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Stuart pushes case for hard graft

Daniel Brettig

May 16, 2011

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Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne shake hands during the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes, Kowloon Cricket Club, October 27, 2007
Anthony Stuart: "I think the days are gone where we've got guys who could take wickets at will" © Brand-Rapport

Anthony Stuart, the recently appointed New South Wales coach, reckons Australian cricket must develop a greater appetite for hard work if major success is to follow.

Named as the man to replace Matthew Mott after spending five trophy-less years as the provincial coach of Wellington in New Zealand, Stuart's reputation is one of meticulous preparation and stern advice. He has every intention of keeping that up with the Blues, who have tended to yo-yo between successful seasons and dire ones over the past decade.

Stuart's attitude is reflected in his thoughts about the national team, in which he enjoyed a brief but bright stint in 1997 that culminated in a hat-trick at the MCG against Pakistan. At the time Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne were developing the partnership that would dominate world cricket for more than a decade. Stuart cannot see anyone of their ilk on the horizon.

"I think the guys have got a lot of hard work in front of them," he said. "I think the days are gone where we've got guys who could take wickets at will. When Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath retired we lost 1400 Test wickets. The guys understand there are greater challenges for them out there now and the guys have to be prepared for that. If they want to get back to the top of the pile then they've got to expect to do a lot of hard work."

The NSW chief executive, David Gilbert, has spoken admiringly of Stuart's passion for the Blue cap and willingness to make hard decisions - the sort of advance billing that can make established players nervous but younger ones ambitious. Stuart is sure he will need to be tough in charge, expecting professionalism from his squad.

"I think the guys are fully aware that they are full-time professional athletes," he said. "They've got to expect that when they come they come to work and they come to work hard. I don't think I'm going to be telling them anything different that they don't already know. With a different voice and maybe a different philosophy on things that might be the key to make a difference.

"I'm not here to reinvent the wheel, the boys have had some short-term success in the last few years and my job is to just challenge them that little bit further and make sure guys are continually wanting to improve and that's why I'm here.

"I'll be tough when I need to be but the players have to be tough when they need to be as well. My job is to make sure that we don't get comfortable, we make sure we turn up with the right attitude at every training session, let alone every game. That's important for guys that they're not always going to be feeling great every day, every training and gym session but it's important that when you are feeling tough that you come with the right attitude.

"Because that's when good players and good sides get through in tough situations, when they find that extra bit when they're not feeling great but they find a way to win."

One player welcoming Stuart to the fold is the sometime Test off spinner Nathan Hauritz, who is presently trying to prove his fitness in time to be considered for the tour of Sri Lanka in August. "I think it's a very positive step forward for NSW," he said. "There's a very young group, a medium to young group, and it's time for those guys to mould their own dynasty, like back when it was the Waughs and [Stuart] MacGills.

"At NSW now it's probably time for Moises Henriques, young Nic Maddinson, Pat Cummins, all those kids coming through, to be able to do that. I think Anthony Stuart will allow them to do that."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (May 17, 2011, 0:13 GMT)

Good luck Anthony, you have tons of talent to work with - don't bugger it up!!!!

Also - I wonder why "...willingness to make hard decisions..." has to mean making "... established players nervous but younger ones ambitious..."????

Posted by haha1 on (May 16, 2011, 10:27 GMT)

Stuey, will you kick the dressing room walls when NSW have a bad day like you did in Welington?

Posted by haha1 on (May 16, 2011, 8:25 GMT)

Oh dear, your record was poor in Wellington and you are already siging from the rooftops-dont get ahead of yourself champ!!

Posted by   on (May 16, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

Ryan harris got wickets at will when he has played for australia, so did doug bollinger when he was on form. Thing now is we need to rely on 4-5 bowlers now and not just 2 like be4 with warne, mcgrath, and then they had guys like stuart clark and gillespie backing them up so there was no respite. we need a quality spinner, we need to have the best quick bowlers not being injured (harris, mckay etc) That doesnt seem like much but haury is our best spinner and he is no match winner. Pat cummins looks promising along with trent copeland and rimmington, also chris swann. Aus also has batting issues especially in test cricket. questions like are katich, hussey and ponting past their best and too old? is phil hughes' awkward technique suitable for test match opener? Will kawaja fire?? is it time to recall phil jaques or cosgrove even? is it time for Chris lynn or is it too early? only time will tell

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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