Сricket

Former great’s Australian takedown

AUSTRALIA’S batsmen are failing across all three formats, with Aaron Finch admitting the woeful performance in the T20 series against Pakistan was just the latest example of a frailty that has become entrenched in the national side.

Finch’s sentiments echoed those of forme Aussie batsman Simon Katich, who lambasted the systematic issue plaguing Australia’s selection process.

The tourists slumped to a grim whitewash defeat to the world’s No.1-ranked T20 side, losing the third and final game in Dubai by 33 runs.

It was a dismal ending to a tour of the UAE in which they also lost the two-match Test series 1-0.

The Australians fought valiantly in the drawn first Test but the manner in which each of the remaining games played out will have alarm bells ringing ahead of home summer fixturesinvolving South Africa, India and Sri Lanka. Australia crumbled to a 373-run loss in the second Test against Pakistan, losing 7-75 in their first dig then 4-7 in their second innings.

In each of the T20s, Australia’s bowlers restricted Pakistan to gettable totals which the visiting batsmen were unable to chase down after losing wickets in clusters.

Finch said Australia’s batting was clearly the number one concern heading into the home summer which starts with three ODIs against South Africa – a format in which the national side were beaten 5-0 in England earlier this year. “We’ve struggled with the bat for quite a while now and it’s up to us guys who get first go of it in Perth next Sunday against South Africa to start rewriting that last probably 18 months,” Finch said.

Former Aussie opener Katich said there was definitely “something wrong” in the Australian lineup before sensationally attacking the selection process.

‘Twas a grim series.Source:AFP

“There’s something wrong when you’ve got guys debuting for Australia – and we’ve had three in this series — and they’ve all averaged 30,” Katich told SEN Breakfast Monday morning.

“Nothing against any of those guys, they’re all good young players, but that wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago. Those guys would’ve been struggling to keep their spot in the Sheffield Shield team, let alone get a baggy green cap for Australia.

“It poses the bigger question, particularly here in Australia in the last decade, and there’s no doubt it’s not working. It’s been proven over a number of years now, particularly when we play away from home.

“So that in itself suggests that there’s something wrong with the system itself below in terms of guys not having to perform at a strong level for a number of years before they earn that baggy green cap.

“Mike Hussey is a great example of that in the past, but at the moment that’s not happening and as a result, we’re seeing this cycle of players coming in and out of the team, whether it’s batsmen or spinners or whatever it is.”

Katich dismissed claims the issue could be put down as a coaching fault, insisting it “doesn’t matter who’s in charge”.

The dogged Katich was a rock atop the order for over 50 Tests.Source:Getty Images

“We only have to look at (Mickey) Arthur. He got sacked from Australia and now he’s doing a great job with Pakistan so it can’t be about who’s in charge, we have to have a deeper look at the system and how it’s all operating,” he said.

“I’m talking about, you come down to selection policy and guys getting rewarded based on potential over actual performance over a number of years.

“That’s happening at club level, it’s happening at state level and now it’s happening for Australia and hence we’re getting these inconsistent results.

“For me, the big thing is it’s hard for young players to get to international level and do well consistently.”

Coach Langer has made clear that technique will be a major focus in addressing collapses in both international and domestic cricket. But the fact new arrival Ben McDermott was run out in all three of the T20s illustrates that mental struggles can be just as much the problem. “Especially some new guys in the side playing in subcontinent conditions … they come at you with a lot of spin and it starts to play with your mind a little bit,” T20 and ODI skipper Finch said.

“Once you start thinking negatively in T20, I think every time you doubt yourself, you question your tactics or you question your ability, that’s when you can come undone.” Finch was the second-highest Australian run scorer in his maiden Test series but had an “absolute shocker” in the T20s that followed, scoring just five runs from four innings including the officialwarm-up match against the UAE.

with Michael Ramsey, AAP

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