Melbourne, Feb.8 (ANI): The Australian cricket team is probably going through its toughest phase in 14 years, losing both home and away Test series, and a one day series at home in the last four months, but former captain Kim Hughes says that sticking together will be the key factor to facilitate a return to the position of world champions.
Comparisons are being made between what is happening to the team now and what it went through in the 1980s and early 1990s, but Hughes says that the Kangaroos should not be written off just yet as a has been side.
"I can certainly relate to what's going on. When you're losing games and there's injuries and a lack of experienced players, what can happen is everybody starts to play for themselves. That's the worst thing that can happen. That's the real challenge for the leadership group at the moment. Cricket is about attitude. You know that the blokes who are there have talent, so that's not the issue. It's about sticking together. That's what they have to make sure they do every time they play now," the Sydney Morning Herald quotes Hughes, as saying.
"It's a pity people are saying they're useless. They're playing some reasonable competition and they've only been poor for a couple of games. Apart from that, they've been more than competitive. That's what people are forgetting in all of this. They've had their moments in the Tests. It's just the last few games that were bad. But to say they've been shameful or not trying is just wrong. Disappointing? Certainly. But definitely not shameful," he adds.
"It's not just the senior players retiring, it has been injuries to players like Stuart Clark, Andrew Symonds has been ineffective or unavailable through injury and lack of form, Michael Clarke was available for only a couple of the one-dayers against South Africa and various players have been forced out," he said.
"Those sorts of things come at once when you least need it and very few sides are going to be able to just cover for that. Yet, we've seen some inexperienced players really step up. But it's amazing when the cycle turns - luck doesn't go your way, the opposition grows a leg - but they've got to hang tough. There's no magic cure," Hughes said.
"It's up to the Ricky Pontings, Michael Clarkes and Michael Husseys to lead the team through it. There's only one way out of it and I'm sure Ricky Ponting and the others will have their heads down, backs up, and will be trying twice as hard," the former captain added..
Another former player, Mike Whitney, who played 12 Tests and 38 one-day internationals between 1981 and 1993, says. "I played in the last series in which we lost back-to-back Tests, 1992-93 against the West Indies.
It was around the time AB's [Allan Border's] captaincy was coming to an end and it had been a tough time for the team. But the result of it was that the guys were steeled and many of the players created their careers out of that situation."
"Since then, we've been dominant until the last year or two. But I've got no doubt that the seeds of a new great Australian team is in the making," he added.
Sharing Hughes's dismay at the public's impatience, Whitney called for more support for the team as it goes through a rebuilding phase.
"We're very used to winning in this country, and in the last 15 years we've been on fire. But you can't expect these guys to, within a year or so, be able to replace those guys who've retired," he said.
"Cricket's a cyclical thing. For years the West Indies were extremely dominant and we all thought it would never end. But it did. The same thing is now happening with Australia. The difference is that we've got very strong domestic competitions that will continue to produce great players," he concluded. (ANI)