Argus review recommendations August 19, 2011

Can't bat, can't bowl, can't field

The Don Argus report into Australian cricket documents in detail the areas of improvement for the national team - and a lot of them concern the basics of the game
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Australia's cricket team has become a prized example of mismanagement, non-performance, inadequate succession planning, poor team culture, and a glaring lack of accountability. Its pathway from club cricket to the first-class arena has become muddled, beset by a wrongheaded incentive structure, a poor format and a similar waft of the unaccountable.

So says Don Argus' report into the sharply declining performance of the nation's cricketers and their support network, in a document every bit as ugly and confronting as the Ashes loss that hurried its commission. While the recommendations of the Argus review panel were dramatic and immediate, the detail of the report is so damning as to make them look reserved.

The most galling passages concern the reasons for the poor performance of the Australian team, and the failure of a seemingly bountiful, well-paid side and support staff to adequately address even the most basic of issues since a succession of retirements pushed the XI into a new phase.

Australia's captain Michael Clarke said on his entry to the leadership that Australia's basics had to improve. The review quantifies exactly how much, pointing out the national team had shown an inability to adhere to many of the most basics tenets of the game.

"The evidence from the Ashes and other recent series is that our basic cricket skills are lacking in key areas, in particular: For batting; batting for long periods; batting against the moving ball; our approach to playing spin; general batting technique in some instances," it read. "For bowling; building pressure; bowling to an agreed plan; spin bowling and captaincy of spin bowling; swing bowling, including generating reverse swing. For fielding; overall fielding, especially catching; General athleticism; this has extra significance as in the panel's view fielding standards reflect the attitude and professionalism of the team.

"For our overall approach; Building batting and bowling partnerships; General game sense/match awareness and cricket expertise, including the ability to problem-solve during the course of a match."

Ironically for a team that has had a baseball-based fielding coach for numerous years in Mike Young, the review suggested that greater measures of fielding needed to be taken for this aspect of the game served as both a reliable way to improve results but also a strong barometer for the team's wellness.

"For catching and fielding specifically, the panel recommends introducing explicit measurement of catching and fielding efficiency for all first-class and international players and teams," the review said. "These should also feed in to player rankings/performance incentives.

"One simple measure would be catches taken as a percentage of chances created. Chances could be weighted by difficulty if required. The same could be done for run-outs. Measures of this nature have been standard practice in baseball and other sports for decades and should become standard in Australian cricket."

In addition to the many problems of skill, the panel also highlighted inconsistencies in selection and the failure to consistently promote or demote players on the basis of performance. Simon Katich alluded to this problem during his furious response to being dropped from CA's list of contracted players, a decision that defied fairness and most logic.

"It is critical that superior performance is rewarded at all levels," the report said. "Players must earn their positions in the time-honoured way of making runs, taking wickets and showing that they are ready to play at the next level. At the same time, potential cannot be overlooked: there must be room for some intuition in selections. Players must be held accountable when they are not performing. This has been an issue in recent years."

For Clarke, the greatest problem he has been charged with confronting is the building of a much improved team culture, which promoted greater trust and leadership by example. As a way of measuring this, Clarke and his deputy Shane Watson will be pushed to foster more frank "adult conversations" while undergoing a process of mentoring themselves.

"Another theme to emerge from the interviews was the lack of a strong culture in the current Australian team," the review said. "There was also negative commentary about the broader culture in Australian cricket. The attitudes reported are quite different to those needed to be successful at elite level. Remedying these issues is clearly critical, and requires immediate and concerted effort.

"The team's leaders need to be made aware of the situation and their roles in creating it. A 360-degree feedback process is needed, followed by "adult conversations" with each individual spelling out how they are perceived and, where necessary, agreeing required changes to behaviour as part of an overall development plan (skills, physiology and psychology).

"Senior players including the captain and vice-captain should receive mentoring by an external professional at least every 6 months and at least for the first 2 years of their tenure. The captain should also actively seek and use the counsel of his vice-captain, which is an important role and should be more clearly defined.

Armed with this awareness, senior players and staff must lead by example. They must perform strongly on the field but also role model the desired behaviours and enlist the other opinion-shapers in the group to do the same. They must also increase the level of trust and honesty within the group."

The term "adult conversation" was used several times in the report, and again by Argus while discussing its release. The message was as clear as the report itself - time for the Australian cricket team to grow up.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on August 21, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    I was very heartened by this article, as it indicated some of the detail in the report. Not just parading some scapegoats. It struck a chord with me the comments about fielding. I had long whinged on this site (2yrs or more), that Young shouldn't be the fielding coach. Basball has gloves & don't have slips fielding - the only thing he improved (IMO), was relay throwing, (& side arm throws) - thats it. I watched Oz train at a change of innings during the 1st test - all the players were using gloves! I know their is an injury mitigation factor - but that's dumb! Young may have been better if he implemented some of the KPI stats that Baseball in the US keep - but he didn't as far as I'm aware.

  • on August 20, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    If your were saying Australia Poor Selection process?

    what about last one decade they are top of the world in bowling batting,feilding

  • hyclass on August 20, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    This report was prepared by Don Argus,the former chairman of one of the largest mining companies on earth-a man who oversaw one of the greatest mergers in history and a leader with half a century of credits to his name and the AC Medal for his success in the high pressure world of big business and banking.Its contents are a summary of those actions and inactions and the responsible and irresponsible parties.It suggests the remedies and does so without fear or favour.Only a fool would ignore its recommendations.@ultimatewarrior..another petty Indian attempt to hijack this forum and rubbish it with poor sportsmanship.England are number one in test cricket because the ICC says it is.Its a fact,not an opinion.Its the result of sustained excellence over time against varied opponents and is based on win/loss ratios.Theyre currently thrashing India.Its no accident.They did it to Australia earlier this year.Even if they werent number one,what would that make India?Its time to show respect.

  • on August 20, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    "The evidence from the Ashes and other recent series is that our basic cricket skills are lacking in key areas, in particular: For batting; batting for long periods; batting against the moving ball; our approach to playing spin; general batting technique in some instances," it read. "For bowling; building pressure; bowling to an agreed plan; spin bowling and captaincy of spin bowling; swing bowling, including generating reverse swing. For fielding; overall fielding, especially catching; General athleticism; this has extra significance as in the panel's view fielding standards reflect the attitude and professionalism of the team.

    "For our overall approach; Building batting and bowling partnerships; General game sense/match awareness and cricket expertise, including the ability to problem-solve during the course of a match." An excerpt from the Argus Report. Pass it on to the Indian Team, they need it badly!

  • ultimatewarrior on August 20, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    It is the worst report I can imagine as a cricket fan, must be prepared by some official instead of an ex player. From report it seems Aust.Team is worse than NZ,WI and many. But actually it is not, it is still much better than report is claiming. I guess Australia only thin of self confidence and thick of self doubt. So to be again no.1 they have to stick to basics only (India too is undergoing same phase). I believe India, Australia and Africa are capable to beat this English side. Actually Winning of a team is very less related to Overall Greatness(or Class as usually referred) of its Players. Instead it depends on team's present mindset, confidence and willingness. Look this very same Indian Team has won World Cup just before 2-3 months comprehensively. Further England Team (same core players) firstly lost 5-0 to Australia in Australia then won 3-1. Greatness of a team can be measured by his tenure to beat everybody, not by its players Greatness. Lets see how long England Rules...

  • ravi_hari on August 20, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    I think it is a bold report. Look at the way they immediatelt swung into action and highlighted what ails and what needs to be done. If one compares the complacency shown by BCCI to this it will convey the seriousness of the board. It has surprised many the way the report criticised the fielding. Even at this standards they are way ahead of many teams.The onus is on Clarke and Watson to make the best use of the recommendations. I think Hildithch has had an extended stay and Chappel had to go. A new team of selectors will do a world of good to the team. Someone like a Steve Waugh should be roped in so that he can gel with the present lot better and who can understand the nuances of the sport of today. Ravi Hari

  • vj3478 on August 20, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    more than 50% of the current OZ team are young to international cricket. give them enough chances to grow. Warne, McGrath, Steve Waugh Hayden.. all didnt become world champions from day 1. Good thing is they sacked the current selection panel who were playing with players career. they should have done this before the player contracts. one last thing is captaincy.. clark is not captaincy material.. he cant inspire team. his attitude is wrong. same was with ponting but he was an outstanding player which masked it.

  • on August 20, 2011, 0:41 GMT

    @MartinC - agree on comments re Eng performance, but would argue that Aus actually has a great deal of talent coming through, its just been daft selections that has been one of the main problems. Hauritz, McDonald, Paine, Cosgrove, Hughes, D Hussey, Hodge, Wade, O'Keefe, Khawaja, Ferguson, S & M Marsh, Lynn, Maddinson, Butterworth, Faulkner, Feldman, Swan, Copeland are all players who have performed well over a number of seasons, had good seasons last year and/or pretty decent overall records. Some of them could have played straight after the retirements and done well, others have been overlooked for pathetic reasons. The selectors have been ilogical in selecting players with "potential", underperformers, or guys with one good display - Doherty, Beer, Lyon, White (as spinner not batter), North, Smith, Krejza, Hilfenhous to name a few. While we did lose some brilliant cricketers, the slide could have been much less with better selections and player management in my opinion

  • Vince01 on August 20, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    MartinC, please read the report and tell us what you disagree with.

  • on August 19, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    Should have recommended sacking of Cricket Australia's leaders who are ultimately responsible for the situation. They backed the incompetent selectors coach and captain. New blood needed there

  • Meety on August 21, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    I was very heartened by this article, as it indicated some of the detail in the report. Not just parading some scapegoats. It struck a chord with me the comments about fielding. I had long whinged on this site (2yrs or more), that Young shouldn't be the fielding coach. Basball has gloves & don't have slips fielding - the only thing he improved (IMO), was relay throwing, (& side arm throws) - thats it. I watched Oz train at a change of innings during the 1st test - all the players were using gloves! I know their is an injury mitigation factor - but that's dumb! Young may have been better if he implemented some of the KPI stats that Baseball in the US keep - but he didn't as far as I'm aware.

  • on August 20, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    If your were saying Australia Poor Selection process?

    what about last one decade they are top of the world in bowling batting,feilding

  • hyclass on August 20, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    This report was prepared by Don Argus,the former chairman of one of the largest mining companies on earth-a man who oversaw one of the greatest mergers in history and a leader with half a century of credits to his name and the AC Medal for his success in the high pressure world of big business and banking.Its contents are a summary of those actions and inactions and the responsible and irresponsible parties.It suggests the remedies and does so without fear or favour.Only a fool would ignore its recommendations.@ultimatewarrior..another petty Indian attempt to hijack this forum and rubbish it with poor sportsmanship.England are number one in test cricket because the ICC says it is.Its a fact,not an opinion.Its the result of sustained excellence over time against varied opponents and is based on win/loss ratios.Theyre currently thrashing India.Its no accident.They did it to Australia earlier this year.Even if they werent number one,what would that make India?Its time to show respect.

  • on August 20, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    "The evidence from the Ashes and other recent series is that our basic cricket skills are lacking in key areas, in particular: For batting; batting for long periods; batting against the moving ball; our approach to playing spin; general batting technique in some instances," it read. "For bowling; building pressure; bowling to an agreed plan; spin bowling and captaincy of spin bowling; swing bowling, including generating reverse swing. For fielding; overall fielding, especially catching; General athleticism; this has extra significance as in the panel's view fielding standards reflect the attitude and professionalism of the team.

    "For our overall approach; Building batting and bowling partnerships; General game sense/match awareness and cricket expertise, including the ability to problem-solve during the course of a match." An excerpt from the Argus Report. Pass it on to the Indian Team, they need it badly!

  • ultimatewarrior on August 20, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    It is the worst report I can imagine as a cricket fan, must be prepared by some official instead of an ex player. From report it seems Aust.Team is worse than NZ,WI and many. But actually it is not, it is still much better than report is claiming. I guess Australia only thin of self confidence and thick of self doubt. So to be again no.1 they have to stick to basics only (India too is undergoing same phase). I believe India, Australia and Africa are capable to beat this English side. Actually Winning of a team is very less related to Overall Greatness(or Class as usually referred) of its Players. Instead it depends on team's present mindset, confidence and willingness. Look this very same Indian Team has won World Cup just before 2-3 months comprehensively. Further England Team (same core players) firstly lost 5-0 to Australia in Australia then won 3-1. Greatness of a team can be measured by his tenure to beat everybody, not by its players Greatness. Lets see how long England Rules...

  • ravi_hari on August 20, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    I think it is a bold report. Look at the way they immediatelt swung into action and highlighted what ails and what needs to be done. If one compares the complacency shown by BCCI to this it will convey the seriousness of the board. It has surprised many the way the report criticised the fielding. Even at this standards they are way ahead of many teams.The onus is on Clarke and Watson to make the best use of the recommendations. I think Hildithch has had an extended stay and Chappel had to go. A new team of selectors will do a world of good to the team. Someone like a Steve Waugh should be roped in so that he can gel with the present lot better and who can understand the nuances of the sport of today. Ravi Hari

  • vj3478 on August 20, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    more than 50% of the current OZ team are young to international cricket. give them enough chances to grow. Warne, McGrath, Steve Waugh Hayden.. all didnt become world champions from day 1. Good thing is they sacked the current selection panel who were playing with players career. they should have done this before the player contracts. one last thing is captaincy.. clark is not captaincy material.. he cant inspire team. his attitude is wrong. same was with ponting but he was an outstanding player which masked it.

  • on August 20, 2011, 0:41 GMT

    @MartinC - agree on comments re Eng performance, but would argue that Aus actually has a great deal of talent coming through, its just been daft selections that has been one of the main problems. Hauritz, McDonald, Paine, Cosgrove, Hughes, D Hussey, Hodge, Wade, O'Keefe, Khawaja, Ferguson, S & M Marsh, Lynn, Maddinson, Butterworth, Faulkner, Feldman, Swan, Copeland are all players who have performed well over a number of seasons, had good seasons last year and/or pretty decent overall records. Some of them could have played straight after the retirements and done well, others have been overlooked for pathetic reasons. The selectors have been ilogical in selecting players with "potential", underperformers, or guys with one good display - Doherty, Beer, Lyon, White (as spinner not batter), North, Smith, Krejza, Hilfenhous to name a few. While we did lose some brilliant cricketers, the slide could have been much less with better selections and player management in my opinion

  • Vince01 on August 20, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    MartinC, please read the report and tell us what you disagree with.

  • on August 19, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    Should have recommended sacking of Cricket Australia's leaders who are ultimately responsible for the situation. They backed the incompetent selectors coach and captain. New blood needed there

  • smudgeon on August 19, 2011, 22:00 GMT

    @Prem Baba - I think Ponting is probably the target of the comments about "adult conversations", "captaincy of spin bowling", and a few others. Although I still think people tar him with the "poor captain" brush a little too quickly. Compare him to Waugh & Taylor, and yeah, he's not great. But he did the best he could with the limited resources available to him (team-wise, and his own captaincy skills).

  • EVH316 on August 19, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    I hope the Argus Report has its intended effect. As an Englishman, I just want the Ashes to become competitive again (to paraphrase the arch-smugass, John Buchanan).

  • Alexk400 on August 19, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    Guidelines and rules are for sheep. Managing as a team as a whole. You still need impact players who does the job on their own. Guidelines are more for a glue and make it show team wins not individual. I do think individual ability decides the game. As a team if you play it only show how close you lose if you do not have players. i believe you find impact players if you great natural leader as captain. Because he can see through things and identity what kind of tools he needs. Aussies have better clinical approach always. Their downfallis always the people in charge lacks leadership qualities.

  • Alexk400 on August 19, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    Australia suffered for many reason. Dumping Andew symonds because of upstart selfish michale clarke did not like him. When you have cockroach like michael clarke running things , nothing will change. I am not even australian but i don't like selfish people incharge of any team. Leader has to be selfless and magnetic so others can follow. No one follow michael clarke because he will blame you first if things did not go well. Michael clarke is a back stabber and coward. He probably nice guy off the field but i did n't like the way he run things try to blame people always. The major problem for aussies are the next captain they groomed after ponting flopped. you can aussies do not have bowlers or batsman. I think watson is more selfless. He should be captain. And aussies also dump brett lee and mitchell johnson if he do not improve his batting. Short erratic bowlers are weaklinks. Aussies need 145 average Tall fast bowlers. That is only think england were trying last 5 years.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 19, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    Can CA pass this report on to India so the brainless businessmen (BCCI) who run the game can at least learn how to reflect on a MAJOR DISASTER such as the current Indian tour of England. Like Australia, India needs a complete MAKE OVER of its setup, beginning with domestic cricket. Secondly, players need to be picked on the basis of 4 day cricket or domestic limited overs competitions and NOT IPL. Cause from where I am sitting, it looks as if the IPL is the major yardstick. This is not good for Indian cricket. I hope these changes in Australia doesn't create chaos in the setup. I would be more happy to see Warne, Gilchrist or McGrath involved with the national team in some way.

  • hhillbumper on August 19, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    Slumped in test cricket.Check Lost all your best players.Check. Beaten in the ashes.Check.

    Australia the new england.priceless!!!

  • valvolux on August 19, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    you can't say the report is wrong. like any company when something fails, the guys at the top have to fall. unfortunately the culture at the very top has been to topple captains and senior players who pay their wages. never took any accountability when it was dam obvious they were at least 50% of the blame. you can't just create new warnes and gilchrists - but you can put a hodge or a katich in a team who are class acts in front of young "guns" who have played 3 shield matches. that is succession planning - if you want to perform you only move guys in when they are ready....if you have guys already don't replace them. if you have this great plan where you want new blood so we can build towards a team - why sack them after 1 or 2 bad games? its just ridiculous. the fact is - we weren't far off beating india or england away recently - or england at home. it was actually 1 or 2 selections that lost it for us. we arent far off the pace - we just need to put our best on the pitch.

  • PeterCook on August 19, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    Aussies playing decent cricket? What??? They were humiliated in the Ashes by an England team most Australian fans called average before the series. Australia were dreadful in the ashes, and were absolutely correct to undergo a review. The selection has been appalling. If they selected the best 11 cricketers they would be far better equipped.

  • MartinC on August 19, 2011, 15:22 GMT

    As an Englishman this all has a familiar ring. External consultants, mentoring and lots of other managment speak. We tried all this.

    When a side loses Warne, McGrath, Langer, Hayden and Gilchrist all at about the same time its going to affect standards. The problem is then magnified when there is not the talent coming through the system to replace them.

    Englands performance has improved as they have identified, persevered with and brought through a clutch of young players like Cook, Broad, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Anderson, Morgan etc etc. There is another clutch behind them in County cricket as well.

    Its all about finding and developing talent. Management speak does not help. Improve the quality of your first class cricket, identify talent young and invest in it and put first class and Test cricket above one day and 20/20.

    Its really not rocket science. It just takes time when you start with a pretty bare cupboard.

  • CricketPissek on August 19, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Australia should look back to the 1980s when took charge of a mediocre team and made them into the world beating outfit that peaked during the Steve Waugh era. There has to be something to learn from it. I don't think Australia need to panic and they're not in the same danger as the West Indies post-domination. The infrastructure is there, kids still want to play cricket for Australia, and great players WILL emerge. What Aus needs is good leadership. Perhaps stop worrying so much about The Big Bash? or give Mitch Johnson a smack across the face :) whatever it takes to make the team a consistent and professional team again.

  • Aspraso on August 19, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    Amazing isn't it, that inspite of Aussie cricket being wrong in so many departments, the Aussie coaches have been the most sought after coaches by other nations.

  • on August 19, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Given India's disappointing performance in England and our general lack of ability in bowling, fielding (and our batting failures on this tour) perhaps Austria should pass on the report to the Indian board. I bet it would apply to our team with very little change to the report. Sadly, the BCCI could never introspect and self assess in such a critical and forthright manner. Well done to Australian cricket.

  • Ben1989 on August 19, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    best article I've EVER read & probably ever will read :)

  • Gizza on August 19, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    The title applies to India too these days. They are just a few years behind Australia anyway in terms of the eventual retirements. I suppose though, Australia could do all three skills at their peak while India could only do 1.5 (batting and sometimes bowling). Luckily the Argus review came now, better late than never. If it didn't the game's most intense modern rivalry will fall down very quickly. Even so, I still don't expect India's upcoming tour of Australia to live up to any of the series in the Noughties (2000's).

  • Chris_Howard on August 19, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    The statement that stands out for me is: "Players must be held accountable when they are not performing." For batsmen, that has barely happened. Hussey in particular was given way, way, way too long to return to form. And there have been many others. For a batsman, getting into the side was much harder than getting out of it - Phil Hughes aside. Although even he didn't warrant re-selection but was. And the excuse has always been that they didn't' want to put extra pressure on them. Sorry, if players can handle the pressure of playing top level cricket, they need to be able to handle the pressure of failure. Because "Players must be held accountable when they are not performing". Funny how that pampering didn't apply to spinners and most of the pace bowlers...

  • Ms.Cricket on August 19, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    How about Ponting's mediocre captaincy, Neilson's ineffective coaching and Sutherland's lack of vision and leadership? How have they escaped from more scathing criticism in the report?

  • CricketChat on August 19, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    I think the Ashes failure has been overplayed. The biggest reason was the lack of fire power in bowling. If only Brett and Tait were bowling at best, the results could have been entirely different. Harris, Ben, Johnson and Bollinger are good at best and OK in tests. Loss of Hayden and Adam also big factors. Aussies have been playing decent cricket despite some losses.

  • hyclass on August 19, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    This page makes outstanding reading and is an excellent precis dealing with all levels, other than those individuals charged with implementing it, who have been responsible for overseeing this insidious culture. Don Argus should not only have been responsible for creating this review, but interviewing and employing new candidates and implimenting its recommendations. All positions at CA should have been declared vacant immediately. James Sutherland and Jack Clarke should be required to interview for their positions based on past performance, for which they are directly responsible. Now that's accountability!

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  • hyclass on August 19, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    This page makes outstanding reading and is an excellent precis dealing with all levels, other than those individuals charged with implementing it, who have been responsible for overseeing this insidious culture. Don Argus should not only have been responsible for creating this review, but interviewing and employing new candidates and implimenting its recommendations. All positions at CA should have been declared vacant immediately. James Sutherland and Jack Clarke should be required to interview for their positions based on past performance, for which they are directly responsible. Now that's accountability!

  • CricketChat on August 19, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    I think the Ashes failure has been overplayed. The biggest reason was the lack of fire power in bowling. If only Brett and Tait were bowling at best, the results could have been entirely different. Harris, Ben, Johnson and Bollinger are good at best and OK in tests. Loss of Hayden and Adam also big factors. Aussies have been playing decent cricket despite some losses.

  • Ms.Cricket on August 19, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    How about Ponting's mediocre captaincy, Neilson's ineffective coaching and Sutherland's lack of vision and leadership? How have they escaped from more scathing criticism in the report?

  • Chris_Howard on August 19, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    The statement that stands out for me is: "Players must be held accountable when they are not performing." For batsmen, that has barely happened. Hussey in particular was given way, way, way too long to return to form. And there have been many others. For a batsman, getting into the side was much harder than getting out of it - Phil Hughes aside. Although even he didn't warrant re-selection but was. And the excuse has always been that they didn't' want to put extra pressure on them. Sorry, if players can handle the pressure of playing top level cricket, they need to be able to handle the pressure of failure. Because "Players must be held accountable when they are not performing". Funny how that pampering didn't apply to spinners and most of the pace bowlers...

  • Gizza on August 19, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    The title applies to India too these days. They are just a few years behind Australia anyway in terms of the eventual retirements. I suppose though, Australia could do all three skills at their peak while India could only do 1.5 (batting and sometimes bowling). Luckily the Argus review came now, better late than never. If it didn't the game's most intense modern rivalry will fall down very quickly. Even so, I still don't expect India's upcoming tour of Australia to live up to any of the series in the Noughties (2000's).

  • Ben1989 on August 19, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    best article I've EVER read & probably ever will read :)

  • on August 19, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Given India's disappointing performance in England and our general lack of ability in bowling, fielding (and our batting failures on this tour) perhaps Austria should pass on the report to the Indian board. I bet it would apply to our team with very little change to the report. Sadly, the BCCI could never introspect and self assess in such a critical and forthright manner. Well done to Australian cricket.

  • Aspraso on August 19, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    Amazing isn't it, that inspite of Aussie cricket being wrong in so many departments, the Aussie coaches have been the most sought after coaches by other nations.

  • CricketPissek on August 19, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Australia should look back to the 1980s when took charge of a mediocre team and made them into the world beating outfit that peaked during the Steve Waugh era. There has to be something to learn from it. I don't think Australia need to panic and they're not in the same danger as the West Indies post-domination. The infrastructure is there, kids still want to play cricket for Australia, and great players WILL emerge. What Aus needs is good leadership. Perhaps stop worrying so much about The Big Bash? or give Mitch Johnson a smack across the face :) whatever it takes to make the team a consistent and professional team again.

  • MartinC on August 19, 2011, 15:22 GMT

    As an Englishman this all has a familiar ring. External consultants, mentoring and lots of other managment speak. We tried all this.

    When a side loses Warne, McGrath, Langer, Hayden and Gilchrist all at about the same time its going to affect standards. The problem is then magnified when there is not the talent coming through the system to replace them.

    Englands performance has improved as they have identified, persevered with and brought through a clutch of young players like Cook, Broad, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Anderson, Morgan etc etc. There is another clutch behind them in County cricket as well.

    Its all about finding and developing talent. Management speak does not help. Improve the quality of your first class cricket, identify talent young and invest in it and put first class and Test cricket above one day and 20/20.

    Its really not rocket science. It just takes time when you start with a pretty bare cupboard.