The reply may be very easy in simply six phrases – no Steve Smith or David Warner.
Regardless of the gallant efforts of Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon with each bat and ball, the Australians are heading for an additional heavy defeat in the present day within the Boxing Day Check in opposition to India on the MCG.
However that wasn’t the case within the earlier 4 Boxing Day Checks with Smith on the helm.
In 2014, it was a drawn Check in opposition to India with Smith scoring 192* and 14 – Warner zero and 40.
In 2015, Australia beat the West Indies in 4 days by 177 runs with Smith posting 134* and 70* – Warner 23 and 17.
In 2016, Australia beat Pakistan by an innings and 18 runs – Smith 165*, Warner 144.
And final 12 months was a drawn Check in opposition to England with Smith cracking 76 and 102*, Warner 103 and 86.
Tally that up and Smith has scored 753 Boxing Day Check runs as captain to common an enormous 376.50 – Warner 413 to common a really wholesome 59.
No Check crew on the earth may fireplace with out its two finest batsmen. India with out Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara would endure the identical destiny.
However all that ends on March 29 subsequent 12 months when Smith and Warner finish their 12-month suspension for ball-tampering in time for the World Cup and the Ashes tour back-to-back in England.
They did the crime and the time.
That needs to be the tip of it, however new Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts is having hassle understanding what to pay them on return.
There are alternate options – pay them what they did on the time of suspension of round $2 million, or pay them the bottom potential $286,000 and power the pair to fireplace and be paid bonuses on the way in which.
That’s precisely what the unbiased investigation charged Cricket Australia with after the ball-tampering chaos of being smug, dictatorial and hypercritical, with a win in any respect prices tradition to help the board’s company picture.
All Roberts has to do is take a look at the present ICC Check batting rankings.
Though Smith and Warner haven’t performed a Check for 9 months, Smith remains to be ranked the world’s quantity three after Kohli and Kane Williamson, with Warner at six after Pujara and Joe Root.
Usman Khawja is subsequent finest at 12, Shaun Marsh 38, Peter Handscomb 45, Tim Paine 46, Travis Head 63, Cameron Bancroft whose nine-month ball-tampering suspension ended yesterday is ranked 64, Matt Renshaw 66, Mitchell Marsh 70, Aaron Finch 72, Marcus Harris 83, Joe Burns 84 and Mitchell Starc 93.
And you’ll guess Pat Cummins will probably be ranked on the subsequent ICC launch.
So Cricket Australia has no choice however to pay Smith and Warner what they had been contracted to on the time of suspension, or the board can rightfully be accused of handing out further penalties not stipulated on the time.
Cricket Australia has rightfully copped a barrage for its involvement within the ball-tampering, it can’t afford to cop one other barrage for nonetheless being hypercritical.
Let’s face it, Australia can’t win the World Cup or retain the Ashes if Steve Smith and David Warner aren’t on obligation.
And for that, they need to be paid accordingly.