Argus review recommendations

Nielsen's stocks rise despite review

Daniel Brettig in Colombo

August 24, 2011

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

Tim Nielsen at Australia's training camp at the Centre of Excellence, Brisbane, July 4, 2011
Tim Nielsen should reapply for the job as Australia's coach, according to James Sutherland © Getty Images
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Tim Nielsen's measured response to the release of the Argus review has served to enhance his standing as the Australian team coach, moving Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland to urge his re-application for the job.

The review carried a stinging critique of the skill development and culture of the Australian side under the management of Nielsen and the former captain Ricky Ponting, and openly questioned whether Australia's players had been given the best coaching possible over the period.

"It is critical for the development of elite players' skills, physiology and psychology that they have the right coaches available to assist them," the review stated. "The panel queries whether we do, given the performance decline of the team in the past four years."

However Nielsen's response was to immediately speak publicly in support of the review and its overall intentions, while seeking to keep the squad calm as it digested a wide range of inconvenient truths. Sutherland said Nielsen had risen in the estimation of many by how he had handled such a testy episode.

"I'd seen Tim's comments, I saw his interview before the game the other day and what I was really impressed by was the way in which he's carrying himself, extremely professional," Sutherland told ESPNcricinfo. "As part of that with me being here to meet with him and meet with others, I got a very clear feeling for the fact that other people are saying that as well. So that's great, he's got a good focused attitude and I'm very pleased about that."

Jack Clarke, the CA chairman, was lukewarm in his encouragement of Nielsen to reapply when the report was released last Friday, but Sutherland's view was now that the incumbent would be very seriously considered.

"That's one of the things I've spoken to him about, I'm keen for him to do exactly that," Sutherland said. "What he does over the next little while only demonstrates his commitment and his preparedness to keep getting better."

Having made some inquiries of his own since numerous reports around the release of the review, Sutherland also sought to clarify reports surrounding Greg Chappell's apparently soured relationships with Australian players. He said Chappell's barring from the Australian dressing room at times last summer was only as a result of an internal decree to keep all selectors and management at a distance from the team.

"I didn't know anything about it, but I've since done a little bit of research on that to understand specifically what happened," Sutherland said. "Immediately after the Ashes we went into T20 and one-day mode … and what happened, there were a lot distractions and fall-out after the Ashes.

"We as a group decided that we would keep intruders into the dressing room to an absolute minimum and that included whoever the selectors on duty were at the time, and part of that was because it was right in the midst of selection for the World Cup. We were announcing our World Cup squads and what have you, so all of us made a commitment across the board that management and selectors would spend as little time in the dressing room, and the only time we would be in the dressing room was actually when the team was in the field."

Sutherland said CA had begun the search for the right candidate for the newly-created position of general manager team performance, and would advertise for it this weekend.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by ygkd on (August 25, 2011, 1:52 GMT)

The comment by Yevghenny about elite cricketers requiring character as much as, or even more than, skill is spot on. That's what's wrong with picking players from appearances in T20s - character is not something that really matters in the shortest form of the game. That selection practice needs a rethink. We have the report. Now we need the implementation. Otherwise everybody is wasting their time, expect perhaps the PR dept. Perhaps that's where I disagree with Yevghenny - sometimes you don't even appear to need skill to get to the top - you just need PR.

Posted by Meety on (August 25, 2011, 1:49 GMT)

I actually felt sick reading the heading! Please Tim, don't reapply!

Posted by unregisteredalien on (August 25, 2011, 1:36 GMT)

Sorry, I just cannot find the words. @hyclass and @loggerfloodles - I agree 100%. @katandthat3, @Governor, @HatsforBats - yup, pretty much with you too. Gah!!

Posted by ygkd on (August 25, 2011, 1:36 GMT)

I think Nielsen seems a decent enough bloke. And he was a good wickie, so I should stick up for him. But no, it's time for him to move on. Perhaps we can loan him to England (unlike most in their camp he was born there by all accounts) so he can help Prior improve his practice sessions?

Posted by   on (August 25, 2011, 0:15 GMT)

hahaha @yevghenny you sound like yoda: "the right mentality you need to be a test match player", hmm? made my day!

Posted by Yevghenny on (August 24, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

Aussies, it's no easy road back. For England, the likes of Anderson, Broad, Bell, Cook have been getting more and more experience over the last 5 years to get where they are now, not so much ability wise, there's a ton of talented cricketers who never make it at test level, but the right mentality you need to be a test match player. This is why I don't really like these reports, England must have had 3 a year at one point, test cricket is more about character than skill, although you obviously need the skill to get to the very top.

Posted by Biggus on (August 24, 2011, 13:40 GMT)

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Really.....please, NO. Thank you Tim.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 13:40 GMT)

Greetings from India,Can see some really angry Aussie Fans here.Just like you guys,I find CA's measures after the Argus Review totally half-baked.Saying "Neilsen,You can feel free to apply for the coaching job again" n "Greg,You can continue as selector till we find another guy.After that you can still be the national talent manager." is ludricious.Allowing the same people behind all the chaos to still be a part of the organisation.Greetings from India,Can see some really angry Aussie Fans here.Just like you guys,I find CA's measures after the Argus Review totally half-baked.Saying "Neilsen,You can feel free to apply for the coaching job again" n "Greg,You can continue as selector till we find another guy.After that you can still be the national talent manager." is ludricious.Allowing the same people behind all the chaos to still be a part of the organisation.

Posted by loggerfloodles on (August 24, 2011, 13:24 GMT)

Typical CA. Nielson has gone up in their estimation not because he has improved the performance of the team, but because he has handled the PR well.

Posted by HatsforBats on (August 24, 2011, 9:51 GMT)

Nielsen can apply, as long as he doesn't get the job. He has done nothing to suggest that he is up to standard; all through the Ashes he looked like a stunned mullet. What we need is a hybrid of Border/Warne/Waugh/Buchanan, and he shall be called Rixon.

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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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