London, Aug 12 (IANS) Australia’s national selection chairman Rod Marsh on Wednesday identified the team’s middle-order batting as its gaping weakness which cost them the coveted Ashes series against England with a Test still to go.
Head coach Darren Lehmann has admitted selection blunders and has called upon Australia’s batsmen to become “more selfish” and to bat for longer periods.
Australia lost the five-match series 1-3. The fifth Test begins on August 20 here. Australia Test captain Michael Clarke has already announced his retirement from all forms of cricket and will say goodbye after the fifth Test.
Australia will play three of their next four away Test series in sub-continental conditions – in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.
“Our blokes scored more runs than their (England’s) top-order, but our middle-order scored no runs and that was the big differential – we just didn’t score any runs in the middle. If you have a look at our first innings batting it’s been deplorable, it’s all you can say,” Marsh was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“How the hell do you (foresee) that, how do you see some of the best batsmen in the world make no runs in the first innings of four Test matches basically. It just staggered me.”
However, the 67-year-old, who was appointed in May last year on a three-year contract to head a four-man selection panel which also includes Lehmann, said that he will take the blame for Australia’s performance but will also pick the same squad if he had a chance to choose again.
“You’ve got to be held accountable – fine, I agree with that.”
“If I had my time again, to sit down and choose the batsmen to come to England it would have been exactly the same. I just couldn’t think of anyone else who could have done the job. We picked blokes with experience in these conditions, we picked blokes that we thought would get runs,” he said.