Michael Clarke rips Pat Cummins over 'astounding' error in second Test

The former Australia captain has taken aim at the current skipper after an embarrassing loss to India.

Michael Clarke, pictured here alongside Pat Cummins after Australia's loss to India.
Michael Clarke has taken aim at Pat Cummins' tactics in the field in Australia's loss to India. Image: Getty

Plenty has been said about Australia's batting performance in the second innings against India in Delhi, with Pat Cummins' dismissal coming under heavy fire. But according to former Australia captain Michael Clarke, the Aussie skipper's captaincy also fell short of the mark in the second Test.

The Aussies capitulated from 1-65 to be all out for 113 on Sunday, losing 9-48 in a shocking collapse. However the match wasn't over, with India still requiring 114 runs for victory on a worn and cracking pitch.

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Inexplicably, Cummins set a number of defensive fields and allowed India a number of easy singles - rather than attacking and attempting to take wickets. The Aussie captain appeared to take an each-way bet between all-out attack and saving boundaries, with India eventually winning by six wickets.

“I’m not sure what happened with our tactics,” Clarke said on Sky Sports radio on Monday. “We had just 100 runs on the board.

“At one stage, Patty Cummins had four blokes on the boundary. There’s two-and-a-half days left in the Test match. You’re either bowling India out for under a hundred or you’re losing: one or the other.

“If you lose in 20 overs, or you lose in two days, it’s irrelevant. So fielders get up, bat-pad off side, bat-pad leg side. If the ball turns, if the ball bounces, if the ball shoots along the ground, if you make an error in judgment, you are getting out.

“That’s what Australia had to do with the ball. I know it’s only a tiny run lead, but we had to still try and win the game, and we had mid-off back, mid-on back, deep point, deep square leg. What was I watching?”

Mark Waugh expressed similar sentiments in a fiery on-air clash with Indian commentator Dinesh Karthik. “I’m astounded at this field, honestly. I cannot believe you would not have a silly mid off," the Aussie great said at one stage in the fourth innings.

"You’ve got 100 something runs on the board, you’ve got Pujara who is struggling for runs, he does pad the ball away a lot on the off side. Surely you can have a bat pad off side.

“I want a bat pad off-side and I want my point up and sort of a catching cover. That can stay there, that would be a reasonable field.”

Pat Cummins, pictured here walking off the field after Australia's loss to India in the second Test.
Pat Cummins walks off the field after Australia's loss to India in the second Test. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Michael Clarke comes back to lack of tour game

According to Clarke, Australia's decision not to play a tour game in India came back to haunt them. The Aussies instead opted to control the conditions they faced at training rather than let a local curator produce a pitch that wasn't reflective of what they would see in the Test matches - as has happened on previous tours.

“I’m not surprised by what I’m seeing because we didn’t have a tour game,” Clarke said. “Major, major, major mistake. There should have been at least one game over there to get used to the conditions.

“Selection for the first Test, major, major mistake. Second Test, blokes sweeping, we saw enough of that the first Test match. They’re not the right conditions to sweep when you start your innings. And they’re never going to be the right conditions to reverse sweep against the spin at the start of your innings.”

Six of Australia's 10 dismissals on Sunday came via the sweep shot, which Ravi Jadeja and Rohit Sharma both said was the wrong way to play. “It doesn’t matter how many support staff there are around, you’re playing for Australia. Surely as a batsman playing at the highest level, you calculate that risk versus reward,” Clarke said.

“Against spin bowling on a pitch like that, you would say my ‘swim between the flags’ is play straight, hit with spin. Let’s just stick to those two theories. Straight bat ... I’m going to be playing every single ball with the spin.”

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