Pakistan's cricketers celebrate at the end of the third T20 cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at The International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on October 28, 2018. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: It’s tough times for the once-infallible Australians. The team once known for its never-say-die attitude is now surrendering meekly, be it Tests or shorter formats. The just-concluded series against Pakistan is a case in point.

In the UAE, where they hit rock bottom by losing not only the Test series, but allowed Pakistan to inflict a 3-0 whitewash on them in the T20 series.

Australia lost the third and final T20 match of the series by 33 runs on Sunday night at the Dubai International Stadium to conclude a tour without any victory.

Skipper Aaron Finch candidly admitted his team’s batting has been struggling for some time. “Throughout the series, we had a lack of partnerships. They [Pakistan] are a very good fielding side. Every time you gave them soft wickets, it is devastating. Our bowlers did well. Restricting them under 150-160 in all the matches was a really good effort.

“Batting against spin is some thing we have to work on. We lost 28 wickets in three games. In T20 cricket, that is not going to win you many games at all.”

Finch even dwelt on the impact of negativity. “Once you start thinking negatively in T20, I think every time you doubt yourself, you question your tactics or your ability, that’s when you can come undone. It’s going to be a tough series against South Africa and India after this. We have to improve quickly,” he added.

As if that was not enough, to rub it in, Australian cricket administration, arguably one of the most professionally run bodies, has been described as ‘arrogant’ and bent on ‘winning at all costs’ in a review of its culture and governance commissioned after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

The Ethics Centre’s 147-page report by Simon Longstaff, based on interviews with players, sponsors and other stakeholders is going to bring little joy to Australian cricket either. It said: “Administrators should bear as much blame as captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft, who were suspended for their roles in the incident at Cape Town in March. It exposed a dark culture, also manifest in players’ aggressive conduct toward opponents.”

Longstaff’s report also stressed that Cricket Australia had consistently failed to live up to its values and principles and a culture of disrespect and bullying ran through the organisation. The most common description of CA is as ‘arrogant’ and ‘controlling’,” The core complaint is that the organisation does not respect anyone other than its own.”

The report concluded by saying: “Players feel they are treated as commodities. There is a feeling among some state and territory associations that they are patronised, while sponsors believe their value is defined solely in transactional terms.”

The Australian team flew out hours after the last T20 match on Sunday to Perth for the One-day series against South Africa, commencing from November 4. “It is going to be a tough series, we have to improve quickly. It’s up to us guys who get first go of it in Perth next Sunday against South Africa to start rewriting the last probable 18 months,” Finch added.