‘Aussies strong-willed, not arrogant’


Perth : A former military officer, now a leadership consultant, says the Australian cricketers are not driven by arrogance and that they only have strong views about the way they play the game.

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Ray McLean, who was summoned by the Australians to help defuse the racism row in the wake of the explosive Sydney Test, oversaw a two-hour meeting during which the players reiterated their commitment to the 2003 spirit-of-cricket pact.

Ponting was buffeted by criticism for his handling of the racism affair, with former Test spinner Greg Matthews accusing the captain of lacking the humility to broker peace with rival Anil Kumble.

But McLean, who has worked with various Australian football and rugby teams, insists the world champions are not arrogant, reported the Herald Sun.

“I’ve worked with the Australian side since November and I haven’t witnessed an arrogant team,” said McLean, who was hired by new Australia coach Tim Nielsen.

“All I’ve seen are pretty professional athletes that accept where they sit can be a tough place to occupy.

“They have a strong view about the way they play the game, but the team is prepared to look at itself and ask, ‘How do we get better?’ An arrogant team would have said, ‘Go to blazes. We don’t care what anyone thinks’.

“The way I see it, you have a side that is clearly focused and desperate to maintain their top position.

“The players’ mindset is if you are the best, and you are sitting there holding your ground, you will lose ground.

“They concern themselves with the bigger picture. In my mind what happened the other week was an aberration.

“I don’t see it perpetuating. They sat down and had a look at things and to me that is a good sign.”

McLean, who revealed that he was employed to help the team deal with the retirement of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer, praised Ponting’s leadership qualities.

“Ricky (Ponting) stacks up as well as any of the good leaders I’ve worked with,” McLean said.

“I could understand the criticism (of Ponting) but, in my dealings with Ricky, he has a good feel for the group and is clear about the behaviour standards expected.

“He tries his hardest to live up to those and I see him trying to promote those within the group.

“Ricky is in a difficult environment in many ways. The other popular Australian sports don’t have quite the same international flavour and cross-cultural issues cricket has.

“The leader of the Australian cricket team has quite a complex role but, in Ricky, I’ve seen nothing but a very good leader.”