Australian coach Andrew McDonald has taken the same approach as his embattled Wallabies counterpart Eddie Jones amid a horror World Cup start declaring his team deserved every ounce of criticism headed its way.
Batting collapses, poor fielding and ineffective bowling have combined for back-to-back losses to first India and then South Africa which have left the tournament prospects of the five-time winners on a knife-edge.
The Australians need to win at a minimum six of their remaining seven games to be any hope of avoiding the same fate at the Wallabies and exit the World Cup before the finals.
Former Test captain Tim Paine declared the Aussies looked “flat” in the 134-run spanking by the Proteas with a record five catches dropped in the field and a lacklustre batting performance in which no-one could pass 50.
“I don‘t know if it’s been the build-up of the South African games into the Indian games, we’ve played a lot of cricket, which is a bit unusual,” Paine told SEN.
“Our fielding wasn’t as sharp. Our movement off the ball wasn’t as sharp. We dropped catches or we didn’t get hands to balls that Australian teams swallow if they’re at their best.
“Our body language looked a bit off.”
McDonald conceded the critics had ever right to pile on the Australians but he remained confident a turn around was possible declaring the quality of players in his squad were too good to continue to turn out such mediocre performances.
“I’ve got great trust in the people that we‘ve got in the squad,” he said.
“We’re focused on what we’ve got there and I think there’s quality skill sets there and we’re not performing the way that we would like and fair game, we’re going to be critiqued around that. We should be critiqued around our performance currently, and we’ve got to turn that around.”
McDonald said the players were “stunned” after the error-filled effort in Lucknow which has made a win against Sri Lanka next Monday absolutely crucial to keep their World Cup alive.
He said they would look at “all options” when it came to selection having dumped Alex Carey for Josh Inglis, a move which backfired after he new keep made just five and dropped a catch.
“Our job is to regroup and get moving towards Sri Lanka and they’re quality players sitting in that dressing room and it’s hard to keep a quality group down for long and we have been down for longer than we would like as a team,” McDonald said.
“We will look at all options (for the next game). I mean selection will happen in a few days’ time. We’ve got a bit of time, up our sleeve before the next game against Sri Lanka and we’ll work through what we think is the best XI like we do in any other game.”