Australian news February 11, 2011

Lawson calls for an Australian clean-out

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australian cricket needs a total overhaul, which should include the retirement of Ricky Ponting, according to the former fast bowler Geoff Lawson. The embarrassing Ashes loss, which included three innings defeats, should serve as a wake-up call that all is not right within the structure of Australian cricket, Lawson told guests at a Queensland Cricket function on Thursday.

"It's what I call a top-down disintegration, it's started at the top and filtered through," Lawson said. "We've got to rebuild and if you don't perform then catch you later, I'm talking about selectors, coaches everybody. We must draw the line now. With all due respect to Ricky Ponting, who has been one of the top-five batsmen we've ever had, it's time to draw the line. At 36, 37, it's time to start a new era."

Lawson's comments came in the wake of Cricket Australia announcing it would commission two independent reviews, one on its own governance structure, and one on the team's on-field performances. The board also confirmed plans to expand the Big Bash to eight sides next summer, but Lawson said there should be a greater focus on the Sheffield Shield.

"We got beaten by an innings three times, that is the worst record in the history of Australian cricket, can we take a little bit of notice of our first class competition please, or give it a little bit more respect?" he said. "This is a money move, not a cricket move."

Lawson, the former coach of Pakistan, said he had been at a Sheffield Shield match this season and claimed the players were in the dark over what was expected of them from the national selectors. The axing of Nathan Hauritz on the eve of the Ashes campaign was one of the mysteries of the summer, with Xavier Doherty and Michael Beer preferred in the five Tests.

"The players have no idea what our selectors are doing," he said. "They have no idea what the selectors want from the players. That is a ridiculous situation to be in, and that's continued very recently in this World Cup squad. There is a lot of confusion out there."