Nannes warns youngsters about Twenty20 riches
Dirk Nannes, the Australian left-arm quick, has warned cricketers against pinning all their aspirations on Twenty20 despite his own success at forging a career in the shortest format of the game. He believes all players should aim for Test honours and only give that away if injuries impact heavily on their careers.
It was a route Nannes took earlier this year when he quit first-class cricket after a series of injuries to focus on limited-overs. He has now formed a successful Twenty20 career with Australia and with domestic teams around the world, including Nottinghamshire whom he has helped qualify for the Friends Provident t20 quarter-finals, but still harbours ambitions of playing in next year's 50-over World Cup.
However, with the sums of money now on offer for Twenty20 it will be increasingly tempting for players to angle their game towards that format. There are already signs of such developments with Kieron Pollard, the West Indies allrounder, plying his trade around the world and, although not a youngster, Shahid Afridi last week quit Test cricket saying he didn't have the temperament for the game.
"I don't think playing just Twenty20 is a good move. I think it would be a wrong move for a young player to go and do that," Nannes told Cricinfo. "I don't think it's the right thing, certainly from a cricket development point of view. Yes, short term, you might be able to make a few quid out of it but long term you find the best players in Twenty20, more often than not, are the best in Tests and one-dayers as well.
"I don't think it is right that people give those things away too early. There's been talk of people like David Warner being just a Twenty20 specialist, but I think that would be dangerous for someone like him to do that without first trying to be a Test cricketer. He's certainly trying to be successful in all formats and I don't think it's right to just try to be a Twenty20 specialist.
Nannes doesn't want to stick to playing just Twenty20 and is pushing for a place in Australia's World Cup squad next year. He has only played a single ODI, against Scotland last year, but feels he has plenty to offer the 50-over game if the selectors want to give him a chance.
"Absolutely, I'd love to," he said. "I'm still playing one-dayers at home. I certainly want to throw my hat in the ring for that, but unfortunately I don't pick the team and they haven't selected me yet so we'll have to see how it goes. I think I've bowled well in India as a whole in the IPL and fast bowlers still have a case to play out there and do well."
Nannes didn't want to give up first-class cricket but felt it was the only way to prolong his career, which is a decision that has also been taken by his Australia team-mate Shaun Tait, while Andrew Flintoff shelved Test cricket after another injury last year.
"While I can sit there and think 'what if' the facts are that while I'm playing the longer forms my body suffers," he said. "The chances are that if I was playing four-day cricket that I wouldn't be able to stand up at the moment to play in a Test. I don't have many regrets about most things I've done in my life."
Nannes, though, doesn't go along with Imran Khan's views - expressed at this year's MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture - that fast bowlers will become extinct because of the increasing demands being placed on them by packed schedules, even though he admitted it wasn't easy for the guys who bowl at 90mph.
"That's a bit sensationalist," he said. "I wouldn't have thought we were becoming extinct. I think with the nature of how much cricket we are playing fast bowlers are prone to being injured more. Playing so much cricket isn't really conducive to good fast bowling so I can see where he's coming from, but in terms of being a dying species I don't think that's right."
Dirk Nannes is playing for Nottinghamshire in the Friends Provident t20 Quarter Finals. For more information on Friends Provident's pensions, protections and investment products visit www.friendsprovident.com or to buy tickets click here
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo