New Delhi: While Australia's tour of India lurches from bad to worse, their coach Mickey Arthur has come out with a strong statement of intent - to become cricket's dominant team. So dominant, in fact, that Arthur has set his sights on lifting Australia to the cricketing equivalent of Manchester United, 12-time English Premier League and three-time Champions League winners.
Speaking to reports on Wednesday ahead of the Mohali Test, Arthur admitted he wanted Australia to match the standards shown by the leading teams in other sports. "We want to be the Spanish football team, Manchester United or McLaren of world cricket... where high standards are not expected, they are second nature," he said. "Australian cricket fans deserve nothing less. It is a privilege to wear the Baggy Green.
"The last week and a half since the end of the Hyderabad Test has been the toughest in my 11 years coaching. Some people have commented it's been one of the biggest stories in Australian cricket for a decade or more."
Australia were beaten in Chennai and Hyderabad to trail 0-2 in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The innings-and-135-run defeat in the second Test was their tenth worst ever, and was followed by four players being dropped from the squad for the current Mohali Test. Hours after being axed, allrounder Shane Watson pulled out of the tour and returned home.
Defeat in Mohali - where the first day has been washed out Thursday - will mean Australia surrender the trophy to India.