Posts Tagged ‘Micky Arthur’

Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

A few days out from Team Australia High School, Micky Arthur’s policy suit has played its role in providing the necessary smokescreen to deflect attention away from what really went wrong in Hyderabad. Some of the reactions reflect a general belief – ranging across the Australian Test playing alumnus from disciplinarians to rebels and a few average folks in between (Michael Vaughan) – that the punishment is what, in Mark Waugh’s words, an Under-6 team would deserve.

True, Arthur hasn’t been perfect in his judgment.

His attempts could prove naïve if the result doesn’t go their way in a Mohali track that would, in theory, have had James Pattinson licking his lips. But to his credit, he has succeeded in the most important thing – conveying the message that the baggy green doesn’t come easy to anyone.

It serves as a stark reminder to those who’ve taken the easy way to the top – through T20 blitzkriegs and the odd show of brilliance – that the likes of Mike Hussey and Matthew Hayden, among others, had to carry a baggage in excess of thousands of runs to work their way up the ladder. Although circumstantially, the moment couldn’t have been more indecisive.

These aren’t exceedingly complicated problems. Discipline is a less significant, but more dangerous problem. Australia has faced bigger and more embarrassing challenges through Warne and Symonds, but this incident is likely the totem pole around which the third test will be fought.

Sehwag and Watson: Dropped for different reasons. © Getty Images

The incident, on the other hand, shows how diametrically apart the Indians and Australians are in the context of discipline. Pattinson has been Australia’s most dangerous bowler. It would have been hard to conceive the Indian team dropping R Ashwin on account of him failing to deliver an email to Duncan Fletcher. The old Zimbabwean would’ve faced the sack had such a thought materialized!

Having said that, the Indians will find themselves morally well-placed prior to the toss tomorrow. Indeed, the overwhelming reactions from the media have created a sort of joyous confusion in the Indian dressing room. They’ve made a brave call too, and it was about time, to drop Virender Sehwag and infuse young blood through the likes of Dhawan. Yes, even this decision had drawn a lather of complaints from the media and a few former cricketers – and some of the dust is justified.

The situation illuminates a larger dilemma for the selectors who’ve, rightly, placed the focus on youth: this is likely to be a big year for the youngsters, but not an easy one. And Dhawan’s performance, for one, premature and unfair as it may seem for a judgment, could have a script in the making that would determine if Sehwag would ever make it back to the Test Eleven. And by taking this call, the selectors may force themselves to spend most of their time discussing the weakest point of the Fletcher era – overseas victories.

Mohali isn’t likely to be a dress rehearsal given that Australia’s best pacer isn’t available for selection. It would act as a slow build up to the contest between the Sehwag doubters and the Sehwag backers. The result, for all you know, might be of lesser significance as compared to the never-ending debate of Experience versus Youth.

Team Compositions

India is likely to field the ‘winning combination’ with Dhawan replacing the dropped Sehwag. While the batting and spin departments look good, Ishant could well re-visit a few YouTube videos of him castling Ricky Ponting at Mohali when the Aussies toured in 2008-09. He’s looked the weakest link in the chain thus far, and had it not been for the injuries / absences of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron, he might have found himself on the fringes of selection. He’s got plenty to prove this Test.

Australia, on the other hand, have too few to choose from. With four absences, and Haddin being flown in to act as a cover for Matthew Wade, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wade play as a pure batsman in case there are doubts over his fitness doing the job from behind the wickets. Haddin would add the necessary experience in holding the lower order together. Siddle, who’s looked a touch underwhelming all series, would have to step up in the arena where he’d made his debut in 2008. Australia need a leader, and he’s certainly the one Clarke would be looking at for support.


Goutham Chakravarthi

Cricket Australia’s decision to rotate players to ensure that there is a good pool of players available at any time to mitigate problems arising out of injuries, players falling out on issues of when to sing the team song and when to pop a beer. The new rotation policy looks beyond mere player rotation and looks at rotating most things associated with Australian cricket to give itself a wider pool to choose from.

It is learnt that Micky Arthur, the new Australian coach, wants the team to try a new team song this time. Under the Southern Cross I Stand, the traditional team song has resulted in at least one team member falling out with the current captain. He said, “In order to have better options, I have proposed the latest internet rage pa pa pa paen Kolaveri song to be our new team song. Already, the team is hooked to it and cannot wait to sing it as a team. The strict rule is of course that we can sing as a group only after we win games. With the team desperate to sing it all the time, you can expect them to demolish the Kiwis swiftly in the first Test and sing the song.”

The proverbial fat lady who sings has appealed to Cricket Australia that they cannot sing the song as she has obtained the rights of singing the song for all sports. The news was received with broken hearts in the Australian dressing room. Pat Cummins, the new pace sensation, tweeted “We are absolutely devastated. We so much wanted it to be our team song. Looks like the fat lady has sung! we’ll fight her in court for the rights on this song.”

Australian players to sport boxing gloves to give them the extra punch.

Among other rotations to be part of their plan this Australian summer will be the rotation of batting gloves. As mark of respect to the Boxing day, all Australians will sport boxing gloves while batting. Justin Langer who used to box as part of his preparation has justified the move saying that this will give his batsmen the added punch and a sense of additional security while facing the menacing Indian quicks like Praveen Kumar. Langer also pointed out that the benefits included shooing away of close-in fielders against spinners. He said, “We have been found short playing good spin recently. Now this gives an option for the batsman to skip down and punch the short-leg or silly-point fielders while pretending to play a punchy stroke.”

“Hockey sticks and baseball bats will also be used on freehits in ODIs and T20 games,” said selector Rod Marsh. He reasoned, “It both confuses the opposition and also makes our players more versatile. Should some of them not cut it as successful cricketers, they can fancy becoming hockey drag-flickers and fancy Major League Baseball aspirations. It is a win-win situation through and through.”

Kiwis to perform Haka during the toss to distract the Australians

John Buchanan, the former Australian coach and the current Director of Cricket for New Zealand expressed admiration for such theories. He said, “I’m finally beginning to believe that they have got a hang of what I was trying to achieve in my time with them. Still, they can look to rotate captains or have multiple ones. They do rotate their spinners either by plan or accident. But as part of the Kiwi set-up now, we are well prepared to face any challenges the new Australian management will throw at us. We have tricks of our own too that we look to put to practice.”

When asked for specifics, Buchanan explained, “We want to carry some of our practices from our recently crowned rugby champions. You will see Ross Taylor and boys performing the Haka before the toss for one. Am sure they might throw puches with their boxing gloves and all, but we tackle and scrum better. That way get into them even before the game begins. You will also see the young quickie Trent Boult taking the art of bowling to the next level. You will see him perform a couple of cartwheels in his run-up before he delivers. It gives him the leverage to release the ball at any point in his cartwheel which means his release point ranges from a maximum height of 14 feet to a minimum height of 3 feet. He might have a career in circus once his cricketing days are over. He is that good.”

It is also being speculated that there could be rotation policy for the selectors and spectators too. And also for retirements. Pat Cummins is expected to announce his one-day retirement first before Haddin retires from dancing down the wickets to quicks and Ponting from playing the hook shot. Written press releases are expected on these lines before Thursday from the players to show their commitment to this new initiative.