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Shane Warne presents alternate reality

Daniel Brettig

January 30, 2013

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Shane Warne and Darren Lehmann at the funeral service for Jane McGrath, Sydey, June 22, 2008
Darren Lehmann was nominated as Shane Warne's assistant coach of choice © Getty Images
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Shane Warne has proposed an alternate reality for Australian cricket. It is one in which Mark Taylor is the generalissimo, Stephen Fleming the coach, and Ian Chappell the Godfatherly consultant for all players to lean on. Rotation does not exist following a players' mutiny, captains are never chosen in advance of the team they lead, and sleep is a preferable form of recovery to the use of technology.

Having drummed up a wave of hype for his suggestions about how to lift Australian cricket from the state of disarray in which he says it has fallen into, Warne delivered an excoriation of the post-Argus review network around the national team and suggested replacements for all of Cricket Australia's major team performance roles.

Warne had previously suggested on Twitter that the captain Michael Clarke needed better support than he was currently getting, and proposed that a new hierarchy be established that was comprised entirely of former international players. Taylor was nominated to replace the former rugby international, Pat Howard, as the team performance chief. The selection panel would be comprised of Rod Marsh as chairman, plus Mark Waugh, Damien Martyn and Glenn McGrath.

Stephen Fleming, the ex-New Zealand captain, was Warne's coach of choice instead of Mickey Arthur, with Darren Lehmann to be his assistant. Warne argued that the coach should not be a selector. The recently retired Michael Hussey and Michael Bevan were put forward as potential batting coaches, while Merv Hughes and Bruce Reid were posited as the men to mentor the bowlers. Chappell, meanwhile, would oversee it all as a consultant, on call as a source of advice and philosophy on the game.

"All the above people are cricket people, not rugby, tennis or from any other sporting code," Warne wrote on his website. "They all understand the game of cricket, they have lived and breathed the game for a long time and most importantly have the best interests of Australian cricket at heart, along with being super passionate and above all, they just love the game.

"Cricket is a simple game; sure it has room and a place for scientific research and current technology, which can help [you] learn about an opponent, but not instead of using your cricket brain - they can work hand in hand. Technology can help in recovery, but so can sleep and a common sense approach to recovery."

As for the thinking behind selection, Warne said the most important element in his view was the fostering of a united team via the playing and winning of matches together. Critical for some time of the concept of rotation, Warne argued that the changing of teams for reasons other than the simplest of injury and form concerns bred mistrust, and he encouraged the current team to revolt against the concept.

"A simple criteria is pick your best team and stick with it in all forms, then the players get used playing together and being with one another on tour, you get to know the person," Warne wrote. "Too much chopping and changing leads to insecurity, players then start to look out for themselves and over their shoulder, this breeds selfishness.

"It's also why rotation and resting players will never work. I believe the players should be united, take ownership of this, it's a very powerful and strong message to send to CA if the players' message is 'I do not want to be rested or rotated; I want to play every game, if I don't perform drop me'. If this decision comes from the players then CA have to respect that and follow suit on selection accordingly, this will then mean someone is accountable.

"We have the best batsmen/captain in world cricket at the moment in Michael Clarke and the spine of a good team with [David] Warner, [Shane] Watson, [Matthew] Wade, [Peter] Siddle and [Nathan] Lyon, the rest of the spots are up for grabs in my opinion. Opportunities for players now are there for the taking."

Warne said he planned to discuss his ideas with the CA chief executive James Sutherland, who had previously offered the former Test legspinner the chance for a meeting to air grievances that were aggravated by his own disciplinary problems during the Big Bash League and the Melbourne Stars' exit from the tournament.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by dwblurb on (February 2, 2013, 9:25 GMT)

Ozcricketwriter, it's a little hard to accept your self-proclaimed guru status when you don't know that Andrew Hilditch played many Test matches for Australia - indeed he was vice-captain for two separate periods.

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 1, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

its only 12 month or so ago that nearly all on here new a change was needed and bringing an ex RU guy was the impetus that the aussie game needed.

the aussie team has done ok no more than that. but as you say you can only so much. these guys cannot be blamed for the woes that have happened to the state game that must be looked at.how can such a good pack of pace bowlers come out of the state game but batters and spin bowlers cannot.

as to ex player moving into positions that run the game if that happens and works i would be dumbfounded. great players dont make good administrators never have done never will.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

OzCricketwriter I think you'll find that Andrew Hilditch did indeed play for Australia. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/5656.html

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 1, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Anyone who saw today's match would agree with me when I say that Australian cricket is hardly in its darkest hour. It was in the lead up to the 2010 Ashes, when I wrote my article that Shane Warne so blatantly copied. The Argus Review has largely succeeded, though I agree that I think that the administrators should all be ex international cricketers - the problem with Andrew Hilditch was that he had never played for Australia and didn't know the intensity required - Jamie Cox succeeded only because he was so close to the international team and should have played test cricket - most who have no international experience aren't good candidates. I am still waiting for Shane Warne to admit to stealing the ideas off me, but his repeating ideas that were relevant 2 1/2 years ago but have largely been dealt with now really make him look foolish.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2013, 23:04 GMT)

@Big-Dog You're NSW Selection Bias is as funny as a fart in an elevator. Only New South Welshman on the Selection Panel is Michael Clarke and only because he's captain. The last New South Welshman on the panel was John Benaud (I don't count AB because he's been a dyed in the wool QLDer for years... Turncoat)

Why would 2 West Australians, a South African who coached WA before Australia and a Queenslander have a Bias for NSW players that you seem to think in is the panel now?

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (January 31, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

Took me a while but I checked over my old writings and I had written his manifesto myself on 31 October 2010, prior to the disastrous 2010 Ashes - just after they announced their horrific 17 man squad. Warney did change a bit though but the essence of the article is identical. Well, except that I said that Warne was a bit of an idiot. LOL. I have written to Warney about this to see if it was inspired by mine or if we just think alike. Methinks he read it. Good news for me if he did :). I don't mind too much him copying it, just think it'd be nice if he said so. Alternatively, maybe it is just so obvious that he didn't need to copy it from anyone because by now everyone already knows.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (January 31, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

Warney, Lyon needs some help to become a top spin bowler. You had Jenner as a mentor, how about becoming Lyon's mentor? How about coaching young spin bowlers all over the country? Why' don't you put your hand up to be CA's spin coach?

Posted by Jayzuz on (January 31, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

@Mark Formby, there are glass half full-people, and then there are glass half-empty people. You are a glass 99.9% empty person, aren't you? I mean could you possibly be any more negative if you tried? Why don't you try comparing the Australian bowlers to the SA bowlers for that series? Lyon vs Tahir, Siddle vs Philander. Steyn and Morkel were thrashed around at 5+ runs an over for the first two tests. Siddle also has a better test averages than Morkel and Anderson. Why don't you mention that? Finally, the Australian team has lost only one series - and very unluckily so - in the past two and a half years. Their record is only second to SA in that time - much better win-loss ratio than ENG, for example (who are ONE point ahead of them on the table). From that you get "near-certain humiliation just around the corner." India is just around the corner, you know, the team they beat 4-0 just a year ago and who are now even worse. Logic is not one of your great strengths, is it?

Posted by gogoldengreens on (January 31, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

If Warne is so concerned about Aussie cricket why doesn't he throw his hat in the ring and coach spin bowlers... Money not good enough!!

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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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