| Buchanan admits that Aussies lose composure under pressure
Sydney: The Australian team has a tendency to lose composure in the heat of battle, national coach John Buchanan said Tuesday.
The latest in a series of on-field confrontations came during Monday’s fourth day of the final Test in St John’s as the West Indies moved close to a record-breaking win against the world’s best team.
Paceman Glenn McGrath launched a barrage of expletives at centurion Ramnaresh Sarwan in an explosive mid-pitch tirade, which needed intervention of English umpire David Shepherd.
The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) is not amused and is concerned the “ugly” McGrath incident sent the wrong message to fans.
“I’m disappointed in what I saw on television... It was certainly an ugly incident,” ACB chief executive James Sutherland said Tuesday. “It’s all very well to be playing the game in the right spirit when things are going your way, but if things are not going your way, that’s when the real test is on.
“If you can’t carry yourself in true spirit of game at those times, perhaps you need to have a good look at yourself.”
Sutherland urged skipper Steve Waugh to rein in his players’ behaviour. The ACB chief said he had spoken to Waugh and both agreed the incident was unfortunate and bordering on inappropriate behaviour.
McGrath believed that the West Indies vice-captain had made a derogatory comment about his wife Jane, who began treatment last month for cancer.
But teammates, who also heard the heated conversation, thought the comment had been a routine sledge and was not especially hurtful.
Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer later shook Sarwan’s hand when he got to his century three overs later as did Steve Waugh when he was dismissed.
The McGrath eruption followed Windies skipper Brian Lara’s heated challenges to several Australian fielders including Waugh on Saturday’s second day.
It was indicative of Australia’s brittle temperament when under pressure from a Windies team determined to assert itself and prevent a first-ever home series whitewash.
“It happens to us occasionally when either individuals or the other side basically confronts us in a sense of challenging the emotions of the players and... We tend to lose our composure,” Buchanan told a Sydney radio station from Antigua.
“When it happens, we tend to move away from gameplans and at that particular point teams can take advantage of that and that’s partly what happened today. “There are times where we can’t be the side we’d like to be 100 per cent of the time. While we would like to do that, we’re actually human, we’re fallible.”
Hayden and Adam Gilchrist were fined for disciplinary reasons during Australia’s last loss to England in Sydney last January, and fatigue was considered a factor then as it is in Antigua following a long campaign.
The Australians are weary after playing nine of the last 12 days, continuing a 10-month schedule, and vice-captain Gilchrist said McGrath’s clash with Sarwan should be kept in context.
“It’s no bigger issue than any other moments that get heated and there are comments made,” Gilchrist told Australian Associated Press in Antigua.
“Some people may want to make a bigger deal of it but it’s something we accept playing international cricket that it’s going to happen. But relations between the two sides have been terrific.”