Warne - England must respect county cricket
Shane Warne believes that England need to show more respect to county cricket, but feels that the new coach, Peter Moores, is taking the country in the right direction.
"Under Duncan Fletcher England didn't pay enough respect to county cricket and I hope that changes under Peter Moores," Warne, the Hampshire captain, told the London-based Sport magazine. "I think this last season with Hampshire has been the strongest one I've ever seen for county cricket and it's seen young bowlers like Chris Tremlett, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson come through to the national team."
Fletcher's approach as England coach wasn't overly sympathetic to releasing centrally-contracted players for their counties. His successor, Moores - a big advocate of the county system which nurtured him - has been more sympathetic. He has also revived the international careers of players who had impressed for their county such as Graeme Swann and Ryan Sidebottom, both of Nottinghamshire.
It's generally agreed that the county game is improving, particularly since the introduction of two tiers for the Championship. At last, the talent appears to be concentrating into the top of the first division, which the system was designed for.
Warne also had strong views on the decision to cut the number of overseas players allowed from two to one per county from next year. "I also think it's important to have two overseas players per county," he said. "It helps these young guys to play against the best and they definitely improve for it."
It's not just the English players who have benefitted from playing against the overseas players. Several Australian players who had county stints this summer have made a thumping start to their domestic season.
Cameron White, who played at Somerset, has continued his excellent batting form for Victoria. His team-mate David Hussey has eased from a successful season at Nottinghamshire straight into the runs for Victoria, via a useful Australia A tour in Pakistan.
White also praised county cricket recently - especially the effect it has had on Hussey. "I've no doubt county cricket has definitely helped his game," he said. "Over the last four winters he's been [playing county cricket] he's probably facing a couple of thousand balls out in the middle while everyone else who's not playing cricket is hitting indoor bowling machine balls. There's no doubt I think that makes you a better player over there, batting all that time."
Doug Bollinger and Phil Jaques may not have had the best of times at Worcestershire but, following the A tour, they are back on the money for New South Wales.