All-round disappointment needs time back in Shield
CRICKET: Having not won a Test match in four outings, there is no doubt that Steve Smith and his Australian team is under pressure to perform against South Africa in the second Test in Hobart.
Three successive defeats in Sri Lanka, followed by the 177-run loss to the Proteas in Perth - despite the visitors being a man down due to Dale Steyn's injury - have put Smith and the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Adam Voges and Peter Nevill on notice.
Marsh yesterday got the backing of teammate Josh Hazlewood but former Australian great Shane Warne said the Western Australian all-rounder should get the axe.
"Mitch Marsh is not performing well, like a lot of people," Warne said. "I'm not sure he'll get another opportunity. I think people are starting to lose a little bit of patience with him.
"I am a fan of Mitchell Marsh ... I think he's got a lot of talent. (But) Maybe the best thing for him is to go back to Shield cricket and make five hundreds in a row."
Warne has echoed the call of former Test players who believes the Aussies need a shake-up.
Kepler Wessels, Graeme Smith and Mark Waugh have all gone as far as saying the team is mentally fragile.
But Cricket Australia sports psychologist Michael Lloyd cannot see a problem.
"I know there's been a little bit written and said about that. There's no psychological issue there," Lloyd told SEN radio yesterday.
"We did a really good review and debrief of that game (in Perth), identified the areas they can be better and got some really nice, clear plans about what needs to be done down in Hobart.
"They're really focused on turning that performance around."
If Marsh does get the chop, it could mean a Test debut for 32-year-old Callum Ferguson as an extra batsman at No.6.
Adam Voges had been struggling with a hamstring problem suffered in Perth but he trained well yesterday.
Meanwhile, Warne has confirmed he had offered his services as coach of the Australian T20 team for a three-match series against Sri Lanka in Australia in February.
"All I'm doing is putting my hand up, I'm happy to help, if they don't want my help or don't need it then that's ok," Warne told reporters yesterday.
"But I just don't want to be one of those guys who stands back and says 'We need to be doing this or we need to be doing that'.
"I'll always offer my opinion, I'll always try and help out where I can.
"I've had some interesting feedback ... they've said 'We're considering you, thanks very much for putting your hand up. There is a system in place for coaches so we'll weigh all that up and get back to you'."