Advance Australia Where?

Australia are now 3-0 down in India.  This is a serious headache for Arthur & Clarke but one of their own making because of their poor management.  Arthur & Clarke have nailed their colours to the mast and expect players to adhere to those standards.  But as Yates has already written, those same standards must apply to them as well.  So the news that Michael Clarke’s dodgy back has flared up again highlights injury management by both CA, Arthur and the player himself.

Yates knows a few things about dodgy backs having one himself.  So many things can make it go “crack” and render him nearly immobile: sitting down incorrectly, stretching or leaning one particular way, attempting certain activities which place pressure on the weakened areas.

There are one or two things which those of us with dodgy backs cannot control.  The sneeze that creeps up unnoticed at just the wrong time is something we live in fear of.  But such things are mercifully rare.  There’s no trick to living with it apart from sensible injury management – not doing the things we know will cause pain and immobility.

Clarke crocked his long standing back injury in yesterday’s warm up.  For Yates the warm up before cricket matches often involved an EMS machine, a seriously hot shower and a neoprene wrap around the affected area.  And if something didn’t feel right in the back area that usual treatment wouldn’t fix,Yates would be at the club talking with the captain and selectors.

Yates would think that an elite sportsman such as Clarke would know what does and doesn’t set his back off and how best to manage it.  Surely he would also have access to an excellent physio in the dressing room, unlike many of us club players.

If people are going to whinge at Shane Watson’s injury issues, they should also be prepared to hold Clarke to account for his injury management.  Does Mickey Arthur want a Captain Crock figure in charge of his test team?  Clarke’s availability for the fourth test is not known at the moment.

Mention of Shane Watson brings Yates to the news that Watto is to fly back out to India for the fourth test.  Maybe this is Watto trying to give Pat Howard the finger after his comments about Watto being a team player “sometimes”.  There were suggestions that if Clarke didn’t play and Watto stayed in Australia the captaincy could go to Brad Haddin.

What CA and/or Arthur & Clarke have said to Watto since he flew back to Australia remains unknown to we punters.  The usual generic boilerplate statements given to the media to try and smooth things over but the fact remains that Howard’s recent performances have not shown him in a very good light at all.  If there are questions over anyone’s future in the Aussie set up, Howard’s name has to be on that list after Phil Hughes.

Watto would do well to be careful.  If he flies back, takes charge and Australia get their backside handed to them again then Arthur & Clarke have the perfect excuse to remove him just as Clarke did to Simon Katich.  Boilerplate bulldust means nothing, the actions of players and management reveal the truth.