The Australian Nightmare Continues

If there was worry about the Australian cricket team in the recent past, those concerns have been exacerbated in the aftermath of the ball tampering and leadership group issues. While it was expected that a team finding its way would meet with defeat occasionally, Australia’s succumbing to Pakistan has only sparked renewed debate within their own ranks.

Australia’s ranking 373 run defeat to Pakistan to hand the series victory to the hosts sent tongues wagging once more. If Australia’s past custodians were expecting a quick turnaround, they had only a brief glimpse of what was possible when Usman Khawaja played a pivotal role in the only innings that Australia showed some enterprise in in fighting for a draw in the first Test.

Not helped by the fact that Usman Khawaja now seems a suspect starter for the home stretch against India with uncertainty over a knee injury he sustained in the course of the second Test, the alarming bells are ringing loud, and rather painfully for captain Tim Paine as he struggles to find the best resources with which to withstand these harsh winds that have emanated the strongest from within a disgruntled Australian cricket base.

That some restorative effort was being made was not in evidence when the selectors threw more spanners in the work in an ironic case to resolve the breakdown of the said ‘leadership group’ by appointing two vice-captains. Even the choice failed to assuage the concerned clan within the cricket fraternity and now this heavy defeat is not making it an ideal turf for the Australian team to return home to prep for the home series against India who themselves are looking for redemption after two major overseas tours that did not pan the way it was intended.

The fact that Australia were blown away by a fast bowler on the rise, Mohammad Abbas, failed to lessen the degree of scrutiny on the Australian squad simply because Australia, despite having come up against genuine talent, had not really braced themselves for such a challenge and had instead put all their eggs in one basket – preparing for spin- only to be upstaged by Abbas who picked up ten wickets in the second Test and a whopping total of seventeen wickets for the two Test series.

If one were to believe the condemnation then it would be fair to believe that the team that made the playing eleven against Pakistan may not be the team that takes the field against India. With names constantly being shuffled around with the Marsh brothers – Shaun and Mitchell – falling in and out of favour, the Australian team resembles a patchwork of ideas with the occasional names of Glenn Maxwell floating in as well as the others bite nervously awaiting their fate.

The news back home in Australia is that there is not a lot of hope pinned on turning Australia’s now infamous batting collapses around unless they can get their domestic cricket more robust. With so much of uncertainty and the fact that Australia are struggling for consistency from their batsmen and the team is unable to convert opportunities such as after having Pakistan on the mat at five down for only fifty runs in the first innings of the second Test, there is concern that this need to drastically change results is only going to create more uneasiness and uncertainty in the Australian dressing room, which is not how Justin Langer and Tim Paine would have wanted heading into the series against India as coach and captain respectively.


More from the web