Why is this bloke hated so much?
After a string of recent losses under Michael Clarke’s guidance, none more so than the debacle at the MCG tonight, the knives are well and truly out and are hitting the target on the “Pup’s” back.
Clarke, now 29-years-old, has captained his country in 17 ODI’s, claiming 12 wins with a winning ratio of 71%. This record is far superior to that of Steve Waugh (67 wins in 106 games, a 65% winning ratio) and just behind Ricky Ponting (160 wins in 220 games, a 77% winning ratio), both of which had far superior players at their disposal such as Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Mark Waugh, Mathew Hayden and Andrew Symonds… To name a few.
After tonight’s loss, many fans have been quick to criticise Clarke’s field placements and choice of bowlers at various intervals in the game, in particular the limited use of young leg-spinner Steve Smith. However, many of those criticising Clarke are unaware of the back injury suffered by Smith earlier in the game whilst fielding. And when addressing the issue of field placements, there is only so much a captain can do, and if his bowlers are not capable of bowling in the correct areas, then his job becomes nothing short of impossible. At the end of the day, a captain should not have to set fields for bad bowling in any form of cricket, especially at international level.
The reason Australia lost this game is firstly because they didn’t make enough runs, and secondly because the bowlers (apart from debuting Xavier Doherty) simply didn’t bowl in the right areas. Furthermore, when John Hastings is playing for Australia, there is something wrong with the selection panel and they too need to take some of the blame. In fairness to Hastings, he’s a quality young cricketer who bowled reasonably well tonight, however when blokes like Dirk Nannes, Clint McKay and Stuart Clark are fit and ready to go on the sidelines, Hastings really shouldn’t be wearing the green and gold.
Mitch Johnson and Peter Siddle, who took just 2 wickets for 119 runs off their combined total of 18 overs, need to improve quickly or they risk losing their spots for the upcoming Ashes series against a cocky English outfit. With Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger all aiming for the 1st Test at the Gabba in a few weeks time, the pressure is well and truly on all fast bowlers to make the most of their opportunities when they are presented.
England, who arrived in the country late last week, would’ve been sitting back in their hotel room, sipping on a few beers and laughing at what unfolded at the MCG tonight. The confidence levels in the Australian camp are at rock bottom and a losing streak like this hasn’t been seen for a long, long time.
The interest in the ODI’s, from an Australian perspective at least, was pathetic, with just under 20,000 fans attending the game at the 100,000 seat capacity stadium, the majority being Sri Lankan’s. Seeing the Sri Lankan fans dance, cheer and take over Bay 13 was a sign of the poor position Australian cricket finds itself in.
Thankfully it’s an Ashes summer.