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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wellness, illness, madness?

In a few hours the third India v Australia Test will begin in Mohali. Everyone will be wondering whether (and their supporters hoping that) Australia will be able to rise above the extraordinary turmoil of the last few days and make a game of it.

I've just been watching the first session of NZv England T2. In the commentary box Mike Atherton, clearly relishing the opportunity to make fun of the situation, asked Simon Doull if he'd filled in his wellness report yet.

I don't know the full story but I was shocked that four players,only two of whom played in the T2 loss, were stood down for not providing homework-style feedback about how their team might improve and, bizarrely, failure to complete daily "wellness" reports.

This looks like a triumph of form over substance. No doubt there are reasons (if not immediately obvious good ones) for such harsh measures, but the effect of the decision is to hand India an enormous advantage. Did no one in authority consider the old fashioned response of fining the miscreants?

James Pattinson's absence will probably hit hardest, but with a pool of only 12 or 13 (depending on Matthew Wade's fitness) players to choose from it'll be difficult to field an eleven which is a good fit for the reportedly more pace bowler friendly conditions.

I'll be watching the Test unfold, and hoping that it doesn't unravel. Michael Clarke's batting should reduce the risk of this happening, but it goes without saying that the other 10, especially those who've been given a fresh opportunity by the suspensions, need to provide more support.

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