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Weighing up waste: India 2013 worse than the last Ashes?

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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    Shane Watson may be out of the Test side for good. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

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    Once the Australian cricketers return home and the last of the bruised fruit has been flung inside the arrivals lounge, let us make a pact as a nation to never speak of the horror of the last five weeks ever again.

    The four Test tour of India was filthy, forgettable and farcical.

    It was sporting ipecac of the highest order that regularly evacuated the contents of the once formidable underbelly of the Australian cricket fan-base.

    If I know us Aussies well as the bunch of easily-agitated cricket-loving convicts we are, then I reckon there’s going to be a fair amount of tense pitchforking and forthright questioning as the fallout continues over the coming days.

    In what parallel universe did the selectors envisage Glenn Maxwell making an effective contribution to a game of cricket that compelled them to give him Test caps?

    Will Mickey Arthur continue to grace us with his presence on Facebook at least?

    And, most importantly, was this the worst series by an Australian cricket side ever?

    Maxwell may have bought someone flowers at Cricket Australia, and there’s a possibility that Arthur might have a proclivity for Pinterest. It’s really all up in the air.

    And as for the series shame rating?

    Without the advent of a Delorian nor the motivation to read, it’s difficult to make a definite determination without being witness to all of the series Australia has taken part in, as well as the general circumstances and expectations of the eras in which they occurred.

    However, with my lifetime of cricket to look back upon, one previous series does stand out for its attributes as a source of immense torturous pain inflicted by sinister opposition, and that was the Ashes series of 2010/11.

    Was this summer of self-esteem deprivation at the hands of the Motherland worse than the particular torching we’ve just received on the subcontinent?

    Let’s stack up the garbage and see which piles highest, starting with the India tour.

    It was the first time in the host country’s history of 80 years and 70 home Tests that they had won four matches in a series, making this Australian side the worst team to tour in terms of the final scoreline.

    Two of these defeats were inside three days, with one of them by an innings.

    There wasn’t even a scrapped-for draw or meaningless dead rubber victory to sweeten the super-sour deal.

    Plus, of course, there was the disciplinary breach by the now-monikered Mohali Four, their shock suspensions, Shane Watson’s spit-and-fly and the perplexity of him being treated to the captaincy in the aftermath.

    A thoroughly forgettable sojourn from go-to-whoa, agreed?

    But with this series failure occurring offshore without the maximum exposure of playing on our patch, is its significance reduced based on the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ argument?

    And do the powdery pitches that were served up also mitigate?

    Would Michael Clarke have made a big enough difference in the last Test to help the team save some face?

    Let’s hold it up in the light next to the Ashes depression of a few years back.

    On home soil, and at the hands of our oldest and most despised rivals, Australia was soundly trounced to the tune of 3-1, with each of these defeats by an innings.

    And what about these thoroughly discomforting scenarios that had us reaching for the psych shock therapy.

    There was day one of the Boxing Day Test at our revered cathedral of the MCG, where the team was bowled out for a paltry 98 before England closed play with slipper firmly squashing throat at 0/157 in front of 84,345 fans.

    Then there was the last day of the SCG Test when our hallowed arena of many past patriotic glories was viciously violated by being transformed into a Little London by hordes of travelling English supporters, all of whom were duly rewarded for their drown-out of the 25 local fans in attendance when their team steamrolled the Australian bats to complete another innings humiliation.

    The series performance by the home team was so frowned upon that it triggered a extensive review of Cricket Australia’s policies and procedures in an attempt to never have to endure such prolonged taunting from prawn-fried Englishmen in our own backyard again.

    A serious reaction to what was a gross butt-caning on our own patch.

    But does the fact that Australia pinched a ‘live rubber’ win in Perth save the bacon of this series from being our worst?

    And does Ricky Ponting’s absence through injury for the last Test also soften the blow?

    I’m sorry to make you all revisit these degrading episodes, but I think we should weigh up the waste.

    Which of these two is the hardest to forget?

    Let’s work it out, so we can start never speaking of it again.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • March 26th 2013 @ 4:22am
      Homer said | March 26th 2013 @ 4:22am | ! Report

      A few thoughts, if I may, on the team picked for India and what transpired since

      – Peter Siddle came into the tour not having played any cricket for a month
      – James Pattinson was drafted after a long injury layoff, and a couple of Shield games
      – Matthew Wade had his struggles keeping to spinners in the West Indies, and that should have been a red flag right there
      – David Warner came into the series with a broken thumb, and no cricket for the better part of a month
      – This scorecard (http://www.espncricinfo.com/india-v-australia-2013/engine/match/602857.html) should have set the alarm bells ringing -241 against a modest attack coupled with Lyon going at 5.3 rpo, Maxwell at 5 rpoand Smith at 8.37 rpo. Instead, Michael Clarke claimed victory since the Australians limited the BP XI to 230.
      – If the previous scorecard did not make the Australians pay attention, this one should have (http://www.espncricinfo.com/india-v-australia-2013/engine/match/602858.html). Lyon 113/2, Doherty 108/3. Australia 235 all out and following on.

      I had expected India to win 2-0, given the Australian preparation in the lead up and the team selected. But, as was the case when India traveled Down Under, once the team started on a downward spiral, there was no arresting it.

      And for what its worth, the parallels between India’s tour Down Under to Australia’s tour to India are eerily similar, from being in the contest in the first test till the last day, to winning the toss and collapsing on the first day of the second test, and the teams being led by their respective vice-captains in the final test.

      Cheers,

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2013 @ 12:46pm
        Dane Eldridge said | March 26th 2013 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

        G’day Homer,

        Some great points there, and your observation of the parallels to the last time India toured our shores is indeed bloody weird. I’ll assume they copped a similar baking upon their return home!

        • March 26th 2013 @ 8:44pm
          Homer said | March 26th 2013 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

          Hi Dane25,

          The hysteria on their return home was right up there, and since that series, the 8-0 away albatross has being weighing the team down. And then there was the small matter of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retiring, leaving a big hole in the middle order. đŸ™‚

          Also, this article from Cricinfo takes the weird parallels between the the two India-Australia series thru the statistical wringer

          http://www.espncricinfo.com/india-v-australia-2013/content/current/story/626756.html

          Cheers,

    • March 26th 2013 @ 6:53am
      Tenash said | March 26th 2013 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      this was the biggest embarrassment for decades.atleast in 2010-11 Aus had plenty of good days not to mention a comfortable draw and a dominant win in Perth

      but in this series the best day (day 2,last test)came on the penultimate day of the tour and even after that best day
      Australia still ended up conceding the 1st innings lead

      on another point , believe me there was absolutely nothing ‘out of
      sight, out of mind’ about this series.
      Even with all the 4 footy codes in full swing, the cricket dramas were comfortably the most talked about thing in Australia !

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2013 @ 12:47pm
        Dane Eldridge said | March 26th 2013 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

        I was hoping the footy codes would’ve softened the blow of this debacle, but the power of the stench emanating from our efforts in India was enough to overpower them all combined…. truly offensive to the senses!

        • March 26th 2013 @ 4:26pm
          Tenash said | March 26th 2013 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

          well Dane we could spin it around positively –

          one thing is very clear, the Baggy Greens are the biggest team in Australia & its really close to the hearts and minds of all Australians

          obviously they are bigger than AFL & NRL teams but its clear they are also bigger than the Wallabies and Socceroos

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2013 @ 4:37pm
          dasilva said | March 26th 2013 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

          I think what made it became a water cooler topic wasn’t exactly losing 4-0 or us getting trashed but it was the infamous homework gate that just got people talking.

          THe shear novelty of the bizarre suspensions of players made people who aren’t even interested in cricket to talk about it.

          It’s one of those bizarre ‘is that a joke?’ type moment that people will never forget.

          If that homework affair never happen I don’t think this 4-0 lost would have resonated as much as the ashes loss

          • Columnist

            March 26th 2013 @ 7:06pm
            Dane Eldridge said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

            Fair call. When my girlfriend brought it up in conversation, I knew the comical nature of Australian cricket’s position had found a brand new audience.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 5:13pm
      Tenash said | March 26th 2013 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

      Dasilva

      not really. Homeworkgate happened after Aus were already 2-0 down & people were angry

      A 4-0 loss would have always (and will always) set off a chain reaction.

      If anything , h.w gate actually provided comic relief.
      Otherwise, there wld have been even more rage abt the whitewash.

    • March 29th 2013 @ 1:21pm
      Disco said | March 29th 2013 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

      Three innings defeats at home takes some beating.

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