Originally Posted by Top_Cat
The system as it stands does not promote excellence. Or even solid, consistent cricket. What I find incredible is that I haven't played grade cricket since about 2000 yet from my mates still playing and other guys I know still in the system, still hearing all the same old stories.
This is why I was sceptical when Chuck Berry was saying he wanted to see SA cricketers go back to play grade cricket, head out to training, etc. Not of his motives but what they actually stood to gain out of it i.e. not much. I notice he's not said anything along those lines for a while and I can't blame the guy. It's a complicated mix of club politics, old mentalities from **** coaches and easy runs/wickets against **** teams which results in a system producing teams full of downhill skiers. If you show some flash and talent when you're 14, you'll be picked in higher grades no matter what else you do until you're dead/a club legend. Late bloomers or even the slight possibility of being one, go play footy. One or two good performances, write your ticket for the rest of the season.
SACA basically gave up on club cricket years ago and it's not hard to see why. SA cricket is basically what the Australian Test side would have been like if Greg Chappell was in charge of selection. I'm pretty keen to hear anything from Eloquentia or Riggins, etc. or anyone closer to the action which contradicts the above because, like I said, I'm not in a club any more.
EDIT: It's hard to enumerate the exact problems, of course, but I think a great barometer of the level of coaching these guys get at grade level is in the standard of fielding and their non-specialist skill from locals picked to play for SA. When was the last time an SA quick could hold a bat or field? Gillespie?
It's unfortunate really - I believe the problems lie above the grades though, not within. The setup itself achieves what it sets out to, however there are several key issues from above which severely impact the development.
- Talent isn't identified quickly enough
- If it is, it's managed poorly by South Australian management
- Players aren't rewarded for consistent good performance
There's a lad who opens the batting in As for my club who averages 9 in about 3 seasons across A/B/C grade. He's 16 or something. The kid is being ruined playing there (although there's a lot to work with) and should go back to B grade at least. But nup, the SA policy is play him there as long as possible.
Time and time again we see prospects make the Shield then struggle to make the grade - this is a direct result of poor management. Cranmer, Delmont, Smith, Bailey, Dougall all spring to mind. I do assure you, however - that the grade sides do work incredibly hard to achieve a high standard of performance and development.
RE: SA quicks