Cricket: Brian Lara makes disturbing Aussie prediction

Former West Indies cricketer Brian Lara. Photo / Ross Setford
Former West Indies cricketer Brian Lara. Photo / Ross Setford

Brian Lara has likened the frailty of Australia's current Test side and potential for a "downward spiral" to that of the West Indies who fell sharply into cricket disarray after dominating the 1980s.

Lara also backed embattled Australian captain Steve Smith and cautioned selectors against making mass changes for the third Test.

Australia lost their fifth straight Test on Tuesday when they were crushed by South Africa in Hobart by an innings and 80 runs to lose the series 2-0 with a match to play.

Since 2011, Australia have won just over half their Test series, suffering losses to the Proteas, England, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In the 10 years prior, the country lost only six series, equalling the record for consecutive Test match victories with 16 between December 2005 to January 2008.

"The fear factor is no longer there and a similar thing happened to the West Indies 25 years ago," Lara told News Corp Australia.

"When Australia beat us at home in 1995, no one feared us any more and that's going to be the situation with Australia.

"Especially if they are not travelling well." The West Indies are a shadow of the team that won a then-record 11 straight Tests in the 1980s, now sitting eighth in world rankings ahead of only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Lara warned the Australians of the potential for a rapid decline, believing their 3-0 loss in Sri Lanka this year has given opponents a sniff of their vulnerability.

"The morale of the team was pretty low when we started to lose," said Lara, who is in Sydney to play the Australian Open pro-am on Wednesday. "Everything must stay as harmonious as possible.

"You can dig a bigger hole for yourself if you are not unified and you start worrying about other things that may not even be happening.

"It could become a downward spiral." Australian coach Darren Lehmann has forewarned of up to seven new faces for the series finale in Adelaide.

"You started the series with optimism in terms of winning the series and having the players to do so, so holistic change is not something that you want to encourage," Lara said on Wednesday.

Australia's next assignment is probably the toughest in world cricket - a four- Test tour of India early next year - which would require a huge turnaround on the dry Asian wickets given the third Test loss in Colombo was their ninth straight defeat in the region.

Meanwhile, Lara is backing embattled Australian captain Steve Smith and cautioning selectors against mass changes for the third Test against South Africa.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann has forewarned of up to seven new faces for the series finale in Adelaide following humiliating defeats in the opening two Tests in Perth and Hobart.

Lara, though, is advising against hitting the panic button.

"You started the series with optimism in terms of winning the series and having the players necessary to do so, so that wholistic change is not something that you want to encourage," he said.

"You want to see if the guys have any mettle in them, you want to see if they have any strength in them mentally and physically to go out there and turn things around in Adelaide.

"If it doesn't do that, then you have time to plan for your next series and maybe you make a few changes.

"But I wouldn't go about doing that in a series. It might be over, but you can salvage some pride in Adelaide."

Along with vice-captain Dave Warner and pacemen Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, Smith is one of only four players safe from the axe.

But, inevitably, his leadership has been called into question.

Not by Lara, though.

"The captain is as good as his team and what I'm seeing is not tactical problems. It's more individuals going out there and not doing what they're supposed to do," said Lara.

"I had three goes at captaincy. They weren't very good, but one thing I knew is that if I had a team that was pulling in one direction, we had a better opportunity.

"I'm not in the dressing room to find out what's going on but, again, if I carry my weight in the direction that the team wants to go in, I could only be a positive."

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 23 May 2017 16:54:17 Processing Time: 479ms