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Not sure what happened with our tactics: Clarke on Cummins’ defensive strategy

Last updated on 21 Feb 2023 | 03:01 AM
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Not sure what happened with our tactics: Clarke on Cummins’ defensive strategy

Clarke also called not playing a tour game as a ‘major mistake’ considering the conditions in India

Pat Cummins as a captain had earnt himself quite a laurel, following Test series wins against Pakistan, England and South Africa. In both the Asian series that the pacer had captained, Australia put on a show, with a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka and a 1-0 series win in Pakistan. But India were always going to be the strongest of the challenge. 

Starting from the first Test, the defensive nature of the 29-year-old has really shaken the fans, including several former Australian cricketers. Michael Clarke, who knows the challenge of playing India away from home, tore the Australian skipper apart, stating that his defensive strategy while defending the total in Delhi was bemusing. 

“I’ve got to say, I’m not sure what happened with our tactics either. We had 100 runs on the board, at one stage Pat Cummins had four blokes on the boundary,” Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio’s BSB. 

“You’re either bowling India out for under 100, or you’re losing. If you lose in 20 overs or you lose in two days, it’s irrelevant. So fielders get up, (put a) bat-pad off side, bat-pad leg side, slip. If the ball turns, if the ball bounces, if the ball shoots along the ground, if you make an error in judgment, you are getting out. That’s what Australia had to do. We had mid-off back, mid-on back, deep point, deep square-leg — what was I watching?” he added.

Ahead of the India series, Australian coach Andrew McDonald made the brave call that the Kangaroos wouldn’t play a tour game in India. Clarke points out at that, stating that the lack of preparations in these conditions has ultimately cost Australia the series, after the visitors conceded a handsome 2-0 lead in the series. 

“We didn’t have a tour game. Major, major, major mistake. At least one tour game over there to get used to the conditions,” Clarke said. “Our selections for the first Test — major, major, major mistake. One cost us a chance, I reckon, of winning the T20 World Cup, and this 100 per cent cost us the first Test if not the second Test.”

What was bemusing though is how the Australian batters took on the Indian spin challenge. While England had a similar ploy during their series back in 2021, Australia plotted their own downfall, with the shot selection at the Arun Jaitley Stadium during the second Test. Clarke pointed at that, insisting that the Australian batters are not getting the basics of playing spin right. 

“We haven’t adapted to conditions,” Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio’s BSB. “I’m not saying don’t sweep in India, I’m saying the opposite. I’m saying you sweep at the right time, at the right stage of your innings, on the right pitch and, generally, with the spin. It’s very hard to sweep against the spin when the ball is not bouncing. So, basics of batting and facing spin bowling in those conditions we are getting so wrong.”

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