| Andrew Flintoff with the Super Series Test trophy during a news conference in Sydney on Monday. The one-off six-day Test between World XI and Australia begins on Friday. (Reuters)
Sydney: Rest of the World coach John Wright has launched a stinging attack on his players after their dismal performance against Australia in the one-day series.
The former New Zealand captain and Team India coach said the World team had not shown enough commitment in the series, which they lost 3-0.
“As far as I’m concerned, we’re just looking for a hell of a lot more commitment and determination than we saw, particularly in the last match,” Wright said.
“We’re professionals and we have to play with pride in our personal and team performance and that’s got to be happening in this Test match, that’s what I’ll be demanding.”
Australia won the matches by 93 runs, 55 runs and 156 runs with the World team failing to bat out full 50 overs on each occasion.
West Indian Brian Lara managed just five runs in the series, South African Jaques Kallis scored 21 and Englishman Kevin Pieterson 18 in two matches.
“The onus in this game has to be on the batters,” Wright said. “People want to get out there and stay at the wicket and make big scores, that’s what we’re going to need.
“We’ve got the players to do it and that’s got to be the emphasis for the next few days.”
The World XI’s bowlers also suffered at the hands of a rampant Australia with England allrounder Andrew Flintoff finishing the series with the unflattering figures of 1/153 off 21.2 overs and South African captain Shaun Pollock taking 2/148.
Flintoff, player of the series in England’s Ashes victory, said the world side had let themselves down.
“If we want to beat Australia we have to improve dramatically. I’m sure we can do but a few of us are going to have to come to the party.”
Flintoff also declared himself fit to play in the Test match starting on Friday. He injured his wrist after dropping a return catch from Australia captain Ricky Ponting in Sunday’s third one-day International in Melbourne.
He was taken to hospital but X-rays cleared him of any fractures. “I’m going to go for some treatment but, like I said, there’s nothing broken,” he said.
Flintoff said it had been hard for the world players to build team spirit in such a short time but he was confident they would perform better in the Test, which starts on Friday.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Graeme Smith has dismissed media suggestions the Rest of the World team were not trying hard enough in their 3-0 series loss to Australia.
“I look at it differently. You can’t just build a team overnight,” said Smith, who did not play in the one-dayers but will captain the World team in the six-day Super Test in Sydney.
“There’s always a lot of questions about players’ commitment in these sorts of series and I think it is important that we can turn that around in this Test match.”
“If we can get things right we have the players to go and do it,” he said. “I think when you have so many world class players it’s important that everyone knows their roles.
“Jacques Kallis plays differently from Brian Lara and Rahul Dravid plays differently from Virender Sehwag so it’s important that we balance that and get the right structure.”