Australia captain Finch says off-field ructions causing ‘doubts’
MELBOURNE, (Reuters) Off-field ructions caused by the Longstaff review may have caused “doubts” in the minds of the Australian team as they struggle through a prolonged form slump in the oneday game, according to captain Aaron Finch.
A slew of Cricket Australia executives have resigned or been axed since the Longstaff report was released last week, shining a spotlight on cultural problems in the game’s administration.
“When there are changes, and there are things being said and written about, I think it’s hard not to read it sometimes when its everywhere,” Finch told reporters in Adelaide yesterday ahead of the second ODI against South Africa.
“For me personally, I don’t think it affected me in terms of my preparation or my performance.
“You might spend a little bit of time reading it, and putting some kind of doubts in your mind at times.
“But I think it’s about each individual being 100 per cent committed to their plans and doing whatever the team needs to get the job done.”
Australia were thrashed by six wickets by South Africa in the opener of a three-game series in Perth on Sunday, falling to their 17th loss in 19 matches.
Long-serving CA director Mark Taylor resigned from the board the next day, while CEO Kevin Roberts announced on Wednesday that two further executives had been axed, including high performance boss Pat Howard.
Former players and media pundits were quick to heap the blame on Howard for Australia’s current struggles but Finch defended the former rugby international’s work in the role.
“When you’re in his position, you’re in a no-win position,” Finch said.
“A lot of the time you have to rob Peter to pay Paul to change all the structures around.
“And whatever is best for the (national) men’s side might not be the best thing for one state in particular at the time.
“He was in a really difficult situation and did an unbelievable job during that period. It’s unfortunate that Pat has gone, I know how much he loved the game.” SAO PAULO, (Reuters) Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says missing out on the 2009 Formula One championship still ranks as a more painful moment than losing to his Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton this season.
Hamilton clinched his fifth title, and fourth in five seasons, in Mexico last month with two races to spare. Vettel is sure to finish the year as runner-up.
“I have been three times now in a position like that with ‘17, ‘09 and this year. Probably ‘09 was the worst one, the lowest point,” the German told reporters at the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday.
“You never know what the next year brings. You never know whether you get another chance,” Vettel added.
“Obviously I will work very hard for it, and I am confident it will come but ultimately I don’t know. You can’t predict. None of those moments were nice.”
Vettel finished 2009, his first year with Red Bull, nine points behind Brawn GP’s champion Jenson Button in a championship won by the Briton at the penultimate round in Brazil.
He had to wait until 2010 for his first world title and ended up with four in a row from 2010-13 before moving to Ferrari in 2015 while Mercedes began a run of dominance.
The German was also runner-up to Hamilton last year, the first season since the retirement of Mercedes’ 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton has won nine races to Vettel’s five in 2018 and went to Mexico with a 70 points advantage and needing only to finish seventh.
With that title decided, Mercedes now have to wrap up the constructors’ crown for the fifth year in a row and will do so at Interlagos on Sunday providing Ferrari do not score 13 points more than them.
Vettel said the Italian team, still Formula One’s most successful of all time, believed they could “have at least a word” in the outcome.
“We try everything we can. We go flat out and try and score more points so that’s everything we can do,” he said.
“We’ve seen in the last race how quickly things can change when you struggle with tyres and so on, we’ve been on that side as well. We keep our head down and try our best.
“I still have a mission here and want to win so that doesn’t change. The last race was a tough one to swallow, and probably the winter will be as well, but giving up is not an option.”
Mark Thompson (right), doing battle during last year’s CMRC final leg at South Dakota Circuit