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Are Australia’s cricketers basically just children?

Bowled on 13th March, 2013 at 09:06 by
Category: Australia cricket news, Shane Watson

This is the impression we’re getting.

‘Come up with three ways in which we can improve’

People keep using the word ‘homework’ and it’s because of the way the task was given to the players. It’s the kind of school assignment where the level of difficulty has been carefully gauged to ensure a response. ‘Come up with three bullet points – everyone can do that. No excuses.’

But a coach shouldn’t have to lead the players by the hand like this. Working out how to improve should be second nature to them. How have they got into the national team if they’re not continually evaluating their own performance and by extension that of the team?

Backchat

This is, quite genuinely, one of the minor indiscretions described by Mickey Arthur that apparently contributed to the decision to suspend players. ‘Giving attitude’ was another. We’re not sure we’ve ever heard of an adult ‘giving attitude’.

Viewed against this sort of a backdrop, the suspensions smack of a teacher reclaiming control of the class via an almost arbitrary show of power.

Shane Watson ‘weighing up his options’

What’s a decent reason for retiring from one form of the game? That you’ve been struggling with injuries? That you’re worried you’re not up to standard any more?

Both of those might apply to Shane Watson, but strangely they weren’t what triggered his sudden urge to ‘weigh up his options’ with regards to his cricketing future. No, instead Watto has decided to take stock of things at the exact moment when he’s just been told off.

He’s threatening to take his bat in and doesn’t want to play any more. It is, quite simply, a massive great strop.

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  1. Reply
    Ged   //   March 13th, 2013 at 09:38

    Everyone should keep in touch with their inner child, KC.

    Goodness knows, you and your followers (me very much included) are exemplars of that philosophy.

    Indeed, I am executing those inner child skill sets right now. And “yah boo sucks” to anyone who disagrees with me.

  2. Reply
    Bert   //   March 13th, 2013 at 09:58

    They haven’t been disciplined for not coming up with ways to improve. They’ve been disciplined for not telling the teacher all about the ways they are going to improve. They’ve been asked to do a show-and-tell, and they don’t want to.

    The public (i.e. within the squad) approach to this all seems a bit Catholic to me. What they’ve been asked to do is to admit their own failings openly – mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. OK fine, if that’s the way you’re built. But if not, why can’t you just go away and work on it yourself. Ultimately, if you fail you get dropped because of your performance.

    Actually, I’ve just realised that this last line is the heart of the matter. They can’t be dropped for performance, because the paucity of talent in Australian cricket means there is literally nobody else. So the only method the coach has to improve things is for each player to become significantly better than he is. There’s nobody waiting in the wings for a place. Shane Watson averages 36 in tests, 25 over the last two years, and 28 over the last year – and there is no possibility of him being dropped on form!

    Many of the players in this squad are crap. If they work really hard they can become ordinary. But as with English cricket over the decades, this whole affair is just a mask for the desperate failings of Australian cricket.

  3. Reply
    D Charlton   //   March 13th, 2013 at 10:56

    Arthur’s also upset about “high skinfolds”.

    I have no idea what this means. Please can someone explain. I may just have played-and-missed at a popular idiom (won’t be the first time) but I am genuinely bemused.

    See here http://www.firstpost.com/sports/back-chat-high-skinfolds-lateness-arthur-on-why-he-took-action-658258.html

    • SimonC   //   March 13th, 2013 at 11:04

      I *think* he’s saying people were getting a bit chubby. That, or people were raising eyebrows sarcastically during his coaching sessions.

    • D Charlton   //   March 13th, 2013 at 11:25

      Chubby!? Coming from Mickey Arthur?! I know he doesn’t have to sweat it out for five days on the field of play but if someone his shape was telling me to be less fat, I’d tell him where to shove his boerewors. No wonder they hate (ate) him.

    • Bert   //   March 13th, 2013 at 11:36

      Mickey Arthur on the failings of the four – “Being late for a meeting, high skinfolds, wearing the wrong attire, back-chat or giving attitude, putting in the best bowling performance of the entire squad and returning figures that would be credibly good in any circumstance, let alone on a tough Indian tour, are just some examples.”

      I might have accidentally added a bit, to help it simultaneously make less sense and be closer to the truth.

  4. Reply
    Ben   //   March 13th, 2013 at 11:31

    Frankly I can’t understand how Arthur can say all this with a straight face. Surely players get paid to play cricket – granted this is a laughable definition of what they appear to be doing currently – and coaches get paid to COACH?

    It seems to me Arthur, bereft of ideas and in a desperate state, has asked the players to do his job for him. By focusing the media’s attention on the players who failed to do his job he has neatly taken away the focus from his coaching credentials and just made himself look a complete pillock – I guess that is the better result for him?

  5. Reply
    sam   //   March 13th, 2013 at 11:40

    Oh my days, this just gets better.

    High skinfolds? WHAT?

    “We want to be the Spanish football team, Manchester United or McLaren of world cricket.”

    Yeah. All the best with that, Mickey. Let us know how you get on.

    • Bert   //   March 13th, 2013 at 11:55

      “We want to be the [...] McLaren of world cricket, but not with any of that super fast racing car shit. No, we want to be McLaren with Fiat Unos.”

    • string   //   March 13th, 2013 at 13:18

      I’m pretty sure he means Malcolm McLaren. He wants to manaage a bunch of talentless oafs with bad haircuts.

    • sam   //   March 13th, 2013 at 13:30

      What a rotter

  6. Reply
    D Charlton   //   March 13th, 2013 at 11:53

    Since this story broke, has anyone actually stopped laughing?

    I did once, to breathe and drink tea, but then started up again.

    • string   //   March 13th, 2013 at 13:18

      Good work, D. I laughed through my early morning tea, much the the detriment of my keyboard.

  7. Reply
    Jef   //   March 13th, 2013 at 13:33

    The Watson situation probably wasn’t helped by Pat Howard’s hilarious faint praise for him: “I know Shane reasonably well. I think he acts in the best interests of the team, sometimes.”

  8. Reply
    Bert   //   March 13th, 2013 at 16:11

    At the end of the last Ashes, a lot of people were saying that Steve Smith wasn’t ready for test cricket. The suggestion was he should drop out of the reckoning until he had become as good a batsman as the others in the team. This has now happened.

    • daneel   //   March 13th, 2013 at 17:14

      The funniest thing about the current state of Australia’s batting is the quality they squandered over the years:

      Brad Hodge – 5 tests, Ave 56
      Stuart Law – 1 test, Ave NaN
      Phil Jacques – 11 tests, Ave 47
      Martin Love – 5 tests, Ave 47
      Chris Rogers – 1 test, FC Ave 50
      Michael Di Venuto – 9 tests, FC Ave 46
      David Hussey – 0 tests, FC Ave 53

      Even though most of these players have been retired for a few years now, any of them would still be a massive improvement over Hughes and Smith, at least.

    • Deep Cower   //   March 13th, 2013 at 17:37

      I’d not be so quick in writing off Smith. I have only seen him in a handful of T20s, but he has this never say die attitude that’s actually rather nice to watch. He might become a good test player, or he might not. But we can be sure he’ll give it his best, and without the cocky attitude of a Mitchell Johnson or a Shane Watson.

    • Ritesh Banglani   //   March 13th, 2013 at 17:53

      Man, Englishmen being patronising of Australian cricketers! I never thought the day would come. Schadenfreude is such a wonderful, wonderful thing.

    • Deep Cower   //   March 13th, 2013 at 18:07

      Ritesh: If you are referring to my post, I am Indian, not English. And I don’t dislike Australians either.

    • Ritesh Banglani   //   March 14th, 2013 at 01:30

      I was referring to yours and Daneel’s posts (sorry for the presumption), but not in a bad way. It’s just funny to see how a team’s fortunes can turn around so much so quickly that people start recommending mediocre players because they are suddenly better than the current lot.

  9. Reply
    Ritesh Banglani   //   March 13th, 2013 at 17:57

    The reactions to wining the last Ashes are like the five stages of grief:
    Relief, joy, mockery, pity, then (hopefully) acceptance.

  10. Reply
    sam   //   March 13th, 2013 at 18:21

    Forget the Aussies….the Pope is here!

    • daneel   //   March 13th, 2013 at 18:34

      I hope it’s Robbie Coltrane.

  11. Reply
    Abhishek   //   March 13th, 2013 at 19:58

    Hayden speaks – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/series-tournament/australia-in-india-2013/top-stories/Hayden-bats-for-Watson-Ponting-Hussey-keep-mum-on-team-crisis/articleshow/18955678.cms

    • Sam   //   March 13th, 2013 at 22:49

      “Shane is a team man and vice-captain of our nation. Along with his gentle disposition yet outstanding competitive streak it has enabled Shane’s immense talents with both bat and ball to rise to the top to become one of this country’s more decorated performers in all forms of game,” Hayden said.

      “I have played with Shane since he was a boy. He has battled with injury and risen in spite of major setbacks to overcome the obstacles presented in true Aussie spirit,” he was quoted as saying.

      “And most importantly never leave your mate on the battle field,” he added.

      Hayden took potshots at Cricket Australia high performance director Pat Howard, who had questioned Watson’s commitment, and other CA officials.

      “I hope every inch of Pat Howard and senior (CA) management has those core and fundamental Australian ways pumping through their veins?”

      Wow. He just doesn’t know how to speak English, does he?

    • Deep Cower   //   March 14th, 2013 at 00:09

      And not one mention of Pattinson?

    • Jai   //   March 14th, 2013 at 01:07

      This one has me particularly confused -

      “I hope every inch of Pat Howard and senior (CA) management has those core and fundamental Australian ways pumping through their veins?”

      How come we never hear what happens next after “Haydenspeak”? Doesn’t any of the jurnos feel like questioning his words of wisdom? Maybe they’re afraid of being eaten.

    • King Cricket   //   March 14th, 2013 at 08:11

      The problem is it takes so long to untangle what he’s just said that he’s gone by the time you realise it still doesn’t make sense in untangled form.

  12. Reply
    Scott 2.0   //   March 14th, 2013 at 04:07

    If Watto can see further than others, it is because he has been standing on the shoulders of Hayden.

  13. Reply
    Ged   //   March 14th, 2013 at 06:33

    Arthur and Howard might be rubbish at management…

    …but they sure know how to rain dance.

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