CRICKET / Only Clarke looked to take the fight into the Indian camp
Launching a scathing attack on its cricket team for a spineless show in the second Test, the Australian media on Wednesday dubbed the players as “pale warriors”, who did not have the stomach for fight and the legs to last the distance.
The media spared skipper Michael Clarke but enjoined him to move out of his comfort zone and take tough decisions because he has no choice but to “pay for the sins of his fellow batsmen”.
“Was it murder or suicide in Hyderabad? screamed the headline of The Australian
“It was, without doubt, a crime scene and one that Australian cricket fans should not have had to witness. The saddest thing about the capitulation was that the Australians weren’t mugged — this was an act of self-harm,” the paper wrote. The paper said that none of the batsmen except Clarke looked to take the fight into the Indian camp.
“Suicide cults have displayed more resolve than the procession of batsmen who walked to the middle and volunteered to drink the cordial.
“The captain owns the two highest scores of this series by an Australian (130 and 91) and posted both of them in the critical first innings when the running needed to be made.
“Unfortunately his pale warriors don’t have the legs to go with their skipper. Some join him for a couple of kilometres here or there, but none can go the distance. Nor do any seem intent on forming a partnership without him.”
The critical write-up added that if Clarke wept when Ricky Ponting left the team, he must have felt a “sense of dread when Michael Hussey followed at summer’s end”.
Another newspaper Herald Sun writes, “This is not the crisis Australian cricket was meant to have. Not with the Ashes 16 weeks away. In a dark day for Australian cricket, the Hyderabad horror show was over by lunch on day four.”
It added that Rajiv Gandhi Stadium resembled a “cricketing abattoir” as a slew of “Australian batsmen batted like meandering Brown’s cows before meeting a swift 237-minute execution”.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald said the time has come for Clarke to take some tough decisions.
“... after consecutive drubbings in India? It is time for Clarke to get his hands dirty. To move out of the comfort zone. Choose your cliche. Until now, we have indulged in a fantasy in which Australia would find four batsmen who could hold up an end until Clarke had time to fasten the pads. Thus, Clarke’s tardy arrival would be demoralising for a beleaguered opposition. That fantasy has exploded like the bowlers’ foot marks at Roland Chennai.
Clarke has passed most reasonable tests of leadership.
Two challenges remain. The captain must do more to entertain, engage and select players who are not like-minded. And he must fix bayonet, move up to three or four and lead the charge. For the religious minded, Clarke must suffer for the sins of his fellow batsmen.”
Keywords: Australia's tour of India