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Aussies relying too much on Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschange: McGrath



Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschange

The legendary Glenn McGrath on Monday said the Australian team is relying too much on Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschange in the ongoing four-match Test series in India and there is a need for the whole batting line-up to stand up.

Australia have already conceded the Border-Gavaskar trophy after suffering heavy defeats in the first two Tests.

“I think they’re relying too much on (Steve) Smith and Marnus (Labuschagne) at the moment. Travis Head has had a really good year as well. The whole batting line-up has to stand up,” McGrath, who is director of coaching at MRF Pace Foundation, told reporters in Chennai.

The Australia team has come in for criticism from former players over various issues, including their approach and selection.

Speaking about the Australian team’s performance, the 53-year-old McGrath said, “I think they haven’t settled on a game plan on how to play spin in India that they are confident with and can execute.

“In the first Test, they were too defensive, and in the second Test, they were too aggressive. So we will see if they’ve learned from those two matches.

“They have to find a happy medium and put a price on their wicket. In India, you have to build an innings on solid defence and then look at ways to score and put the pressure back on the bowlers,” he added.

McGrath further said the absence of pacers Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green had affected the team balance, but at the same time, also questioned selection decisions, like the omission of Head for the first Test in Nagpur.

“They haven’t been able to come and clean up the tail. The last three batters have put on 160-plus. They are the ones causing problems. Whether they got the bowling changes right? Maybe Pat Cummins could have come in earlier.

“Little bit of reverse swing try to pick early wickets at the death there. Give credit to Indian players (Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Axar Patel). They know how to play on these pitches. They are spin bowlers. They know what opposition is trying to do,” the Aussie pace legend said, giving credit to the way the Indians have played in Nagpur and Delhi.

Looking ahead to the next two Tests, McGrath said, “Australia has a long way to turn things around. If they leave the shores with the scoreline not being 4-0, I think they would have done well.”

He had words of praise for the Australian women’s team, which won the T20 World Cup in South Africa on Sunday and said “they are a quality team and they’ve been a quality team for a long, long time.”

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