Two losses from two matches and two matches to go. Australian cricket is in danger of a 0-4 ‘Brownwash’. Apart from the dumping of four players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, the lack of bowling strategy has hurt the Michael Clarke-led Australian team.
But then records point to many of the Australian bowlers not being as successful as the England, Pakistan or South Africa. Spin legend Shane Warne spoke of right preparation before undertaking any tour to India. But Warne himself was a failure on Indian tours. His first tour in 1998 saw him capture 10 wickets from 3 matches, again 10 in the next tour in 2001 and in 2004 when Australia conquered the Indians, he returned with 14 wickets from 3 matches.
England coach Andy Flower did lot of homework before embarking on the tour of India. But according to TA Sekar, the decision to have former Pakistan leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed as spin coach proved to be a big factor in England’s successful tour. “Himself hailing from this part of the world, the Pakistan leg-spinner was aware of the conditions. He knew the right angles and the right speed to bowl here. His inputs were crucial to left-arm spinner Monty Panesar and off-spinner Graeme Swann,” said Sekar.
Perhaps, the lack of these special inputs has hampered Australia’s preparations on this tour. As said, the spinners have to bowl the right length and speed. Australian management, in an attempt go gain some knowledge did encourage their spinners to interact with the Indian spinners. Coach Mickey Arthur admitted that their spinners (Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Glenn Maxwell) have to learn a lot to bowl on Indian soil.
Arthur went on to say there’s a massive difference for the spinners to bowl in Australia and India. “The ball assists the spinners here, it turns and the ball keeps low. In Australia the game’s quick and then it gets slower as the wicket flattens out. In India it’s slow and then the game goes quick on day four and five. So it’s total extremes and again that’s the reason we’ve got the boys out there just to be aware of conditions. Just try and learn to cope with it,” said Arthur.
Perhaps, Australia may have erred in their preparation. If they had appointed someone like Mushtaq to guide their spinners on this tour, it could have been a different story.
One of the successful Australian spinner on an Indian tour was Ashley Mallet, who captured 28 wickets in the five-Test series when the Bill Lawry-led Australian team won the series. The off-spinner, now a columnist, took three five-wicket hauls, including five each in two innings at Chennai. Australia have failed in their bowling tactics so far. As the next Test starts from Thursday at Mohali, the Australian spinners face yet another big test.