Australia news

Strong post-Argus plans poorly explained to public

Daniel Brettig

February 4, 2013

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Australia's performance manager Pat Howard speaks to the media with Australian Chairman of Selectors John Inverarity (left) looking on, Brisbane, November 26, 2011
Pat Howard and John Inverarity were joined by Rod Marsh in a presentation to the Cricket Australia board of directors © Getty Images
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A resounding Cricket Australia board endorsement for the direction taken by the national team in the wake of the Argus review has been accompanied by the admission that plans have been poorly articulated in public.

The team performance manager Pat Howard, the national selector John Inverarity and the national coaching overseer and selector Rod Marsh presented to CA's board of directors in Melbourne on Monday ahead of the Allan Border Medal, providing a summary of their approach to the national team and the thinking behind it.

Wally Edwards, the CA chairman, emerged from the meeting to say that while the board "unequivocally supports" Howard, Inverarity and Marsh's efforts to "implement the Argus strategy to build sustained success for Australian cricket over the long term", there was an acknowledgement that plans had not been adequately explained to the public.

It is this inability to account with sufficient authority or detail for the development of better performing national teams, as much as any results, that has been responsible for the howls of protest at Australian cricket's apparent direction from outsiders, personified by the indignant words of Shane Warne, who has stated flatly that "everyone is unhappy" with where the team is at.

"We're not unhappy. We're possibly unhappy that we haven't communicated as well as we could've, I think that's a fact," Edwards said in Melbourne. "Certainly we didn't go into this with a great media plan to sell the idea of developing more cricketers, and more cricketers being available to play for Australia. If there's a weakness in what we've done that's it."

"I think [on the field] we've done extremely well. We were very unlucky against South Africa, the best side in the world ... we were unlucky not to at least draw that series and could've easily won it I think, so I'm very pleased with the way we're going. To build a new cricket side is a long-term thing. You don't do it overnight, it's not that easy. I'm confident we're on the right track."

As for the Howard/Inverarity policy of sharing the playing workload more widely around the national squad, particularly among young fast bowlers, Edwards said that in light of the current schedule of matches and formats there was simply no alternative.

"You only have to look at elite world sport," Edwards said. "Top performances can't be had by people playing every day of the week every week of the year, and with three formats of the game and very compacted world schedule of cricket now it's just not possible for people to perform at their absolute best every day of the year."

James Sutherland, the chief executive, said he had spoken at some length with Warne to hear his views on the national team, and was hopeful that the former leg spinner would again be involved as a mentor for young slow bowlers in the future.

"It was good to have a chat, a good robust discussion with him and clear the air," Sutherland said. "There's no doubt about his passion and enthusiasm for Australian cricket and the Australian cricket team to be successful."

"Hopefully there are opportunities down the track for him to be closer to us and have an even greater involvement. We've recently announced Dennis Lillee being involved with our fast bowlers and one of the things we'd love to see is Shane having a closer link with our spin bowlers, as he has in the past.

"He's got a very busy schedule but to have the two greats of Australian cricket bowling involved in our programs would be fantastic."

Warne published part two of his "manifesto", meanwhile, naming his preferred squads for the three formats, including a Test group of no fewer than 18 players.

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

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Posted by Mervo on (February 5, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

England dont rotate, South Africa don't rotate, India don't rotate, West Indies don't rotate bowlers ... Australia rotates their bowlers. Pick the odd one out.

Posted by RogerWaite on (February 5, 2013, 4:41 GMT)

I thought Inverarity and the selectors did well to begin with but their selections are becoming more erratic by picking players with awful first class averages for tests (eg. Smith, Doherty) and overlooking players with great averages (O'Keefe) as well as picking test players on ODI & T20 form and vice versa. The simple solution with rotation is pick your best for home games and rest them during the less meaningful tour games (ODI's, T20's and o/s tests against low teams). That will give them the rest they need. Great to see Lillee on board and yes we need Warnie to develop the spinners. Give Lillee the final word on when to rest bowlers.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 5, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

@davidpk on (February 4, 2013, 12:38 GMT), I can't really agree with much of that at all. Firstly, there is a lot more cricket played these days so the need for rest is greater. Secondly, rotation is about team performance so if a player is concerned about their own stats then, quite frankly, tough. Thirdly, it's quite naive to say that the players know their bodies. Plenty of people ignore health issues, both big and small, and sportsmen are no different. It's not always about an imminent injury anyway, but about not even getting to the point where you notice an issue. Also, if the players are so keen to pad their stats as you say then I reckon they'd be willing to take a risk or two. The only thing I can agree with is that batsmen need less rest than bowlers. For them it's far more about the mental rigours of playing and touring constantly than physical, in which case I prefer the English approach of resting by series rather than by game.

Posted by Mervo on (February 5, 2013, 2:24 GMT)

Ha! A rounding endorsement of themselves? Howard has been a disaster and has overseen the greatest list of injuries ever witnessed in this or any other test playing nation. I guess he should be rewarded for that.

Rotation - one comment: If Dale Steyn had been rotated then he would never have achieved what he has. Time on the field is the only way to bowling fitness (as against other forms of fitness) and there is no way you could rotate Steyn without a team revolt.

Posted by Meety on (February 5, 2013, 0:53 GMT)

@Simoc on (February 4, 2013, 12:02 GMT) - LOL! "...O'Keefe just isn't rated outside NSW and now that his number one fan Dave Gilmour..." - who the hell is Gilmour - surely you don't mean Gilbert????? Mayhaps you should have a look at SO'Ks performance against the touring Poms in Hobart (not a spinners pitch), the Poms had their top 7 batting order that day. You may also want to check 1) SO'Ks career stats, & 2) Shield leading wicket takers as SO'K is about double the next spinner. Most "...intelligent..." people would consider those to be considerable reasons for selecting a spin-bowler. By some reports, SO'K's last 8 wicket haul at Bankstown was on a slow & low pitch, hmmm - I wonder where other pitches of that type would exist? Ummm maybe India? Anyways there is 4 logical reasons why SO'K should be selected ahead of all Oz spinners bar Lyon.

Posted by RandyOZ on (February 5, 2013, 0:30 GMT)

Inverarity, Sutherland and Arthur all need sacking. They are destroying cricket in Australia from the inside out.

Posted by RandyOZ on (February 5, 2013, 0:13 GMT)

The problem is Arthur and Sutherland. They are both systematically destroying Australian cricket from the inside out. It is an absolute disgrace.

Posted by swervin on (February 4, 2013, 23:31 GMT)

rotate however you like in the 20/20s and the ODIs but the test team has to be relatively stable and the best players picked...i don't think that has happened in recent years that's where the rotations have got ridiculous

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (February 4, 2013, 22:42 GMT)

@simoc, as a qlder i take offence to that statement. okeefe is thought of highly all round australia. he has the best spinners first class record by a mile, has the most wickets for a spinner 2 seasons in a row, plus he can field bat and has a good cricket brain. that is much more than what doherty and lyon have ever accomplished

Posted by Beertjie on (February 4, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

@L.P.Grace on (February 4, 2013, 2:53 GMT) Agree with you about Agar. My worry is that it's not a sign of the preferential treatment given to other Invers' favourites. He definitely "needs to be sacked [for his] many stupid selection decisions." I want to see what happens when Lyon and Maxwell are in the same test team, or how Henriques and Smith "contribute" on tour.

Posted by 200ondebut on (February 4, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

The rotation policy is simple - there is just not enough decent players around and CA are fumbling in the dark.

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 4, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

never been in favour of rotation. if a bowler has just come off his best bowling to then the next game put in cotton wool, makes no sense. the guy knows his body if he feels hes fit and snorting like a bull, let him bowl.as to the batters why do they need a rest. another point why would a bowler want to be rested when say hes going to play a lesser side were wickets could be aplenty the guy who could be a lesser bowler gets the cream as he gets the wickets. very strange, think during the 80s when DKL or ITB bowling in an ashes and tell them they would miss a test. o boy there would have been trouble.

Posted by Simoc on (February 4, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

Skott I can help you out there. O'Keefe just isn't rated outside NSW and now that his number one fan Dave Gilmour has gone, so may O'Keefe. You need to perform more than once a season to be considered. Adam Zampa is a better prospect for NSW for the future. Lyon, Beer, O'Doherty and Hauritz are all better bowlers and Glenn Maxwell a better prospect. Why would anyone pick O'Keefe?

Posted by Simoc on (February 4, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

The problem is the Oz NSP think they are talking to intelligent people like themselves. Where-as as we see on here the majority of opinons haven't got the foggiest about cricket and write their opinions from a knowledge base of zero. It's common sense to sricketers. People like Warne have their own agenda and radio commentators struggle to articulate the atmosphere, and events in a meaningful way in contrast to excellent commentators from the past. TV just wants a controversy for a headline.

Posted by johntycodes on (February 4, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

Good to see that sutherland called our young guys slow bowlers instead of spinners. He and the rest of them have finally realized that they don't actuallt spin the ball..

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 4, 2013, 9:17 GMT)

plethora in fast bowling, is bluntly, a necessity, as young pacers are so much more prone to injury, and we should cotton wool and protect them until they're fully developed, and boy, once they're fully developed, watch out. Patto, starc, Cummings, cutting, bird with the likes of siddle, Harris and a reinvented johno adding experience, watch out. 

Apart from the fiasco of the Perth test, it can be used well, as it gets players trying desperately to keep their position, and performance is the only way to do that. I agreed with starc's resting of the Melbourne test at the time, and even more so currently, with the disclosure of his spurs. And the resting of rhino in WI was again proven correct in hindsight, when a potentially career threatening injury could have been even more exacerbated.

Posted by Potatis on (February 4, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

Skott wrote what I was going to write. If they are to develop many players for the international stage, then Steve O'Keefe should be one of them.

Posted by Skott on (February 4, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

So did anyone explain why Steve O'Keefe isn't going to India?

Posted by joeyinoz on (February 4, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

Judging from this, nothing has changed.

Posted by Meety on (February 4, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

I have long thought the "selling" of the NSPs rotation policy has been poor. When they do try & explain it, often there ends up being more questions than answers (Starc), when they haven't enacted it & injury has caused a shuffle (Siddle), the whole saga comes across as misguided. IMO - there has to be some form of Rotation, I just think it has to involve prioritising certain players for Test Matches, & in particular keeping our bowlers (of Test quality) away from 20/20 cricket.

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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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