Hurt-like-hell Rodney Marsh refuses to believe that wives and girlfriends had anything to do with Australia’s abject failure in the Ashes 2015. The urn conceded to arch-rivals England, the Australians are trying to find the real reason for defeat even as reports of team disunity triggered by wives of seniors players have done the rounds.
Australia relinquished the Ashes after defeat by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge on Saturday, going 3-1 down in the five-Test series. Michael Clarke promptly decided to quit at the end of the series and the skipper was particularly dismissive of the claim the presence of players’ wives and girlfriends had been a distraction.
“That’s absolute garbage,” he said. “I’ll give back 10 of my Test 100s if it wasn’t for my beautiful wife. I’d be half the player I was without her.” (Full report)
Beleaguered Clarke has found support from chief selector Marsh.
“Well, what do you want? Do you want divorces? Do you want players unhappy?” asked Marsh as Australia got ready for their three-day tour match in Northampton from Friday. (Also read: David Warner defends presence of Aussie wives and girlfriends on tours)
“In this day and age the scheduling is such that you can’t play cricket unless you see your family. You’re going to be less happy as a person and they all say it. All the players say it. You’re going to be less happy if you don’t see your family,” Marsh said on a day when senior player Brad Haddin was allowed to go back to Australia for personal reasons.
Marsh, whose legendary combination with the great Dennis Lillee is part of cricket folklore, is gutted that Australia’s batting, particularly the middle order, had been a disaster on the tour.
Clarke, Adam Voges and, depending on the Test, one of Shane Watson, Mitch Marsh and Shaun Marsh had contributed so little compared to England’s.
“If you have a look at our first-innings batting it’s been deplorable. It’s all you can say. Guys have let themselves down,” he said, adding: There’s not much you can do about it really. We were walloped and it hurts like hell – it hurts me like hell,”
“We (selectors) have got to take some blame…but how the hell do you see that? How do you see some of the best batsmen in the world make no runs in the first innings of four Test matches, basically? It just staggered me.
“Our blokes scored more runs than their top order, but our middle-order scored no runs and that was the big differential – we just didn’t score any runs in the middle.”
With only pride at stake, Marsh advised Australian batsmen to be “selfish.”
“Being selfish as a batsman seems to me to be not wanting to get out and wanting to occupy the crease longer than anyone else in your team – and those things count in Test match cricket. I think our blokes have got to be more selfish.
“They’ve got to say ‘Righto, no-one’s getting me out and I don’t care if it takes me all day to make a hundred’. You’re allowed to bat all day…I think our longest partnership in that (Trent Bridge) game was something like 18 overs. That’s appalling in a Test match, I don’t care what you’re playing on,” Marsh said.