Australia news March 16, 2015

Blewett's long-term contract

Australia's fielding coach Greg Blewett has revealed he is on a three-year deal with Cricket Australia, in contrast with the short-term appointment of the more experienced Mike Young to help guide the hosts through the vagaries of the 2015 World Cup.

Lacking much in the way of a coaching background having concentrated more on commentary since his retirement as a player, Blewett was brought into the fold last year on a coaching apprenticeship that quickly expanded to a full-time commission. His arrival came at the behest of the national coach Darren Lehmann after the pair forged a strong relationship as team-mates with South Australia and Australia.

Blewett spoke of his long-term arrangement with CA when ruling out any return to be involved with the Redbacks, who have struggled through the 2014-15 season following the death of Phillip Hughes and have now installed a decidedly youthful captain in the shape of the left-hander Travis Head.

The Australian team struggled to maintain the fielding standards of last summer under Blewett's tutelage during the Tests against India, and improved notably when Young returned ahead of the World Cup. Nevertheless, it is Blewett who has been anointed as the man for the long haul, and said he had learned much about how to motivate his charges over the course of series against Pakistan, India and now this campaign.

"I think during Test match series with what happened at the start of the series, obviously with Phillip Hughes and coming off that Pakistan series, we just faced a lot of time in the field," Blewett said. "We came up against quality batsmen and we just spent a long time in the field and I think a fair bit of fatigue going into that Test match series.

"What we've done over last month or so is shown a fair bit of footage about some really good Australian fielders who have gone before these guys, it's about hopefully them starting to replicate a bit of what guys like Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden all those sort of guys - get them to force a bit of their legacy on the Australian cricket team.

"The other thing is trying to create a bit of competition amongst the guys at training and then when they get to the game it's all about switching on at the right times and showing what they can do. We just encourage them to go out there, do the little things right but also put a show on for everyone because we've got some fantastic fielders."

The Test team's abject failure against Pakistan in the UAE last October has obscured the fact that the preceding ODI series was won 3-0. Blewett said the trip had given him and the rest of the coaching staff plenty of lessons about how to handle the rigours of travel and keep players fresh in mind and body.

"That was a long tour and feels a while ago now but really important for especially the coaching staff when we're faced with those conditions again we learn from that but really now, the focus is all about the World Cup. Pakistan again, have had some success against us recently, but I think our one-day form against all the teams stands out.

"World Cup, I think everyone had a couple of weeks off, freshened up nicely and more about attitude than anything, so the boys are flying."

Young was absent from the team following the end of the successful tour of South Africa in March last year, but was called back in by Lehmann and the team performance chief Pat Howard to offer encouragement and advice to the players for the World Cup. Blewett said he was learning a lot from Young, but stated equally that this was now his job.

"I think Youngy has just been employed to work with the World Cup, I think it's his fourth or fifth World Cup, so he's an experienced campaigner," Blewett said. "I've really enjoyed working with him, I've learnt a lot from Youngy, it's been great to have him around. But as far as I'm aware, his contract runs up to the end of the World Cup."

With gruelling tours of the West Indies, England and Bangladesh to follow, Blewett will need to remember what Young has taught him.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig