You've only got to look at the dismissals of Ponting and Haddin on Monday and, at various times during the summer, those of Ponting, Haddin, Clarke, Symonds, Katich and Hayden to know that Hoggy is right:
AUSTRALIA'S been blasted for "strutting around like peacocks" as it faces the reality of losing its No. 1 ranking in all forms of cricket.
"They have been pulverised . . . I don't think they realise where they are at and how badly they have been going," Hogg said yesterday.
"They have been strutting around like peacocks thinking they are the best in the world, but they have been living in denial.
"The reality is they are nowhere near No. 1 in the world. They are probably about No. 4.
"You could tell that when they went to the subcontinent last year and weren't even a patch on the Indian side.
"Until they realise how far they have fallen -- and take stock of everything that has happened -- there are going to continue to be problems.
"A lot of their dismissals this summer have been really soft and they have to take a long, hard look at themselves."
The question is: How do we gear back from being the best and on a roll, to being back in the field and having to rediscover the basics? Aggressively chasing victory with a team full of guns is all very well, but when the guns are gone, and it's time to get back to basics, how do you manage the transition? Judging by the decline in our catching and running between wickets, to name two obvious examples, psychology and attitude and mindgames have taken precedence over practice and technique. With a new crew on deck, we are still about the head, but the new guys haven't yet got the technique. It is not even readily apparent any of them are up to Test cricket, nor are there many obvious contenders for national selection. So much for our vaunted cricket system. So far, injuries notwithstanding, it looks like we are playing how we used to, not how we now need to, and that the selectors are picking sides like, say, Carlton did when Jack Elliott famously said "We don't rebuild at Carlton." In other words, we are scrapping to stay No.1, when perhaps we should be accepting we are no longer peacock o' the walk. Still, we aren't a million miles away. Had we a full and fit squad to pick from over the last 12 months we would have played much better. We mightn't have won in India where we most always go shithouse, but we probably would have beaten the Varks. Right at the moment I would say we are not good enough to be No.1, but we are not far enough off the pace to have to call in the demolition crew. SA have shown us how to plan for a series. Steyn is a very good bowler, Morkel might become one, but the Varks' attack is hardly the most threatening of all time. Most often our batsmen have got themselves out, falling into obvious SA traps. If we accept that it's time to pull our collective heads in and play each ball on its merits, does that somehow mean we loose our mojo? And if we lose our mojo, do we somehow lose our confidence? One thing is for sure, by giving wickets away, we have given SA confidence. My gut feeling that we might go alright in SA is now down the gurgler. Clark out is a huge blow. And Siddle missing this weekend's Weetbix with stressies means he's got to be in doubt for SA and maybe beyond.