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Thread: Australia Announce New Captain and Vice Captain

  1. #16
    International Vice-Captain Mike5181's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morgieb View Post
    No way will Cosgrove get picked let alone become vice-captain imo.
    He will get picked once Ponting, Katich and Michael Hussey retire no doubt. His shield states for the season are the best in the country barring internationals. He will at least make a squad at some point in the next year or so. Just needs to lose 10kgs and he will make the eleven on skill.

    Someone like Lynn should be looked at as well. To talented to leave in first class for years before he gets picked.
    Last edited by Mike5181; 29-03-2011 at 11:18 PM.

  2. #17
    School Boy/Girl Captain Western Warrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike5181 View Post
    He will get picked once Ponting, Katich and Michael Hussey retire no doubt. His shield states for the season are the best in the country barring internationals. He will at least make a squad at some point in the next year or so. Just needs to lose 10kgs and he will make the eleven on skill.

    Someone like Lynn should be looked at as well. To talented to leave in first class for years before he gets picked.
    If Cosgrove can lose 20kg in the next 12 months the selectors will automatically line him up as Australia's captain after Clarke. Their reasoning being that if he can do that he can do anything.
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  3. #18
    International Vice-Captain robelinda's Avatar
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    He didnt do too bad last time he played for Australia, nothing wrong with his form back then.
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  4. #19
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    I think the rationale behind Watson is that because there basically is no one at all in and around the Test lineup of that <24yo bracket which you would say is the next age group for the captaincy, they see it as more important to get a solid, stable long term leadership group to stabilize and grow the team around and then see who comes up from the currently bare leadership stocks amongst the young. On this particular point I cannot fault the thinking of the selectors/CA. I mean the fact that Tim Paine with a grand total of one FC ton is being talked about speaks volumes.

    I mean the difference between Ponting, Clarke and the current lot is that they were identified from an extremely young age - before they'd even hit the Shield ranks almost - as future Test stars. I don't hear that happening ATM.

    Anyway, on a side note I don't think I've ever seen Clarke more confident in front of the media than today. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
    Last edited by Spark; 29-03-2011 at 11:52 PM.
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  5. #20
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    On Watson, it is really quite extraordinary how much he's turned his career around ever since getting that call in the middle of the 09 Ashes. Before then he was seen as a glass cannon, made of china, weak and brittle, etc. No one rated him at all, and now VC and the side's most dependable player by a huge margin. Good on him. Good to see him acknowledge his conversion rate as an issue in such an occasion too.
    Last edited by Spark; 30-03-2011 at 12:00 AM.

  6. #21
    School Boy/Girl Captain Western Warrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    On Watson, it is really quite extraordinary how much he's turned his career around ever since getting that call in the middle of the 09 Ashes. Before then he was seen as a glass cannon, made of china, weak and brittle, etc. No one rated him at all, and now VC and the side's most dependable player by a huge margin. Good on him. Good to see him acknowledge his conversion rate as an issue in such an occasion too.
    Two very good posts Spark.

    When I first saw Watson he appeared to me as nothing more than a pretty boy more interested in his hair and his appearance rather than his cricket.

    I am very, very glad to have been proved wrong and in this instance I give all due credit to the selectors who obviously saw something in him that was not readily apparent to us.

    I think Clarke and Watson are probably the best leadership team we can create at the moment and despite their talents they certainly have their work cut out for themselves.

    With that said I would like to see a more long term and stable position for Cosgrove. Comments over his weight aside he is currently one of the most experienced but also age proof players in the domestic competition at the moment. If he does not become a permanent feature of the Test and ODI team soon he may end up on the same pile that was/is inhabited by the likes of Love, Lehmann, Hodge etc.

    He simply is too good to ignore. Stuart Karpinnen may have his work cut out for him but I think the rewards are there.

  7. #22
    International Vice-Captain robelinda's Avatar
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    Classy player Cosgrove, fat or not fat it dont matter.

  8. #23
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    If Jesse Ryder can pull of the catch he did yesterday...

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    I do like in the press conference today Pup's emphasis on batting, bowling and fielding.

    It's widely known that the Australian team does not train hard anymore.

    Australia's players don't train hard or smart enough. Bob Simpson trained Australian sides in the 1980s much harder than the current bunch

    We need to train like we're ranked 5th in the world (which we actually are) not like we're the best in the world.

    This includes appointing a full time fielding coach - a discipline which has really slipped of late.
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardj View Post
    I do like in the press conference today Pup's emphasis on batting, bowling and fielding.

    It's widely known that the Australian team does not train hard anymore.

    Australia's players don't train hard or smart enough. Bob Simpson trained Australian sides in the 1980s much harder than the current bunch

    We need to train like we're ranked 5th in the world (which we actually are) not like we're the best in the world.

    This includes appointing a full time fielding coach - a discipline which has really slipped of late.
    If only someone was releasing some form of written report or essay which addresses or comments on these issues...
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    Kohli. Do something in test cricket for once please.

    Thanks.

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  12. #27
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    I must say that I am a not a fan at all of the way we've been fielding as a whole in the last two years.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I must say that I am a not a fan at all of the way we've been fielding as a whole in the last two years.
    I posted this on another forum just after The Ashes. Reading through it in a calmer state of mind I admit to cringing at a few of my ideas but I'd like to think by and large there are some good ideas in there on the future direction of Australian cricket.

    I also thought Ponting would be thrown to the wolves hence he is not in the team I proposed below.

    Cricket Musings Pt 1.


    England have had their cake and have eaten it too! After suffering at the hands of Taylor, Waugh Snr and to a lesser degree Ponting they have completely and utterly out played us.

    They seem highly motivated team with a hard nosed ‘take no prisoners’ coach and a relevant and qualified support infrastructure. They analysed their opponents, made realistic plans and executed them to perfection.

    Australia on the other hand have been found desperately wanting with a captain who seemingly cannot rally his troops and is dealing with his own lack of form, a team that lacks unity and form, and bowlers who lack penetration or the ability to execute their plans.

    To quote Shane Warne:

    “It’s time to draw a line in the sand with Australian cricket - like we did in the mid-80s - if we want to be No.1 again.

    Big decisions need to be made from the top down by Cricket Australia, selectors, the coach and the captain.
    Tough decisions on what is most important for Australian cricket, who is accountable for the selections in the past two years that have left us at this point, do we have the right leadership and who are the experienced players or fresh faces to take us into the future?

    There is no disgrace in being beaten by a better team, but we must learn from them.”
    What to do? Well my solutions are primarily aimed at Cricket Australia though there are a few suggestions for the ICC as well.

    Making the right decision.

    What happened? It seems to be more and more apparent that the prodigious talents of Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Gilchrist, Warne and McGrath etc papered over the many cracks and weaknesses that have peppered Australia’s cricketing structure for the last 10 years.

    At the top of the pile we have Cricket Australia, the governing body for professional and amateur cricket in Australia. The growth and future of cricket is in their hands and throughout this article are signs that they have no always done this to the best of their abilities.

    I will start with the selectors, Andrew Hilditch (Chairman), David Boon, Ryan Terry (Director), Jamie Cox and Greg Chappell, individuals who have either not represented Australia at the highest level or have done so but at a mediocre level. David Boon and Greg Chappell stand apart but having played their last matches nearly two decades ago I wonder if we can still deem them in touch with the modern game. (As an aside do we really wish to have Greg Chappell representing Australian cricket considering he is responsible for one of the most unsportsmanlike events in cricket history - the 1981 under arm incident, and the less said about his tenure with India the better.)

    The question here is why do we allow individuals to make decisions regarding the nature and make-up of our teams (amongst other things) when these same individuals apparently do not have the required depth of knowledge or a sound, up-to-date grasp of the game. I will admit that I do not envy them at the best of times but they have accepted the role they are in and they need to accept responsibility for their decisions. Decisions which have often not made sense.

    Furthermore there has always been an accusation of bias. Often this has a conspiracy theory ring to it but often it is hard not to believe. In order to reduce or eliminate the issue I believe the selection panel needs to be expanded to include a qualified representative (the term qualified is currently rather nebulous but can be defined as “having a made a significant contribution at state or international level) from each state.

    New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania , Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia/Northern Territory. A Chairman of Selectors will be elected by these 6 selectors with a 4 out of 6 majority vote.

    Not only does such a panel give equal representation to each state it also allows the selection panel greater resources to concentrate on players in each state and ensuring that international cricket is aware of potential players being available.

    Stop the Knowledge Drain

    I believe the most obvious answer is to ensure the consistent involvement of past players after their retirement. Cricket has been good to the likes of Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath etc. It has given them the opportunity to travel, given them fame and allowed them to earn salaries and endorsements that we mortal men can only dream of.

    Upon retirement it’s not time to head off to the commentary box or a lucrative talk show circuit. It’s time to make sure than the players who replace you are ready and have access to your knowledge and skills.

    As such I would make it part of any CA contract that, upon retirement, a player may be asked to serve as a selector advisor or as a member of the Cricket Centre of Excellence for a minimum of one year and is paid a salary commensurate with their experience and status. We simply cannot allow this knowledge to simply leave.

    This is not new, as any employee who hands in their resignation knows. Depending on your skills, position and time with a company you are required to give a certain amount of notice to allow the company to ensure your knowledge is passed on to your replacement.

    Grass Roots and Dead Wood

    I see the primary purpose of our Domestic competition to be the sourcing and nurturing of future international players and as such I ask the following question. Do we think our Domestic Competition is serving us well?

    Sometimes I am not sure and it concerns me greatly that during a Sheffield Shield weekend only 66 players have the opportunity to ply their trade.

    Furthermore the age of some of the players is something I believe needs to be addressed. Our current crop of selectors have made it known that they prefer a youth policy and this is something I agree with. We need to find, nurture and give opportunities to players who, if they are initially found wanting, are young enough to remedy the flaws in their game and attempt another entry into the international scene.

    With that said I continue to wonder at the presence of older plays in the domestic competition where it is apparent that they have missed the boat, either through bad luck, lack of talent or lack of drive. I do not deny that the presence of senior players such as Brad Hodge, Stuart Clark and Phil Jacques gives younger players the opportunity to test their skills against international players but they are a select few amongst a large crop of players in their late twenties, early thirties who seemingly have reached or exceeded their used-by-date.

    As harsh as it might sound I believe state contracts should take this into account. A player in their early thirties, hoping against hope for a late Hussey like call-up is in fact doing nothing more than occupying a space that a talented grade cricketer should be in.

    The Equal Opportunity Tribunal may disagree but I think state contracts should have a caveat attached where, upon hitting a pre-determined age your contract is reviewed based on future potential. If there is still hope you are awarded a season-by-season contract, if not you make way for a younger player.

    Bigger is Better?!?!

    Earlier I voiced by concern over the shallowness of the talent pool currently available via the Sheffield Shield Domestic Competition. With 6 teams that is a maximum of 66 players (not counting the waiters) that have a chance to hone their skills against others of relatively equal talent. Is this enough? I don’t think so.

    This is where it becomes difficult because I am not sure that Australia can commercially and realistically support more than 6 teams. Canberra tried and failed (but at least we got Michael Bevan out of it)

    Ideally and initially I would like to see our international players, playing more domestic cricket rather than running off to the next T20 tournament. Yes is further reduces the number of domestic players able to get a game but it does give the remainder some valuable experience against seasoned players rather than playing the same 66 week in week out.

    What more can we do to bolster our talent pool? One though is to look at grade cricket. Throughout Australia there are a number of well organised, well funded clubs that are preparing good cricketers for the step up to domestic cricket.

    Possibly, with the assistance of CA, we could create a two tiered division system where 6 grade clubs are nominated to play in Division B



    Division A

    Victoria

    New South Wales

    Tasmania

    South Australia

    Queensland

    Western Australia

    Division B

    Club A

    Club B

    Club C

    Club D

    Club E

    Club F

    After one season the top two club sides are elevated to Division A and the two lowest Division A sides take a step down to Division B. We now have 122 players we can potentially draw upon for international duties.

    I will wholeheartedly admit that this is very far fetched and unlikely to see the light of day. An alternative is to ask each state to field an A and a B side and use the same divisional system. Ultimately the aim is to get as many players as possible consistently playing at the pointy end of our domestic competition where they can have access to the players, opponents, coaches and facilities maintained by the state sides.

    Too much of a good thing?

    Love it or loathe it the IPL and T20 is here to stay and the likes of the ICC, CA and ECB et al are simply going to have to learn live with it and work around it. Many say it has bought cricket in the 21st century and caters for those who either do not have the time or the inclination (or the attention span) to sit through a limited overs or test match. It also allows players to supplement their normal cricket income, potentially a good thing for fringe players or players from poorer countries such as Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or the West Indies.

    Many players and lovers of the game have argued that it dilutes the quality of the game of cricket, that it teaches players bad habits and tempts players away from the longer versions of the game. Well, sadly, you are simply going to have to accept the IPL and T20 is a reality and that something else needs to give.

    That something is the limited overs game. The One Day International borrowed heavily from an English innovation and was intended to offer a shorter, more exciting alternative to a test match. As with IPL it soon captured everyone’s imagination (and even then we had people whinge that it dilutes the quality of the game and teaches players bad habits). Yet as is often the case it became too much of a good thing with 7 game series between two teams and half filled stadiums at best becoming commonplace.

    We all enjoy a good game of cricket but I see no point to an artificially long, drawn out series featuring two teams that has no real meaning and is being played solely to line someone’s pockets. These meaningless series need to be either shortened or abandoned all-together and whilst we are at it we may want to consign the ICC Champions Trophy to the history books as it is nothing more than a Readers Digest version of the World Cup held every 4 years. If need be merge the two and have the World Cup every 3 years (yes I know it initially had a fund raising purpose but is it still necessary?)

    However, with the impact of the IPL and other T20 series the ICC needs to bribe, bully, beg or manipulate the likes of Cricket Australia, the ECB, and even the BCCI in order to create a yearly cricketing calendar that contains more meaningful series whilst also allowing room for the IPL. No team wants underdone players appearing for a test series because they were too busy in the IPL and haven’t played any tour or first class matches.

    The IPL and the BCCI are now the undisputed power-houses of international cricket but a meaningful compromise needs to be made to ensure that more traditional forms of cricket are allowed to thrive and survive (possibly increase the size and scope of the IPL and run it ever second year ?!?!?)

    The Team of the Future (subject to change)

    1 – Nic Maddinson


    113 on debut for New South Wales and followed up with a 137 against Queensland a month later. Young, very young (but then again so was Tendulkar) but technical correct with a conventional and compact technique, some maturity and exposure to the international scene could turn Nic into a star.

    2 – Mark Cosgrove

    A big reputation, a big appetite for runs and a big man! At 26 Mark still has youth on his side but with 96 first class matches and nigh on 7,000 runs at 44.04 against his name he has the experience and maturity to act as a stabilising force and mentor to the influx of younger players. Reputedly has an ongoing “Battle with the Bugle” but as Boon proved you do not have to as svelte as a super-model or as fast as Usain Bolt to succeed at the international level. (You could still afford to lose a few pounds Mark you tubby bugger!)

    3 – Usman Khawaja

    The last time I saw a debut batsman so comfortable at the crease it was 1991 and Mark Waugh stroked, cut and drove a serene 138 against England at the Adelaide Oval. Sadly Usman did not go on to make a century but he certainly impressed, even soliciting one of Richie Benauds typically understated comments “there’s a bit about Khawaja”. Will obviously make a few mistakes but he has already shown that he learns quickly. Ignoring for a moment all the excitement about his race and religion I personally think that Australia may have found a superstar in the making.

    4 – Michael Clarke (capt)

    Hmmmm. Seen as the wunderkind of Australian cricket after his 151 on debut against India but has blown hot and cold ever since. Now the heir apparent upon the departure of Ricky Ponting, this will most likely make him the most unpopular captain ever to lead the Australian cricket team if fans polls are to be believed and apparently not that well loved by some people in the dressing room either.

    Clarke’s form simply deserted him during the Ashes Series. He seemed unsure and his normally exemplary footwork has gone. However, without any real alternatives he seems to be the man to lead Australia through this difficult period and as such he needs steer clear of any future public ‘Bingle’s and be prepared to lead a team in flux.

    5 – Michael Hussey

    I’ve left Mr Cricket in here for now all-though I think he is heading towards his twilight years. Came into the Ashes apparently out of form and proved all and sundry wrong. Petered off towards the end of the series, most likely weighed down by fatigue and expectation. Still has much to contribute and will provide some valuable stability in a team undergoing rapid and wholesale changes

    6 – Shane Watson

    First seen a poster boy limited over specialist Watson has grown into a key member of the Australian side. Strong and conventional with the bat whilst being able to bowl conventional and reverse swing in the low 130’s. However as an opener he has struggled to convert half centuries into bigger scores as of late. Taking into account previous injuries, age and potential bowling workload I think a move down the order would be beneficial.

    7 – Brad Haddin

    Had some monstrously big shoe’s to fill upon the retirement of Adam Gilchrist and at 33 with questions being asked of his keeping is he the right person to continue to wear the gloves behind the stumps? A tough question with the likes of Tim Paine and others, banging loudly on the door. With a clean batting technique and one of the hardest straight drivers in the game Brad could almost play purely as a batsman, however it is his team spirit, courage and pugnacious attitude to the opposition that just gives him the nod of the younger pretenders to the throne.

    8 – Steve O’Keefe

    Since the retirement of Shane Warne Australia has struggled to find a slow bowler to even think about filling the Earl of Twirls shoe’s. The likes of MacGill, Hauritz, White, McGain, Doherty, Krazja etc have all come, been pounded and gone. Recently Hauritz has shown he can be consistent and Michael Beer has demonstrated to he is not scared to flight the ball but are they the ones? This is purely a personal preference but taking into account our inexperienced and potentially fragile batting line-up I would like as long a tail as possible.

    A slow left-arm orthodox player with 42 first class wickets at 23.50 to his name Steve has also proved more than handy with the bat. Will most likely be fighting with Steve Smith and Michael Beer for the spinner role but currently O’Keefe seems to be the most balanced option.

    9 – Mitchell Johnson

    A real enigma and schizophrenic too. When he is on song and the ball is swinging he is a delight to watch and can and has taken people’s breath away. However when his mojo fails him it takes a lot of will-power to stop oneself from changing the channel. Yet 180 test wickets 29.48 cannot be ignored, neither can a test century and a batting average in the low twenties.

    What Mitch needs is some time with Dennis Lillee and not Troy Cooley. Mitch is an instinct bowler and is at his best when allowed to simply run in and bowl fast. Under the influence of Lillee I am hoping that he can be taught what to do when simply running in and bowling fast isn’t enough. Lillee was at his best when he lost a yard of pace and had to rely on changes in pace, off-cutters, leg-cutters and simple menance. Hopefully he can pass this on to Johnson.

    10 – Mitchell Starc

    After watching his ODI performance against Sri Lanka, where he took 4/27 I decided I liked Starc. A tall left hander able to extract good bounce from today’s lifeless pitches and having a good understanding of the importance of line and length I think he will contribute admirably in the international arena and will give Clarke another left arm option should Johnson not fire.

    11 – Trent Copeland

    A right arm fast bowler towering over us mere mortals at 1.95m he has taken 60 wickets in 11 first class matches at 19.16 per wicket and a strike rate of 45.1. Get him into the side now!

    12 – Peter Siddle

    Guts personified and one of the few Australian bowlers able to hold their head relatively high after the debacle of the Ashes Series. 14 wickets at 34.57 including a hat trick against the likes of Cook, Strauss, Trott, Bell and Prior are good returns. Will bowl until he drops and is always trying to get into the faces of the opposition Siddle is, I think, a long term proposition for Australia providing he can support and be given the support of his fellow bowlers.
    Last edited by Western Warrior; 30-03-2011 at 01:30 AM.

  14. #29
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    Massive job on his hands to mould an average group of players into a winning side. Good choice for vice too as it is a clean slate and doesn't mean they have given the job to an old player who may be dropped in 12 months time.

    Good luck to him, needs to find some bowlers though or a change in captaincy will mean nothing.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Western Warrior View Post
    I posted this on another forum just after The Ashes. Reading through it in a calmer state of mind I admit to cringing at a few of my ideas but I'd like to think by and large there are some good ideas in there on the future direction of Australian cricket.

    I also thought Ponting would be thrown to the wolves hence he is not in the team I proposed below.

    Cricket Musings Pt 1.


    England have had their cake and have eaten it too! After suffering at the hands of Taylor, Waugh Snr and to a lesser degree Ponting they have completely and utterly out played us.

    They seem highly motivated team with a hard nosed ‘take no prisoners’ coach and a relevant and qualified support infrastructure. They analysed their opponents, made realistic plans and executed them to perfection.

    Australia on the other hand have been found desperately wanting with a captain who seemingly cannot rally his troops and is dealing with his own lack of form, a team that lacks unity and form, and bowlers who lack penetration or the ability to execute their plans.

    To quote Shane Warne:

    “It’s time to draw a line in the sand with Australian cricket - like we did in the mid-80s - if we want to be No.1 again.

    Big decisions need to be made from the top down by Cricket Australia, selectors, the coach and the captain.
    Tough decisions on what is most important for Australian cricket, who is accountable for the selections in the past two years that have left us at this point, do we have the right leadership and who are the experienced players or fresh faces to take us into the future?

    There is no disgrace in being beaten by a better team, but we must learn from them.”
    What to do? Well my solutions are primarily aimed at Cricket Australia though there are a few suggestions for the ICC as well.

    Making the right decision.

    What happened? It seems to be more and more apparent that the prodigious talents of Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Gilchrist, Warne and McGrath etc papered over the many cracks and weaknesses that have peppered Australia’s cricketing structure for the last 10 years.

    At the top of the pile we have Cricket Australia, the governing body for professional and amateur cricket in Australia. The growth and future of cricket is in their hands and throughout this article are signs that they have no always done this to the best of their abilities.

    I will start with the selectors, Andrew Hilditch (Chairman), David Boon, Ryan Terry (Director), Jamie Cox and Greg Chappell, individuals who have either not represented Australia at the highest level or have done so but at a mediocre level. David Boon and Greg Chappell stand apart but having played their last matches nearly two decades ago I wonder if we can still deem them in touch with the modern game. (As an aside do we really wish to have Greg Chappell representing Australian cricket considering he is responsible for one of the most unsportsmanlike events in cricket history - the 1981 under arm incident, and the less said about his tenure with India the better.)

    The question here is why do we allow individuals to make decisions regarding the nature and make-up of our teams (amongst other things) when these same individuals apparently do not have the required depth of knowledge or a sound, up-to-date grasp of the game. I will admit that I do not envy them at the best of times but they have accepted the role they are in and they need to accept responsibility for their decisions. Decisions which have often not made sense.

    Furthermore there has always been an accusation of bias. Often this has a conspiracy theory ring to it but often it is hard not to believe. In order to reduce or eliminate the issue I believe the selection panel needs to be expanded to include a qualified representative (the term qualified is currently rather nebulous but can be defined as “having a made a significant contribution at state or international level) from each state.

    New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania , Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia/Northern Territory. A Chairman of Selectors will be elected by these 6 selectors with a 4 out of 6 majority vote.

    Not only does such a panel give equal representation to each state it also allows the selection panel greater resources to concentrate on players in each state and ensuring that international cricket is aware of potential players being available.

    Stop the Knowledge Drain

    I believe the most obvious answer is to ensure the consistent involvement of past players after their retirement. Cricket has been good to the likes of Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath etc. It has given them the opportunity to travel, given them fame and allowed them to earn salaries and endorsements that we mortal men can only dream of.

    Upon retirement it’s not time to head off to the commentary box or a lucrative talk show circuit. It’s time to make sure than the players who replace you are ready and have access to your knowledge and skills.

    As such I would make it part of any CA contract that, upon retirement, a player may be asked to serve as a selector advisor or as a member of the Cricket Centre of Excellence for a minimum of one year and is paid a salary commensurate with their experience and status. We simply cannot allow this knowledge to simply leave.

    This is not new, as any employee who hands in their resignation knows. Depending on your skills, position and time with a company you are required to give a certain amount of notice to allow the company to ensure your knowledge is passed on to your replacement.

    Grass Roots and Dead Wood

    I see the primary purpose of our Domestic competition to be the sourcing and nurturing of future international players and as such I ask the following question. Do we think our Domestic Competition is serving us well?

    Sometimes I am not sure and it concerns me greatly that during a Sheffield Shield weekend only 66 players have the opportunity to ply their trade.

    Furthermore the age of some of the players is something I believe needs to be addressed. Our current crop of selectors have made it known that they prefer a youth policy and this is something I agree with. We need to find, nurture and give opportunities to players who, if they are initially found wanting, are young enough to remedy the flaws in their game and attempt another entry into the international scene.

    With that said I continue to wonder at the presence of older plays in the domestic competition where it is apparent that they have missed the boat, either through bad luck, lack of talent or lack of drive. I do not deny that the presence of senior players such as Brad Hodge, Stuart Clark and Phil Jacques gives younger players the opportunity to test their skills against international players but they are a select few amongst a large crop of players in their late twenties, early thirties who seemingly have reached or exceeded their used-by-date.

    As harsh as it might sound I believe state contracts should take this into account. A player in their early thirties, hoping against hope for a late Hussey like call-up is in fact doing nothing more than occupying a space that a talented grade cricketer should be in.

    The Equal Opportunity Tribunal may disagree but I think state contracts should have a caveat attached where, upon hitting a pre-determined age your contract is reviewed based on future potential. If there is still hope you are awarded a season-by-season contract, if not you make way for a younger player.

    Bigger is Better?!?!

    Earlier I voiced by concern over the shallowness of the talent pool currently available via the Sheffield Shield Domestic Competition. With 6 teams that is a maximum of 66 players (not counting the waiters) that have a chance to hone their skills against others of relatively equal talent. Is this enough? I don’t think so.

    This is where it becomes difficult because I am not sure that Australia can commercially and realistically support more than 6 teams. Canberra tried and failed (but at least we got Michael Bevan out of it)

    Ideally and initially I would like to see our international players, playing more domestic cricket rather than running off to the next T20 tournament. Yes is further reduces the number of domestic players able to get a game but it does give the remainder some valuable experience against seasoned players rather than playing the same 66 week in week out.

    What more can we do to bolster our talent pool? One though is to look at grade cricket. Throughout Australia there are a number of well organised, well funded clubs that are preparing good cricketers for the step up to domestic cricket.

    Possibly, with the assistance of CA, we could create a two tiered division system where 6 grade clubs are nominated to play in Division B



    Division A

    Victoria

    New South Wales

    Tasmania

    South Australia

    Queensland

    Western Australia

    Division B

    Club A

    Club B

    Club C

    Club D

    Club E

    Club F

    After one season the top two club sides are elevated to Division A and the two lowest Division A sides take a step down to Division B. We now have 122 players we can potentially draw upon for international duties.

    I will wholeheartedly admit that this is very far fetched and unlikely to see the light of day. An alternative is to ask each state to field an A and a B side and use the same divisional system. Ultimately the aim is to get as many players as possible consistently playing at the pointy end of our domestic competition where they can have access to the players, opponents, coaches and facilities maintained by the state sides.

    Too much of a good thing?

    Love it or loathe it the IPL and T20 is here to stay and the likes of the ICC, CA and ECB et al are simply going to have to learn live with it and work around it. Many say it has bought cricket in the 21st century and caters for those who either do not have the time or the inclination (or the attention span) to sit through a limited overs or test match. It also allows players to supplement their normal cricket income, potentially a good thing for fringe players or players from poorer countries such as Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or the West Indies.

    Many players and lovers of the game have argued that it dilutes the quality of the game of cricket, that it teaches players bad habits and tempts players away from the longer versions of the game. Well, sadly, you are simply going to have to accept the IPL and T20 is a reality and that something else needs to give.

    That something is the limited overs game. The One Day International borrowed heavily from an English innovation and was intended to offer a shorter, more exciting alternative to a test match. As with IPL it soon captured everyone’s imagination (and even then we had people whinge that it dilutes the quality of the game and teaches players bad habits). Yet as is often the case it became too much of a good thing with 7 game series between two teams and half filled stadiums at best becoming commonplace.

    We all enjoy a good game of cricket but I see no point to an artificially long, drawn out series featuring two teams that has no real meaning and is being played solely to line someone’s pockets. These meaningless series need to be either shortened or abandoned all-together and whilst we are at it we may want to consign the ICC Champions Trophy to the history books as it is nothing more than a Readers Digest version of the World Cup held every 4 years. If need be merge the two and have the World Cup every 3 years (yes I know it initially had a fund raising purpose but is it still necessary?)

    However, with the impact of the IPL and other T20 series the ICC needs to bribe, bully, beg or manipulate the likes of Cricket Australia, the ECB, and even the BCCI in order to create a yearly cricketing calendar that contains more meaningful series whilst also allowing room for the IPL. No team wants underdone players appearing for a test series because they were too busy in the IPL and haven’t played any tour or first class matches.

    The IPL and the BCCI are now the undisputed power-houses of international cricket but a meaningful compromise needs to be made to ensure that more traditional forms of cricket are allowed to thrive and survive (possibly increase the size and scope of the IPL and run it ever second year ?!?!?)

    The Team of the Future (subject to change)

    1 – Nic Maddinson


    113 on debut for New South Wales and followed up with a 137 against Queensland a month later. Young, very young (but then again so was Tendulkar) but technical correct with a conventional and compact technique, some maturity and exposure to the international scene could turn Nic into a star.

    2 – Mark Cosgrove

    A big reputation, a big appetite for runs and a big man! At 26 Mark still has youth on his side but with 96 first class matches and nigh on 7,000 runs at 44.04 against his name he has the experience and maturity to act as a stabilising force and mentor to the influx of younger players. Reputedly has an ongoing “Battle with the Bugle” but as Boon proved you do not have to as svelte as a super-model or as fast as Usain Bolt to succeed at the international level. (You could still afford to lose a few pounds Mark you tubby bugger!)

    3 – Usman Khawaja

    The last time I saw a debut batsman so comfortable at the crease it was 1991 and Mark Waugh stroked, cut and drove a serene 138 against England at the Adelaide Oval. Sadly Usman did not go on to make a century but he certainly impressed, even soliciting one of Richie Benauds typically understated comments “there’s a bit about Khawaja”. Will obviously make a few mistakes but he has already shown that he learns quickly. Ignoring for a moment all the excitement about his race and religion I personally think that Australia may have found a superstar in the making.

    4 – Michael Clarke (capt)

    Hmmmm. Seen as the wunderkind of Australian cricket after his 151 on debut against India but has blown hot and cold ever since. Now the heir apparent upon the departure of Ricky Ponting, this will most likely make him the most unpopular captain ever to lead the Australian cricket team if fans polls are to be believed and apparently not that well loved by some people in the dressing room either.

    Clarke’s form simply deserted him during the Ashes Series. He seemed unsure and his normally exemplary footwork has gone. However, without any real alternatives he seems to be the man to lead Australia through this difficult period and as such he needs steer clear of any future public ‘Bingle’s and be prepared to lead a team in flux.

    5 – Michael Hussey

    I’ve left Mr Cricket in here for now all-though I think he is heading towards his twilight years. Came into the Ashes apparently out of form and proved all and sundry wrong. Petered off towards the end of the series, most likely weighed down by fatigue and expectation. Still has much to contribute and will provide some valuable stability in a team undergoing rapid and wholesale changes

    6 – Shane Watson

    First seen a poster boy limited over specialist Watson has grown into a key member of the Australian side. Strong and conventional with the bat whilst being able to bowl conventional and reverse swing in the low 130’s. However as an opener he has struggled to convert half centuries into bigger scores as of late. Taking into account previous injuries, age and potential bowling workload I think a move down the order would be beneficial.

    7 – Brad Haddin

    Had some monstrously big shoe’s to fill upon the retirement of Adam Gilchrist and at 33 with questions being asked of his keeping is he the right person to continue to wear the gloves behind the stumps? A tough question with the likes of Tim Paine and others, banging loudly on the door. With a clean batting technique and one of the hardest straight drivers in the game Brad could almost play purely as a batsman, however it is his team spirit, courage and pugnacious attitude to the opposition that just gives him the nod of the younger pretenders to the throne.

    8 – Steve O’Keefe

    Since the retirement of Shane Warne Australia has struggled to find a slow bowler to even think about filling the Earl of Twirls shoe’s. The likes of MacGill, Hauritz, White, McGain, Doherty, Krazja etc have all come, been pounded and gone. Recently Hauritz has shown he can be consistent and Michael Beer has demonstrated to he is not scared to flight the ball but are they the ones? This is purely a personal preference but taking into account our inexperienced and potentially fragile batting line-up I would like as long a tail as possible.

    A slow left-arm orthodox player with 42 first class wickets at 23.50 to his name Steve has also proved more than handy with the bat. Will most likely be fighting with Steve Smith and Michael Beer for the spinner role but currently O’Keefe seems to be the most balanced option.

    9 – Mitchell Johnson

    A real enigma and schizophrenic too. When he is on song and the ball is swinging he is a delight to watch and can and has taken people’s breath away. However when his mojo fails him it takes a lot of will-power to stop oneself from changing the channel. Yet 180 test wickets 29.48 cannot be ignored, neither can a test century and a batting average in the low twenties.

    What Mitch needs is some time with Dennis Lillee and not Troy Cooley. Mitch is an instinct bowler and is at his best when allowed to simply run in and bowl fast. Under the influence of Lillee I am hoping that he can be taught what to do when simply running in and bowling fast isn’t enough. Lillee was at his best when he lost a yard of pace and had to rely on changes in pace, off-cutters, leg-cutters and simple menance. Hopefully he can pass this on to Johnson.

    10 – Mitchell Starc

    After watching his ODI performance against Sri Lanka, where he took 4/27 I decided I liked Starc. A tall left hander able to extract good bounce from today’s lifeless pitches and having a good understanding of the importance of line and length I think he will contribute admirably in the international arena and will give Clarke another left arm option should Johnson not fire.

    11 – Trent Copeland

    A right arm fast bowler towering over us mere mortals at 1.95m he has taken 60 wickets in 11 first class matches at 19.16 per wicket and a strike rate of 45.1. Get him into the side now!

    12 – Peter Siddle

    Guts personified and one of the few Australian bowlers able to hold their head relatively high after the debacle of the Ashes Series. 14 wickets at 34.57 including a hat trick against the likes of Cook, Strauss, Trott, Bell and Prior are good returns. Will bowl until he drops and is always trying to get into the faces of the opposition Siddle is, I think, a long term proposition for Australia providing he can support and be given the support of his fellow bowlers.
    itstl.





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