The Ashes 2009 June 12, 2009

Australia unruffled by Buchanan deal

Cricinfo staff

John Buchanan's decision to join the ECB for a coaching assignment in the lead-up to the Ashes has drawn an indifferent response from the Australians. Shane Watson, who is in the Ashes squad, said Buchanan would have little impact on England's campaign while the retired Stuart MacGill said the move was more likely to hurt England than help them.

Watson said players understood that coaching these days was a global business and mentors were free to ply their trade wherever they chose. Since losing the Ashes in 2005 Australia have gained the bowling coach Troy Cooley, who helped England master reverse swing, while Rod Marsh is another who has assisted both countries.

"I think it's great for world cricket to be able to use the knowledge, and it can work both ways," Watson told the Age. "We've got Troy to be able to make the most of the information he got from coaching the England [bowlers].

"We've had two years with Tim Nielsen now and obviously John Buchanan has coached Kolkata and done some other things as well, so to me it's part of his job and what he is trying to do as a coach, to get around and help people out whether it's Australia-wide or internationally. He's got great experience so I think that's his call and we're lucky to have Troy on our side now."

MacGill, who suffered a knee injury during Buchanan's boot camp in 2006, said it was clear which team had come out better in the lead-up to this year's series. He said England would have been better to call on their own coach from 2005, Duncan Fletcher, rather than Buchanan.

"John Buchanan's mantra has always been that if the players look after themselves, the results will look after themselves," MacGill said in the Daily Telegraph. "In 2005, Australia had a very, very good side, all they needed to do was tailor-make a game plan, and we didn't. We didn't spend any time on their players or conditions.

"What won England the Ashes in 2005 was their bowling, and if you look at it now, we got Troy Cooley and they got John Buchanan. Troy Cooley won England the Ashes and John Buchanan lost it for us. I don't begrudge Buck for trying to make a living, but his coaching record in England isn't crash hot. He lost the Ashes and had a stint with Middlesex that also didn't work out."

Shane Warne, one of the strongest critics of Buchanan's coaching methods, couldn't resist another dig at him. Warne reckoned that Buchanan's switch would only motivate Australia to go harder at England.

"I think that's a great move because that means we've got more of a chance," Warne said. "Hopefully, Buck (Buchanan) will be doing his stuff and he'll be working and doing all his things and hopefully overcomplicating things. I reckon it gives our chances a big boost and makes our blokes more hungry. Hopefully, he gets all of them in a boot camp and Freddie (Andrew) Flintoff and (Kevin) Pietersen hurt their knees, that would be great."

Regardless of whether Buchanan has any dealings with the England side - his main role is likely to be with junior teams and the England Lions - the Australians have little concern about his impact. Watson said there wasn't a great deal Buchanan could divulge about the squad's current plans.

"There are no real secrets to what we do in the Australian team," Watson said. "It's just the way we prepare … I don't think it's rocket science, what he'll be able to give them, anyway."