Australia news April 14, 2011

Australia have smaller talent pool - Greg Chappell

ESPNcricinfo staff

Greg Chappell, Cricket Australia's national talent manager, has said, on returning from a "reconnaissance exercise" to the US, that Australia do not have as large a talent pool for cricket as some other countries, and hence have to be careful not to waste any of the talent they have. He said the key for Australian cricket was giving young players enough opportunities so they develop mental strength early. Chappell and four other Cricket Australia officials had visited the US to study the functioning of two American teams - the Boston Red Sox and the University of Texas football team - and explore, among other things, the way they identified and nurtured talented players.

"We're not like India, we can't waste talent," Chappell told the Sydney Morning Herald. "They can have a few fall over and there will be someone there backing them up, but we don't have the talent pool they have, so we have to be a lot more efficient.

"You might have ten players at the end of the under-19 programme, but we need to get the majority of those guys through to the next level. How does a player develop mental toughness? You develop mental toughness in the heat of the battle; nobody has come up with any other way.

"That means we have to work with the states to make sure that if we have identified these players, they get opportunities in all formats over the next few years, which can sometimes counter what the state thinks is important for them."

The Test team, he said, could use the services of the three senior statesmen, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Simon Katich, but only so long as their selection remains "viable", with them scoring runs and guiding the transitional team. "They are mature cricketers, they know what the landscape is and that they can't play forever. As long as they can bring something to the table, not only the runs or wickets, but the input they can have with the group, they are viable.

"We've got a new captain [Michael Clarke]. Change isn't just about personnel, it's about attitude and intent and about tactics, and I'm sure Michael will bring different thought processes to the captaincy. That is a positive thing. I don't think we need to make wholesale changes to see regeneration within the team."

Shane Watson, Australia's new vice-captain, should remain in the opener's slot, Chappell said. "We need players who are going to help us win games, and Shane Watson opening the batting can help us win games. [His bowling] also gives the flexibility to play an extra spinner in Sri Lanka or an extra pace bowler in South Africa."

Chappell, who took over Australia's captaincy from elder brother Ian in the '70s and then had his sibling play under him, said Clarke and Ponting should be able work around the rather awkward scenario of a team containing its former leader. "The one that is stepping down has to be conscious of the fact he is no longer in charge. I was fortunate [with Ian], I leaned on his experience and I am sure there were times when he had to bite his tongue and wait for me to either ask questions or wake up. I am sure there will be such times for Michael and Ricky as well, but they will work it out."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • crusty on April 16, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    There are a numerous intelligent young cricketers in Australia that are forced to make a career choice that offers them opportunity and financial security - and its rarely cricket! Why? Because the people left to coach and run the game in Australia are generally those that have nothing but cricket in their lives and have no skills for anything else.. and worse seem to have also failed in other pursuits. They value people like themselves - basically dud humans! Does this sound like one GC? The current COE, CA and state coaches as well as their so-called 'talent identifier' blokes wouldn't know talent if they fell over it.

  • Andrew on April 16, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    @Dr.Qwert - re: Watto at 34, young bloke by the name of Armstrong playing for NSW T20, I think he & maybe Abbott (also NSW), could fill that role.

  • Basil on April 15, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    Darren Berry ... Good one! My stomach still hurts after that one. Anyway I think players should be picked on form, not on the form they might have in 5 years. Picking Smith at no6 in Tests is a slap in the face to about 15 Shield batsmen around the country. I do not dislike Smith, I would like him to succeed at international level when he deserves selection. He or Beer or any other unjustified pick should not get a baggygreen at the expense at another player in better form. It cannot be good for team morale when a selectors-pet keeps getting a game (and a healthy pay-packet) when others more deserving are missing out. Having said all this, cricket is so corrupt now, it makes you wander why certain baffling things continue to happen.

  • Andrew on April 15, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    @Gordo85 - LOL! Are you saying Darren Berry should of got a go ahead of Adam Gilchrest???? Please!!!!! @VivGilchrist - Watto is an interesting dilemna. In ODIs his average as opener balloons to 64 when batting 2nd. This is because he feels the need to conserve energy when batting first for his bowling. I think Watto's mind needs some fine tuning! @BombaWiggins - mate the old NSW conspiracy hey? Given it been quite a while since NSW even had a national selector it still makes for a good whinge. Believe it or not, but NSW is the strongest state for playing talent. @SeaforthA1 - I agree that in TESTS the best XI need to be selected, & Punter & Huss are in that XI IMO. I do believe we wasted an opportunity to blood players in that tour of Bang. I'd only have taken Pup, Watto, Smith, Pattinson, Paine & Ferguson, (maybe Doherty), from that squad. I'm not against the older players that went, just not for that tour.

  • Christopher on April 15, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    Im very surprised to read Chappells' comments on the depth of talent.I recall being inspired 20 years ago by an article he wrote in which he is quoted as saying that,'It is not practice that makes perfect,but perfect practice'.Statistics suggest that there are 60 Indians for every Australian.If we only looked at population,we would give up before we began.Quality is the only important factor.Regardless of population,only eleven men each get to walk on the field and face each other.I strongly disagree with his assertion that India have better depth.Where are their great pace bowlers and spinners.Their bowling attack is no more than adequate and their batting is excellent but aging.Australias depth of talent is also excellent.The administration of that talent on the other hand has been terrible.Chappell doesnt need to reinvent the wheel.Australia has been renowned for 2 decades for the quality of its cricketing system.That system only requires leaders who can administer it with integrity

  • Christopher on April 15, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    The philisophical mistake being made is that age is ever a factor.Youth or maturity must never be of greater importance than runs and wickets.It is 4 years of theories such as these,taking the place of form and facts,that have driven australia to their current lows.Players with excellent records have continued to languish in 1st class ranks without explanation and others have been used or instructed divisively or inappropriately.Great teams are great because their players are performing in a united fashion with a common sense of purpose and systemic integrity.In turn,those who wish to make the team lift their own standards to new levels creating reserve strength.This natural progression has been hopelessly undermined by the current administration who continue the habit of reckless selection and spiteful omission.Our systems are excellent.Our state cricket as strong as ever.Our pitches are as testing as the weather allows their preparation to be.Runs,wickets and accountability win games

  • Dummy4 on April 15, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    For once I agree with GC the young players need to develop mental toughness and to do that they need to be playing against the best players in the land. However, even if State selectors do pick some of these guys, unless test players are playing State cricket against them regularly the young guys will only be playing against the also rans and each other and won't experience how hard it is at the next level. We need a full review of grade , state and test committments to make this happen and I doubt CA or the coaches have the will to make it happen

  • Robert on April 15, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    I think CA should have a long hard look at their selction of people for admin positions. Chappell seems to be making excuses already. He is already been reported as saying that the older players should move aside and is hinting so again. Sorry but I am a strong believer in picking the best 11 players in the country regardless of age. The most efficent way of blooding talent is by not playing them till they are 100% ready. Not thrown to the wolves at a young age. M Hussey, M Hayden, J Langer, D Martyn, D Lehman all had to wait there turn to represent their country and all of them did well when given the chance. It takes an exceptional talent to perform at a young age. Too many players have come in young to only fail. Hughes and Smith both made their Test apperances too early for my liking. Players need to prove themselves over several years at state level before making the jump. Unless they are overwhelmingly better than the incumbent why take that risk.

  • David on April 15, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    The test team i think this 'small talent pool' will produce in 5 years: Nic Maddinson, S. Marsh / Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Chris Lynn, Paine / Wade, Beer / O'Keefe / Holland / Smith, Peter Siddle, Pattinson / Copeland / Faulkner, Patrick Cummins to me that looks like a very strong team from such a 'small talent pool'. the depth we've always had for pace bowling is just about the envy of world cricket, we'll have 3 or 4 very good openners in the afore mentioned & Mitch Marsh. 2 keepers that are young & already making big impressions we have a system that is prduces a good pool of talent & a very strong state comp. only wholes i see in that side is Shane Watson will be 34 with no apparent batting alrounder & the spin options are suspect. although 5 years is a long time for someone to come onto the scene.

  • Harvey on April 15, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    @Something_Witty. Nethertheless, i stand by what i say that he would be of more value in the middle order.

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