Cricket: Former captain Michael Clarke slams Australians in India

Poor planning before leaving and then poor plans while playing have left former Australian captain Michael Clarke unsurprised by the Test team’s two dismal failures in India.

And with changes looming for the third Test, former coach Darren Lehmann said selectors should stick with Travis Head as an opener if David Warner is ruled out with injury.

The critics have dialled in on captain Pat Cummins team after the second-Test horror show in Delhi, and Clarke, who has been outspoken about the lack of a tour game, said the batters had failed to show any intuition against the Indian spinners.

“I’m not surprised by what I’m seeing because we didn’t have a tour game,” Clarke said on Monday

“Major, major, major mistake. There should have been at least one game over there to get used to the conditions.

“Selection for the first Test, major, major mistake. Second Test, blokes sweeping, we saw enough of that the first Test match. They’re not the right conditions to sweep when you start your innings. And they’re never going to be the right conditions to reverse sweep against the spin at the start of your innings.

“Against spin bowling on a pitch like that, you would say my ‘swim between the flags’ is play straight, hit with spin.

“Let’s just stick to those two theories. Straight bat … I’m going to be playing every single ball with the spin.”

The Australians have been roundly panned for their sweeping tactics with the bat, something the Indians ignored and a tactic man-of-the-match Ravindra Jadeja said was wrong for that pitch.

“Not on this kind of wicket,” Jadeja said.

Clarke said the Aussies only had to watch the local batters to know it was a bad plan.

“It’s like we’re not watching India bat,” he told the Big Sky Breakfast.

“Why would you not look at that example and go, ‘OK, these guys know the conditions so well, and this is how they’re playing’. Why would we try and do something different when they have been so good?

“It doesn’t matter how many support staff there are around, you’re playing for Australia. Surely as a batsman playing at the highest level, you calculate that risk versus reward.”

Lehmann conceded it was “mayhem” for the Australians, but they wouldn’t have lost all confidence in defeat.

“I think they believe they are good enough to beat India, it just comes down to executing,” he told RSN.

“When they do the review they’ll say, ‘Gee, we swept a lot’, swept and reverse swept everything where you still have to trust your defence. It’s about being positive and brave but then trusting your defence to keep the good balls out.

“Maybe they were too over-attacking, and that’s a fine line.

“They just strangle you, they bowl at the stumps, they knew we are going to sweep, they set fields for sweeps, so sometimes you have to play a little bit different.

“The pressure is huge over there, screaming fans, smog, you can’t see it at the best of times in Delhi. They did everything right until that two hours of mayhem.”

Originally published as Michael Clarke lashes Australia’s efforts in India

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