Australia vulnerable even against NZ: Buchanan

Brisbane: Australia are a vulnerable side even against their lowly trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand following the sweeping changes implemented under the Argus Review, former national coach John Buchanan said.

Buchanan -- now New Zealand`s director of cricket -- backed the rank-outsiders Black Caps to spring an upset despite Australia coming into the Test series starting here on December 1 buoyed by their gutsy two-wicket win in the second Test in South Africa.

"There`s definitely a vulnerability there. That`s not just got to do with performance - there are a lot of things happening within Australian cricket at the moment behind the scenes which are going to take some time to gel," he told reporters at the first training session of New Zealand team ahead of the Test series.

He was commenting on Tuesday only hours after Australia appointed South African Mickey Arthur as its first foreign coach, the latest in a series of changes in high-level positions.

Sweeping changes were made in Australian cricket since Cricket Australia`s independent review in the wake of a home Ashes series loss to England this year.

Buchanan enjoyed a stellar eight-year stint as Australia coach, winning a record 16 straight Tests and claiming two World Cups.

New Zealand, on the other hand, have won just one of their past 11 Tests -- a narrow victory against lowly Zimbabwe.

Buchanan wondered how captain Michael Clarke would handle his dual role as selector, saying he faced some "interesting calls" in the coming months.

"There`s a new coach, new selection group - and a new captain as selector which is going to be pretty interesting having someone in the dressing room from the selectors sitting and watching you.”

"It will obviously depend on how Michael Clarke handles that role. He is going to make some pretty interesting calls over the next six months over a few players in that dressing room," said Buchanan, referring to the struggling form of some key players, including former skipper Ricky Ponting.

Ponting, veteran keeper Brad Haddin, opener Phil Hughes and mercurial quick Mitchell Johnson had all been under pressure to perform before responding in the second Test at Johannesburg.


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