Australia v India, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 29, 2014

'Our match awareness has to improve' - Lehmann


Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, has said his team had to develop better situation awareness in the shortest format, an aspect that was missing from their first two games in the World T20, against Pakistan and West Indies. Australia have two losses in as many games and must win their last two matches, including one against India on Sunday, and hope Bangladesh beat Pakistan to have a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.

"I think we under-clubbed with the bat in both games to be perfectly honest," Lehmann said. "I think we needed 75 off ten [overs] in the first game with eight wickets in hand. And our match awareness has got to improve in this format. Again we got 178 [against West Indies] and we didn't bat very well. Our top six have got to take the shoulder of that, especially the times they got out, more so than anything else. The last couple of balls off [Sunil] Narine's over, those sort of things they've got to get better at. That's about learning, but in this tournament, this format you can't afford to learn, you've got to win."

Lehmann was also disappointed with the way Australia had let themselves slip from strong positions against both Pakistan and West Indies, which had all but put them out of the World T20.

"We beat ourselves in these games. It's as simple as that. Obviously credit to West Indies and Pakistan but we should've won both of those games. We've got only ourselves to blame.

"We had played pretty good T20 cricket at home and then in South Africa just before we came here. We were probably 70% in all three formats and it's a good learning curve. But, as I said, you've got to win those games. We have got to be on the mark each and every time, especially in this knock-out format. You find out about some players in pressure situations, which is good and bad for a coach and a captain. At least we learned."

Lehmann also said that allrounder James Faulkner would need to be wiser about the words he chose while bantering with the opposition. Before the match against West Indies, Faulkner's comment that he did not particularly like the team brought out an aggressive, in-your-face celebration from Darren Sammy's men after their tense victory on Friday. Lehmann also did not approve of West Indies' wild celebrations, saying it was not something Australia would have done.

"From my point of view, James has probably got to choose his words a little bit better but that's just part and parcel of the banter of the game, isn't it? We're in the entertainment business and if I could dance like Chris Gayle I'd be dancing every night of the week," Lehmann said. "We play our cricket hard and verbally that's what is going to happen. But we play it fair. That's just part and parcel. You live and die by the sword, don't you? You win, you lose, you've just got to cop it and move on.

"At the end of the day, you're going to get emotional with winning. We've certainly been through those stages but we're really respectful of that as well. When you win, you've got to win in the right way and act appropriately. If that's the way they do that, that's fine. That's not our choice. That's certainly not what we do. They certainly dance very well though, I'll give them that."

Australia have lost wickets to spin in both games so far, but Lehmann did not think this was a weakness. When asked about the challenge the Indian spinners would present in their next group game, he said the experience of an ODI series in India last year would help.

"[It's] not a weakness, because certainly spinners didn't get us out, we got ourselves out. So we've got some work to do in that area, but that's like every area: fast bowling, playing short-pitched bowling. It's no different. The wickets certainly haven't spun as much as we thought, so that's no excuse for our batters.

"We're lucky enough that we've played some decent one-day cricket against India, in India, not too long ago in October. So we know them very well, and they know us very well. It's going to be a great challenge for our batters and bowlers to put a complete performance together. If we do that, we can compete with anyone in the world."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on March 30, 2014, 20:58 GMT

    Every Team comes with a plan to cope with the opposition Bowling. However in the Australia Vs. India match, the OZ team's only plan was to slog the bowling irrespective of where they are bowling. OZ has great hitters in Warner, Maxwell, White, Bailey & Watson. They all fell slogging in a most senseless manner. Maxwell even tried a reverse sweep against Ashwin when the OZ were already 5 down in batting. This is reckless batting! Perhaps the Aussies were over confident after beating England in the Ashes. Ashwin & Mishra with their spin bowling toyed with the Aussie batting to bundle them out for 86. This followed an Indian fight back in batting when India was 66 for 4 in 11.3 overs to end up 150 for 5 in 18.3 overs- 84 runs in 7 overs! So it was total annihilation of the OZ in batting & bowling. It would be best if OZ bats had taken a hint from how the best finishers in T20 - Yuvraj & Dhoni- batted.Sad to see a strong OZ team lose 4 in a row & are set to return home! Lessons learnt??

  • S on March 30, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    A well known truth now is that Australia can dish it out but they can't take it, whether its Stuart Broad not walking in Trent Bridge or WI's celebration and dance of joy upon defeating Aus in T20WC

  • Puneet on March 30, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    @Rahul_78 - So if a player says that I dont like a particular team, is insulting, then I wonder what would you say about the dancing antics of the West Indies? Or is it justified because the opposition player was an Australian, and people who predicted the downfall of Australia had been eating their words for the past 5 months. As for West Indies, we really know how good they are...In fact, when was the last time they did something eventful apart from a win in T20 WC in SL? Really need to search one's memory. @Bala- Remember the antics of Saurav Ganguly at Lords? Should we keep raking what happened 5-10-15 years ago? Or should we live life in the present? @ Nipun - Mcgrath retired from cricket some 7 years back. Are you still hung up over a dismissal celebration? Then I guess whenever a team beats India, they should dance like the WI, for all the in your face celebrations done by Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, et al.

  • WARRIOR on March 30, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Australia will win easily with their power house batting line up. They have already done it twice before, in last 2 T20 WC.

  • James on March 30, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    Yeah, the "celebrations" by the WI was poor sportsmanship. Way over the top. More like mocking than anything. Certainly Faulkner's words were nothing particularly insulting.

    Personally I find the language and hateful insults projected at Faulkner and Aus here way worse than anything he or the Aus have EVER said. But the irony appears to be lost here. Two very narrow losses and you'd think Australian cricket was finished. Well, I got some bad news...

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    He is saying that Faulkner should choose the words smartly but I dont think that he actually feels that way, otherwise warner would not have repeated the similar mistake again and again ... also I still remember Mcgrath's in your face celebration against Tendulkar after getting him out and that too when tendulkar didnt even provoke him ... If that was justified to australians then what WI did was perfectly right ... Lehmann should understand that there is definitely something wrong with his group because its always Australia who every other team complains about be it SA, WI, Ind, Eng or SL

  • Nitin on March 30, 2014, 10:11 GMT

    Mr. Lehmann - Welcome to the reality, you are no more champs !!! When asians are unable to play well on pacy wickets, a lot of questions are raised but what about aussies poor form on slow tracks. Gone are the days that you could sledge and go away scot free, now besides getting a bashing in the game, you would lower your respect as well in the eyes of world, which is not blind !!!!!

  • Android on March 30, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    oz just had 1 bad tournament. ...World starts bashing them before this they have defeated SAvin SA which team has done that in last 8 years....Eng 5-0 .......give them some respect lets see WI in 2015 world cup

  • Rahul on March 30, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    Yes you are right Mr.Leehman. You and your boys cant dance like Chris neither could your boys bat, bowl and field like Chris and Co. It was not Sammy and his boys who went mouthing off before the match. When you are Australian and dealing with West Indian team you need to respect the history and heritage. These are proud men. What does Faulkner meant by saying he doesn't like them? No one expects him to. Aussies have history of getting under the oppositions skin and playing victim when it doesnt suit them. If you can dish it then be prepared to take it on the chin.

  • siddhartha on March 30, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    @ODI_BestFormOfCricket: Australia is not that bad in sub continent historically. They have won 1987 wc here, runners up in 1996.Won champions trophy held in India. Have not lost in Pakistan or Sri Lanka in tests since 1999. Even their WL ratio in ODI s in subcontinent for past 10 years is 2.11 which is highest among all teams with India being the 2nd best with 1.87. True they have struggled against India in subcontinent but saying that they are unsuccessful in sub continents is highly exaggerated

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