Shane Watson says coach Andrew McDonald and his selectors should come under the microscope for Australia’s T20 World Cup failure, blasting the decision to drop Mitchell Starc against Afghanistan.
- Shane Watsons says he was “gobsmacked” Mitchell Starc was dropped for Australia’s game against Afghanistan
- Watson said coach Andrew McDonald and selectors George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide should face scrutiny
- Kane Richardson was selected instead, ostensibly for his late-over bowling
The fallout from Australia’s failed campaign continued on Monday, at a time when most expected the hosts to be preparing for a semifinal.
Watson argued Australia’s team lacked intensity throughout, saying they already appeared deflated by the end of the first over of their opening loss to New Zealand at the SCG.
He has also been critical of Australia’s long lead-up to the tournament, in which selectors tinkered with the team and moved players into different roles.
But he saved his strongest criticism for the decision to play Kane Richardson ahead of noted wicket-taker Starc against Afghanistan, a game in which Australia needed to roll through their rivals cheaply.
“I was gobsmacked that he missed out,” Watson said.
“He bowled a couple of really nice balls against Ireland and started to get that late swing.
“So I was thinking if someone was going to get dropped, it might have been Pat Cummins.
“I really feel for (Starc) because he didn’t deserve to be dropped for the game.
“Those things send shockwaves through a team, and unfortunately in a big game where the Aussies had to step up and dominate, they weren’t able to do it.
“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered by the coaches and the selection staff to be able to right the wrongs.”
McDonald on Sunday defended the decision to omit Starc, claiming they wanted Richardson’s late-over bowling ahead of the left-armer.
The gamble did not pay off, with Richardson taking 1-48.
Watson said McDonald and fellow selectors George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide deserved to come under scrutiny for the move.
“He (McDonald) is a selector, so the selectors definitely need to take a look at themselves,” Watson said.
“Him and George Bailey, the big decisions that they made in the lead-in to that tournament, they have to live and die by the sword with the decisions they made.
“They’ve had a pretty cruisy ride over the last little while because the Australians have been playing really nicely.
“But now a T20 World Cup at home where the team didn’t perform as the group certainly can, the microscope will be on them, as it should be.”
Watson’s comments come ahead of a crucial year for Australia.
After home summer Test series against West Indies and South Africa comes an away Border-Gavaskar Trophy series and an Ashes battle in England before the ODI World Cup.
A member of Australia’s 2015 ODI World Cup-winning squad, Watson said he had initially expected Australia to be a contender in the T20 tournament.
“They just seemed to lack that extra intensity and that extra bit of spark that they’ve had in the past,” Watson said.
“It was very, very disappointing to watch the brand of cricket that the Aussies played during this tournament.”
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