The Australian cricket team has once more come a cropper in the subcontinent, and former Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg says it is paying the price for arrogant selection.
Australia was spun out of the World T20 with three straight losses, winning only the dead rubber on Tuesday night against Bangladesh.
This completed an ignominious trifecta in the three forms of the game in the subcontinent, following the 4-0 drubbing during the ‘homework-gate’ Test tour last year, followed by a 3-2 defeat in 50 over cricket.
“Once again Australia had gone to the subcontinent thinking that pace bowling will do the job, and it just doesn’t ,” Hogg told The New Daily. “Unless you are a superstar fast bowler, spinners win competitions in the subcontinent.”
Australia largely eschewed spin bowling in the latest tournament, despite its dominance throughout the event so far.
In the three ‘live’ matches, Australia’s top five lost an extraordinary 14 of their 15 wickets to spinners.
Yet Australia dispensed with veteran Brad Hogg after one match, and then played leg-spinner James Muirhead for the next two before dropping him for the last match against Bangladesh.
Hogg said Australia’s arrogance was underlined by its selection of three left-arm quick bowlers – Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner and Doug Bollinger – in one match.
“Going in with three left-armers was ridiculous,” he said. “No other country is doing this. We are arrogant when we go to the subcontinent and we shouldn’t be.
“It’s a hard gig but we are not giving ourselves any chances. The experience now that our players have got with the IPL, and the number of times we have been to the subcontinent in recent years, we should be putting up a better performance over there.”
We didn’t go there with a left-arm orthodox, we gave up on Hogg after one game, we haven’t appreciated Maxwell enough.
He also said that it was an error to drop Glenn Maxwell down to No. 5 for the third match against India after he had starred in the first two matches at No. 4, making 74 (from 33 balls) and 45 (22 balls).
“We didn’t go there with a left-arm orthodox, we gave up on Hogg after one game, we haven’t appreciated Maxwell enough,” was how Hogg summed it up. “We’ve got to get Maxwell higher up in the order.”
Shane Warne, who as recently as the tour of South Africa was an official member of the Australian camp, was also critical of the lack of faith in slow bowling.
“Aust not playing a specialist spinner! Strange decision,” he tweeted during Bangladesh’s innings. “Why not persist with a 20-year-old leggie who spins it?”
Hogg also said it was time for all-rounder Shane Watson to cut back his load, saying he could no longer be fielded in all three forms of the game.
He pointed out that Watson had made 50 or more only eight times in his last 52 innings in all forms of the game. In Twenty20, he has made it into double figures only twice in his past 10 innings.
“He is bowling on one leg and is clearly not fit enough to be playing in all three forms of the game. We’ve either got to move on from him or identify one form of the game for him to play,” he said.
“What right does he have to come in at No. 3 in our best team? He is not making runs in any form. It’s not good enough.
“The selectors need to make a call on him, for goodness sake.”