Marcus Stoinis, the Australia allrounder, has revealed the extent to which the national team has struggled to deal with the “noise” around them created by the aftermath of the Newlands scandal, the release of Cricket Australia’s cultural review and the subsequent round of changes to the governing body, including the loss of the coach, CEO, chairman and senior executives.
The Australians broke a seven-match losing streak at Adelaide Oval on Friday night with a narrow defeat of South Africa, as Stoinis and the bowlers bailed out a batting line-up that again struggled to produce a performance of international standard. Late-order runs from Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood dragged Australia to 231, before the pacemen defended that total grandly.
Much had been hoped for from Stoinis in the ODI team, but he struggled badly in England earlier this year during Justin Langer’s first assignment as the new coach. Having taken three critical wickets in Adelaide, he said the team had battled collectively to find the mental focus required to succeed with so much going on around them.
“The amount of noise going on, people are drained,” Stoinis said. “We’re cooked right now and we just won. Maybe that is part of it, the mental drain. That is what we have got to work on, that is what we have got to get past. And this is a good step forward. You have got to learn. That is part of the art of playing international cricket is dealing with noise.
“That’s what we’ve been working at. We work every day trying to hone our skills, and I personally think because there’s so much noise going on, cricket moves so fast, and you can’t possibly concentrate as well as you’d like to with all the noise.
“So that’s part of the art of playing international cricket is we’ve got to start really internalising all that sort of stuff and focusing on what’s really important for us.”
Having squared the series at one game apiece, there is a quick turnaround for both sides ahead of the decider in Hobart on Sunday. Stoinis’ indications about the physical and mental state of the home side suggested that some quick recovery work was going to be required to get them up and firing once more for the third ODI.
“I’m bloody tired, we’re all bloody tired. All the bowlers are cooked,” Stoinis said. “It was a big effort, so really proud of everyone. At the end of the day, all the guys that are in that team fight so hard, want to be there so much, train so hard, think about cricket all day every day.
“I know obviously we haven’t got the results that maybe the media and the Australian public would want. But these guys, we all fight, we all really want to be there, we all really want to win, and so the character of the individuals speaks for itself.”