October 18, 2005

Buchanan admits mistakes in Ashes defeat

Cricinfo staff

Buchanan, in discussion with Ricky Ponting, admits he lost touch with his players © Getty Images

Australia's coach John Buchanan has admitted losing touch with his team during their 2-1 Ashes defeat, but denied being out-thought by England coach Duncan Fletcher.

Buchanan, whose contract was recently extended to 2007 by Cricket Australia despite Australia's first Ashes defeat in 18 years, told the Kolkata-based Telegraph newspaper: "I'd lost contact with the players. It happened because I'd pushed myself into a different role, which was to give the players responsibility for their game. In doing so, I'd removed myself from contact with the players. I finished the Ashes physically and emotionally drained. Looking back, I ought not to have retreated into myself the way I did."

Buchanan came in for strong criticism from both the media and former players for apparently being unable to compete with Fletcher's and Michael Vaughan's on-field plans. "[We weren't] out-thought, but outplayed," he said. "We understood what we had to do, but didn't put that into practice. England were well-tuned and delivered better than us. I accept England forced us to play catch-up cricket.

"The England bowlers swung the ball, old and new, and at good pace. You don't come across very many bowlers who do that in today's cricket. Outside England, I can't think of anybody other than [Sri Lanka's] Chaminda Vaas."

Despite losing the Ashes, Buchanan feels there are positives to come from it: "The result ... came as a golden opportunity. It has made me, the players, the support staff and Cricket Australia look at where we desire to be. It also made us look at England, look at other countries ... We should have looked at the little things which happen in and around our team. Perhaps the team disciplines also ought to have been looked at."

After Australia's one-sided wins in the Super Series, Buchanan has the perfect opportunity to implement changes when a struggling West Indies side arrive for a three-Test series at the end of October.