AAP, from The Australian, 16 January 2012
AUSTRALIA’S Test team isn’t as good as it thinks it is. Michael Clarke’s men might have swept Sri Lanka 3-0 in the recent Test series but respected commentator and former Sri Lankan international Russel Arnold says the whitewash has given Australia false hope. Arnold believes Australia will struggle to compete in the four-Test tour of India starting next month because of its lack of Test experience and spin bowling deficiencies. Asked for his opinion on how Australia was placed heading into a gruelling series in difficult sub-continent conditions, Arnold said Clarke’s side might be in for a rude shock. “Not well, I would think, because spin and experience is an issue,” Arnold said. “I think Michael Hussey’s retirement is a massive issue. You just lost Ricky Ponting, too, so Michael Clarke is basically left on his own. And playing in India is never easy.”
“They really haven’t got the best out of Nathan Lyon yet, they need someone else, I would think, to really create pressure and help those fast bowlers out.” Speaking at an SCG function before the Sydney Test, Arnold said it was no coincidence that the pitches prepared for the summer’s Tests against the World No 1 South Africans were noticeably less lively than the ones to greet the Sri Lankans.
Australia came out of the summer with its reputation still intact but Arnold said yesterday the side-effect might be an inflated ego. “I think so, because Sri Lanka was poor — you cannot deny that,” he said. “Especially here in Sydney, there were instances where they could have pulled that Test match off … we did see an opening. Australia has lots of areas to work on.”
Sri Lanka is locked at 1-1 in the current five-match ODI series, and Arnold is confident it can go on with the job starting with game three in Brisbane on Friday. “That winning feeling can change a lot. The team combination will settle down and they’ll be a big threat.”
Russell Arnold, Cricket Commentator, ICC World Cup 2011
Russel Premakumaran “Rusty” Arnold (born October 25, 1973, Colombo) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer of Tamil descent. Arnold made his Test debut against Pakistan in 1997 and his One day international debut against South Africa later in the year. Originally an opening batsmen, Arnold has since moved down the batting order. He is most famous in the pearl island as a utility and very versatile- making him ideally suitable for the limited over version of the game. However, when he started his career, he was seen primarily as a solid top order batsmen where he impressed against Australia during the AIWA cup of 1999, as well as the subsequent test series against them, where he batted at no. 3. Failure in the 2003 Cricket World Cup saw him sidelined for many months. However, he fought his way back into the side with a string of good scores in domestic cricket for his club, Nondescripts. A calm and cool player in a crisis situation, Arnold has dragged Sri Lanka out of many sticky situations. He is highly valued for his gritty qualities and is considered an unselfish team man. He is considered an ideal No. 6; he is a Methodist Christian and speaks Tamil as does Muttiah Muralitharan. Nicknamed “Rusty” by Roshan Mahanama and Pramodya Wickramasinge, due to it being a very common nickname for the name Russel, and also it complemented his batting style as tough and durable- though not really pretty.
During April 2007 he announced, through team manager Michael Tissera, a shock to Sri Lankan cricket that he intended to retire from the international cricketing scene after the World Cup final. He cited that the pressure of too much travel as his reason.
He is currently playing A grade cricket in Sydney for Hornsby District Cricket Club.