Infotainment Factory: Legend lays blame for 'awful' ODI streak

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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Legend lays blame for 'awful' ODI streak


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One of Australia’s best ever one-day batsman has issued a dire warning about the current side, less than seven months out from the World Cup.

The Australian team has won just one game from 11 in 2018, and was thrashed by South Africa with more than 20 overs to spare during Sunday’s match in Perth.

The defeat by the Proteas follows a horror 5-0 drubbing in England during the winter, admittedly without a number of key players, and comes on the back of a 4-1 loss to England here in Australia last summer.

When asked by Wide World of Sports for his thoughts on how Australia is travelling, Dean Jones, who revolutionised batting in the white-ball format in the 1980s and 1990s, could only come up with “disgraceful” and “awful.”

Jones paid particular attention to the top four batsmen, who he refers to as the “engine room,” and says they must pick batsmen with solid techniques who can handle the moving ball.

“Our engine room has been disgraceful. They’ve got to stand up and want to be part of that team within a team. They must make 70 per cent of the runs scored by the side,” Jones told Wide World of Sports.

“If they’re not doing the job, you’re done.

“They have to take ownership of that, and the best way to do that is find guys who can average 45 in first class cricket.”

Sunday’s match against South Africa was effectively all over in the first 30 minutes with Travis Head, Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short all back in the sheds as Australia crumbled to 3-8 inside six overs.

Jones points out that World Cup winning sides are built on a stable and consistently productive top four. Despite the team playing 11 games in 2018, no batsman has yet passed 450 runs, and only all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has appeared in every match.

“Australia’s World Cup successes of the past have been built on the engine room. They took pride in their game. They knew when to attack and when to defend. They got in trouble at times, but they dug their way out of trouble.

“The current guys think the only way out of trouble is to hit the next ball for six. They think about hitting it harder, rather than picking the bowlers to attack. You might have to sit on one particular bowler but there’s another one you can target.

“Is there enough communication between the batsmen in the middle? Do they have the ability to revise what is an achievable target during a game? You can’t make 300 every game. Sometimes 240 is a winning score.

“People will blame T20 cricket for our problems, but the Indian guys play a lot of T20 cricket and they’re still going OK in the 50-over format.”

Nor are the problems restricted to the batting. Only Andrew Tye has taken more than 10 wickets in 2018, and questions are starting to be raised about the returns of spearhead Mitchell Starc, who at his best is the most dangerous limited overs bowler going around.

Starc’s five matches in 2018 have yielded just seven wickets at an average of over 43, easily the worst figures in a calendar year of his career. Equally concerning is his economy rate, with the big left-armer conceding 6.45 runs per over, also the worst of his career.

“Starc’s record recently has been awful,” Jones said.

“We’re thinking the bowlers are going to do the job, and they’ve got the ability to do the job, but they haven’t been doing it.

“It’s been awful.”

With the World Cup kicking off in England in May 2019, time is running short for new coach Justin Langer to find a fix, even allowing for the likely returns of Steve Smith and David Warner.

The return of Australia’s best two batsmen comes with a warning that they may not bring the miracle everyone expects. Smith and Warner played all five games against England last summer without a fifty between them, combining for just 175 runs from 10 innings.

Australia has won four of the last five World Cup tournaments, but the prospect of Aaron Finch and company lifting the trophy at Lord’s next year seems a long way off.

One of Australia’s best ever one-day batsman has issued a dire warning about the current side, less than seven months out from the World Cup.

The Australian team has won just one game from 11 in 2018, and was thrashed by South Africa with more than 20 overs to spare during Sunday’s match in Perth.

The defeat by the Proteas follows a horror 5-0 drubbing in England during the winter, admittedly without a number of key players, and comes on the back of a 4-1 loss to England here in Australia last summer.

When asked by Wide World of Sports for his thoughts on how Australia is travelling, Dean Jones, who revolutionised batting in the white-ball format in the 1980s and 1990s, could only come up with “disgraceful” and “awful.”

Jones paid particular attention to the top four batsmen, who he refers to as the “engine room,” and says they must pick batsmen with solid techniques who can handle the moving ball.

“Our engine room has been disgraceful. They’ve got to stand up and want to be part of that team within a team. They must make 70 per cent of the runs scored by the side,” Jones told Wide World of Sports.

“If they’re not doing the job, you’re done.

“They have to take ownership of that, and the best way to do that is find guys who can average 45 in first class cricket.”

Sunday’s match against South Africa was effectively all over in the first 30 minutes with Travis Head, Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short all back in the sheds as Australia crumbled to 3-8 inside six overs.

Jones points out that World Cup winning sides are built on a stable and consistently productive top four. Despite the team playing 11 games in 2018, no batsman has yet passed 450 runs, and only all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has appeared in every match.

“Australia’s World Cup successes of the past have been built on the engine room. They took pride in their game. They knew when to attack and when to defend. They got in trouble at times, but they dug their way out of trouble.

“The current guys think the only way out of trouble is to hit the next ball for six. They think about hitting it harder, rather than picking the bowlers to attack. You might have to sit on one particular bowler but there’s another one you can target.

“Is there enough communication between the batsmen in the middle? Do they have the ability to revise what is an achievable target during a game? You can’t make 300 every game. Sometimes 240 is a winning score.

“People will blame T20 cricket for our problems, but the Indian guys play a lot of T20 cricket and they’re still going OK in the 50-over format.”

Nor are the problems restricted to the batting. Only Andrew Tye has taken more than 10 wickets in 2018, and questions are starting to be raised about the returns of spearhead Mitchell Starc, who at his best is the most dangerous limited overs bowler going around.

Starc’s five matches in 2018 have yielded just seven wickets at an average of over 43, easily the worst figures in a calendar year of his career. Equally concerning is his economy rate, with the big left-armer conceding 6.45 runs per over, also the worst of his career.

“Starc’s record recently has been awful,” Jones said.

“We’re thinking the bowlers are going to do the job, and they’ve got the ability to do the job, but they haven’t been doing it.

“It’s been awful.”

With the World Cup kicking off in England in May 2019, time is running short for new coach Justin Langer to find a fix, even allowing for the likely returns of Steve Smith and David Warner.

The return of Australia’s best two batsmen comes with a warning that they may not bring the miracle everyone expects. Smith and Warner played all five games against England last summer without a fifty between them, combining for just 175 runs from 10 innings.

Australia has won four of the last five World Cup tournaments, but the prospect of Aaron Finch and company lifting the trophy at Lord’s next year seems a long way off.

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