Members of the team have been incensed by stories written back home that depict their families as unnecessary distractions during the contest against England, and rejected outright the contention that they somehow brought on the team’s poor batting displays in the Edgbaston and Trent Bridge Tests that effectively surrendered the Ashes to Alastair Cook’s team.
And their captain, Michael Clarke, was earning widespread admiration both for his abilities as a batsman and for the powerful leadership qualities he displayed in the aftermath of the tragic death of his teammate Phillip Hughes. I can guarantee you, the feeling in this group is exceptional.
There is no disharmony is this group whatsoever. “The players are as tight as any team I’ve been a part of”, Clarke told Triple M in an expletive-laden interview.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) has leapt to the defence of wives and partners of Australia’s defeated Ashes squad, amid reports that their presence had resulted in surrendering the urn to England. “That’s absolute garbage”, he added. Ill give back 10 of myTest 100s if it wasnt for my lovely wife. That Joe Root starred with a couple of tons came as no surprise, but the progress of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, the powerful comeback of Steven Finn, as well as the consistency of Moeen Ali and Mark Wood, helped experienced players like Ian Bell overcome mini-crises.
He is expected to be succeeded as captain by Steve Smith.
In addition to Clarke’s resignation, Chris Rogers is set to retire while Brad Haddin and Shane Watson’s careers could be over.
For Clarke, the biggest disappointment is that his own output of just 117 runs in eight innings has doubtless contributed to Australia’s downfall.
“As far as captaincy is concerned, Cookie has done exceptionally well”, said the 24-year-old Yorkshireman.
This year, Alex Blackwell and Erin Osborne were even allowed to head to the UK earlier than the rest of the team to play county cricket and get used to the conditions, which again indicates that the new contract system has given them the flexibility to develop their game.
In Australia, pitches are hard, dry and fast, allowing batsmen to “trust” the bounce of the ball; the damper conditions which prevail in England, however, mean that bowlers can exert more sideways movement upon the ball as it zips through the air (there is a scientific explanation for this effect…but I don’t understand it).
“If it happens, fantastic”, he said.
“That’s pretty important as a captain and something that he’s done really well, and something I’ve been able to learn off on the job”. “I tried not to let emotion overcome me – I’ve done too much crying over the years”.
The 26-year-old has already had a taste of leadership, having replaced Clarke as captain for three tests of the home series against India, but taking over a team in major transition will be a whole new ball game.