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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 6:26 GMT

    Fielding always goes backwards as soon as Mike Young is no longer involved. Think they will be sorry they have not given him a long term contract.

  • Matt on March 16, 2015, 23:56 GMT

    From what I'm aware of, Blewett doesn't have a strong CV to support his appointment. I don't think his coaching experience or his playing career makes him an obvious candidate. So this is a gut feel appointment. Doesn't make it wrong but it will raise some eyebrows and will mean people will be watching closely.

  • anton on March 16, 2015, 20:34 GMT

    Mike Young has sort of become a freelance coach these days. If he is no longer needed by the Aussies maybe it's time England picked him up for the summer at least. We have the Ashes this summer and he could bring with him some insider information, being that he has been involved with the Aussies for a good few years now.

  • Peter on March 16, 2015, 19:08 GMT

    Seems I am in agreement with most here. Young's performance has been outstanding. I am still cringing at our UAE fielding efforts which was a contributing factor to the series loss (11 catches in 2 tests) whilst we were ordinary (by our standards) in the Indian series. Come on Boof, everyone else can see that, why can't you? Let's hope Blewy learnt plenty from Young while he was under him.

  • Terry on March 16, 2015, 16:56 GMT

    I think this will raise a few eyebrows. Mike Young is obviously a top notch fielding coach with extensive experience and Greg Blewett is a rookie with none. And which one has the 3 year contract? Very odd

  • Sab on March 16, 2015, 7:56 GMT

    Lehmann has a right as coach to call out his staff, but this is our national team and from an experience and results perspective Blewett is clearly on his L plates. Limited coaching experience and very un-Australian fielding results from the team under his watch - The fielding in the summer tests was nothing short of an absolute embarrassment. Young in contrast has consistently delivered year on year and his methods clearly work. Under his watch we have seen Australian fielding develop to become the gold standard in Cricket, likewise we have seen it's decline when team management have decided to shelve him. Change is healthy when required, change for the sake of change isn't a sound strategy and change to the unproven is lunacy. On results alone, keep Mike (or find a coach of similar proven calibre) and let Blewy develop/prove his method in domestic before risking our national team with him.

  • Thomas on March 16, 2015, 6:49 GMT

    @MILLSY24...yep, you took the words right out of my mouth...agree 100%.

  • Sharyn on March 16, 2015, 6:36 GMT

    Jobs for the boys. Blewett doesn't need to be anywhere near this team. Under him the fielding went backwards. They bring Mike Young back and the fielding improves. Cricket Australia has treated him poorly and he should be the only fielding coach we have.

  • Izmi on March 16, 2015, 5:59 GMT

    Though the fieliding in the outfield has improved by leaps and bounds the fielding close to the wicket hasn't improved much as batsmen keep stealing singles as they wish and several run out chances have been missed. There should be two outstanding fielders who are very agile fielding close to the wicket area to prevent the singles and to run out batsmen. I remember when Andrew Symonds and Ricky Ponting used to field close to the wicket the batsmen used to panic and ran themselves out but nowadays you hardly see that happen in Australian cricket. Very often I have noticed that they can't hit the stumps even at close range and put the batsmen under immense pressure. I reckon Warner, Maxwell and Smith should be fielding around the wicket area when the pressure is on the opposition batsmen.

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