Australia news May 8, 2014

Lillee responds in CA pay dispute


Dennis Lillee has responded to Cricket Australia's announcement that the former Test wicket-taking record holder would no longer be working with the nation's fast bowlers due to a dispute over pay demands, citing the impact of Mitchell Johnson in the past two series as the best measure of his effectiveness.

Having played a major role in Johnson's resurgence, while also being on call to mentor the likes of Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, Lillee's request for a pay increase was knocked back by CA.

However, Lillee, who is presently attending a cricket festival in Philadelphia, said in a statement to Brisbane's Courier-Mail that he was merely asking for a fair financial return for the work he had done, especially given that Johnson was "the difference" between Ashes defeat in England and a rollicking 5-0 sweep at home.

"If my role and influence is to be assessed on any measure, perhaps the contribution to reinvigorating Mitch Johnson's career to becoming the best performing fast bowler in the world last year is a helpful yardstick,'' Lillee said. "We had many, many hours of contact and continual work to achieve his amazing performances of the last 12 months.

"It must be obvious the difference between the Australian team in England and the fantastic Ashes success in Australia was largely due to Mitch's presence, confidence, technique and impact."

While disputing reports that he was only required to work with Australia's pacemen for 11 days last year, Lillee said modern coaching and mentoring of cricketers had become a far more demanding and enveloping job than it had been during his time as a player.

"My role as coach with the Australian and Western Australian teams has obviously required a commitment that has embraced one-on-one coaching, computer analysis of players' actions and performance and remote coaching and support," he said. "Coaching and mentoring in the modern day is far more demanding than when I played, and this has been a substantial adjustment in resources and commitment for Cricket Australia and the coaches that are involved in the game.

"I am disappointed that Cricket Australia has chosen to debate in the public arena the value of the services I have provided to Australian cricket, along with what should have been a sensible discussion about nominal reward for ongoing performance. My career and my support role in the recent Ashes success speak for themselves and I remain ready, willing and able to continue Australia's resurgence in the cricketing world."

Lillee remains in touch with the bowlers he has mentored, but reiterated his earlier words in a radio interview during the South Africa Test tour that he felt compelled to take a stand over his pay. "I remain involved with and supportive of my group of bowlers, but as a working Australian, need to draw the line at some stage regarding what is fair and not fair," he said.

"I have been privileged in my career to be mentored by some of the best coaches and players of cricket in the game and it has been my pleasure to pass on and embellish the knowledge that I have gained. Coaching at this level is not about an hourly rate or time in the office -- it's a reflection of the experience and knowledge gained over many years and an ability to communicate skills and a trade craft that produces results. The Australian bowling performance during the Ashes shows those results.

"The work I have undertaken with Australia's fast bowlers has been very rewarding personally and feedback from those involved intimated that the feeling was mutual. At the end of the day the game is about the players and the memorable performances that bring us back each summer, regardless of the temporary administrators and politics of the sport.''

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on May 13, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    It is not clear to me, having read several articles on the theme, just how much money Lillee is not receiving. Given that it is implied here that Johnson's performance is largely the product of Lillee's coaching, Lillee must be worth a vast amount of money, something comparable with a transfer fee to Manchester United, perhaps divided by eleven, if there is a coach for each player in the Australian team. In a world where it is permissible for the printing presses to be run in the cause of 'quantitative easing', and performance in sport depends on how much money is paid, there ought to be no limit on what is paid to Lillee. The wonder is that ordinary cricket fans, on their limited incomes, tolerate this. It would not be a surprise to find that the slight disclosure, if any, of amounts paid and asked for was due to this breathtaking divide between cricket and its potential fans.

  • kev on May 10, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    Would love it if this man came to S.A and shared his knowledge with our bowlers.

  • Sunil on May 10, 2014, 3:55 GMT

    Thought Lillee was running the Indian fast bowling academy some time back and the result was a stream of batsman friendly fast bowlers, unless he was doing a job on the spinners. Good bowlers dont come often and wholly depends on the skills & dedication of the individual and not the coach. Trying kudos for Mitch's achievements is pathetic but not strange for Lillee.

    CM probably did a lot better job for Oz cricket in getting a stream of young fast bowlers who will eventually succeed and he was hands on.

  • Fred on May 10, 2014, 3:48 GMT

    So you get paid to do a job and you do it. I wonder if he would take a pay cut if his bowlers underperformed. Sorry DK, I have been a fan of yours my entire life but this argument has belittled you in my eyes.

  • Craig on May 10, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    Cricket Australia have no clue. They nickel and dime DK, who clearly is one of the best three or four bowling coaches in the world and who helped Johnson wipe out England and terorise South Africa, while cutting up the summer in ridiculous ways to accomodate the Big Bash League, which is nothing more than a money-making venture.

  • Mark on May 10, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    How can anyone expect CA to give DK Lillee a pay rise when they have to pay all of those clipboard-carrying, homework-checking management consultants who are so central to Australia's on-field performance? Really though, given MJ's such a confidence bowler, it worries me what it may do to his head not to have DK Lillee in his corner. This is not a great start to Australia's tenure as No. 1.

  • Alan on May 9, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    Its a shame greed takes hold in some see as inspirational people ,sadly i now have another on my list , great bowler, fantastic coach but doing it these days for all the wrong reasons , a sad state of affairs

  • Android on May 9, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    Bangladesh looking for coach.. Sir Lillee have great opportunity to become Head coach of test Nation.. Its will be great challenge for him to kids to be man.. hope he will accept the challenge..

  • Shabbir on May 9, 2014, 12:23 GMT

    CA now made the mistake of letting BCCI and ECB bid for Lillee's service. Both BCCI and ECB most probably are aware of what Lillee can do, and money does not appear to be a problem for them. However, I think CSA would be the best employer for Lillee - either as a consultant boawling coach or as the replacement coach for Donald. Donald had contributed to a lot to SA bowling, oversaw the development of the best boawling attack in test which helped SA to become No.1 in test, but that is over now. SA bowling proved to be the second best earlier this year, and that indicated Donald had given it all, and he had nothing more to offer. However, Lillee working with the likes of Styen, Morkel, Philander can pose some serious questions back to Aussies. SA has immense talents in the form of Lange, Tsotsobe, Kleinveldt, McLaren and Parnell - So Lillee will surely enjoy his time there. I hope CSA officials, and particularly H Lorgat has half the brain to understand what an opportunity this is!

  • Paul on May 9, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    Dennis Keith Lillee is the best fast bowling coach in the world. It seems that Cricket Australia have made the same mistake twice by treating Dennis Lillee with a lack of respect. In 2002, James Sutherland did not renew Dennis Lillee's Pace Australia contract. We were on top of the world and it was a matter of the bottom line. Sutherland and Howard should be grateful for DK Lillee. Craig McDermott and Troy Cooley could not solve Mitchell Johnson's problems from 2007 to 2012. Who is the best fast bowling coach in the world James Sutherland?

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