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Aus cricket's summer of discontent


The wind of discontent continues to blow in Australian cricket and as a consequence the Australian test team is a far cry from the one that we saw a few years ago. The current team continues to find the going tough as their most recent performance in India suggests where they were well beaten by the home team.

A number of issues have bred discontent in Australian ranks. There has been unhappiness almost from the word go in cricketing circles about the appointment of ex-Wallaby Pat Howard in the most powerful of positions in the Australian cricket structure. The feeling is that Howard has a rugby pedigree and background and isn't suited to running a different sporting code.

Mickey Arthur has come in for his share of criticism. It was always going to be difficult for an outsider to coach the Aussies. The fact that results have been distinctly ordinary since Arthur has taken over hasn't helped matters. Cricket Australia have a history of standing by their coaches. Arthur is likely to see out his current term but unless things improve dramatically he will struggle to get his contract renewed.

Convenor of selectors John Inverarity has made himself unpopular with his rotation policy. The feeling is that the overzealous approach to resting bowlers has not been in the interest of the Australian team. It has been documented as well that Inverarity isn't in touch with the modern game.

Just lately as well the retirement of Mike Hussey has led to further disharmony within the team. Hussey was a very loyal and faithful servant to the Australian game. His exit by all accounts was poorly handled and he didn't get the respect that a player of his stature deserves.

On top of all this, Shane Warne has launched a stinging attack on the way the team is being coached and managed at present. He has suggested a blue print of how and who he thinks should run the team. A lot of what he says makes sense.

All these factors will certainly not help the performance of the team going into the second test against India at Hyderabad. Although these factors will detract from the team performance it has to be said that the current team is just not very strong. They are not a patch in any department compared to some of the great teams of the past.

What is disturbing from an Australian point of view is that the plight of the Australian game is being played out in the media. The Aussies have always been good at pulling together in times of crisis and the current situation is unusual.

It will be a significant challenge for Michael Clarke to keep the Australian team together during their time in India. His leadership faces a real test. Fortunately for him his batting form has been exemplary. As a player he does lead from the front and this will help his cause.

He can't, however, resurrect Australian cricket by himself. He will need some help from the coaching staff and the board. Unless he receives considerable assistance in this respect, the Baggy Green may be facing an uncertain future as far as results are concerned.


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