Australia's Ashes fallout August 30, 2009

Buchanan calls for review of coaching role

Cricinfo staff

John Buchanan has called for a review of of current Australian coach Tim Nielsen's position, in the aftermath of Australia's 2-1 defeat in the Ashes. Nielsen had accepted responsibility for the outcome and had said there were things he could have done differently, but added that he had to concentrate on the job ahead. Buchanan, who coached Australia before Nielsen took over, stressed that it wasn't just the coaching position which had to be reviewed but the entire system.

"The coaching position needs to be looked at, whether we need a restructure of the position and the personnel," he told the Sunday Herald Sun. "The first step is to deal with all the emotional criticism and then sit down and work out the best way forward.

"My view, having gone through it in 2005, was that there was a lot to be achieved, once you actually try to find solutions rather than looking for scapegoats. It's not just about the players. Some people have called for the selection panel to be looked at and I think we need to look at the whole system."

Nielsen began his tenure as coach successfully, with series wins over India and West Indies in the early part of 2008. But, since then, Australia's record has been mixed. While they won against New Zealand at home and against South Africa away, they were defeated by India in the return series, experienced their first series loss at home in 16 years when they were beaten 2-1 by South Africa, and lost the Ashes.

Buchanan said that Australia had not done well enough to monitor and study the opposition prior to taking them on. He was speaking more with regards to their performance in England, having lost twice in two attempts there since 2005.

"We've lost two series in a row there now and even though we've got computer information on the opposition, we're probably not scouting as well as we could," he said. "It could be that we have a coach or somebody who follows the English team for a couple of months prior to an Ashes series.

"It could be that we talk to professional players or coaches who are already over there, about conditions and what the ball is doing. But we need to find long-term solutions."

Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, has expressed his interest in returning to England in 2013 in the quest for an elusive victory under his leadership there, and Buchanan was fully supportive of his ambition. However, he added that the coach needed to shoulder a greater element of responsibility in easing the burden off the captain.

"Ponting has said he wants to be there when they go back in 2013 and I support that, but I think the point it raises is the issue of player management," Buchanan said. "The captain doesn't have to be the first person to answer questions, but it would be a radical change to the traditional cricket hierarchy. Everything revolves around the captain and that makes the position extremely, extremely difficult to handle over a long period of time."