The Ashes 2010-11 September 24, 2011

CA contributed to 'panic' before Ashes - Watson

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Watson, the Australia vice-captain, has criticised Cricket Australia and the selectors for contributing to a "growing sense of panic" among the players in the lead-up to the Ashes series in 2010-11. Australia were comprehensively beaten 3-1 in the Ashes, their first series defeat to England at home since 1986-87, prompting the Argus review and the subsequent changes adopted by board.

Watson lashed out at the decision to announce a provisional squad of 17, 10 days before the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. ''I felt there was a growing sense of panic all over the place which, to be honest, wasn't helped by Cricket Australia announcing a bigger than usual Ashes squad," Watson wrote in his book Watto, as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald. "I don't know why the squad was named that early; there was still one more round of first-class games as well as the Australia A game against England to be completed … there was a sense of panic … and that spread throughout the team.''

The chopping and changing of bowlers during the Test series meant "they were absolutely sh*****g themselves every time they went out to bowl, because bowlers are the first ones to get dropped when things go wrong.

"Our batters … were failing throughout and nothing happened."

Since the Ashes defeat, Australian cricket has undergone significant changes, with coach Tim Nielsen and chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch stepping down.

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  • Christopher on September 27, 2011, 2:04 GMT

    @HatsForBats...I understand your point,but Micheal Clarke played 48 1st class games and 34 ODI before he was selected for a Test.In the 2 years immediately preceding his Test debut,he had 8 -1st class centuries and an 800+ run Shield season. Lyon had played 5 1st class games and had 14 wickets.Peter Taylor would have been a better example,given his selection after 6 1st class matches.His NSW tour of Zimbabwe was excellent at just the right time and he debuted in Sydney with 6/78,which he never again came close to.His selection was in the pre-professional era,following the Rebel SA tour defections and the loss of Chappell,Lillee and Marsh,before CA had developed the succession plans,that they have now had for 20 years,to avoid this scenario.Many people would love to have seen Katich bowl more,including Katich,but he had shoulder and back problems that prevented it.It questions what the strength and conditioning coaches are paid for.Id also love to see McDonald and O'Keefe in the mix.

  • Christopher on September 27, 2011, 1:47 GMT

    @katandthat3...Ive read support for North,Voges,Duffey,Coulter Nile and Ronchi.They seem to have the core of a very good side in WA.If they can be more consistent with their batting,id expect a far better Shield season from them.They certainly have the coach they need.With regard to Voges@Meety is correct in that those 40 wickets occurred over 100 games,but the average and S/R are good enough,that a well organised CA,might have encouraged far better results from him.I also hold North in high regard,despite his inconsistency and would like to see how he performs under a new coaching and selection philosophy.Casson was a shooting star & would certainly be a useful and rare,wrist spinning addition to bowling stocks.Lets hope his chronic fatigue passes and he can give a good account of himself.Age is less of a barrier to wrist spinners.Talent in Australia has never been an issue in any discipline,despite inferences to the contrary.Its always been its application & management in question.

  • David on September 27, 2011, 1:12 GMT

    @ meety - i probably should have explained myself better. im really referring to a spinner who is half decent and can take a few wickets but not exactly a game changer. the reason i say a spinner as opposed to a line and length medium pacer is because you are bound to have some wickets that turn and then on the occasion you will have a real turner like the first test in sri lanka. so you definately need a spinner in my opinion. all im suggesting is that we accept the fact that we dont have a "world class spinner" in oz so we play a spinner like hauritz who will do his job without being a game breaker and then we focus our game plan on our pace attack. THEN when we do play on a raging tuner, hauritz can come into his own and he is a half decent spinner as it is and has the skills... i used to be mad about krejza but he has been in poor form in shield cricket for a while and i suppose when you attack as much as him, you cant afford to be in bad form or you will leak runs big time...

  • Christopher on September 27, 2011, 0:10 GMT

    Anyone advocating Lyons initial selection,did so without consulting his 1st class record@HatsForBats.He didnt have one.He was chosen on youth & potential.There is a chasm between a gamble without statistical support & a well reasoned decision with supporting evidence.Lyons selection mirrors the descriminatory policy,Argus opposes & is not a successful selection principle,or Argus wouldnt have repudiated it.Micheal Clarke is a poor example.He had played 5 seasons in Australia & 1 in England when he was 1st selected for Tests.In 02/03,he scored 4 centuries in one season and over 800 runs.In England in 04,he scored 3 more centuries.By the time he made his Test debut,he had 11 1st class centuries,8 of them in the previous 2 years,had played 48 1st class matches and an accomplished 34 ODI.Hardly comparable to Lyon,who may develop into a fine player,but was rewarded for being young instead of excellent.Im not opposed to Lyon per se,only to unjust selection & retention,ignoring performance.

  • Andrew on September 26, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    @katandthat3 - I saw Voges bowl a bit in an ODI a while ago & thought he looked alright, but 40 FC wickets in 100 FC games is pretty unremarkable, North is a far better option. @Dinker Rkn - Steve Waugh wrote/(or had ghost written), plenty of books before he retired, ever heard of his Captain's tour diaries, a tradition that Punter carried on.

  • kieran on September 26, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    @Meety: spot on mate. I don't think people realise how important AB Mac was for the last SA tour, the way he strangled on end was vital with Johnson scaring the pants off everyone at the other end. Hopefully Copeland will be able to do that and get some helpful pitches and fingers crossed the stars align for MJ. I can't see us ever going in without a spinner; of course my vote goes to O'Keefe. Though I did hear about some crafty old wrist spinner called Katich, apparently he can score some runs too.

  • Garry on September 26, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    Voges is a good point Hyclass, I always thought he was handy with his left arm orthodox and more than handy stick, seemed to get married at the wrong time but still has time on his side, might fill the role of Dave Hussey in the ODI side still. I thought Lyon did a good job considering his experience but think O'Keefe would still handle things pretty well plus he's a good bat. Ranked I'd have Hauritz, O'Keefe then Lyon. Krezja was disappointing in the WC and Beer I don't really rate nice bloke that he is. I hope Casson can continue his return to strong health as he's a good cricketer as well. Our strength is our quicks. Pace, swing, seam, accuracy is all there in the squad just how they balance that is the tough one. Happy if Copeland could pick up 10km/h. Cummins would be a handful in those conditions swinging it both ways at just under 150km/h, Harris seaming it both ways. Like to see either Butterworth or McDonald get a spot and Johnson could do anything in SA. Doug & Siddle......

  • david on September 26, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    during the ashes, australia kept north in the team for the sydney test. its just he could not score the amount of runs up to the 5th test to warrent his selection. but i think they wanted to go into that test with 2 spinners. on his day he is not a bad bowler. just the lack runsas his down fal. dpkl

  • Matthew on September 26, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    @Hyclass, you're right, the squad for SAf not announced yet, got ahead of myself, but I expect Lyon will be in the squad as Clarke, who as we know is now a selector, has said he'd expect him to be.

  • Andrew on September 26, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    @straight_drive4 - if it comes down to just holding up an end, we could get AB Mac to do that, combined with Copeland, you have a very economical line up, affording the luxaries of a random like MJ. To me the spinning position is about variety & the possibility of taking wickets. Its why I was never too down on Krezja for being a bit loose in Tests, as he has the ability to take wickets. Its too early to tell whether Lyon's promise will bear fruit, who knows with Hauritz, he is not a confident type of person to begin with! I would like to think some former contenders for a spot are still on the radar, Cullen Bailey has real promise & may bloom under Berry, & Beau Casson got back into Shield late last year. Those guys a wicket taking options under the right type of captaincy!

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