Australia news February 4, 2013

Strong post-Argus plans poorly explained to public


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Merv 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.

  • Roger 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.

  • John 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.

  • Merv 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.

  • Andrew 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.

  • Randolph on February 5, 2013, 0:30 GMT

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

  • Randolph 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.

  • Ant 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