Australia news July 4, 2011

Nielsen expects team regeneration

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tim Nielsen, the Australia coach, has said the selectors' decision to exclude opener Simon Katich from the list of contracted players is a sign that they are looking to regenerate the Test team. The move to cut the 35-year-old Katich, and thus effectively end his career, drew strong reactions, with both Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson expressing surprise at the move.

Nielsen, though, said this was probably part of a broader plan the selectors have for the team. "You don't necessarily like players not performing or not retained but it's the nature of the beast at this level," he told AAP in Brisbane, where Australia are training in preparation for their tour of Sri Lanka. "It is pretty clear the selectors have made a decision to regenerate this team. We've been through a period where our Test performances haven't been as good as we would have liked. We've got some older players and we have got some younger players looking for an opportunity. At some stage the regeneration of this team will take place and I think you have seen the first step in that process."

The lowest point in Australia's slide was the the 3-1 defeat in the last Ashes, a series in which Nielsen admitted he had been outcoached. "You don't like being singled out. It is hard at times but when we play like the Ashes you stand up and cop it on the chin just like the players on the field. There was a lot of talk about being outcoached in the Ashes and it is hard to argue with that. If it [criticism] doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger. And we are looking forward to getting better."

The road to improvement though, Nielsen stressed, had to be approached in a measured manner. Australia are now ranked fifth in the ICC Test rankings and Nielsen said the aim was not to reach No. 1 but climb the ladder step by step. "We are not even thinking about No.1. To get to No. 4 then No. 3 (and so on) in the Test rankings and maintain our hold on the No.1 ranking in one-day cricket we need our players to be as consistent as they can be."

Australia's training camp at the Cricket Australia Centre of Excellence in Brisbane began on July 4. The tour of Sri Lanka begins on August 6 with the first of two Twenty20 internationals in Pallekele, and will include five one-day internationals and three Tests.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on July 6, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    If the goal is regeneration & not to defend the #1 ranking in ODIs - the squad for SL IMO should be; 1. Watson, 2. Finch, 3. Khawaja, 4. Clarke (c), 5. Ferguson, 6. Christian, 7. Paine/Wade, 8. Smith, 9, O'Keefe, 10. Johnson, 11. Pattinson, 12. Lee, 13. Butterworth, 14. Hauritz, 15. Voges. -- -- -- If in fact we are not looking towards the next W/Cup, & are looking to defend the #1 ranking the squad should be (IMO); 1. Watson, 2. Ponting, 3. Ferguson, 4. Clarke, 5. D Hussey, 6. Smith, 7. Paine, 8. Johnson, 9. Hauritz, 10. Hastings, 11. Lee, 12. Bollinger, 13. Harris, 14. D Hussey, 15. S Marsh. -- -- -- Personally - I'd like to see; 1. Watson, 2. Christian, 3. Ponting, 4. Clarke, 5. Ferguson, 6. Smith, 7. Wade, 8. O'Keefe, 9. Butterworth, 10. Johnson, 11. Lee - 12th: D Hussey -- -- -- I think its OK for Punter & the Husseys to be in the side for another year or two (form permitting). As I said elsewhere recently - I think Haddin should be dropped from the short formats though.

  • Basil on July 6, 2011, 3:24 GMT

    Regenerate the team? So that's why Ponting is going on ODI tour of SL and Ferguson 10yrs his jr (and in great form) isn't.

  • kieran on July 6, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    @ Meety: I think you're spot on re: Rixon replacing Nielsen in the near future. As much as I queried Rixon's appointment as fielding coach, I think he would be ideal as head coach. Nielsen seems too meek whilst Rixon seems to have a steel spine, and after reading about what he did with the NZ lads, he's got my vote.

  • Mark on July 5, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    The way to regenerate is for young players to earn their place based on performance not be prematurely pushed forward and sacrificed like the Aussie selectors have done for some time now, especially with the spinners. The Katich axing is a travesty and the Aussie selectors shld resign en masse and do us a favour for once.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    Australia have gone downhill since warne, mcgrath, langer, hayden, gilchrist and martyn retired, andrew symonds was pushed due to disciplinary reasons and without good players the team would struggle. That left Ponting and Clarke with a huge burden on their shoulders who had to contend with an out of form Marcus North. It seems they don't persist with a spinner but go on a merry go round until they find one who can take wickets and win you matches, one bad match and your out. Don't be surprised if Australia lose to Sri Lanka, South Africa and India, NZ would be easy beats for the aussies.

  • Ned on July 5, 2011, 1:54 GMT

    lets not play blame the coach,and once we give him the heave ho , everything will be hunk dory. That's Not going to happen. whilst he might not be a Bobby Simpson or Buchanan , he can only work with what he has. which at the moment isn't too hot just as a captain can only work with the player he has on the park. .Is he the man for the future?, can he provide leadership and a vision for the way ahead ?? I don't really think so,( nice guy that he is and all ), he just doesn't have the steel for the job.That said , i don't really envy anyone taking it on at the moment.

  • Luke on July 5, 2011, 1:29 GMT

    From a practical point of view I wouldn't be so worried about the DRS against India; I think spinners are more advantaged in marginal calls than pace bowlers which the absence of DRS would favour Aus by. In terms of Nielsen; I don't think there's much he can do. Kirsten obviously had a hugely positive impact on India but that's also to do with Dhoni as a captain and his calmness at all times. Aus' captains have had a horrible run and it's far more noticeable as they're numbers 3 and 4 as opposed to a wicket-keeper. It's more likely that Langer and McDermott will have a greater impact than Nielsen.

  • Sanjay on July 5, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    Regeneration might start with Nielsen being removed. Have not seen any value he has brought to the team.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2011, 0:41 GMT

    A few tips for the national selectors: A: Quit searching for the next Warne, seriously. Play four seamers, or play Hauritz, at least he has some decent success at test level. B: I'm all for giving 19-20 year old bowlers who've played less than five first class matches a chance, but how about giving some of the bowlers with 5-10 years first class experience a chance? Like say, Luke Butterworth,or Mark Cameron.

  • Cameron on July 5, 2011, 0:15 GMT

    out coached? who gets out coached in cricket? Make sure 11 blokes catch there flight and turn up to a park and you've done your job as a coach! apart from that, Australian cricketers aren't good enough at the moment! Like it or hate it.

  • No featured comments at the moment.