Look­ing for redemp­tion and re­spectabil­ity

Sportstar - - A LOT AT STAKE - TRIS­TAN LAVALETTE

Aus­tralia’s stock is at a low ebb af­ter the sand­pa­per episode in South Africa. Can the team turn things around against In­dia?

Un­doubt­edly, this is the low­est ebb for Aus­tralian cricket. Ever since Cameron Ban­croft at­tempted to hide sand­pa­per down his pants, the sport Down Un­der has been in dis­ar­ray lead­ing to much un­cer­tainty for the loom­ing block­buster sum­mer.

Ban­croft was sus­pended for nine months, while Steve Smith and David Warner, the team’s lead­ers and best bats­men, re­ceived 12 months. More heads have rolled with coach Dar­ren Lehmann re­sign­ing dur­ing the ugly tour of South Africa, while chief ex­ec­u­tive James Suther­land and high per­for­mance boss Pat Howard are also part of the ex­o­dus.

There has been no respite with a scathing 145­page in­de­pen­dent re­view out­lin­ing tox­i­c­ity within an “ar­ro­gant” Cricket Aus­tralia lead­ing to un­der­fire chair­man David Peever fall­ing on his sword. There has been un­re­lent­ing me­dia scru­tiny with dam­ag­ing head­lines al­most to­tally fo­cused on the offfield fi­asco, but the in­ter­na­tional sum­mer has fi­nally be­gun much to the re­lief of ev­ery­one — es­pe­cially the un­der­pres­sure CA.

Right now, there is a big ques­tion mark next to the Aus­tralian team, who are in the early stages of a cul­tural shift un­der the new lead­er­ship duo of cap­tain Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer.

Aus­tralia’s home stand is high­lighted by a mouth­wa­ter­ing four­test se­ries against No. 1 In­dia in what looms as a se­vere chal­

AFP

Step­ping up: Aus­tralia cap­tain Tim Paine (left) and his deputy Josh Ha­zle­wood.

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