Australians’ body language tells a grim tale, says expert

December 29th, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 29 (IANS) Listlessness, lifelessness, aimlessness, sloppiness are the words one can associate with the Australian cricket team that is losing its decade-long dominance at home to an young South African side.Noted cricket writer Mike Coward wrote in his column in The Australian that while the future of the vibrant young South African team is assured, this Australian team has regressed dramatically over the past two weeks.

“It was always going to be a difficult time in this evolutionary cycle following the retirement of so many great players, but few believed it could become quite this desperate,” he said.

He said as South Africa made a stunning come-back Sunday riding on Jean Paul Duminy’s century, the Australians were abject not just in the execution of skills but far more concerning was their body language.

“Too often their body language told the grim tale of inadequacy. The pedestal they have occupied for 13 years is teetering precariously. Barring a miracle, it will topple well before the team reaches Johannesburg in February,” Coward added.

He said captain Ricky Ponting, coach Tim Nielsen, along with a very conservative and uncertain selection panel chaired by Andrew Hilditch, must take responsibility for shemozzle.

“And make no mistake it was a shemozzle. We will never know, of course, who finally decided that Andrew Symonds should play despite a knee injury which seriously restricted him in Perth at the death.”

“Was it Ponting, his mentor and relentless backer? Was it Nielsen? Was it Merv Hughes, the duty selector? Was it Hilditch, who earlier this summer declared Symonds to be a ‘great player’? Or was it a collective cock-up?” he added.

He said confused state of affairs in team selection has placed Australian cricket in a very poor light and sends the wrong signals to those waiting in the wings, especially to Shane Watson, Jason Krejza and Beau Casson.

With Australia staring at defeat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Coward feels that the wonderful arena that has given sporting literature some of its richest pages has added a chapter Sunday and that will be read and re-read down the ages.

“At the start of play, South Africa were staring at a heavy defeat just one week after defying seemingly impossible odds to win the first Test match in Perth. But by day’s end, they were able to entertain the thought of a victory even more improbable than that attained at the WACA Ground,” he said.

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