Australia’s wretched run on the tour of India so far has been filled with “major, major mistakes”, reckons former captain Michael Clarke. Clarke feels the biggest mistake Australia made was not playing a tour game ahead of the four-Test series. Instead, Pat Cummins chose to simulate Indian conditions back home before having a short camp near Bangalore ahead of the series openerin Nagpur.
Two weeks later, the visitors are 0-2 down in the series and have already lost a shot at regaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy. “I’m not surprised by what I’m seeing because we didn’t have a tour game. Major, major, major mistake. There should have been at least one game over there to get used to the conditions,” Clarke said on Monday on Big Sports Breakfast.
The Australian batters’ inability to play top-quality spin has been thoroughly exposed in the first two Tests. In Delhi, they tried to sweep their way out of trouble but that ploy failed miserably. Apart from that, another major mistake, according to Clarke, was not playing Travis Head in the series opener. “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,” said Clarke.
Break for Pat
Australia captain Pat Cummins has flown home from the tour of India due to a serious family health issue following his side’s six-wicket loss in the second Test in Delhi. Cummins will return to Sydney for a few days but is due to be back in India for the preparations ahead of the third Test in Indore. Australia are 2-0 down in the series with two Tests to play but now have a nine-day break between Tests with the third match beginning on March 1. Coach Andrew McDonald confirmed Cummins would remain in contact with the group while he is in Sydney and would remain involved in the planning for Indore.
Pacer Josh Hazlewood will fly home after being ruled out of the final two Tests while doubts remain about David Warner’s fitness for the remaining matches. Hazlewood was unavailable for the first two Tests due to Achilles tendonitis. He was replaced by Scott Boland in the first Test. Warner was substituted out of the Delhi Test with concussion but he also suffered a hairline fracture in his left elbow while facing Mohammed Siraj.