It may be delusional, but Hughesy’s expectation that we’re going to go close to retrieving the urn over the course of the next four Tests is based on an expectation that eventually we’ll work out the best way to use our existing resources, and when that happens Australia will be extremely competitive.
The process of figuring out the best way to use our existing resources is, of course, the tricky bit, and is more than likely the cause of any friction or rifts within the side. Eventually, however, we’ll sort things out to the point where we’re competitive at the very highest level, and when we do the success that should naturally follow will bring its own issues with it.
There’ll inevitably be friction in any collection of humans unless you’ve been lucky enough to assemble a group that’s absolutely committed to a common target with every individual within the group in total agreement about how the target’s supposed to be reached.
There’ll inevitably be members of the Australian side who take, shall we say, exception to the presence of others in the team, and resent the manner in which responsibilities are allocated.
Whether the Scott Muller incident was down to Joe the Cameraman or the formerly chubby Victorian leg spinner, there are always going to be players in the side who aren’t convinced that recent additions are good enough. Don’t just think Warne and Muller, go back to, say Ian Chappell and Graham Yallop and continue from there through the squads selected. You’ll find any number of other examples.
Questions regarding the leadership will invariably generate friction. Expectations and ambitions on one side will be resented, but hopefully grudgingly accepted. We’ve heard recent suggestions that Michael Hussey’s departure was hastened by issues with Michael Clarke’s captaincy, and if you cast your eye back a bit over thirty years you’ll see obvious friction between three West Australians named Kim Hughes, Rod Marsh and Dennis Lillee.
So while these things are, I think, inevitable, at some point someone makes a call and says this is how it is, fellas, and, hopefully, at that point given a decision the protagonists pull their heads in and get on with the game.
Warne may have resented Gilchrist landing the vice-captaincy but he kept on bowling, and did it rather well.
Inevitably, you’ll see examples of people who are used to getting their own way and attempt to influence decisions to make sure the trend continues.
That, of course, brings us to the question of likely changes to the starting eleven this time around as we wait to see the side for Lords. We took our time and dropped a bombshell for Trent Bridge, so while there may or may not be any bombshells for Lords, you can bet your bottom dollar that, ten or so hours out from the start with the side and the management pushing up Zs, we’ll be taking our time.