McDermott: 'Australia failed to score big runs'

Australia's erstwhile bowling coach, Craig McDermott, believes that the team's inability to score 300-plus totals have made things difficult for the side in the series against India.

Former Australian quick Craig McDermott feels it is time for the players on the fringes (like Hilton Cartwright), to back the struggling seniors.   -  K.R. Deepak

Australia’s series defeat against India has come as a surprise for many, but those who know the visiting side inside out, feel that heavy dependence on top-three batsmen have spelled the doom for the Aussies.

Former Australian quick and team’s erstwhile bowling coach, Craig McDermott, believes that inability to score 300-plus totals have made things difficult for the Steven Smith-led side. “We haven’t been able to get big enough scores in India. We needed to get 300-plus totals in those conditions and we just haven’t been able to reach that,” McDermott told Sportstar  from Brisbane on Monday afternoon.

McDermott, who worked with the Australian team during its World Cup win in 2015, also admits that with Smith and David Warner unable to strike form, the Aussie batting attack has looked insipid. “We are heavily dependent upon (Aaron) Finch, Smith and Warner. So, two out of the three doesn’t get runs, it makes difficult for us to get past 300. In India, If you don’t get above that (300-plus runs), it gets difficult,” he said.

While Nathan Coulter-Nile has done well for the Aussies in the bowling department, McDermott is quite happy with the way Patt Cummins has performed. “You don’t have Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood in bowling line-up. So, you haven’t got whole pair upfront. Pat Cummins has really bowled well in Bangladesh, and decent in India, but the other players need to come around and step up,” the former bowling coach added.

At a time when the big names have flattered to deceive, youngsters like Simon Cartwright and Travis Head too have failed miserably. McDermott feels, it is time for the players on the fringes, to back the struggling seniors. “Players on the fringes definitely need to help the senior players. It is important to chip in, when seniors don’t score runs or get wickets,” the 52-year-old explained.

If batting collapse is one area of concern for the former quick, McDermott doesn’t think that this disastrous outing will have an impact on the Baggy Greens, when they take the field for the Ashes. “I don’t think it has got anything to do with the Ashes. The pace bowling attack is in Australia. Cummins is probably the only bowler (from the Test set-up) over there (India) . I don’t read too much into it from the bowling perspective,” the former bowler said about the bowling unit.

Ever since the series got underway, the Australians looked jittery against wrist-spinners. To tackle the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, it even called up local Indian spinners at the nets. But that strategy too didn’t work out as Yadav and Chahal came out with flying colours.

Did the Aussies lose the track, trying to tame the spinners?

McDermott doesn’t think so. “I do not feel that way. I don’t think that has got to do anything here. We failed to score big runs,” he reiterated.

Series lost, the men in yellow will hope to show some steel when they take the field for the fourth ODI in Bengaluru on Thursday.