Australia news February 21, 2014

Lillee may walk away from CA

30

Dennis Lillee may walk away from his fruitful work with Mitchell Johnson and other Australian pacemen due to a dispute over money with Cricket Australia. It's the second time the former fast bowler and respected coach has reached such an impasse with the governing body.

CA's contract with Lillee expired in the new year and he has not had his preferred terms for a new deal met, meaning his ongoing work with the likes of Pat Cummins and James Faulkner is now up in the air. CA had rehired Craig McDermott as the Test bowling coach ahead of the home summer, while Ali de Winter mentors the bowlers in the limited-overs formats. Lillee has maintained contact with Cummins in particular, but does not want to be giving out his advice without significant recompense.

"They [the young bowlers] are good and they do need direction. But at the moment I'm out of contract and as again with Cricket Australia, they're quibbling over an increase, so I don't know if I've got a contract," Lillee told SEN Radio. "Out of the goodness of my heart I am still in touch with him, he's a good lad and he's got a big future, but I'm over that, I've got other work to do. Not particularly Pat but then everyone comes on board and Cricket Australia think 'here he is, he'll just continue to do it anyway'. So I'm taking a stance."

Responding to questions about contract negotiations with Lillee, a CA spokesperson said: "A number of our consultants come out of contract outside the Australian summer, including Dennis Lillee. We are currently working through that recontracting process. Dennis is clearly a great asset to Australian cricket and we want to ensure he stays involved with the game."

Lillee's appointment had come at a time when Australia's coaches were wracking their brains for a way to extract the best from Johnson, who missed the 2011-12 home summer due to a foot injury after losing much of his earlier confidence and enthusiasm for the game amid a mess of technical problems. Much of his rehabilitation took place in Perth under the guidance of Lillee.

"Not only did I spend a lot of time with him, but most of the time John Inverarity was the guy who came down to most of the sessions I had with Mitch," Lillee said. "If I was a young fast bowler who got injured and lost his way and technique was all over the shop and the chairman was there, wouldn't that give you a fillip?

"That gave him confidence that he was wanted, then he worked bloody hard at all the technical issues and all the fitness issues - he had to go through a very rigorous regime before I'd even touch him with the technical side. We showed him what to do, he did the work, so it's over to him and look at the result."

Other pupils have included Faulkner, who has impressed many with his maturity at a young age and willingness to fight with ball and bat. Lillee's work to help add to Faulkner's pace and also grant him the ability to swing the ball back into right-handed batsmen has also been placed on hold. Australia's pace resources are a primary reason why the team's current success over England and South Africa stands a strong chance of being sustained in future years.

"He's working on improving his technique slightly, which will give him more pace and actually give him that one that comes back into the right-hander regularly at will," Lillee said. "He's close to it, but when you're playing a lot it's hard to put the time in that you need. But he's working on it, he's really convinced it's going to help, he's made some improvements and he will continue to.

"I think it's fantastic at the moment that we've built up this battery of quicks, then also we've got so many reserves around at the moment that I think it's great for Australian cricket. It's no mistake that we're doing well because the quicks have set the scene and bowled so well that the batsmen don't have to make that big a score, the quicks are doing the job. It's certainly the era of the fast bowlers at the moment in Australian cricket."

Having worked with the national setup through Pace Australia in the 1990s, Lillee spent more than a decade without any formal responsibility to mentor the best young bowlers in the nation after falling out over remuneration. However, he was appointed as a pace bowling advisor to CA in January 2013, a move prompted partly by the return of his fellow West Australians and former team-mates Inverarity and Rod Marsh to the national setup as selectors.

CA had described Lillee's role at the time of his appointment: "The Hall of Famer will provide coaching services, guidance and mentorship to Australia's up and coming fast bowlers as well as the current national men's team. Lillee will be available face-to-face and on mobile to the squad, but won't travel extensively abroad with the national team. He will work closely with full-time bowling coach Ali de Winter as Australia prepare to tackle India in a Test series next month and then the highly-anticipated Ashes series starting in July."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BoonBoom on February 22, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    Yes Joe, Kapil does make the cut here.... very marginally though. No doubt he is one the best fast bowler India has produced but not a genuine fast like Holding, Lillee, Roberts, Garner, Macgrath, Croft, Marshall, Pollock, Styne, Imran, Waqar, Wasim, Hadlee and the list is endless.... All these bowlers have bowling average less than 25.... Teams like India and Bangladesh will never produce bowlers of this high class and reason is again the lack of needed typical fast bowler physique which is not likely to be found in India or Bangladesh...

  • on February 22, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    @BoomBoom, Kapil Dev 434 wickets @ an average of 29.64

  • BoonBoom on February 22, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    Guys: I made my comments without any prejudice or biased inclination but the way you guys ignored the real facts is nothing but not accepting the reality. I live in Scandinavia and I totally reject your statement that my statement comes under racial profiling in any way. If you don't want to accept the fact and move the whole discussion into a different direction then you can and will write whatever you want. OK I make a more simpler statement/question..... name any Indian fast bowler who has taken at least 100 test wickets at less than 30.00 bowling average.....

  • on February 22, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    Can't these guys open an academy for fast bowlers all over the world !Steven Finn Pat Cummins Mohammed Amir and a lot of fast bowlers have had their careers stalled after initial promise. The MRF pace academy is a joke in India as we haven't had good pace bowlers ever. The Big 3 are big in only talk not in their deeds

  • on February 22, 2014, 1:07 GMT

    i'm a bit with Terry Smith on this. it's a bit messy to be discussing it in public at all, it's none of our business, but he has put it out there, as Christian Ryan did with the dealings and promotions in his last couple of seasons.

  • on February 21, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    @BoonBoom : Although i concur with your statement about every cricketer in India wanting to be a Tendulkar/Dravid, I resent your statement about Indians not having the body and physique for a fast bowler . I live in the US and those kind of statements would be labelled as "racial profiling" !! . I do not know your nationality , but many Pakistanis ( for obvious reasons) have made those kind of statements in the past. Bowling fast has a lot to do with the mindset and a work ethic . I am sure Lillee would make a big difference in the space in India.

  • on February 21, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    @BoonBoom; don't quite agree with your biased response, there are some good pace bowlers in India, for example Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav, who clocked 145 and over at times, Ishant and Shami can bowl faster and accurate. How do you know, no one wants to become fast bowler in India and the material is faulty and have no inclination to become fast bowlers? BTW, It takes lots of hard work to become Dravid or Tendulkar. Its high time BCCI ropes in Lillee, he can turn things around, remember Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Banerjee etc. were all trained at MRF pace academy with Lillee as bowling coach.

  • on February 21, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    CA would be crazy to let Lillee walk away, they must keep him at all costs. With so many talented raw young bowlers coming through the ranks (Cummins, Starc, Pattinson) a mentor like Lillee would be invaluable.

  • johntycodes on February 21, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    This is the second time this bloke has done this. Just get rid of him for good and get a more recent player in like andy bichel or Kaspa.

  • Niceday on February 21, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    Brian M, every country prepares pitches for it's own bowlers. Australia does it all the time otherwise they would struggle especially with the team they've had in the last few years, very average. Their batsmen mostly do well on their home pitches too. They don't play swing or spin too well. Even Bradman only had a high average because he played against Dad's army and mostly at home.

  • BoonBoom on February 22, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    Yes Joe, Kapil does make the cut here.... very marginally though. No doubt he is one the best fast bowler India has produced but not a genuine fast like Holding, Lillee, Roberts, Garner, Macgrath, Croft, Marshall, Pollock, Styne, Imran, Waqar, Wasim, Hadlee and the list is endless.... All these bowlers have bowling average less than 25.... Teams like India and Bangladesh will never produce bowlers of this high class and reason is again the lack of needed typical fast bowler physique which is not likely to be found in India or Bangladesh...

  • on February 22, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    @BoomBoom, Kapil Dev 434 wickets @ an average of 29.64

  • BoonBoom on February 22, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    Guys: I made my comments without any prejudice or biased inclination but the way you guys ignored the real facts is nothing but not accepting the reality. I live in Scandinavia and I totally reject your statement that my statement comes under racial profiling in any way. If you don't want to accept the fact and move the whole discussion into a different direction then you can and will write whatever you want. OK I make a more simpler statement/question..... name any Indian fast bowler who has taken at least 100 test wickets at less than 30.00 bowling average.....

  • on February 22, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    Can't these guys open an academy for fast bowlers all over the world !Steven Finn Pat Cummins Mohammed Amir and a lot of fast bowlers have had their careers stalled after initial promise. The MRF pace academy is a joke in India as we haven't had good pace bowlers ever. The Big 3 are big in only talk not in their deeds

  • on February 22, 2014, 1:07 GMT

    i'm a bit with Terry Smith on this. it's a bit messy to be discussing it in public at all, it's none of our business, but he has put it out there, as Christian Ryan did with the dealings and promotions in his last couple of seasons.

  • on February 21, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    @BoonBoom : Although i concur with your statement about every cricketer in India wanting to be a Tendulkar/Dravid, I resent your statement about Indians not having the body and physique for a fast bowler . I live in the US and those kind of statements would be labelled as "racial profiling" !! . I do not know your nationality , but many Pakistanis ( for obvious reasons) have made those kind of statements in the past. Bowling fast has a lot to do with the mindset and a work ethic . I am sure Lillee would make a big difference in the space in India.

  • on February 21, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    @BoonBoom; don't quite agree with your biased response, there are some good pace bowlers in India, for example Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav, who clocked 145 and over at times, Ishant and Shami can bowl faster and accurate. How do you know, no one wants to become fast bowler in India and the material is faulty and have no inclination to become fast bowlers? BTW, It takes lots of hard work to become Dravid or Tendulkar. Its high time BCCI ropes in Lillee, he can turn things around, remember Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Banerjee etc. were all trained at MRF pace academy with Lillee as bowling coach.

  • on February 21, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    CA would be crazy to let Lillee walk away, they must keep him at all costs. With so many talented raw young bowlers coming through the ranks (Cummins, Starc, Pattinson) a mentor like Lillee would be invaluable.

  • johntycodes on February 21, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    This is the second time this bloke has done this. Just get rid of him for good and get a more recent player in like andy bichel or Kaspa.

  • Niceday on February 21, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    Brian M, every country prepares pitches for it's own bowlers. Australia does it all the time otherwise they would struggle especially with the team they've had in the last few years, very average. Their batsmen mostly do well on their home pitches too. They don't play swing or spin too well. Even Bradman only had a high average because he played against Dad's army and mostly at home.

  • Meety on February 21, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    @Kevin Gregg - I agree 101%. Lillee made sweet fa out of the game - at least compared to the odern greats & should have a job for life with Cric Oz. If Lillee has only been 25% of the reason for MJs turn around - he should be get a payrise! @gogoldengreens on (February 21, 2014, 9:51 GMT) - yes to Sutherland, no to Howard. I think Howard should get a bit more credit for the things that have worked, rather than just get bagged for the things that haven't. After all - he was largely responsible for sacking Arthurs & appointing Lehman!!!!

  • Hello13 on February 21, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Brian England's swing bowlers were outstanding in the previous Ashes in Australia, when England won. And if pitches in India were tailored to boost Tendulkar's average, its funny how Australia could never score runs on them, like in the last series in India.

  • on February 21, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    Hello13 . Away from tailored fast pitches Australian bowlers are ineffective you say? Maybe so,but it proved the same with Englands swing bowlers in Australia and every Country in the World India plays away from home. Their pitches were tailored entirely to boost Tendulkars average.

  • BoonBoom on February 21, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    @ Shubham Goyal: I don't think any fast bowler coach will make an impact on Indian fast bowler because the raw material is faulty. No one in India wants to become fast bowler and do all the hard work neither they have the physique and body that is needed for a genuine fast bowler. In India everyone wants to be sachin and dravid!!

  • Hello13 on February 21, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    They need a change, their bowlers only play well on tailored pitches. Away from fast tracks, the bowlers are ineffective.

  • gogoldengreens on February 21, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    Sack James Sutherland & Pat Howard & give that money to retain coaches that can improve the team...

  • on February 21, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    I have no idea how much he's asking for of course but I suspect it's a lot. I find something slightly troubling about this.

  • on February 21, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    Hope that BCCI appoint Lillee as a bowling coach. Considering India will be touring Australia and the World Cup is also in Australia he will be a big boost to the team's bowling. It can be very important decision considering Lillee had helped Johnson become more consistent and better. Lillee can help someone like Ishant to get better and improve and give vital guidance to bowlers like Shami, Aaron, Yadav.

    Hope BCCI would consider it

  • tearisle on February 21, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    Please please SLC sri lanka cricket go grab him for heavens sake this is the opportunity of a lifetime time so dont loose it.we can be sure of winning the 2015 world cup with him on our side as our bowling coach, don't forget he coached chaminda vaas , pramodya wickremasinghe, nuwan soysa and all our other fast bowlers at the MRF bowling foundation in madras india, even shaun pollock was trained there. So please dont miss this this opportunity, the stupid aussies dont know his value so this is our chance just go get him at any price, and please before india grab him coz i know they will, they have the money to throw.This guy is a gold mine.Lets'learn to bowl from the master himself.

  • on February 21, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    I have no idea what he is being paid now or what he wants- he may already be paid substantially. And again, how does his contribution stack up with McDermott?

    Lillee refused to assist in the production about the cricket split because of payment issues.

    I'd prefer to have a full knowledge of his pay and contribution before condemning the ACB.

  • ToneMalone on February 21, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    Sick of Cricket Australia talking as if they're acting in the best interests of cricket. There are simply too many cases of CA seemingly ducking and weaving over fair recompense (Mickey Arthur's termination also comes to mind) to find that believable. And then there was the deal done with BCCI and ECB to get a bigger share of the world cricketing financial pie, at the expense of other nations ...

    For goodness sake CA, start showing some credibility and making some decisions that are genuinely in the best interests of the game. You can start by paying Lillee an amount that reflects his huge value to the game. Between them, Lillee and McDermott are the absolute cream of fast bowling coaching talent. Let's respect that, and CA - pay accordingly.

  • on February 21, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    Wonder how much James Sutherland, Wally Edwards and co are paying themselves whilst trying to justify not paying DK an appropriate amount for his services??

  • DickCam on February 21, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    CA cut Lillee in '04. Our bowling turned to shite and we lost the Ashes in '05. The sooner James Sutherland has nothing to do with cricket in Australia, the better.

  • EdwinD on February 21, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    If the clowns at the ECB had any sense they'd snap up Lillee to work on Finn....

  • macZZZ on February 21, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    I'm a great believer in the pursuit of excellence. Likewise, I think our best current players should receive appropriate recompense. And by and large it would appear they do. Clarke, Johnson and a couple of others are paid quite handsomely. And rightly so.

    Arguably, mentor/coaches such as Warne and Lillee deserve to be at the same pay grade. Many might think coaches should not receive similar remuneration as players. I believe that in some cases they should be paid more!

  • Favell on February 21, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Not getting the right people for the right job has cost Australian cricket dearly in recent years. Lillee's miraculous work with MJ is worth his weight in gold.CA should look at trimming the non-essential in order to pay for the essential.

  • lillee4PM on February 21, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Well, do I really need to say anything!!??

  • balooshi on February 21, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Lillee is worth a million dollars - for CA to be quibbling over his contract is being very short sighted. With Lillee and Warne as bowling consultants, and Ian Chappell as consultant for captaincy, and a society that has most of its priorities in the right order, the Aussies can look to dominate world cricket for a long, long time.

  • litchfield on February 21, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    Johnson back in form and the promise of Faulkner with added pace and an inswinger? Pay the man, CA.

  • on February 21, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    Just pay the man, we can all see the good results he's getting. There is no substitute for that kind of experience in a mentor, he'll be invaluable for young bowlers now and well into the future. Just sign him up to a long term contract and reap the rewards, I can't understand why they would be hesitating.

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  • on February 21, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    Just pay the man, we can all see the good results he's getting. There is no substitute for that kind of experience in a mentor, he'll be invaluable for young bowlers now and well into the future. Just sign him up to a long term contract and reap the rewards, I can't understand why they would be hesitating.

  • litchfield on February 21, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    Johnson back in form and the promise of Faulkner with added pace and an inswinger? Pay the man, CA.

  • balooshi on February 21, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Lillee is worth a million dollars - for CA to be quibbling over his contract is being very short sighted. With Lillee and Warne as bowling consultants, and Ian Chappell as consultant for captaincy, and a society that has most of its priorities in the right order, the Aussies can look to dominate world cricket for a long, long time.

  • lillee4PM on February 21, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Well, do I really need to say anything!!??

  • Favell on February 21, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Not getting the right people for the right job has cost Australian cricket dearly in recent years. Lillee's miraculous work with MJ is worth his weight in gold.CA should look at trimming the non-essential in order to pay for the essential.

  • macZZZ on February 21, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    I'm a great believer in the pursuit of excellence. Likewise, I think our best current players should receive appropriate recompense. And by and large it would appear they do. Clarke, Johnson and a couple of others are paid quite handsomely. And rightly so.

    Arguably, mentor/coaches such as Warne and Lillee deserve to be at the same pay grade. Many might think coaches should not receive similar remuneration as players. I believe that in some cases they should be paid more!

  • EdwinD on February 21, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    If the clowns at the ECB had any sense they'd snap up Lillee to work on Finn....

  • DickCam on February 21, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    CA cut Lillee in '04. Our bowling turned to shite and we lost the Ashes in '05. The sooner James Sutherland has nothing to do with cricket in Australia, the better.

  • on February 21, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    Wonder how much James Sutherland, Wally Edwards and co are paying themselves whilst trying to justify not paying DK an appropriate amount for his services??

  • ToneMalone on February 21, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    Sick of Cricket Australia talking as if they're acting in the best interests of cricket. There are simply too many cases of CA seemingly ducking and weaving over fair recompense (Mickey Arthur's termination also comes to mind) to find that believable. And then there was the deal done with BCCI and ECB to get a bigger share of the world cricketing financial pie, at the expense of other nations ...

    For goodness sake CA, start showing some credibility and making some decisions that are genuinely in the best interests of the game. You can start by paying Lillee an amount that reflects his huge value to the game. Between them, Lillee and McDermott are the absolute cream of fast bowling coaching talent. Let's respect that, and CA - pay accordingly.