Australia has sunk to a depth that will take a few series to resolve. Any and all blame for axing talented players or not integrating them successfully must fall with the management. Cricket, and indeed all sport, is spectator. The public pays to watch entertaining players perform and revel when their team wins. It’s that simple. Cricket’s long term economic muscle improves when teams with flair do well, not machine like robots showing up on the field.
Much like India lost Sandeep Patil, Vinod Kambli and a few others, Australia are now onto their second big loss after Andrew Symonds. The conceit of administrators, sometimes selectors and coaches, is amazing. The Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pieterson, Andrew Symonds, Ross Taylor and now Shane Watson episodes are stunning in its impact. What’s also stunning is the number of fans that are willing to buy into this theory of “discipline”.
A whole host of cricket writers and bloggers seem to hitch on to this bandwagon that believes in the virtues of military-like discipline as a requirement to win sporting contests. Curfews, wellness programs, limits on calories, exercise regimen etc seem to have taken precedence over actual performance and results. It appears that Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur have successfully diverted attention from their failure to deliver by backing their methods over players’ lack of buy-in into those methods.
My own corporate experience tells me that leaders fall into this trap of not taking enough ownership for the failure of strategies and instead blame employees for not delivering. It is the leadership’s responsibility to bring players on board. To fire players for anything other than performance is thus self-serving and inherently stupid. It is clearly a product of conceit. Clarke semi about-face today suggests a lack of confidence in the stance he has taken. This is a further erosion of his credibility. The less said about Arthur and [Cricket Australia performance chief] Pat Howard the better.
The selectors gave the team management the best available talent in Australia. It is the management’s job to build this set of talented people into a cohesive team. Some of the management methods have not exactly convinced the players. This means management has to work harder to get the players to buy-in, perhaps show some early results of their methods without input from some of the non-believers. Benching them is a big mistake that’s going to negatively affect others too. I’m not saying Australia will necessarily lose, but the public and the players will now pay too high a price for such an Australian win.
(Vidooshak is a blogger @ Opinions on Cricket . He was drawn into cricket by Golandaaz as a schoolboy. His bluster overshadows his cricketing ability. He played as a wicket-keeper in a college team but was promptly dropped. The college selection committee had slightly higher standards than Pakistani selectors. He did reasonably well in tennis ball cricket until he was benched for a final game by the team that he captained. To say some of it was due to his opinions would be an understatement of sorts. Regardless, Vidooshak finds time to opinionate relentlessly and lives a vicarious life by watching cricket teams make obvious mistakes. Good news for Vidooshak is that someone always loses a cricket game, someone always gets belted and someone always flops. Vidooshak always looks for an alternative explanation and rarely agrees with mainstream consensus. Needless to say he has no friends, only ‘tolerators’! While not throwing his weight around, Vidooshak does not run marathons or draw pictures, but reads voraciously on all topics, volunteers at local failing schools, is an avid but average golfer and runs an Indian association in mid-west America)