Australia in India 2012-13

Indian failures no Ashes barometer - Arthur

Brydon Coverdale

March 8, 2013

Comments: 98 | Text size: A | A

Michael Hussey acknowledges the cheers after his final Test appearance , Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 4th day, January 6, 2013
Michael Hussey's retirement took away stability from an Australian team in transition © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Mickey Arthur
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia

Australia's coach Mickey Arthur has said the team's struggles in India cannot serve as an accurate indication of how they will fare in England later this year due to the vastly different conditions. However, Arthur also said the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey had sent the team's batting plans almost back to square one, because the selectors expected both veterans to be part of the Ashes campaign.

The losses of Ponting and Hussey have left Australia with a top six seriously lacking in experience and Test runs. Michael Clarke is the only member of the current batting order to have scored more than three Test centuries, and in the first two matches against India, he is the only member of the top six averaging more than 30.

Phillip Hughes' problems against spin have been severely exposed by R Ashwin, leaving him in danger of being dropped for the third Test in Mohali. Hughes returned to the Test side for the home series against Sri Lanka in December as the No.3 batsman and replacement for Ponting. He scored a pair of eighties in the Sri Lanka series and would be more suited to playing in England than India, but the question is whether he will now get the chance.

Shane Watson has shuffled between No.3 and 4 recently and could be back at first drop if Hughes is axed, but wherever he bats he needs to soon end his two-and-a-half-year drought without a Test century. Ed Cowan and David Warner have struggled to have any significant impact in India and the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade has been asked to play at No.6, a necessary move if the selectors want an allrounder while Watson is not bowling.

"It's probably not that fair a barometer," Arthur said of India compared to the Ashes. "I was pretty scared when I looked at the schedule because we'd been building a top-six and a team. We were nearly the finished article, then we lose 300 Test caps. In my thinking Ponting and Hussey were coming to the Ashes. We had them pencilled in to come to the Ashes so we had some stability in the top six. We thought we had experience, some good young players and it was the perfect blend. We then lose both those players.

"Then I thought we've got to go to India, and on every tour to India I've been on there's been casualties. We don't want those casualties going into the Ashes because we've got to back what we think are our best players. We've got to keep the team as stable as we possibly can. We can't go into the Ashes thinking 'what's our best top six?' We can't be using the first couple of games as a trial. We need to be clear in our mind as to who those players are. I was clear in my mind ... but I'll talk to you again after the next two Tests."

The loss of Ponting was half expected, for although he piled up the runs in 2011-12 at home against India he had a disappointing tour of West Indies and a miserable series against South Africa. But the departure of Hussey was the major blow. Batting at No.6, Hussey provided an invaluable buttress between Clarke, the team's best and most in-form batsman, and the lower order.

It was all the more frustrating for the Australians given that Hussey had scored three centuries during the home Test summer. During the 2012 calendar year, Hussey made 950 Test runs at the average of 59.37 and was comfortably second to Clarke on Australia's list of averages for the year.

His footwork and skill against spin would have made him a vital member of the side in India, where he had scored 493 Test runs at 44.81 on past tours. Instead of being with the squad as they settled in to Chandigarh on Friday, Hussey was in Adelaide scoring 99 for Western Australia in a Sheffield Shield match. His retirement was based on a desire to spend more time with his young family, and Arthur said nothing would have changed his mind.

"That was Huss's decision," Arthur said. "We couldn't try and persuade him either way and it was right for him. Everything he has said subsequently has made me think that the time was right for him. We can't change that. That's his decision. It was disappointing to lose him though ahead of what is such a big year. A year I guess that will define Michael and my leadership. It was disappointing because it was almost back to square one again in terms of experience."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (March 11, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Believe it or not they lost all the ashes series that happened right after their india tour since 2004 (2005 in eng (toured india in 2004-2005), 2009 in eng(toured india in 2008), 2010 in Aus(toured india 2010 ) They did not visit india right after their loss to eng in 2005( and before they regained in 2007).

Posted by Meety on (March 11, 2013, 3:22 GMT)

Dear oh dear Mickey! The ages of Ponting & Huss had to mean that there should of been some sort of succession plan in place. Given that we see the team discussed in HRM terms with words like "culture", a succession plan should of been high up the list. The REAL problem for the Oz team is that this tour has not been properly planned for. The team arrived as rabble & played like one. We have a squad that "Covered all bases" - yet missed out the best performed spinner on the domestic circuit, & failed to include a reserve keeper (no disrespect to Phil Hughes). @ Imsrk - Ricky Ponting had the best 5 year form surge of any batsmen ever (except Bradman). From 2002 to 07, nobody was near him. I will not bag Sachin or Lara, but they were all comparable in their careers. As for Huss, if you had a health scare with a new born, maybe your priorities would change. So I would suggest you comment on Baseball, as you are clueless!

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 11, 2013, 1:41 GMT)

As much as Mickey opens his mouth occasionally, we all know that Clarke & Inver's run the NSP with the rest just being pawns...

Re: Hussey - "if" the NSP hadn't made Watto VC & selected Huss instead then there wouldn't be a problem atm - by not also selecting Hadds 2 years ago as VC sent a big message from Clarke that the seniors were not part of the leadership group...

Now we have a vice captain that has been the worst of the current top 7 in batting with an average @25.2 during this time - even Marcus North @35.48 was in better form (over 2 years) when he was sacked...

Posted by Mahesh_AV on (March 11, 2013, 0:46 GMT)

Hey Mickey, what do you mean "on every tour to India there's been casualities"? If you make a cricketer play basketball, to stay in shape for cricket, you will get casualities. Anywhere in the world!!!!

Posted by lillee4PM on (March 10, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

Hey Mickey, Ian Chappell doesn't agree with you and nor do I. Yes, the conditions and opposition will be different in England but our batters are down on form and confidence. I expect our quicks to succeed but that is only half the equation, so everyone knows you are just talking it up for the media.

Posted by Siddharth194 on (March 10, 2013, 10:36 GMT)

David Hussey,Brad Hodge need to be in the squad for the 10 ashes tests....and I think people like Cameron White,Adam Voges etc would do much better than steve smith/glen maxwell.These players can bring real experience and variety to the squad.Doherty deserves no sympathy and needs to be axed immediately.And haddin is much better than wade....in terms of both batting and keeping.Lyon and Hauritz/O'Keefe should be the two spinners.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 10, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

@Imsrk on (March 9, 2013, 17:03 GMT), talking about selfishness when a player is in a team is one thing but expecting a player to remain part of a team that is away from home for several months each year when his heart is not in it is something else altogether. No doubt Hussey was thinking of himself when he made the decision to retire and quite right he was to do so. What I find to be unacceptable selfish is when fans expect players to make great sacrifices for them. As long as a player is in the team, they owe the team and the fans their best. Most sportsmen play their sport because they love it. If they don't love it enough to keep playing then I say they have no further responsibility to team or fans.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 9, 2013, 23:48 GMT)

What I think Mr Arthur is lacking in understanding about here is the gulf in skill between the two competing Ashes teams. This is more than evident in the fact that England have just toured India. And England won handsomely in India too. Australian selection is in literally in freefall, with the entire top six looking to be completely 'reorganised' next test match. Add to the year-long Lyon saga and you've got just the tip of the iceberg for the current Aus test team.

Posted by bobagorof on (March 9, 2013, 23:47 GMT)

Arthur's comments are very worrying. "... because we'd been building a top-six and a team. We were nearly the finished article, then we lose 300 Test caps." Both Ponting and Hussey were nearing the end of their careers - they had a huge amount of experiene but neither were at the stage where you build a batting order around them, simply because they were due to retire. The problem was identified when Simon Katich was dropped several years ago. At the time they said there were too many 35+ year old batsmen, and they were right. Unfortunately they held on to Ponting for a year too long (he should have retired after the Indian summer, when he would have gone out on a high following several poor years), and given another batsman a year in the team while Hussey was there to support Clarke. Unfortunately Cricket Australia yet again held on to the champions with no succession plan. I would have thought they'd have learnt, but apparently not.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (March 9, 2013, 23:14 GMT)

@hycIass some good points mate and I like the 2 allrounders you have listed as well though Moses was impressive for me. Like most of you hoping that Khawaja gets a hit in the third test and that its part of a long hit for him and not just 1 game as he is one of our better test prospects. Mitchell Marsh is the one I've been thinking about as well. He *could* be the genuine hard-hitting no.7 bat, 15-overs-a-day bowler we are looking for, good to see some young allrounders coming through in Moses and Marsh.

Posted by chicko1983 on (March 9, 2013, 21:10 GMT)

@Imsrk: Ponting was the best batsman in the greatest test team ever. Was also the best batsman in the best odi team ever. circa 2002-2005. David, not even the best batsman in a mediocre team. Ha

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

I only have one thing to say to CA once again bring it because last years attitude repeated will only end in tears for you

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 9, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

Do AUS fans still think hussy retired at right time when his team needed him the most. Is this not a selfish decision.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 9, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

I don't know y people always talk abt ponting. Batting at number 3 when u have Hayden langer as opener gilcrist at number 7 is always easy. I am not mentioning other greats in the team. He struggled when greats retire. Clark is far better batsman than ponting. I would rate players like dravid ahead of him any day who bats when team is 10-1 with mediore bowlers in the team. Ponting was good batsman no doubt but not in the league of tendulkar or lara.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (March 9, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

We now know that Australia will not be winning against India. By how much will soon be divulged. Thus confidence is sapped. The batting is undergoing mental disintegration and to make it worse the selectors do not have a clue where to put Watson or decide what he is even. They actually dropped Lyon for.....Doherty. My God, they must be totally insane!!! And which of the seamers will still be fit by the end of this series and which under the knife? Australia have managed to stay a shakey 3rd in the rankings through Luck and meeting the most pathetic DSl side ever virtually at the right time. They stay 3rd by default only.The other Test sides are not too hot either! England will be different obviously but will the batting command much more than derision apart from Clarke? Will the seamers be good enough to take advantage of conditions, apart from Pattinson who is a good bowler? Will Hilfenhaus make a return to form? Has Starc got it if Johnson hasn't? The Ashes? Unlikely.

Posted by Beertjie on (March 9, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

For what its worth I agree entirely with you about Arthur/Lehman @Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (March 8, 2013, 23:34 GMT) except that as a South African I knew all about Arthur and condemned his appointment at the time so strongly my post was not published on this site. OK, so no one expected Hussey to retire when he did, but it's not as if the batting weakness signs were not there. So he wants experience, we heard. OK Rogers hasn't played in India and he's 36, but including him in a 17 man party now and giving him a shot at Mohali would have shown foresight and planning ahead. His experience in England is always going to count. Did we really need Wade keeping on spinning tops in England when he couldn't keep properly to Lyon in Oz? Where's the back up? Sure, he's not the only selector but these are basic props in your squad. He's a lightweight good at taking some weight off the skipper, etc but an Ozzie coach he never was!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 9, 2013, 12:52 GMT)

@Cricket4World on (March 9, 2013, 11:28 GMT), I think that it's the timing that makes Hussey the bigger loss as far as the team's situation is concerned. Ponting's decline coincided with Clarke's rise as a batsman. When Ponting bowed out, the team was still doing well and the players simply inherited their belief from past performances. Once Hussey left, the team simply didn't have the firepower to back up that belief. They're still not a bad team but they're a long way from the great Australian teams of the past and they're ill-equipped to deal with the current conditions in India.

Posted by hycIass on (March 9, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

My issue as always has been with picking allrounders who are not ready for test cricket. There are two who are not in the squad but who are better then Maxwell . The best option is Andrew McDonald when fit. Genuine 5 or 6 bat and handy bowler, suited to English conditions. The other lesser option is James Hopes. Gutsy aggressive batsman definitely a 7 but 6 may be stretching it (but averaging nearly 40 this year in the Shield) and a very handy third or 4th seamer.Both are very very economical. Both are smart and experienced. But have shown guts and character. Agree with the folks on Khawaja, he is a must for the next test and i think will star for us in the ashes. His runs in shield have all come in tough conditions. Good to see Joe Burns again play well, get a hundred against a good attack, especially when the other batsmen have struggled in the game. Rarely looked in trouble, looked good of back and front foot. Lets get 6 batsman, a keeper and 4 bowlers in and we will play better.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 9, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

Mentally - Aus could be hurt , but if they could somehow pick up a draw and a win here it could have a good affect on them. Even if they lose 4-0 , the Ashes will take place in conditions more suited to their bowling attack than India. They have one fairly good spinner out there (Lyon) , a poor looking 2nd spinner out there and a couple of part timers/one day specialists. In Eng they'll prob only need one spinner per match and maybe they'll pick O Keefe for that tour as so many Oz fans on here wanted for this one. They have a lot of depth in the pace dept and so their bowlers will be much more effective in England. England will remain favourites and the loss of Hussey may take a long time to recover from but I will not be writing them off , esp as Eng still need to hold out vs NZ in the current test

Posted by Cricket4World on (March 9, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

I think a lot of these comments(and the article) suggest that MEK Hussey was the biggest loss to Austra;ian cricket over the summer. No-one should underestimate what RT Ponting bought to this team. Apart from a weath of experience and class he bought guidance and belief that you can win a Test from any position. Ponting always went for the win no matter where the team was placed. Hussey himself looked up to Ponting and got a bit embarrassed when people would put himself in the same bracket as Ponting. Sure, he wasn't at the standard he would of liked or he knows he could be in his last few years but he was the best batsman in the world for the best part of a decade(was voted player of the decade 2000-2009). Was also the only player in the world to be ranked number 1 batsman in all three formats at the same time. Taking nothing away from Hussey but I'm sure he would agree that Ricky was the heart and soul of the team. There is great and then there is that other level that few get to!

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (March 9, 2013, 10:43 GMT)

We can't find another Mike Hussey, legends don't come around that esily. And yes Maxwell should be dropped.The Indians got themselves out on most of those wickets trying to force the pace. A lot of their wickets looked one day-ish eg Maxwells caught and bowled. India were trying to force the tempo and put the match out of reach (further out of reach).I'd love to be proved wrong but I don't see a way out for the Aussies. We have two back in the sheds. Two in the middle who specialise in getting 30′s. Followed by three 'all-rounders'. We need at least one double and one century to save this one…not a string of 40s, 50s, 60s. For this Khawaja must be bought in, he might not get a century in the first test but he will fire by the second test and wiill be set up for the ashes where we will need his ability to play swing bowling.

Posted by Mary_786 on (March 9, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

I agree with Arthur that losing Hussey has thrown us off, but we also should have planned better and got younger folks in to play with the experienced players. Someone like Khawaja should have been bough in against Sri Lanka which would allow him to settle in and I am hoping he is able to get his position in this tour. Also there are two criteria for an opener. Ability to see off the new ball. Ability to score runs. On both of our openers have failed recently, but I would keep Warner, its a matter of who is best suited to open with him. I've been an advocate of giving a player a good run of matches in which to settle and show some form and ability. Hughes & Khawaja(in particular Khawaja) were not given 15 tests in a row. Cowan has now had enough opportunity and needs to step up in the next two tests in India. If he cannot then other options need to be considered

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (March 9, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

I don't think Arthur is giving up but losing Hussey was a big loss. Guys getting a run in the test side after one or two good knocks. You could easily say Maxwell was a hasty pick. Let's see him do it next week, next month, next year. Our selectors have set up enough guys to fail over the last season or two. Seems these days you make a ton on a tough track and everyone wants to send you a cap and book you a ticket. The Shield's not a breeding ground unless you spend some time there. I know Burns didn't debut a few days ago but he's still a kid in cricketing terms. Let's pick him in the ashes squad once rather than three times like we've done with Hughes@din7 like you i am a big fan of Khawaja but i don't think his lack of chances has to do with religion, its more to do with favorites in the team but ultimately folks want to win and if he gets a few games in a row he will show that he is among the top 6 batsman in the country, in my opinion he is in the top 3 in the country

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 9, 2013, 9:19 GMT)

Anything that dents Australia's confidence is good for England but everyone knows that conditions in England will be very different to India and far more to Australia's liking. There's still a while to go before the Ashes too, so Australia have a while to lick their wounds. Besides, they may well improve before this current series finishes, although it's certainly not guaranteed. England also need to get their house in order after a terrible start to their NZ series. They seem to have bounced back with a big second innings so far but England should be able to win the last two games in the series and then dominate NZ at home.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

Mickey Arthur`s statement shows he & his team has already given in.The tour is at half way stage & they need to focus on current scenario rather than thinking about the ashes.Aussies are struggling & need to quickly solve the shortcomings ,otherwise 4-0 is definitely on the cards.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

Arthur is perhaps not keen on India Series and hence Aussies have come with intentional Weak Team !!! If this is the suggestion of the article here, India should totally wash this team and prove them correct , Arthur is perhaps correct in viewing the next series since this is already washed-out !! If this is the suggestions, Indians should prove them correct Arthur is perhaps correct since Ashes is the only noticeable serirs for Aussis !! IF this is correct, BCCI should take the cue and deprive AUssies of any further series with India Arthur is perhaps correct as England are perhaps winnable!!! If this is the suggestions, England Team should take the cue and White-Wash Aussies totally and drive them out of Cricket itself. ANYWAY, THIS COMMENT FROM ARTHUR SHOWS TOTAL OUT-OF-AND STATUS OF THE AUSSIES CRICKET AT PRESENT

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 7:45 GMT)

Aussies are going to have hard time in Eng. Clarke and Arthur wont except now for obvious reasons. It would be like throwing in the towel before the battle. However signs are ominous.

Posted by MartinC on (March 9, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Why is he even talking about the Ashes? Focus on what's in front of you right now - perhaps this lack of focus explains the poor performance of the Aussies in India. Well that and lack of quality batsmen and anything resembling a Test class spinner ....

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

Cricket fans all over the world, periodically, call for the retirement of ineffective players. How come, there is no clarion call for the "retirement" (voluntary or forced-- doesn't mtter), of guys like Inverarity & Micky Arthur?

Posted by fab4_india on (March 9, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

The problem with Australia, is that they r thinking of Ashes more than what they have got on their plates right now...i would want them to concentrate on the current series rather then thinking of Ashes...taking Ashes very seriously and taking India for granted is not gonna help them, rather it gonna be very dangerous.

Posted by ihaq1 on (March 9, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

in england even english bowlers will be a handful and australia have not done well there recently...In india they have to decide whetehr it is fast bowlers or spinners at mohali...i would think watson should try to bowl...pattinson and johsnston and two or three spinners...khawaja is teh only choice at number three and watson should open with warner and cowan can come below clarke...

Posted by Hammond on (March 9, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

How can he say that? Cricket is played mostly between the ears. It will be obvious to all the Aussie players that they can't compete against the same team (and in the same conditions) that England beat only a few months ago.

Posted by landl47 on (March 9, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

The problem for Mickey Arthur is that this happens to be a period when Australia's batting is between the greats of the recent past and the future greats. I have no doubt that in a few years Aus will come up with some top-class young players, but just at the moment there isn't much quality around. Only Joe Burns of those not on this tour looks as though he might be a test player; with great respect, batsmen in their late 20s with averages under 40 aren't going to do any better than the present incumbents.

The bowling is another matter. While not well-suited to Indian tracks, the Aus seamers will be a handful in English conditions. I think the Ashes will be, as it usually is, a great and gripping contest.

Posted by crh8971 on (March 9, 2013, 3:01 GMT)

The reality is that that playing India in India and the Ashes in England are now almost two different sports. My evidence to support this statement is the performance of Pannesar, who was so effective against players bought up on spin on Indian tracks, against NZ in Dunedin where he wasn't really a factor. Our team will be much better suited to English conditions and I feel our quick bowlers are actually superior to England's if we can keep them fit, Pattinson in particular. This is not to excuse the performance in India where the focus, preparation, selection and execution have all been terrible. The 4 openers experiment has to stop. Hughes is so bad against spin that his only real spot is as an opener, Watson is a liability and the protection of him has to stop. Clarke and Arthur should have no role in squad selection as they simply cannot watch enough cricket.

Posted by mikey76 on (March 9, 2013, 2:58 GMT)

Losing any series has a negative impact on the following series. Confidence will take a knock and a lack of runs to your name will make you tentative. England have two world class spinners to exploit any turn, and while Pattinson and Starc will love the seam and swing so will Anderson and Finn. The english top order, barring the debacle in Dunedin is just much better than their Aus counterparts. They mostly all average between 45-50.

Posted by vatsap on (March 9, 2013, 2:54 GMT)

I dont think India can win 4-0 ever as they lack focus, but would like India to win 4-0 now on the ridiculous comments emerging. Let Mickey Arthur and co get ready for the Ashes but they are in the middle of a series currently.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (March 9, 2013, 2:47 GMT)

@ozziespirit i'm not so sure I'd consider England a dominant side and certianly don't consider them to have been better than us for a long time. Just because England beat India doesn't mean they will beat us. India have a lot more experienced batsmen who had better knowledge of indian conditions and they have 2 very good spinners. We have 1 batsmen with good experience and 1 decent spinner who was dropped for a terrible spinner.

We do have some young batsmen who are pretty good against pace bowling (Warner and Hughes are definitely stronger against pace/seam than spin) and English pitches aren't the clay courts we've been seeing in India. I still think England are the better side but the margin isn't great England might have done better than us against India but we also did a lot better against SA than England did

Posted by Dashku on (March 9, 2013, 2:22 GMT)

What is that Arthur wants to convey here!!! Has he come to India for playing prctice matches? Yes this series may not be a barometer for Ashes. But this tour definately not a training camp. Well I hope there is no point in complining ACB since Arthur clearly said "It's probably not that fair a barometer".

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (March 9, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

Hughes has been disappointing but not as bad as Warner and Watson. They have both played in India a lot and should know these conditions well. If Watson/Warner were performing there wouldn't be so much pressure on Hughes. He has never played in Inda before and has only just come back into the side. Hughes played Herath well in Australia because he was set and it was only from one end, vastly different to Indian conditions and more like what he'll face in England. He is a match winner whereas Cowan is not. I agree Khawaja should be given a go but in the middle order at the expense of Warner or Watson.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 9, 2013, 1:33 GMT)

@ozziespirit, if you ever do make it out to Australia, you will no doubt learn a thing or two about Aussie spirit.

Posted by Someguy on (March 9, 2013, 1:05 GMT)

@Joseph Langford - He doesn't mean that England have no quality spinners. You can't seriously tell me that you think the English spinners will have the same impact at Lords as the Indian spinners had in Chennai? You think Swann and Panesar will open the bowling for England?

Not to mention the main strength of the Australian team at the moment is their fast bowlers, who (other than Pattinson) are having limited impact in the spin friendly conditions of India.

It will be a very different game in England. I don't know who will win that series, but it certainly wont be as one sided as the indian series.

Posted by featurewriter on (March 9, 2013, 0:30 GMT)

Poor team selections is all it comes down to at the moment. The majority of armchair critics have had better options than Arthur and the selectors. Steve Smith and Maxwell should never have gone on this tour. Hauritz or Krezja (who has previously performed well in India) should have been the support spinners. I think Doherty deserves a chance, particularly as he has become quite a clever bowler in the shorter forms of the game. But we should have selected two spinners in the first Test and we should have included Mitch Johnson in both Tests. His batting and aggression - and his endurance - are game-changing. Our Ashes squad should look something like this (barring injuries): Warner, Cowan, Watson, Hughes, Clarke, Wade, Johnson, Bird, Pattinson, Lyon, Starc, Siddle, Henriques, David Hussey, Paine, Khawaja. Outside chances: Doherty, Faulkner, Voges, Butterworth, Doolan. Dark horses: Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Cummins.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (March 9, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

please please keep going mickey, you are losing the ashes alraedy all on yr own, you've already lost the BG Trophy... you haven't got a clue who your best players are judging by the tour party & recent selections, and to talk about s smith coming in shows you have no plans at all... and to say you were caught out by ponting and hussey retiring shows what a non-grip you have... the teams you left (RSA & WA) have gone on to greater things since you left, and oz has plummetted, says it all... but argos says you will be No 1 soon... how and with who exactly?? what are you guys on?

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (March 8, 2013, 23:34 GMT)

To be honest my faith in Mr Arthur has been fading as he has gone on & he is starting sound a bit like Tim Neilsen. The thinking , planning, selecting & execution of this tour has been deeply worrying & some of his pronouncements on players standing & performances frankly astound me. I'd be reluctant to change so close to the Ashes if there wasn't an Australian available with extensive experience of cricket in England & the ability to revitalize an inexperienced side .... come on down Darren LEHMANN

Posted by skkh on (March 8, 2013, 23:13 GMT)

We, back in Australia, would appreciate if the Australian team and the tall speaking Arthur stop giving press conferences and talking tall with absolutely no conviction and start concentrating on the game for a change. You and your bunch are an embarrassment for us back home.

Posted by IMJUSTANOTHERGUY on (March 8, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

Wheres Joe Burns? Khawaja? They need to play! If Australia is to build a strong top 6, then pick those 2. And for the keeper, Hartly is clearly the best Australian keeper, and is very, very solid with the bat

Posted by siddharth_r2001 on (March 8, 2013, 22:24 GMT)

From the look of it, Mickey Arthur is essentially saying he took the job of the Australian coach because they had stalwarts like Ponting and Hussey present (in addition to Clarke) and his skills, or rather the lack of them, won't be found out. Now with the retirements of Ponting and Hussey - one half expected and one out of the blue - he finds himself exposed like a deer in the headlights!!

Posted by anexpat on (March 8, 2013, 21:57 GMT)

When England came to India recently, they had a very well balanced side to counter India. They had better spinners in Swann and Panesar and great batsmen headed by Cook and Pietersen. They turned tables on India on supposed to be the tailor made pitches for Indians. Australiana are not so well equipped as compared to the English. It is ridiculous for Mickey Arthur trying to suggest that their drubbing in India has no bearing on the Ashes. The ability of England to perform so well in India has made them to look like a complete team and are way ahead of this Australian team. MA should be a hugely worried man.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 8, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

It is a joke to say that they thought Ponting would be a part of the Ashes campaign because if that were true they should have told him. I have no doubt that the only reason Ponting resigned was not that he thought he could not perform but rather the insecurity of being unceremoniously dumped as he was from the ODI squad.

Truth will come out in a future autobiography but I am guessing that Hussey's decision to retire would have been some sort of solidarity with Ponting. Those who, both in the media and in the general public, wanted to see the new generation given a chance, got what they asked for and on reflection, it would be better to have Ponting and Hussey back UNTIL at least their replacements actually cement their place in the team with deserving performances.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 20:42 GMT)

I really can't believe that the Australian Coach thinks that this tour is not a barometer for the Ashes. Obviously MA believes that England have no quality spinners.

The issue pertaining to RP and MH retiring is a joke. These two fine players turn 39 and 38 respectively this year. WHAT?!?!? Did you think that they would be playing for another 5-years. Australia now has no settled combinations in the top order, something that was ignored MA in the selection process for the trial games in India

It's quite sad that visionless attitude of the ACB and their selection decisions, that could only be defined as clutching at straws, has resulted in the placating of terrible results and obfuscation of reality. Now their only option appears to be "burying their head in the sand".

Decisions like taking Lee to England (2012), Quiney Fiasco, Tour selection of XD, SS and GM, the Test selection of XD and GM etc etc are all bearing fruit

Do your media releases, unfortunately very few believe them.

Posted by philvic on (March 8, 2013, 20:16 GMT)

This obsession with building up to the Ashes does no-one any favours. It is insulting to the teams that Australia and England play before as though these series are somehow preparation for "the real thing" and it is harmful to England and Aus in not concentrating fully on the job in hand, which is often a more severe cricketing test than anything the Ashes itself dishes up. Maybe they should open the urn and sprinkle the ashes over Dunedin and Hyderabad.

Posted by OzMongrel on (March 8, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

Why on earth did we drop Nathan Lyon? It is now obvious that this tour is a learning experience for the side, and our number one spinner needs time on these decks. It would probably help if we had a keeper who concentrated on his glovework first and his batting second, Haddin should definitely be in India, particularly after Huss retired. By all means play Maxwell if we need two spin options, and give Lyon the chance to bowl in tandem.

Posted by myStraightTalk on (March 8, 2013, 19:46 GMT)

Australia won the series last year 4-0 against India and when you combine the current series they are still leading the trophy. Now i see they are hungry to beet India in Chandigar after no break in training.. India on the other hand took a break and Aus will exploit that opportunity and win the match which will be a huge blow to Dhoni Captionship and eventually to the series.

Posted by PeterJerome on (March 8, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

You guys got some fine tactics for covering up for your current failures. Just focus on the Ashes... Dust off first guys.

Posted by ozziespirit on (March 8, 2013, 19:06 GMT)

Unfortunately, England winning so well in India and Australia being so thrashed there DOES have an impact on the Ashes Mr Arthur. Because even Oz fans admit England are the better team and have been for a long time. Bowlers like Patto will be lethal on green tops, but only Nottingham is one of those. If Aus lose in England then go on to lose at home, it could hurt Australian cricket for many years, as England's dominance will be very obvious. We've got to find new players, a spinner, and decent batsmen. This could take years by itself.

Posted by blink182alex on (March 8, 2013, 18:35 GMT)

Well if they continue to back the players who aren't good enough then not only will we lose this series 4-0 but we will also get thrashed in England. Arthur says 'we need the keep the team as stable as we can'. which is not good news to hear as we shouldn't have Maxwell, Doherty, Smith, Henriques in the squad whilst Cowan and Hughes shouldn't be in the best possible top 6.

This fascination with the 'multi-skilled players, or all rounders is going to backfire, pick your best bowlers to take wickets, and select the best batsmen to score runs, you don't need Henriques in England as 3 quicks and 1 spinner is enough, Watto might be able to bowl here and there, and you have your keeper at 7. Hopefully Wade will learn how to catch by then.

Posted by Thefakebook on (March 8, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

Indian failures may be no Ashes barometer,but Arthur failures sure are time to bring an OZ coach back.

Posted by Texmex on (March 8, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Halfway through this tour Australia already looking at Ashes??

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 8, 2013, 18:26 GMT)

Missing hussy is the key here. But ponting always struggle in India even at his peak. So it's better not to have him in team at least in India. Clark is far better than him as a player and as a captain

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

Seems as if both sides have some rebuilding to do. Swann may be the real game changer this English summer (if his elbow surgery is a success!). Exciting times in test cricket.

Posted by xylo on (March 8, 2013, 17:33 GMT)

I believe Simon Katich is still available for selection, isn't he?

Posted by Selassie-I on (March 8, 2013, 16:53 GMT)

Australia just need to admit to themselves that they are in a period of rebuilding - as Auther states.

While the fans and the press keep on asking for immidiate results, and when they don't get them asking for heads to roll immidiatley, they won't get anywhere. Realy fans will support their teams through thick and thin, by the looks of the empty (sold) seats in the last ashes, the Aussie fans desert the coarse at the slightest wiff of failure.

Posted by din7 on (March 8, 2013, 16:44 GMT)

Just read the article by matt cleary in The Cordon! 2 to 3 things he has raised are absolutely right first steven smith in test side...well im SPEECHLESS if he can get a pplace in aus test side i can really fancy my chances in aus test side too..what has he done yet? almost nothin ...has failed repeatedly and still finds a place in aus test side! for gods sake! 2nd doherty replacin lyon..well thats interstin i wont agree hin fully cause aus dont have any quality spinners back home..still o keefe shld have made it. 3rd brad haddin yes i still cant understand why he isnt in this test side as a batsman plays spin much better than ed, shane or phil....and khawaja...oh man what on earth has he done despite being a muslim that he doesnt find a place in this test side...if cowen, phil, watson, maxwell, moises are better than khwaja then ashwin willl be better spinner than ajmal or swann!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

australia need to make couple of changes to their batting lineup. ed cowan and nathan lyon should never play test cricket again. australia lineup for ashes series 2013 should be: 1. warner 2. hughes 3. khawaja 4. clarke 5. burns/ fergusson 6. watson/ henriques 7. wade/ haddin 8. pattinson 9. siddle/ harris 10. agar/ fawad ahmed 11. starc/ bird

Posted by cricket-freak on (March 8, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

Nobody can fill the gap left by Michael Hussey,,,His passion for the game,love for his country,unmatchable cricketing skills and dedication to the game cannot be provided by anyyy other player..A legend he was and will be,but its a bit disturbing to see that he retired when the team needed him the most..Had he been in the team for the tour to India things would have been different.!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

Phil Hughes: You have to be FILL HUGE! Fill the score board with huge scores. Sooner, the better. Can't believe that you are the one occupying the space left by the giant Ricky. Rather too big shoes for you to step in. That may be the case with some one else too.

Tinkering around with equally inexperienced and perhaps just above average players will be just a 'Micky mouse game", which may not take OZ too far.

Like India, Oz is also on a long and arduous trip to reach their cherished destinations. For Oz, the hazard turned out to be India. For India, South Africa is eagerly waiting the Indians' arrival ! So, let either of the group of fans; beware. Let us not gloat over (just enjoy, that's OK) the successes too soon. Or get into dispirited self-flagellation, too soon. Set long term vision. Selection is the key. After choosing the right set of players, have patience. Give them space & time. Let them work hard. Single mindedly chase the long term vision. Results will follow.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (March 8, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

Here is my 2 cents worth advice to the Aussie camp if they want to do better in India: STOP THINKING ABOUT THE ASHES! The Aussie team is struggling in India and instead of planning for the next two Tests, Mickey Arther is talking about how this will impact the Ashes. This is a 4 Test match series. Australia haven't lost the series yet. Didn't England bounce back after getting trounced in the first Test during the recent series in India? Australia can still draw the series 2-2, but they must stop thinking about the Ashes and focus on the current series. This advice is from an Indian fan. Take it or get ready for 4-0!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

Australia's coach Mickey Arthur has said "the team's struggles in India cannot serve as an accurate indication of how they will fare in England later this year..."

Yes, sure Mickey, it could be worse !

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

Mike Hussy is the Oz version of VVS, or vice versa. Inadequate recognition, when they used to play and were pillars of strength to their respective teams. And, now wallowing in regret, when they miss the solidity of these two unsung greats

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

Guys, Where is Shaun Marsh..?? Where is George Bailey.. ? Where is David Hussey..? Why they are keep playing with Philip Hughes.. He has a lot many flaws in his technique.. Bring in at least one of the above in.. I was laughing to see Maxwell in as a test batsman/bowler/allrounder.. I believe he is just a good hitter who is only good once in a year lolz..

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (March 8, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

They need to get starc and khawaja back in side. get watson at no.3 khawaja at no.4 and clark no.5. Austrailian opening is not good either along with spin bowling. but they have a very good bowler in Starc and Khawaja should be given a proper chance.

Posted by InsideHedge on (March 8, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

I wrote a few days back that it's no coincidence SA struggled with spin - including introducing good spinners into the side - when Arfur was "Head Coach". Sounds like he's already making excuses for a heavy Ashes defeat.

Australia's best chance of winning the Ashes will be the return series in Australia later in the year. Remember folks, for the 1st time, we have back-to-back Ashes series. But will Arfur still be around?

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

Australia may lose this series & the ashes. But Aus shouldnt take rash decisions yet, i think losses are a vital part of building a team as it increases experience of the players.

Posted by Beertjie on (March 8, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

"Matthew Wade has been asked to play at No.6, a necessary move if the selectors want an allrounder while Watson is not bowling." Just because bowlers broke down in the past is no reason for insisting on an all rounder in the top 7. As has been stated ad infinitum on this site, if no one is putting up their hands as a batsman, the "all rounder" does not exist. OK so at Hobart Watto bowled almost 50 overs, but why insist on picking someone who can't bat in the top 6. Henriques was a success, but is he going to sustain it? But even more importantly, why is Wade there at all, let alone at 6 (Hussey's old position)? Even if Watson bowls, he can hardly be called an all rounder. Rather a batsman who is a useful bowler. Henriques is limited over type. RHBs (to counter Swann's offies) like Doolan and Ferguson need to be seriously considered in a 17 man squad. I'd take Paine and Haddin for the same reason. @valvolux (March 8, 2013, 13:18 GMT): no one pushed Hussey - he walked and we're all sad.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

I love the way the Aussies play cricket, positive and aggressive. However, it seem that this is the approach at all cost. Respect the basics of the game. I think they have the batsmen but they have to respect the Indian bowlers and Indian conditions. They all want to bat like superstars and score at 4 runs to the over from the start. Before they know it they are 3 down for very little when their only superstar, Michael Clarke comes to the wicket. He is in the form of his life but he can't do it all, all of the time. The Indians scored at a pedestrian rate at the start of their innings but by the end were batting at 3.5 runs per over. Take a leaf out of their book and the Aussies are well capable of posting 450 + and giving themselves a chance. They have a very good pace attack but should include Johnson. By showing some good old fashioned grind in their batting and employing a decent bowling attack, admittedly limited in the spin dept, they should at least be competitive.

Posted by Stark62 on (March 8, 2013, 14:59 GMT)

This guy is possibly the worst coach throughout history of cricket!!

Is it any coincidence, that SA have reached no. 1 as soon as this guy left?!?!

Eng could just prepare turning tracks, then use Swann and Panesar, who demolished the Indian batting line up, so what chance does the Aussie line up have?

I hope English curators do take my advice and develop turning pitches because they have the bowling attack to succeed and the batsmen to cope with Lyon.

Posted by Chicagoan76 on (March 8, 2013, 14:59 GMT)

I do not believe Australia is ready yet to learn their lessons with humility. They will keep spinning the story and keep under performing, coming up with extravagant stories and explanations of how they are victims of Steve Waugh not available for the coming Ashes. The only consolation is what I said before, time. Time is a great leveler and laws of averages takes over. You might win a game here or there and even a series, but gone are the days of dominance, primarily because you are not sincere.

Posted by Rohanbandekar on (March 8, 2013, 14:56 GMT)

I really felt bad by the way the selectors treated Katich. May be Hussey retired coz of similar issues.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

Bring In George Bailey. He will provide experience and talent. Moreover, Clarke will feel a bit relaxed in his company.

Posted by mike_b on (March 8, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

@ScottStevo is so right when talking of the classic approach of 6 specialist bats, a keeper & 4 specialist bowlers.It worked for the Taylor & Waugh teams,the Clive Llyod teams & many other greats from the past.Remember Gillie's main job was to keep well to Pigeon & Warnie& his batting at 7 was an awesome bonus!Everybody loves an all-rounder but they have to be the real deal that has at least one specialist skill keeping them in the team with nothing else considered.D.Martyn has been asking the question recently about these bits 'n pieces blokes-"what's their main thing?"Invers was a bits n' pieces player himself(30 averager & handy second spinner) & it's showing in his selections.These sorts can run about at shield level but they aint good enough forTest cricket.When SA filled their team with 30 averagers who took a wicket or two per game(Klusener,MacMillan,Cronje)we gave 'em a beating.Now they pick specialists.Kallis is a truly great bat & test standard seamer therefore the real deal

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

They could have asked Simon Katich, Brad Hodge, or Brad Haddin to make a comeback for India series at least, instead of getting embarrassed in this fashion. I think their youth policy has now come to bite them in the back.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

Why don't they take chance on David Hussey or Pomersbach since they played well in IPL, They know the condition better than others. Test match is different, but as history says person do well in T20 do well in test too. Eg., Aswin. They have to work on that too.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

every team needs some changes but they stop thinking with a questions "experience " which always change many things.

Posted by Nightwing32 on (March 8, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

Well yeah I mean as if Steve Smith, Maxwell and Henriques will be in the squad for England. I think Baliey will be in the squad because of the trophy before that. Hughes and Cowan have recent County experience with the bat and Starc with the ball. I think Australia can win.

Posted by PJOHN007 on (March 8, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

When India win against Aussies, you say Aussie team is touring with a poor team. If India would have lost this test match, you'll say Indian team does not have confidence, blah blah blah. :) .

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

This is reminding me of the build up to the 89 Ashes and I fear (as an England fan) the same result come late August. England has won the last 2 Ashes, they are very confident etc, but I think Clarke is going to lead Aus to Ashes glory. I've just got this feeling! Pattinson, Strac, can do some serious damage in England!

Posted by Joji_ on (March 8, 2013, 13:47 GMT)

Every such test reminds me of how Simon Katich was dropped from the team. It would have been so much better with him openning the innings.

Posted by Jayzuz on (March 8, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

Let's just see if we can win a game in India before we worry about the Ashes.

However as others have pointed out, the selectors appear to be so clueless that it almost defies belief. The rotation thing was way overdone to the point that it probably cost us two series, and cheapened the Aussie cap. It is beyond belief that players like Maxwell, Doherty and Smith are on this tour. Nothing against them, but they just haven't performed well enough to warrant a spot. Why have we got four opening batsmen - two have to play out of position?! Anyway, its all beyond me. I wonder how much say Clarke has in these selections? He seems way too smart to misread players like this, so it must be Invers and co. Who are they going to choose to lead the seam attack on the green English wickets? Rob Quiiney? That would make as much sense as picking Doherty to lead the spin attack in India.

Posted by t20-2007 on (March 8, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

I believe even SA will squeeze out Dean Elgar to make space for M.huss in thr current line up !!

Posted by oracle199 on (March 8, 2013, 13:41 GMT)

Absolutely agree @ScottStevo!! If they had plans to take Punter to England, they sure as hell didn't tell him. He would have jumped at the chance to right some wrongs of previous Ashes Series....and what better motivation to perform!? And here's Mickey basically saying "It's not my fault! Punter and Huss left us in the lurch!" What a cop out. Also agree that Huss would likely have gone on one more season had Punter been there....nothing to lose, everything to gain. The selection strategy is an absolute shambles and the performances of many of those picked is, quite frankly, an embarrassment at the moment. Where is the Aussie grit, the never-say-die we are famous for? One thing is for sure, Mickey Arthur is not the man to instill that in this young group.

Posted by Raju_Iyer on (March 8, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

If Arthur thought Ponting was still good enough fo the Ashes, based on his exploits against India, then he was living in a fool's paradise. That Indian attack was so pathetic that anyone could have scored off them, with the fielding being even worse.

Posted by valvolux on (March 8, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

The selectors need to realise when it comes to test matches, given there is no world cup....you pick the best players you have in your country, regardless of age. If that means hodge/hussey/rogers, so be it. There are so many down series against minnows in between the big series to blood a few players, you don't throw out a youth policy to build a team for the future. What are you building for? We are playing India and back to back ashes series THIS YEAR. It doesn't get any bigger than that, and Australian cricket can't afford to be building for a 2020 ashes win. The press hounded pointing and hussey into retirement which is sad, Arthur is right that Australia was within a whisker of having the best side in the world that could've taken it to India in India and thrashed england home and away. Stop building for an event that is never going to happen. Pick our best cricketers because we want to and can win now, not in 5 years.

Posted by MAYURESHmagic on (March 8, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

not until Australia foundout turning pitches in England. It is not impossible to make turning pitches in any country. England, just do it.

Posted by ABARRIVES on (March 8, 2013, 13:02 GMT)

Its no Ashes barometer but its a barometer nonetheless. I mean ,for me, an Aussie team toured different shores to conquer and were bloody honest about it. Never in my dreams I thought they would take a squad to have a pool of players ready for future and what not. I ,honestly, feel selectors aren't doing a good job. For god sakes, Maxwell and Smith in the test squad, Are you kidding me? A Bailey, Haddin, Forrest or even a Joe Burns were much better choices(much better pool for sure). Aussie bowlers in English conditions will always be handful, but time for best 6 batsmen to pull up their socks(No Hughes please!) otherwise Mr. Arthur and Pup can say anything they want about barometers out there, won't matter a squat.

P.S.: More dan a comeback from Warnie, they need punter and huss out there.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 8, 2013, 12:55 GMT)

I'm over M Arthur - time to move on, mate. You've got this series selections and the rotation policy horribly wrong and it's costing the side. If Ponting was expected to tour England, he should've been much more vocal about this prior to the media slinging abuse from all angles at Ponting for his age - and I expect if Ponting hadn't gone, we might have held onto the Huss too. Personally, I don't think there's any point in dropping Hughes at the moment. We need to stack our batting line up with specialist batsmen. From the touring squad, that would mean starting, Cowan/Warner/Hughes/Watson/Clarke/Khawaja/Wade. This all-rounder business isn't working and never has. There's absolutely no point bringing in a half shoddy batsman because he can bowl some dodgy spin. As we've seen already, these guys are getting hammered! Stick to the basics, 6 specialist batsmen, a keeper, 4 specialist bowlers. Clarke and Warner can roll the arm over to mix it up - can't go any worse than the other guys...

Posted by applethief on (March 8, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

The averages list linked in this article in really interesting. Out of the top 6 on the list, only one batsman is still in this team (Clarke) and there are 3 bowlers in the list. The next current batsman is Warner, all the way down at 7. Arthur's probably right though, you're not going to simply import a strong middle order into the side, they've got to give them a chance to develop, even if that has to happen during the course of the Ashes

Posted by SettingSun on (March 8, 2013, 12:51 GMT)

Why don't they pick David Hussey? He has loads of limited over international experience and would be a valuable hand over the next couple of years. Seems stupid to ignore. Who would you rather bowl against? Ed Cowan or David Hussey?

Posted by applethief on (March 8, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

CA should start a cloning program to get a M Hussey back in the team. They could probably sub-licence the genetic code out for a pretty penny, there' s no team in the world that couldn't do with a Mike Hussey in their best XI, even South Africa

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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