Australia news August 17, 2011

Ashes autopsy report close at hand

41

Australian cricket's reckoning for a disastrous Ashes series, and the decline from greatness to mediocrity that preceded it, is belatedly at hand. The findings of the Australian team performance review will, as ESPNcricinfo reported in July, be tabled and discussed by the directors at the Cricket Australia board meeting to take place in Melbourne on Thursday and Friday, nearly eight months after the Ashes were lost in an innings defeat at the MCG.

Upon the conclusion of the meeting CA's chairman Jack Clarke will face the cameras and microphones to run over whatever findings the board chooses to make public. Based on the submissions of a litany of players, coaches, administrators and other well-placed observers, they are expected to be blunt and wide-ranging.

The review panel, chaired by Don Argus and including the former captains Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh plus the former CA chief executive Malcolm Speed, is likely to direct its harshest critiques towards the selection policies of the out of contract chairman, Andrew Hilditch, whose term lapsed at the end of the World Cup.

Hilditch's tenure began in 2006, and after enjoying a 5-0 Ashes sweep on England in the following summer he was fated to negotiate the retirements of a succession of great players, including Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn.

He and his panel have been heavily criticised for numerous decisions across that time, most pointedly the revolving door for spin bowlers since the selectors' planning was thrown out of balance by the sudden retirement of Stuart MacGill in 2008.

More recently the removal of Simon Katich from the list of CA contracted players provided a window into the players' discontent about the ways of the panel, something also highlighted by a formal submission to the review regarding selection by the Australian Cricketers Association.

Rod Marsh, the former Australian wicketkeeper and highly-respected academy coach, has expressed his interest in becoming chairman of selectors, discussing the possibility with CA's head of cricket operations, Michael Brown.

Other matters at issue for the review panel include the shape of the Australian team's support staff, with the place of the head coach Tim Nielsen in some question. Since the World Cup Nielsen's support staff has been bolstered by the additions of Craig McDermott (bowling coach) and Steve Rixon (fielding coach), as the players desired greater guidance from mentors with international experience.

Rixon's arrival in particular has been met with great enthusiasm, and as the former coach of New Zealand and NSW his credentials far outweigh those of Nielsen, who was a distinguished assistant for South Australia and Australia but had never been a head coach until he replaced John Buchanan in 2007, like Hilditch at the outset of a difficult period of transition.

Australia's players and support staff currently on tour in Sri Lanka are expected to be briefed about the review findings on Friday morning in Colombo, before Clarke presents a summary of the findings to the public.

The Australian team's contract system, scheduling and preparation have also been matters for discussion, with the former chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns noting that a sleeker and more flexible contract system should be devised.

It has also been pointed out that Test cricket in Australia would benefit from being the clear financial pinnacle of the game, with sufficient incentives for young players to devote themselves to its pursuit.

The evolving role of the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane is considered a sore point in the development of players, as CA has sought to make it more of a finishing school for internationals rather than a bridge between junior cricket and the first-class arena.

Further down the pathway, the standard of domestic cricket has been openly questioned by the likes of Ricky Ponting, who fervently believes that young cricketers need to be held to the same rigorous standards he had to reach before he was selected to play for Australia.

Twenty20's onset, and its attendant impact on the techniques and priorities of domestic players, is another factor, but CA are torn on this matter by competing desires to have the Test team successful while also growing the game's revenue.

There is little the review panel can do about the onset of the T20 Big Bash League and its heavy impact on the domestic schedule, meaning there will be plenty of hurdles ahead for the Australian team, whatever Argus and company recommend at the board meeting.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on August 19, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    @ HatsforBats - doh! Okay, can't have that, I'll go Dan Smith, he can bat #8, & I'll promote O'Keefe to #7!

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    @ Meety: this is funny, I'd not heard of Neville so I looked him up, he's from VIC! Looks like we'll just have to make do with a ring-in for the keeper!

  • Meety on August 19, 2011, 2:39 GMT

    @HatsforBats - oops!! Okay I'll start again! @Paullie deep down you know the Ozzy test team should be 1. Hughes, 2. Jaques, 3. Maddinson, 4. Clarke (c), 5. Smith (c), 6. Henriques, 7. Neville, 8. O'Keefe, 9. Copeland, 10. Cummins, 11. Bollinger & 12th man Warner! LOL!!!! @HatsforBats - I usually remember Katich is a west coast boy, I keep forgetting Haddin though! I wont dig up Gilly - let him RIP (so to speak), & run with Neville, I haven't heard much about the quality of his keeping (Haddinesque or Healyesque????), but IMO he is definately a better batsmen than Wade or Paine!

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    @Meety: that is a classic! Unfortunately Katich is a WACA boy & Haddin is from the ACT. Let's just get Gilly out of retirement.

  • Meety on August 18, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    @Paullie - deep down you know the Ozzy test team should be 1. Hughes, 2. Jaques, 3. Katich, 4. Maddinson, 5. Clarke (c), 6. Henriques, 7. Haddin, 8. O'Keefe, 9. Copeland, 10. Cummins, 11. Bollinger & 12th man Smith! Making up the other touring positions would be Hazlewood, Starc, Armstrong & Abbott! LOL!!!!!

  • RandyOZ on August 18, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    @ tdobbo, I wouldn't want all those guys dropped, you play your best team everytime. Our best team always contains a mix of young and old. Be under no illusion if we played all kids we'd be even further down the rankings. Just look at the current tour, who's scored all our runs????

  • __PK on August 18, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    Trevor Hohns was vilified by the media when he tried to remove Steve Waugh when he was playing like the old man he was. When did he become our likely saviour? Just goes to show that the cricket media don't like it when you try to treat NSW players like everyone else.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 18, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    The BIGGEST mistake Cricket Australia have made is the inception of the new look Big Bash League along lines of the IPL. We all know how the IPL has changed the mind sets of some of the young Indian players with regards to test cricket. The last thing Australia needs is a complete ignorance of test cricket talent. If that happens, India and Australia will find a cozy home in the middle of the ICC rankings. T20 is good but it's becoming overkill. I am not a big fan of test cricket but I do respect its history and superiority over the format of T20. Leagues like the Big Bash and IPL must ONLY be annual festivities rather than HOT summer showcases in terms of the respective first class seasons. Shield Cricket and Ranji Cricket are the breeding grounds of prospective future test stars; unfortunately the yard stick are these new T20 competitions. Very disappointing news for cricket purists.

  • Nothling on August 18, 2011, 10:24 GMT

    Bit confused.Why does Aussie captain of 6 months present findings in Sri Lanka?.Where is James Sutherland?.

  • tdobbo on August 18, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    I think its a cop out to be blaming Hilditch, seems to be a case of Aussie cricket is rotten to the core. Why doesn't someone stand up to the older blokes, like drop Ponting, Hussey, Haddin and give some young talent a go. England must be licking their lips at the prospect of what essentially will be the same Aussie team in 2013 as it was in the last two one sided series. Unless of course they try to unearth some new talent. Let's hope they've got better young players than Hughes and Smith who seem to me to be well away from test players.

  • Meety on August 19, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    @ HatsforBats - doh! Okay, can't have that, I'll go Dan Smith, he can bat #8, & I'll promote O'Keefe to #7!

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    @ Meety: this is funny, I'd not heard of Neville so I looked him up, he's from VIC! Looks like we'll just have to make do with a ring-in for the keeper!

  • Meety on August 19, 2011, 2:39 GMT

    @HatsforBats - oops!! Okay I'll start again! @Paullie deep down you know the Ozzy test team should be 1. Hughes, 2. Jaques, 3. Maddinson, 4. Clarke (c), 5. Smith (c), 6. Henriques, 7. Neville, 8. O'Keefe, 9. Copeland, 10. Cummins, 11. Bollinger & 12th man Warner! LOL!!!! @HatsforBats - I usually remember Katich is a west coast boy, I keep forgetting Haddin though! I wont dig up Gilly - let him RIP (so to speak), & run with Neville, I haven't heard much about the quality of his keeping (Haddinesque or Healyesque????), but IMO he is definately a better batsmen than Wade or Paine!

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    @Meety: that is a classic! Unfortunately Katich is a WACA boy & Haddin is from the ACT. Let's just get Gilly out of retirement.

  • Meety on August 18, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    @Paullie - deep down you know the Ozzy test team should be 1. Hughes, 2. Jaques, 3. Katich, 4. Maddinson, 5. Clarke (c), 6. Henriques, 7. Haddin, 8. O'Keefe, 9. Copeland, 10. Cummins, 11. Bollinger & 12th man Smith! Making up the other touring positions would be Hazlewood, Starc, Armstrong & Abbott! LOL!!!!!

  • RandyOZ on August 18, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    @ tdobbo, I wouldn't want all those guys dropped, you play your best team everytime. Our best team always contains a mix of young and old. Be under no illusion if we played all kids we'd be even further down the rankings. Just look at the current tour, who's scored all our runs????

  • __PK on August 18, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    Trevor Hohns was vilified by the media when he tried to remove Steve Waugh when he was playing like the old man he was. When did he become our likely saviour? Just goes to show that the cricket media don't like it when you try to treat NSW players like everyone else.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 18, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    The BIGGEST mistake Cricket Australia have made is the inception of the new look Big Bash League along lines of the IPL. We all know how the IPL has changed the mind sets of some of the young Indian players with regards to test cricket. The last thing Australia needs is a complete ignorance of test cricket talent. If that happens, India and Australia will find a cozy home in the middle of the ICC rankings. T20 is good but it's becoming overkill. I am not a big fan of test cricket but I do respect its history and superiority over the format of T20. Leagues like the Big Bash and IPL must ONLY be annual festivities rather than HOT summer showcases in terms of the respective first class seasons. Shield Cricket and Ranji Cricket are the breeding grounds of prospective future test stars; unfortunately the yard stick are these new T20 competitions. Very disappointing news for cricket purists.

  • Nothling on August 18, 2011, 10:24 GMT

    Bit confused.Why does Aussie captain of 6 months present findings in Sri Lanka?.Where is James Sutherland?.

  • tdobbo on August 18, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    I think its a cop out to be blaming Hilditch, seems to be a case of Aussie cricket is rotten to the core. Why doesn't someone stand up to the older blokes, like drop Ponting, Hussey, Haddin and give some young talent a go. England must be licking their lips at the prospect of what essentially will be the same Aussie team in 2013 as it was in the last two one sided series. Unless of course they try to unearth some new talent. Let's hope they've got better young players than Hughes and Smith who seem to me to be well away from test players.

  • DazTaylor on August 18, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    My previous comments were in jest and meant no offence. On a serious note, as an outsider looking in, there are a few things I dont understand (and reading your comments, a lot of you dont either): Why drop Katich, one of your best players over the last few years? Phil Hughes is not ready by a mile. We (England) have found him out in both series and any side would rather bowl at him. Why give your spinners only 2 tests before dropping them? Had this have happened in the past, Shane Warne would never have played much as his record was 1-196 after 2 games.

  • DazTaylor on August 18, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    @RandyOz Nope, not worried - everything is cyclical. Your team of a few years ago is a once in a generation great team, packed with legends. Whilst you may never repeat that, you WILL be back. No doubt about that :-)

  • Meety on August 18, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    @Steve Gregory - I think 50 over cricket is WAY better than T20. I don't find it boring at all, lost a little bit of sheen now Oz isn't the WC Champions any more though - LOL! -- -- -- On the centre of excellance, I can't see why it can't have a dual role. That is to be a bridge between junior & senior cricket AND a finishing school for International cricketers. I mean one way to look at is - most High Schools offer more than just Maths in the curriculum, Universities have many different degrees, why can't the C of E, manage 2 different goals. The fact is they are a lot more similar than say Medicine & Arts, or Maths & English!!! Due to the Kolpak laws in England, we can't get our players over to play County cricket in the same quantities as in years gone by, so we do need a finishing school (IMO), but young cricketers also need to be helped make adjustments to play against the big boys!

  • thebarmyarmy on August 18, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    RIP Australian Test Cricket :)

  • HatsforBats on August 18, 2011, 0:54 GMT

    My rage has grown ten-fold. I was unaware Hilditch was off-contract. Why is he still selecting teams i.e. DROPPING KATICH, when he is OFF CONTRACT!!! Anything short of the IMMEDIATE dismissal of Hilditch will be a failure for the review. Secondly, Tim "the nice guy" Neilsen should also be stood aside for Rixon.

  • on August 18, 2011, 0:48 GMT

    KEEP TEST CRICKET STRONG dilute the 50 over format(it's now boring) an make up the dilution with the twenty/20 style cricket.If all countries agree to this I think everybody be happy with the possibility of erasing 50 over cricket we cant cover all three styles anymore

  • Ozcricketwriter on August 18, 2011, 0:28 GMT

    It is good to see on the outer that there are thoughts about bringing Trevor Hohns back and bringing the experienced Rod Marsh into the selecting or coaching frame, possibly as chairman of selectors. I strongly feel that the problem is not with the players or the domestic structure but rather with the coaching and selecting staff. They are not building teams. It is not simply that they are picking the wrong players but they aren't combining them well. We do have the resources where we should most of the time play 4 fast bowlers but we need to play the right 4 fast bowlers, bowlers who combine well together. This was decent in the World Cup but playing Krezja for the sake of having a spinner ruined it - Hastings should have played instead. Get rid of the problems at the top and the rest will fall into place.

  • Meety on August 17, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    @popcorn - exactly! One of the things about T20 is that it doesn't appeal much to avid CRICKET fans. So that being the case, WHY have star CRICKETERS? It was only a few years ago Andrew Johns (star footballer), had a hit with NSW in the BBL in Newcastle. The crowd loved it. Did it cheapen the sport? - well yes, but it was only T20! Get it! ONLY TWENTY/TWENTY. I think that games will be well attended even if grade hacks play, with a smattering of seasoned pro's on their way out. The type of people who will watch probably don't even care who wins. Its just 3 hours out of their life before they go out on the town to party, & with the amplified music blasting - the party has already started. So IMO, Cric Oz don't need to get the Test stars into the BBL, or for that matter talented youngsters who are suited to long forms either. Just get 11 players, throw in a Hayden, or a Hodge, or even a Gilchrest, the people will watch it. Its a whole seperate market!

  • aus_trad on August 17, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    As an Aus supporter, this review has been the only positive to come out of the Ashes fiasco (greatest disaster for Aus cricket in 30 years - since the 1981 Ashes). My only fear is that the results won't be sufficiently far reaching. Aus cricket has become complacent due to the years of greatness, and needs a real overhaul, from the top down. The last time things were this bad was the mid-80's, and that was used as a springboard for the revival that followed. Hope same happens this time! Thanks, Daz, for comment re Hilditch: that says it all! Now is a time when Aus cricket needs the best possible people at the top, starting with the selectors.

  • RandyOZ on August 17, 2011, 22:56 GMT

    @ DazTaylor, so I see you are one of the English fans loving commenting in our articles. That's fine but we all know the reason you guys are all commenting here is because you are starting to get worried that we are finally getting our act together and heading back up to knock you off your perch for a long time!

  • Governor on August 17, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    If the Argus review does not bring major changes to the coaching, selection and cricket development structures within Australian cricket, this report will be a waste of time.

    If Hilditch is not replaced with Rod Marsh as Chairman of Selectors, the review will be a waste of time.

    England made some tough decisions after we wallopped them in 2006-2007 and they are reaping the rewards of tough decisions.

    I am waiting for RW Marsh to become our new Chairman of Selectors and the appointment of experienced coaches who played test cricket at the AIS Academy in Brisbane.

  • on August 17, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    Australian selectors are just not putting any hope to develop their spin department,like Doherty pointed out,spinners need regular chances to do well..if u don't want to take the words of an inexperienced bowler like Doherty,consider wat Daniel Vettori spoke about Hauritz and why do they opt for Beer instead of O'Keefe...Selectors must know that the miser role in the ashes was not prevalent..doherty was not regularly played and so were Krejza,Hauritz and others...

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 17, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    The 'New Hilditch Affair'...

  • DazTaylor on August 17, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    I think Andrew Hilditch is doing a fabulous job. Signed, Darren Taylor, England fan.

  • Chris_Howard on August 17, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    Love Cricinfo's profile on Andrew Hilditch: "Andrew Hilditch was a qualified solicitor, but one who lacked the IQ to cut out the hook, a stroke that consistently brought about his downfall." In due course they might add: "Andrew Hilditch was a qualified solicitor, but one who lacked the IQ to be chairman of selectors, with consistently mind-boggling selection decisions"

  • on August 17, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    Greetings from India.I've always admired the Aussie Team for their ruthless and clinical approach,only hating them in a few instances like the Sydney fiasco in 2008.Do hope the Argus Review addresses some of the key issues which the fans have pointed out,particularly dissatisfaction over Team Selections.But for the Argus Review to take effect,CA must be straight in their approach.As an Indian Fan I hate the BCCI's money making policies and am seeing the effect of this IPL monster on the England Tour.CA which was once considered as a benchmark for other Cricket Boards has become as worse as BCCI.Telling "Getting back to no.1 in Test Cricket is our priority" but busy in promoting the BBL.The salaries at the Domestic Level are mismanaged.An average Shield player will earn 75000 $,while a BBL player will get 4 times more.Unless CA get rid of this mad idea of BBL n make Shield Cricket the 1st priority,nothing will change.Not only CA,every board must kill T20 and put a premium on 5 day.

  • on August 17, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    I'm with George204.

    Australia have played phenomenal cricket in the 90's and 2000's, but the problem was they got so used to winning that losing became inconceivable. Every team loses - even the best, and that's just something they must accept.

  • on August 17, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    this report will surely have long reaching impacts, it wont just be forgotten will it? its taken forever to compile, all i realyl want to come out of it is a proper contract list that is much more flexible (like the english system), more financial emphasis on test cricket (I have to say steve smith has to be totally commended on his commitment to the test arena), get rid of the diabolical selectors and sort their contracts out, and get rid of nielsen who is also utter trash. and REINSTATE KATICH

  • RandyOZ on August 17, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    The biggest thing for me apart from getting in a decent full time set of selectors is altering the central contracts to make sure (as the article alluded to) that performance in TEST MATCH CRICKET is the best financially rewarded format. I hope that there is a paragraph alone dedicated to why on earth Steve O'Keefe hasn't had his chance in the revolving door!

  • popcorn on August 17, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Why can't a balance be struck between THE REAL GAME OF CRICKET - Test Cricket, Sheffield Shield,ODIs, and the Slam Bang T20?

  • Trapper439 on August 17, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    I would love it if the third paragraph of the article is true. Hilditch has been a complete disaster. Even if it he hadn't been mismanaging selection policy England would still have beat us in the Ashes, as they're simply a better side than us at the moment. But his overall ethos is a joke, and it's even more pathetic when you consider that he was part of the team during the dark days of the '80s. He obviously learned nothing from the way Australia came out of that slump. That happened after he got dropped, by the way.

  • jazzaaaaaaaa on August 17, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    I think the most important issue is how they will cope with the AFL's (Australian Football League for people who may not know) growing popularity in the less populated states. To me it is no coincidence that since the AFL has expanded into these states, the amount of quality cricketers coming from these states has dwindled. If you look at WA, they used to produce good fast bowlers and batsman, since the AFL brought West Coast Eagles into the competition in 1987 and then Fremantle in 1995, WA have had to look interstate to find fast bowlers. Same with SA, they would produce some good batsman and spinners, but they have been terrible since the AFL brought the Adelaide Crows into the competition in 1991 and Port Adelaide in 1997. NSW and Victoria have remained strong because they have a big enough population to produce quality players for more then 1 sport. Even Queensland has struggled recently with the NRL (National Rugby League) being more popular then ever up there.

  • on August 17, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Maybe Cricket Australia can lend the template of the report to India, I'm sure there will be some common themes

  • TheLonelyisland on August 17, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    I misread the article and thought they said Argos instead of Argus.

    But to be honest the valiant store staff at Argos or any other high-street store could probably run CA better.

  • Mogadon on August 17, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    I hope CA make all the findings public. Transparency is only going to help them in the coming months.

  • dsig3 on August 17, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    Would be a great read but I doubt the public will be told much. Just a few soundbytes. The report will be forgotten about in 6 months and Sutherland, Hilditch and Neilsen will continue on their merry way.

  • george204 on August 17, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    Just as England's post-2006/7 "autopsy" was a largely pointless activity (A poorly prepared, poorly led, injury depleted deam with an excessively bloated coaching setup played one of the greatest sides of all time with some of the greatest players of all time looking to end their careers on a high, and unsurprisingly lost heavily), so this "autopsy" has made a huge big deal of what should be a relatively simple analysis: an team in transition, having lost many great players, came up against a well coached, well prepared, hungry team, who played better cricket & deservedly won. Unless the autopsy concludes that Hilditch is an idiot & his revolving door selection policies (especially when it comes to spinners), is not helping matter, it will have been a pointless exercise.

  • Ozcricketwriter on August 17, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    Sounds good and hopefully it will be. In many ways I'd like the findings to be known and acted on sooner rather than later. But I'd also like to make sure that they are the right findings. If this is done poorly, it could take many more years before we can recover from this fall.

  • onlinegamer55 on August 17, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    Andrew Hilditch ... An outstanding test batsmen. His strongest shot was the hook ... some say he played that even better than Ricky Punter. He retired after a solid career. Had he played longer, many would compare him to The Don. He is now a fantastic selector and a likable guy. His selections are some of the most appropriate that I've seen. He's single handedly won matches for Australia with his selections .... It'll be sad to see him sacked on Friday. Who is Andrew Hilditch?

  • boris6491 on August 17, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    I've been waiting for this appraisal, like many Australian fans, for god knows how long. Hopefully, people who have not just allowed, but also fuelled Australian cricket's decline over the last couple of years will be brought to account following this review. Yes, Andrew Hilditch, that last sentence was directed towards you. I think Rod Marsh, who has been wonderful at the academy, would make a superb selector. The reason being that, unlike Hilditch, he has had direct experience with the players through the academy. He would naturally know who's good, who's not and what players are best to take Australia forward. Without doubt, he would most certainly act with a little more rationality and common sense than the current selectors, something most of us could probably do.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on August 17, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    BRING. IT. ON. Mentioned that little can be done about the onset of T20 Big Bash giggle cricket but what CAN be recommended but is corrections to the contracting system, scheduling and overall emphasis in CA decision making to keep it in its place. EVERY decision must answer the question ..... 'Will this make Australia better at Test cricket?' with a resounding yes. Hopefully Hilditch & Neilsen will be clearing their desks by the end of the week and the start of Australia rising again can commence. To me the crucial area is the Sheffield Shield regaining its level through more availability of Test players and a campaign to produce Test-style pitches and intensity.

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  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on August 17, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    BRING. IT. ON. Mentioned that little can be done about the onset of T20 Big Bash giggle cricket but what CAN be recommended but is corrections to the contracting system, scheduling and overall emphasis in CA decision making to keep it in its place. EVERY decision must answer the question ..... 'Will this make Australia better at Test cricket?' with a resounding yes. Hopefully Hilditch & Neilsen will be clearing their desks by the end of the week and the start of Australia rising again can commence. To me the crucial area is the Sheffield Shield regaining its level through more availability of Test players and a campaign to produce Test-style pitches and intensity.

  • boris6491 on August 17, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    I've been waiting for this appraisal, like many Australian fans, for god knows how long. Hopefully, people who have not just allowed, but also fuelled Australian cricket's decline over the last couple of years will be brought to account following this review. Yes, Andrew Hilditch, that last sentence was directed towards you. I think Rod Marsh, who has been wonderful at the academy, would make a superb selector. The reason being that, unlike Hilditch, he has had direct experience with the players through the academy. He would naturally know who's good, who's not and what players are best to take Australia forward. Without doubt, he would most certainly act with a little more rationality and common sense than the current selectors, something most of us could probably do.

  • onlinegamer55 on August 17, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    Andrew Hilditch ... An outstanding test batsmen. His strongest shot was the hook ... some say he played that even better than Ricky Punter. He retired after a solid career. Had he played longer, many would compare him to The Don. He is now a fantastic selector and a likable guy. His selections are some of the most appropriate that I've seen. He's single handedly won matches for Australia with his selections .... It'll be sad to see him sacked on Friday. Who is Andrew Hilditch?

  • Ozcricketwriter on August 17, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    Sounds good and hopefully it will be. In many ways I'd like the findings to be known and acted on sooner rather than later. But I'd also like to make sure that they are the right findings. If this is done poorly, it could take many more years before we can recover from this fall.

  • george204 on August 17, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    Just as England's post-2006/7 "autopsy" was a largely pointless activity (A poorly prepared, poorly led, injury depleted deam with an excessively bloated coaching setup played one of the greatest sides of all time with some of the greatest players of all time looking to end their careers on a high, and unsurprisingly lost heavily), so this "autopsy" has made a huge big deal of what should be a relatively simple analysis: an team in transition, having lost many great players, came up against a well coached, well prepared, hungry team, who played better cricket & deservedly won. Unless the autopsy concludes that Hilditch is an idiot & his revolving door selection policies (especially when it comes to spinners), is not helping matter, it will have been a pointless exercise.

  • dsig3 on August 17, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    Would be a great read but I doubt the public will be told much. Just a few soundbytes. The report will be forgotten about in 6 months and Sutherland, Hilditch and Neilsen will continue on their merry way.

  • Mogadon on August 17, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    I hope CA make all the findings public. Transparency is only going to help them in the coming months.

  • TheLonelyisland on August 17, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    I misread the article and thought they said Argos instead of Argus.

    But to be honest the valiant store staff at Argos or any other high-street store could probably run CA better.

  • on August 17, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Maybe Cricket Australia can lend the template of the report to India, I'm sure there will be some common themes

  • jazzaaaaaaaa on August 17, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    I think the most important issue is how they will cope with the AFL's (Australian Football League for people who may not know) growing popularity in the less populated states. To me it is no coincidence that since the AFL has expanded into these states, the amount of quality cricketers coming from these states has dwindled. If you look at WA, they used to produce good fast bowlers and batsman, since the AFL brought West Coast Eagles into the competition in 1987 and then Fremantle in 1995, WA have had to look interstate to find fast bowlers. Same with SA, they would produce some good batsman and spinners, but they have been terrible since the AFL brought the Adelaide Crows into the competition in 1991 and Port Adelaide in 1997. NSW and Victoria have remained strong because they have a big enough population to produce quality players for more then 1 sport. Even Queensland has struggled recently with the NRL (National Rugby League) being more popular then ever up there.