Australia’s horror tour of India continues

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Rain briefly threatened to bring Australia into the match but in the end they were soundly beaten in the first Twenty20in India yesterday, continuing their nightmare tour.

    Inclement weather ended Australia’s innings at 8-118 from 18.4 overs and resulted in India being set the elementary task of chasing down 48 from six overs.

    Quality first overs by WA quicks Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile gave Australia slight hope before Indian stars Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan cantered to a nine-wicket win.

    It may have been the smallest of sample sizes, but Behrendorff looked impressive on debut, earning sharp lift, late swing and nudging 140kmh as he twice beat the bat of Dhawan. There was little else to make Australian fans smile.

    Australia’s innings followed a pattern which became disappointingly familiar across their recent five-match ODI series in India, which they lost 4-1.

    A strong started was frittered away in a blur of middle-order ineptitude. On a pitch which offered variable pace and bounce, it seemed as though a score of about 160 would leave Australia well placed. They were on track for such a solid total at 2-76 from 9.4 overs before their middle order subsided with worrying ease.

    With Moises Henriques, Dan Christian and Tim Paine at five, six and seven, you could have forgiven the Indian bowlers for feeling confident they could run through Australia. That is as weak a middle order as I have ever seen Australia field in an international fixture.

    Henriques is a fine domestic cricketer but has failed again and again on the international stage. In his 20 limited overs matches for Australia, Henriques has averaged a paltry 12 with the blade, despite being picked as a batting all-rounder.

    Christian, meanwhile, is well past his best at 34 years of age and has scored a grand total of 18 runs from his 15 Twenty20matches for Australia. And while Paine is a decent opener in the Big Bash League, he has always looked most comfortable in white ball cricket when he has time to build an innings.

    Steve Smith of Australia looks to the sky

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    Paine quite clearly is ill-suited to coming in down at number seven, a position which typically requires a batsman to be able to strike boundaries from ball one. He, Christian and Paine looked all at sea against not only India’s spinners but their quicks too.

    The fact Christian was comprehensively beaten for pace by one gentle 133kmh ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar is all the proof required to confirm he is now far from international standard.

    Of the team Australia fielded yesterday, only four players would make their best XI – David Warner, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa. Even then, Maxwell is a borderline selection. The cavalier all-rounder has been very scratchy across his four limited overs matches in India, with 75 runs at 19. Those raw numbers actually flatter Maxwell, who has looked badly out of touch.

    Particularly in T20Is, where they badly need his ballistic power in the middle-to-late overs, Australia are a much better side when Maxwell is in good nick. Yesterday their batting looked very poor, both on paper and in reality.

    It continued what has been an awful tour of India for Australia, who competed so gallantly in the four-Test series there earlier this year. While there are still two T20Is left for Australia to salvage something out of the tour, it is hard to see their rag-tag line-up beating India’s elite outfit.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (49)

    • October 8th 2017 @ 8:45am
      dangertroy said | October 8th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      This tour seems to be grinding on forever. I get that Australia is obligated, or even financially required to do these types of tours, but can’t they compress the schedule so that players aren’t spending a month in india, missing domestic cricket at home, right on the eve of an ashes series?
      The worst part of this is that Smith injured his shoulder. He sounds like he will be alright, and at least all the test players bar Warner are home, but imagine if Pat Cummins injured himself during one of these forgettable matches.

      • Columnist

        October 8th 2017 @ 8:59am
        Ronan O'Connell said | October 8th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        It wouldn’t surprise me if the Smith shoulder injury is being exaggerated a bit so the skipper can have a rest, and maybe even fly home in the next day or two.

        • Roar Guru

          October 8th 2017 @ 9:39am
          Rellum said | October 8th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          That was my first thought as well. Lets him miss the Domestic one day comp as well.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 11:05am
          Ouch said | October 8th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

          Hope so. The smh report says he is flying home.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 12:07pm
          dangertroy said | October 8th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

          Would have thought the same thing until Cricket Australia called it a precaution, which generally means it’s worse than you think.

        • October 10th 2017 @ 1:04am
          Gav said | October 10th 2017 @ 1:04am | ! Report

          He hurt it during the 5th ODI in Nagpur. He was clutching at it after the match and the day after during traveling. It was when he tried to hit the ball out of the park in ranchi when he discovered it was still an issue. If it was a Test or a another ODI he would have stayed on.

    • October 8th 2017 @ 9:43am
      twodogs said | October 8th 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      Going through the motions Australia is. Probably homesick for fast tracks with no deviance. Not to worry, the Ashes will come about, win in a canter and then they’ll become the ‘greatest team the world’😅😅😅😅

    • October 8th 2017 @ 10:10am
      Fight Fair said | October 8th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      If ticket sales, tv viewing numbers and merchandise sales dip, do the players take a pay cut now?

      • October 8th 2017 @ 10:55am
        Rebellion said | October 8th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        Hear Hear.

        Would love to see David Warner and some of his mates be held financially accountable for their failures

        I’ve All lost respect for the players since their greed was exposed in the pay dispute

        • Roar Rookie

          October 8th 2017 @ 11:01am
          Matthew Pearce said | October 8th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

          Don’t let your sad attempts at derision get in the way of the fact that yes, that’s exactly how revenue sharing works, just like it had before the dispute.

          The international side stood to make more money under CA’s proposed deal, which was rejected in favour of paying the domestic and female players higher, but hey, facts clearly aren’t a priority when there’s uninformed whinging to be done.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 11:06am
          Ouch said | October 8th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

          You’ve been corrected several times before yet you still keep spouting the same incorrect nonsense. Whats the problem?

        • October 8th 2017 @ 5:09pm
          Dier-ba-zor said | October 8th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

          You are a $hit person.

    • October 8th 2017 @ 10:31am
      BurgyGreen said | October 8th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

      This is a weak side, but what’s really worrying is that our full strength team isn’t that much better. I suppose it looks something like this:

      1. Warner
      2. Finch
      3. Lynn
      4. Smith
      5. Maxwell
      6. M. Marsh
      7. Dunk
      8. Starc
      9. Cummins
      10. Zampa
      11. Hazlewood

      12th Head

      Yes, this team would crush the current one, but I’m not sure it would compete with the top T20 sides. Part of the problem is that the only time these guys actually play together is at the World T20.

      I’d like to see us playing a near-full-strength side in our games at home, at least. This habit of the selectors picking essentially second string sides for limited overs tours (in ODIs as well) needs to stop. It’s totally killing the team’s momentum and morale and it means that come major tournaments we have no idea what our best XI is (see Champions Trophy this year). Honestly I think our limp performance in the first two Tests against SA last season had a fair bit to do with the psychological damage from the 5-0 ODI massacre just prior. Can we get back to actually playing to win?

      • Roar Rookie

        October 8th 2017 @ 10:48am
        Matthew Pearce said | October 8th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

        Not quite so sure about Dunk and (please don’t lynch me) Zampa as well. I know Zampa had a great start to his international career, but this match was only the second time since the start of the Champions Trophy that he’s conceded less than 50 runs in an a match. Can’t quite remember, what was the rationale behind picking him ahead of Boyce for the T20 World Cup, given that Boyce was the leading wicket-taker in the prior Big Bash season?

        I think we will go back to full-strength sides once the home summer kicks in, it’s easy to see one-off overseas tours as fairly inconsequential, though that is a good point about lack of preparedness for major tournaments. The biggest problem is that there’s no middle-order stabiliser. Why have they seemed to have just gone out of fashion, you can’t tell me there’s no-one around capable of performing that role?

        It’s a bit nitpicky, but I don’t think the team is going in with any intention other than to win. I think this is just a particularly rotten run for a side that’s probably been overdue for one for quite some time now.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 11:31am
          BurgyGreen said | October 8th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

          “I don’t think the team is going in with any intention other than to win”

          Not the team but more the selectors muddying the waters with a desire to “have a look at some young players” or “trying out some combinations” as well as resting big players (understandable with this series, because the Ashes is the priority, but when it comes to limited overs games towards the end of the home summer, I’d like to see something like a full strength team).

          Wasn’t really sure about the keeper either but there just aren’t many options at the moment and Dunk at least is a consistently good BBL batsman.

          I also think Boyce is better than Zampa, it was bizarre when he got dropped for Zampa after being the best bowler in the T20s against India early in 2016. It’s been so long now though that it’s hard to say what sort of form Boyce is in. Didn’t have the best BBL I don’t think.

          • Roar Rookie

            October 8th 2017 @ 12:16pm
            Matthew Pearce said | October 8th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            That’s a fair enough view, it certainly seems that way with the selections sometimes.

            From what I recall Nevill did well enough with the few opportunities he got in the WC, and his domestic form has been pretty good since being dumped. We seem to have an interesting mindset when it comes to recalling players though, so I can’t see that happening. Whiteman as well, once he’s fit and firing is an option. Hopefully Peirson turns out to be good as well, he’s promising but still young and inexperienced.

            Boyce’s move to Tassie really hurt him I feel, I think Swepson’s outshined him so far since then. He had a good summer before that WC though, should have been the incumbent. Of course, I can still remember when Muirhead was the next up-and-comer, that didn’t turn out quite as planned either. Zampa seemed to be the next “big thing” that had to be in and it’s starting to flop, 7 wickets @ 54 from your first-choice spinner since the start of the Champions Trophy surely has to have been noticed.

            Maybe we’ve just got an unhealthy obsession with leggies?

            • Columnist

              October 8th 2017 @ 7:31pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | October 8th 2017 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

              Zampa’s been in poor form in ODIs, but he deserves more chances in T20Is due to his outstanding career T20 stats – he averages 19.8 with the ball across all T20s and just 15.6 for Australia.

      • Columnist

        October 8th 2017 @ 7:43pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | October 8th 2017 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

        Hi Burgy,

        On paper, that is a very good T20I side – that top 3 is as good as any other international team, and Smith/Maxwell/MMarsh/Dunk is a decent middle order.

        The pace attack is very strong, although I’d have NCN instead of Hazlewood, and Zampa, while currently out of form, has fantastic stats across all of T20Is/IPL/BBL/CPL.

        On paper that really is a quality lineup which is why it’s frustrating for Aussie fans that the national team has consistently underperformed in T20Is.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 9:26pm
          BurgyGreen said | October 8th 2017 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

          Yes, it’d be nice if we actually played that team every now and again in bilateral series.

    • Roar Rookie

      October 8th 2017 @ 10:34am
      Matthew Pearce said | October 8th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

      A month out from the Ashes, the domestic one-day comp starting, a number of first-choice players injured/rested, and up against a top-tier limited overs side on their home soil. It sucks to lose, but did people really expect this ultimately inconsequential series to go any other way?

      On a side note, it’s funny how many of the fervent “purists” (not referring to here) suddenly care about limited overs cricket when Australia loses, though I suspect all will be forgiven there if they reclaim the Ashes.

      • October 10th 2017 @ 6:39pm
        John Erichsen said | October 10th 2017 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

        Not I. I couldn’t give a rats a*se what happens in any T20 series. Nothing to forgive regarding players or selectors in a format that means stuff all.

    • October 8th 2017 @ 10:36am
      Junior Coach said | October 8th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      Pick proper cricketers, guys who can score in the long form of the game will be able to tonk in the whackamole version of sport. Still reckon you might as well pick 11 batsmen who are all reasonable fielders, part time bowling will still only give away 8 runs per over and 11 batsmen will run down 160-180 everytime. Stop picking norounders like Henriques and Christian- sheesh i’m writing about T20 what has the world come to!

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