Had Australias tour of India gone according to plan,Michael Clarke and his boys would have been at the IGI Airport to board their flight back home just as you sift through this newspaper. The fourth Test would have ended on Tuesday and ideally,the scoreline wouldnt have been compared to Tom Sawyers least favourite activity.
The Delhi Test,however,ended on Sunday. And the 4-0 whitewash faced by the visiting side has prompted the press in Australia to rate the batch of 2013 as not just the worst national side to visit India,but the worst to travel anywhere.
Disgruntled,most have called for wholesome changes to Australias batting line-up to stand a chance on their next Test tour the first of two Ashes series to be played this year. But few,including Cricket Australia,have pointed out the overwhelming weed in the side,which will make it ever so difficult to break away from the horrors of the India series. Their disciplinarian team management.
Yes,their batsmen had a big hand to play in the humiliation. But even before the India series was lost,coach Mickey Arthur and captain Clarke made it that much harder for their side to plot a return by banning four players from the third Test. Far from being reprimanded for a very avoidable scandal,it is now known that CA has endorsed it arming the think-tank with more sticks to draw further lines in the sand with.
All this will achieve is promoting conformity and quietening stronger,sometimes dissenting voices that can spark out-of-the-box ideas. In previous Australian dressing rooms,disagreements between coach John Buchanan and Shane Warne didnt stop either from flourishing in their respective roles. But that side also had Steve Waugh,a true leader essential to uplift morale after a debacle and rinse away the bad taste left behind by a poor performance.
Waugh induced enough confidence in his players to walk through a wall for him. Clarke,so far,has just stood in the way like one.
Aditya is a senior correspondent based in New Delhi .firstname.lastname@example.org