowling is stacked with quality young quicks, Cummins, Pattinson, Starc, Bird, Hazlewood, Richardson etc. Hopefully Lyon can continue to develop and be challenged by Agar and Holland. The worry is the amount of young batsmen who can bat in first class cricket and score big hundreds, atm it's a bit to muchr crash bang wallop and techniques aren't as good as they should be. Burns and Mitch Marsh could be the future. Clarke will retire early cos of his back, he already said he won't be playing when he is 35.

  • VillageBlacksmith on March 6, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    that's great news for the ashes, arthur in charge for another 3 yrs...

  • on March 6, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    Australia have one world class test batsman (Clarke) and one world class fit test bowler (Pattinson). How many test matches can you win outside home with a line up like that? Reminds me of a West Indies team with Lara, Ambrose and Walsh as the only world class players, but Clarke has miles to go before being compared with Lara and Pattinson has just started his career. Rock Bottom and they talk about being in the race for no.1? I thought the Indian team was in denial after its overseas whitewashes but Aussies seem to be redefining"denial". The fans might claim "doctored pitches" and "dustbowls" as excuses to hide their utter lack of talent for now, and I wonder what excuses they will have after the Ashes defeat that is to follow

  • SamRoy on March 6, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    Well what should be in sight is how to develop good, young batsman and some good, young spin bowlers. Even if the current 30-35 players somehow reach number 1, does that satisfy a cricket loving individual. Cricket is always a contest between the ball and the bat and incompetence doesn't make for good viewing. When West Indies came to Australia in 1960-61 to play that memorable series people were happy because they saw some truly memorable cricket. How many people in Australia truly remember any of the uncountable number of times India and Pakistan got smashed down under? In an ideal situation all 10 test teams should have good bowlers and good batsman so that it always a great contest to watch (though I know that is not possible).

  • Batmanindallas on March 6, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    Now Aussies realize what a vital role Hussey played....

  • anuajm on March 6, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    The Australian team has received a lot of criticism off late. This defeat against India in rank turners should not be the be all and end all. The pitches hugely favors the Indian spinners (though Ashwin has bowled well and its not only relied on pitches to collect his wicket). Saying that though, the lack of grit from the Aussie batsman bar Clarke is something alarming. The problem was in their squad selection. Maxwell, Doherty, Smith and to an extent Henriques probably should not have featured in the team. Siddle is an honest trier but both Bird and Harris seems to be better than him. Bailey, Haddin/Paine, Harris, Keefe should have been there. The top four have been rightfully chosen based on current form but they ofcourse did not perform to expectations. I think Aussies should go with the following - Warner/Watson or Cowan, Khwaja or Watson/Clarke/Bailey, Henriques, Haddin, Pattinson/Starc or Johnson/ 2 out of Harris/Cummins/Siddle/Bird/Lyon for the Ashes.

  • anuajm on March 6, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    The Australian team has received a lot of criticism off late. This defeat against India in rank turners should not be the be all and end all. The pitches hugely favors the Indian spinners (though Ashwin has bowled well and its not only relied on pitches to collect his wicket). Saying that though, the lack of grit from the Aussie batsman bar Clarke is something alarming. The problem was in their squad selection. Maxwell, Doherty, Smith and to an extent Henriques probably should not have featured in the team. Siddle is an honest trier but both Bird and Harris seems to be better than him. Bailey, Haddin/Paine, Harris, Keefe should have been there. The top four have been rightfully chosen based on current form but they ofcourse did not perform to expectations. I think Aussies should go with the following - Warner/Watson or Cowan, Khwaja or Watson/Clarke/Bailey, Henriques, Haddin, Pattinson/Starc or Johnson/ 2 out of Harris/Cummins/Siddle/Bird/Lyon for the Ashes.

  • Batmanindallas on March 6, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    Now Aussies realize what a vital role Hussey played....

  • SamRoy on March 6, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    Well what should be in sight is how to develop good, young batsman and some good, young spin bowlers. Even if the current 30-35 players somehow reach number 1, does that satisfy a cricket loving individual. Cricket is always a contest between the ball and the bat and incompetence doesn't make for good viewing. When West Indies came to Australia in 1960-61 to play that memorable series people were happy because they saw some truly memorable cricket. How many people in Australia truly remember any of the uncountable number of times India and Pakistan got smashed down under? In an ideal situation all 10 test teams should have good bowlers and good batsman so that it always a great contest to watch (though I know that is not possible).

  • on March 6, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    Australia have one world class test batsman (Clarke) and one world class fit test bowler (Pattinson). How many test matches can you win outside home with a line up like that? Reminds me of a West Indies team with Lara, Ambrose and Walsh as the only world class players, but Clarke has miles to go before being compared with Lara and Pattinson has just started his career. Rock Bottom and they talk about being in the race for no.1? I thought the Indian team was in denial after its overseas whitewashes but Aussies seem to be redefining"denial". The fans might claim "doctored pitches" and "dustbowls" as excuses to hide their utter lack of talent for now, and I wonder what excuses they will have after the Ashes defeat that is to follow

  • VillageBlacksmith on March 6, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    that's great news for the ashes, arthur in charge for another 3 yrs...

  • blink182alex on March 6, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    Maybe number one in 2015-16 i would say is a distinct possibility. South Africa will loose Kallis although they still are stacked with world class players. As for England a lot of their main players are 31-32, give it another four or five years and the likes of Pietersen, Swann, Prior, Andersion etc will probably be gone or at least past their best. Our pace bowling is stacked with quality young quicks, Cummins, Pattinson, Starc, Bird, Hazlewood, Richardson etc. Hopefully Lyon can continue to develop and be challenged by Agar and Holland. The worry is the amount of young batsmen who can bat in first class cricket and score big hundreds, atm it's a bit to muchr crash bang wallop and techniques aren't as good as they should be. Burns and Mitch Marsh could be the future. Clarke will retire early cos of his back, he already said he won't be playing when he is 35.

  • guy1234 on March 6, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    @Gautam N. Shenoy Go and watch Clarke's post-match press conference again and tell me honestly if we're in denial. Accepting that we're mediocre and setting a goal for the next two years is not being in denial. Writing off the 4-0 whitewashes as an anomaly and shielding the weaknesses of the Indian cricket team with extra spin-friendly pitches in India is closer to the definition of denial

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 6, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    @guy1234: So you expect the Indian team to dish out green tops to visiting teams ? Besides, a green top is next to impossible in Indian conditions. Having said that, home advantage is JUST and within the rules of game. Blame the Aussies for being mediocre and weak against spin bowling. The Indian team is not an invincible team, nobody claims it is. They still have plenty of work to do when they travel overseas. But you cannot tarnish their home wins by any stretch. Australia have been pathetic, that's the bottom line. Indian pitches will always spin, that's the nature of the beast. Visiting teams better do their homework. England did that well enough, Australia didn't do so.

  • Beertjie on March 6, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    OK so basically Argus backs the selection of SO'K! But blind Freddie could tell you that Smith and Maxwell have dubious credentials based on Shield form this year. Also 4 openers was a risk and so was a keeper with batting talent but shown to be weak keeping to spin. So let's stick with Wade, shall we? He'll get better with time and undermine our spinners' confidence btw! This is what I've been calling a lack of savvy in order not to be deemed abusive. But let's just blame every weakness on lack of experience, even when blind Freddie could see the lack of footwork of Warner + Cowan + Hughes! No worries, they'll work it out as they play! Come on, Don, let's leave fairyland behind us and inhale the dust from the Indian tracks. Bring back the spinning tracks at the SCG and AO - that should be a start. Enforce the playing of a spinner in all Shield games. Get individual mentors for young promising age-appropriate batters. We need some post-Argus development in the relevant areas!

  • dr.thirsty on March 6, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    No. 1 still in sight - Only from an observatory!