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January 30, 2013
Shane Warne has proposed an alternate reality for Australian cricket. It is one in which Mark Taylor is the generalissimo, Stephen Fleming the coach, and Ian Chappell the Godfatherly consultant for all players to lean on. Rotation does not exist following a players' mutiny, captains are never chosen in advance of the team they lead, and sleep is a preferable form of recovery to the use of technology.
Having drummed up a wave of hype for his suggestions about how to lift Australian cricket from the state of disarray in which he says it has fallen into, Warne delivered an excoriation of the post-Argus review network around the national team and suggested replacements for all of Cricket Australia's major team performance roles.
Warne had previously suggested on Twitter that the captain Michael Clarke needed better support than he was currently getting, and proposed that a new hierarchy be established that was comprised entirely of former international players. Taylor was nominated to replace the former rugby international, Pat Howard, as the team performance chief. The selection panel would be comprised of Rod Marsh as chairman, plus Mark Waugh, Damien Martyn and Glenn McGrath.
Stephen Fleming, the ex-New Zealand captain, was Warne's coach of choice instead of Mickey Arthur, with Darren Lehmann to be his assistant. Warne argued that the coach should not be a selector. The recently retired Michael Hussey and Michael Bevan were put forward as potential batting coaches, while Merv Hughes and Bruce Reid were posited as the men to mentor the bowlers. Chappell, meanwhile, would oversee it all as a consultant, on call as a source of advice and philosophy on the game.
"All the above people are cricket people, not rugby, tennis or from any other sporting code," Warne wrote on his website. "They all understand the game of cricket, they have lived and breathed the game for a long time and most importantly have the best interests of Australian cricket at heart, along with being super passionate and above all, they just love the game.
"Cricket is a simple game; sure it has room and a place for scientific research and current technology, which can help [you] learn about an opponent, but not instead of using your cricket brain - they can work hand in hand. Technology can help in recovery, but so can sleep and a common sense approach to recovery."
As for the thinking behind selection, Warne said the most important element in his view was the fostering of a united team via the playing and winning of matches together. Critical for some time of the concept of rotation, Warne argued that the changing of teams for reasons other than the simplest of injury and form concerns bred mistrust, and he encouraged the current team to revolt against the concept.
"A simple criteria is pick your best team and stick with it in all forms, then the players get used playing together and being with one another on tour, you get to know the person," Warne wrote. "Too much chopping and changing leads to insecurity, players then start to look out for themselves and over their shoulder, this breeds selfishness.
"It's also why rotation and resting players will never work. I believe the players should be united, take ownership of this, it's a very powerful and strong message to send to CA if the players' message is 'I do not want to be rested or rotated; I want to play every game, if I don't perform drop me'. If this decision comes from the players then CA have to respect that and follow suit on selection accordingly, this will then mean someone is accountable.
"We have the best batsmen/captain in world cricket at the moment in Michael Clarke and the spine of a good team with [David] Warner, [Shane] Watson, [Matthew] Wade, [Peter] Siddle and [Nathan] Lyon, the rest of the spots are up for grabs in my opinion. Opportunities for players now are there for the taking."
Warne said he planned to discuss his ideas with the CA chief executive James Sutherland, who had previously offered the former Test legspinner the chance for a meeting to air grievances that were aggravated by his own disciplinary problems during the Big Bash League and the Melbourne Stars' exit from the tournament.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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