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IND v AUS: Panicky Australia under fire from media, ex-players over poor show, no warm-up game

New Delhi : Australia’s cricket team landed in India at the start of February 2023 with optimism and confidence of winning their first Test series in the sub-continent. But, as of now, they are headed to the third match in Indore, starting from March 1, with a 2-0 deficit and their chances of winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy up in smoke.

Australia’s tour of India has been nothing short of a disaster, with injuries to key players, baffling selection calls and usual batting capitulation in the face of quality spin bowling making headlines back home.

All of this comes especially after opting not to play a single tour match. When Australia were skittled for 91 in the second innings of the first Test in Nagpur, it happened because the batters failed in trying to defend off the trinity of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.

In the second Test in New Delhi, Australia had a slight edge at the end of Day Two. But on day three, they became over-proactive and panicky when six batters fell while playing the sweep shot on a slow pitch with low bounce and crashed to 113 all out in their second innings, which India chased down with six wickets in hand.

The Australian described the second Test loss in their headlines as, “Delhi disaster has Cummins & Co reeling”, “Swing and Miss in Delhi debacle”, and “Pat found wanting in biggest test”, apart from calling the second innings implosion “among lowest days in modern Australian cricket”.

The Daily Telegraph had “swept away” written in bold with “hopes shot in a dire collapse” and “read it & sweep” adding up. With results not coming, former cricketers back home have slammed the Test team for not opting to play a tour game.

Australia’s preparation for the tour of India consisted of a scuffed-up pitch at North Sydney Oval and a preparatory camp in Bangalore, where they got a bowler from Baroda who had an action similar to Ashwin.

When they last visited India in 2017, Australia had a two-week training camp at the ICC Academy in Dubai and a tour match against India ‘A’ at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai ahead of the first Test, which they won by 333 runs in Pune.

“Never again tell me we’re not playing a tour match to begin, at least two, there are no shortcuts to Test match success,” legendary wicketkeeper Ian Healy said on the SEN radio show.
“The captain and coach will say CA wanted them to play in the BBL, so we didn’t have time to play a tour game. So what do they say there? We didn’t have a tour game.

Major, major, major mistake. At least one tour game over there to get used to the conditions,” former captain Michael Clarke said on the Big Sports Breakfast radio show.

But high-performance manager Ben Oliver was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, felt not playing a tour game and some Test players featuring in the Big Bash League (BBL) did not cost them the chance to win the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

“No, I don’t think so. There’s a range of factors that go into the design and preparation for the series, and the players and the staff and the selectors all work together to design that preparation.”
“In some circumstances, it may be appropriate for tour matches, in others not so, and certainly in this case, the group was comfortable with the preparation leading in and the conditions that they were seeking.”

“We will continue, win, lose or draw, to review all aspects of what we do leading into these types of tours. But in this case, I don’t think that was an overriding factor.

In fact, I think the involvement of those players that did take part in the Big Bash League was overwhelmingly positive for Australian cricket.” On Monday, head coach Andrew McDonald rejected suggestions that the Test team was not well-prepared for the tour of India.

“I still wouldn’t have changed what we did leading in, there’s no doubt about that. I think they had really good preparation in Bangalore, so there are not any excuses.”

“At the end of day two, if you said our preparation was good, you’d probably have a different slant on it, but within an hour then people start to critique what happened in the past.

I don’t think that had a great bearing on what happened in that hour, we were prepared for that, and day three, as well as we could have been and we failed under the examination of India.”

With David Warner and Josh Hazlewood ruled out of the tour, it seems there is no end in sight for Australia’s issues on the tour of India, which is in clear contrast to how they were at the start of the month.



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