India, March 9 -- After two games and two defeats, the cracks in Michael Clarke's team are widening. For all their effort to put up a brave front, the cracks in the visiting team's setup are all too apparent. After their nightmare performance in Hyderabad, spinner Nathan Lyon challenged his coach Mickey Arthur's remark about his bowling and now, batsman Phil Hughes' personal coach has ripped apart the team's coaching staff for poor preparation.
India has been a tough challenge for Australian teams but Clarke's men are easily among the weakest ever to have set foot in the subcontinent. Apart from one class batsman, the captain himself, the rest of the batting order can't play spin or pace; the spinners have been cannon fodder for the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and MS Dhoni. What's even more ridiculous is that their pace battery is being outshone by rookies like Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Like it happens in such cases, the blame game has begun. Offie Lyon was quick to contradict his coach's observations pointing out technical flaws with his action.
Arthur said during the week that the off-spinner had been down on form and that there were technical aspects of his game that had to be addressed. Lyon's response: "I thought they came out alright in Chennai. To bowl Sachin Tendulkar through the gate you must be doing something right. I was quite happy with that."
Hughes' personal batting coach Neil D'Costa blasted the Australian team management for the left-hand batsman's failure in India and blamed it on being turned down on a request for a four-day personal crash course with the player.
"It's like being sent to the wolves without a gun. They prepared him (Hughes) to fail," said Sydney-based D'Costa, who was head coach of the Vidarbha Cricket Association Academy in Nagpur until 2011.
"I said 'before he goes to India I need him for four days to show him the technical programme and the mental programme for playing there'," he said.
"I emailed them and they said it's got to be done in the team environment and there is basically no time. I was like, 'Well, make the time'. The next thing you know he's jumping on a plane to India."
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.