Eng v Aus, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 4th day July 21, 2013

The rotting of Australian cricket

The marginalising of grade and Shield competitions has left a painful legacy for the Test team

Amid the usual sea of opinions leading into this series, Andrew Strauss cut to the core of Australian cricket's troubles with an observation he made about the last Ashes tour down under. While the Test matches of 2010-11 and their margins were clear, Strauss noticed something a little more far-reaching and disturbing on his travels. The standard of the players and teams his side faced in their tour matches was nowhere near the level that England tourists had come to expect. Where once the visitors expected a serious fight no matter where they played, now they were surprised to feel unthreatened.

Three years on, and a very public execution at Lord's has confirmed the decline Strauss witnessed. First evident among the grassroots, it has now enveloped the shop front of the Australian game. The bewilderment experienced by a succession of batsmen as they trudged off with inadequate scores for the fourth consecutive Ashes innings was mirrored on the faces of the Sunday spectators, Australian television viewers and Cricket Australia staff on both sides of the world. How had it come to this?

Shane Watson, Chris Rogers, Phillip Hughes, Michael Clarke, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith fell in manners familiar and unfamiliar, technical or mental, to pace or spin. There was no underlying pattern. But the death dive of the national team's recent performances, including a sixth Test match defeat in succession, is the ugliest and most visible symptom of a collective malaise that has been creeping ever wider for some time, hurried along by band-aid solutions and rampant market thinking that has helped to rot the teeth of the domestic game.

Among the most troubling elements of Australia's current state of poverty is that there is no single person in the team nor around it who has the capacity to provide a remedy. Not the captain Clarke, nor the coach Darren Lehmann, the selectors Rod Marsh and John Inverarity, nor even the high-powered general manager of team performance, Pat Howard. Had he still been employed, the estranged former coach Mickey Arthur would have been equally powerless.

They all have had influential roles within Australian cricket over the past three years, and all have a genuine desire to see the team winning matches. All are doing their best to prepare players for tasks such as England. But none have complete control over the areas of Cricket Australia to where the game's decline can be traced. Perhaps not surprisingly, all are often heard to say the words "not ideal". All should be speaking earnestly to their chief executive, James Sutherland, who despite much financial prosperity has presided over the aforementioned rot.

Several issues stand out as causes of the problems on display at Lord's. The first is the marginalisation of the grade and Sheffield Shield competitions, for so long regarded as the best proving grounds of their kind in the world. In 2013 they sit at the fringes of CA's thinking. Grade cricket has fallen behind the much vaunted "pathway" of under-age competitions and Centre of Excellence training as the primary providers of players bound for international duty. The Shield, meanwhile, is now played disjointedly and unhappily around the edges of the Australian season, having ceded the prime months of December and January to the Twenty20 Big Bash League.

This scheduling stands in marked contrast to the fixtures now produced in England and India, Australia's two most recent tormentors. For all the buzz and hype around the IPL and the Champions League, neither competition cuts across the first-class Ranji Trophy, which remains a tournament fought in an environment of continuity and cohesion. Similarly, the English county season offers domestic players a greater chance for building up form and confidence in the format most representative of Test matches. Plenty of battles have been fought within England to keep it so, and next summer its primacy will be further embossed by the spreading of T20 fixtures more evenly through the season.

Even if the Shield were to be granted a place of greater centrality to the Australian summer, the matter of pitches is also a source of problems. Australia's glaring lack of batsmen capable of playing long innings can be related directly to the emergence of a succession of sporting or worse surfaces, as state teams chase the outright results required to reach the Shield final. Queensland and Tasmania have been among the most notable preparers of green surfaces, often for reasons of weather as much as strategy, but their approaches have become increasingly popular across the country. This has resulted in a litany of low-scoring matches and bowlers celebrating far more often than they did during the relatively run-laden 1990s. Batsmen are thus lacking in confidence and technique, while bowlers are similarly less used to striving for wickets on unresponsive surfaces so often prepared in Tests, as administrators eye fifth-day gate receipts.

Money is never far from anyone's motivation, of course, and the financial modelling of Australian player payments must also be examined. This much was pointed out by Arthur himself when the BBL was unveiled in 2011, accompanied by the news that state contracts would be reduced on the presumption that every player would also play T20. Arthur's words should be ringing in the ears of CA's decision makers almost as much as his anguished complaints now about the loss of his job.

"Your biggest salary cap should be your state contracts with the smaller salary cap being your Big Bash," Arthur had said when coach of Western Australia. "If we're really serious in Australia about getting Australia to the No. 1 Test-playing side in the world, we should be reflecting that in our salary caps and budgets. You can feel the squeeze just through the salary caps that we have to work with. You're getting a bigger salary cap for six weeks' work over the holiday period than you are for trying to make yourself a Test cricketer. I think that's the wrong way round."

The wrong way round and the wrong way to maintain a strong Test team. The pain of Australia's players at Lord's, not least their clearly upset captain Michael Clarke, was patently clear. But having almost conjured miracles at Trent Bridge, St John's Wood has provided a much more realistic picture of where the team has slipped to, and why. There can be few more humiliating places at which to be defined as second rate than the home of cricket, for so long the home away from home for Australia's cricketers. In a moment of hubris after their win at the ground in 2005, Ricky Ponting's team held uproarious court in the home dressing rooms. This time around any visit to the England side of the pavilion will be made far more humbly.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gaurav_92 on July 24, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    We need Clarke at 4. He is our best batsman and needs to anchor the innings. David Warner has made 193 against South Africa A today, he is in good form and needs to be brought into our top 6. I would replace him with Khawaja who seemed very susceptible against the spin of Swann. Despite Agar being an amazing young talent and his heroics in the first test, we need Lyon as the main spinner. Although he is no where near Agar with the bat, but with the bowl he is more reliable. 1) Watson 2) Rogers 3) Warner 4) Clarke 5) Smith 6) Hughes 7) Haddin 8) Starc 9) Harris 10) Siddle 11) Lyon 12) Cowan Or Warner Rogers Hughes Clarke Watson Smith Haddin Starc Siddle HarrisLyon

  • radhegee on July 23, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    My Squad for next Ashes Test - 1)Watson 2)Warner 3)Clarke 4)Smith 5)White 6)Faulkner 7) Haddin 8)Siddle 9)Starc 10)Harris 11)Lyon

    OZ need to bring the man which England fears ....and he is the big Camroon White .. If we see he his test stats it looks like he has not got enough opportunities in Test cricket . Time to give big man a chance as he is still 29 and a heavy run getter in domestic cricket....

  • gaurav_92 on July 24, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    We need Clarke at 4. He is our best batsman and needs to anchor the innings. David Warner has made 193 against South Africa A today, he is in good form and needs to be brought into our top 6. I would replace him with Khawaja who seemed very susceptible against the spin of Swann. Despite Agar being an amazing young talent and his heroics in the first test, we need Lyon as the main spinner. Although he is no where near Agar with the bat, but with the bowl he is more reliable. 1) Watson 2) Rogers 3) Warner 4) Clarke 5) Smith 6) Hughes 7) Haddin 8) Starc 9) Harris 10) Siddle 11) Lyon 12) Cowan Or Warner Rogers Hughes Clarke Watson Smith Haddin Starc Siddle HarrisLyon

  • radhegee on July 23, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    My Squad for next Ashes Test - 1)Watson 2)Warner 3)Clarke 4)Smith 5)White 6)Faulkner 7) Haddin 8)Siddle 9)Starc 10)Harris 11)Lyon

    OZ need to bring the man which England fears ....and he is the big Camroon White .. If we see he his test stats it looks like he has not got enough opportunities in Test cricket . Time to give big man a chance as he is still 29 and a heavy run getter in domestic cricket....

  • fguy on July 23, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    @Someguy if you'd seen the AB devilliers dismantling of Dale steyn in one of the IPL matches last year i can bet you would not say that there was no skill involved. all the new shots that have come about due to t20 (ramp, reverse sweep, scoop etc) require a great deal of skill & plenty of courage to boot (if you miss a 145+ kmph steyn missile when trying to play the scoop you're pretty much guaranteed to land up in hospital). to say that just leaving alone the ball & blocking require skills while playing aggressive shots do not is pure one eyed bias. t20 also helped test cricket in that teams are scoring at a much quicker rate now which leads to more results & the advent of more aggressive batsman (who are admittedly more likely to get out then say a Cook or Dravid) has atleast spared us of dreary draws which was the norm not too long ago.

  • SuperSharky on July 23, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    Great article and good points made. I still feels Australia Cricket did do the right move to employ Mickey Arthur, but they gave him the wrong position. He should have been Darren Leahman's technical advisor. The Auzzies needs to be auzzies again. Won't Merv Hughes step up and give them a speech, please. When the auzzies lost a bit of status in the 80's, the very hardened Allan Border came and make them auzzies again. He wasn't there to make friends. Barry Richards once told us how prestige and hard it was to play in the Australian domestic series. Mickey was right when he warned "don't let your 20/20 salaries outplay your Test salaries". Money can be a b@tch too! Pride and patriotism could be the answer. When the young inexperienced Graeme Smith captained South Africa, Ricky Ponting once made the comment that the most competitive cricket he played that year was Australian domestic cricket. The more than one days. Don't mess up your factory because of money.

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    The points outlined in this article are factors, the other contributor is the poorly selected and balanced team. The bowlers are fine, except Lyon should be playing instead of Agar. A far better balanced team would be Warner & Cowan to open, if Khawaja must play he should be number 3. Clarke has to move to 4 it's simply to late for him to shape the innings at number 5. Watson at 5 with Steve Smith at number 6 sharing 15/20 overs with Watson. Wade/Haddin as keeper, Wade is the better keeper in my opinion and this is part of the selection problem. The best keeper should be selected, not the best keeper/batsman. The bowlers are fine, they just have nowhere near enough runs to bowl at. Australia needs to select the best eleven players in the country, regardless of how flashy they are or their crowd appeal etc. These players need to have a god 12 month run to solidify into a team, the constant chopping and changing of players is also a large contributing factor. Back to basics!

  • PhaniBhaskar24 on July 23, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Oh! give them a break...the whole speaking of negativity deepens/ worsens the problem for the team which is currently after Ashes...i am from india & am certainly aware of high pressure or expectations situation from fans...but its not fair...Most of the people are speaking on no.of balls faced at Junior level & hence the adaptability...however to all Aussie fans " May i know any Australian batsmen made his debut in teens"?

    well, the team is in hunt for Ashes...cheer them up & say it loud " Come on boys, we are the fighters, never give up"....this way / blessings, will help aussie get the required confidence

  • scarab666 on July 23, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    Both Anthony and David hit the nail on the head with their comments because this is where all our trouble starts. Our local junior comp is so bad that it not only forces retirement on a batsman but the games are only 36 overs long, which basically means anyone coming in to bat from 2nd drop onwards has to play a sluggers role.....this is not skill development at all and this is the comp. David Warner comes from.

  • one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on July 23, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Two bigger issues have not been discussed. Firstly, the homogenisation of Australian wickets (drop ins; WACA has lost it's pace and bounce whereas Sydney has lost it's turn) has meant that players are not getting experience in a variety of wickets. Once upon a time, a trip around the Aussie cricket grounds was akin to playing around the world. Secondly, in the 90s, the test players featured in many more shield matches (these days they might not play any) giving first class players a better yardstick (and sharing experience) than they are getting now.

  • Big-Dog on July 23, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    How Sutherland has managed to survive is beyond my understanding. He should have been sacked before Arthur. He has reduced the Sheffield Shield to nothing but a a sideshow so of course test Cricket is suffering. T20 should be the sideshow, not REAL cricket.

  • Jeremy303 on July 23, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    I agree with most of these points, but I would like to comment on the state of Australian pitches. I agree that they should be modified, but not to be "batsman friendly" roads per say just for the sake of allowing batsmen to gain higher batting averages and for the bowlers to toil. A return to the varied pitches would be best. The stereotypical wickets could shift, but CA needs to have a variety of wickets to expose the Shield teams to play in international conditions. The slow, turning wicket (SCG), the fast, bouncy wicket (WACA), the green pitches (Gabba and Bellerive), the 4-5th day deteriorating "road" (Adelaide) and the all round wicket (MCG) should be encouraged. There was a period in the late 90s to early 00s where all of the pitches were relatively flat and unchallenging for quality batsmen. That was one of the reasons for the so-called failure of Australian pace bowlers in the 05 Ashes. Australian batsmen and bowlers need to gain experience on varied wickets.

  • Thegimp on July 23, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    I tend to agree with SidArthur. I don't pretend to say I was good enough to play FC but I had a reasonable grade career. When my Dad played, all of us kids spent the day in the nets. When I started playing grade cricket, wives, mothers & girlfriends & kids were a part of the club. All of my friends were from the club and over 100 of us would be there until the early hours on every second Saturday (presentation night) the club and cricket was our lives. During my 30 years there has been a gradual decline. Now, at that same club, no more than 20 players would be there on any given presentation night despite having 10 grades. Split families, time shortages but mostly I blame mobile phones. There was a time when unless your outside mates organised a night out prior to the Friday before the game they couldn't contact you. Now the first thing a young player does when he leaves the field is check his phone. Cricket is no longer their lives in fact it becomes an interruption to their lives.

  • jrg_from_oz on July 23, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    Australia does have a serious problem, and it comes right from grassroots cricket. In the 1980s I coached a team of juniors in a metro comp where even a 9-y-o was allowed to score a century in an U10 comp. Games played over two Sat mornings, full adult rules. Some players in that comp progressed to Sheffield Shield for NSW. Fast forward to 2006, and I took on another U10 team because of a shortage of coaches. I lasted one season. 12 batsmen limited to facing TEN BALLS each, everyone bowled an over in rotation (6 wides counted as 6 balls to the batsman), all over in 3 hours, and we weren't even supposed to keep a team score in case one team got upset because they'd lost! Until we return to playing junior cricket, rather than childminding,Australia will continue to be a frustrating first-class team to follow.

  • DSPT on July 23, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    I would like to add a few more points. Firstly I failed to commend Daniel on his article, your points are made with insight and passion. Secondly T20 would be less of a problem should the timing of the big bash be more considerate as such to test cricket. Ie play the BB after the test series and Shield is over and play it over shorter time frame, giving players the whole off season to adapt their game to suit the longer format. Also having less interruptions throughout the first class season taking away quality from the Shield. On the point of Bailey and D.Hussey, both had very poor seasons last year, and you cannot choose someone just because they haven't had a chance (Something that seems to be going on fair bit of late). Pick form players from the Shield/County Champ scene only and pick on form on. Some players to ponder, Copeland, Butterworth, Bird, Burns and Michael Klinger. Also anyone want to tell me why Johan Botha is playing in the Shield?

  • captaincool79 on July 23, 2013, 3:16 GMT

    I would not like to think that the level of domestic cricket in Australia has dropped that alarmingly. Agreed, the team has lost a record number of test matches, this can also be attributed to the fact the opposition team has played well and Australia are still trying to find the right combination to succeed at this level. There is always a cycle of ups and downs that any cricketing nation has. Look at West Indies, ever since their slide in the 90s they have still not been able to completely arrest it. They continue to blow hot and cold. Think Australia have a good enough structure that if they are able to dig deep and are prepared to take some good hard decisions, they will be back in their own element soon. I have listened and read about Ian Chappell's comments quite a bit and agree with the sentiment being echoed in by him, just too much of importance being placed on personnel with the team like the head coach etc. where as the real focus should be on the players themselves

  • redneck on July 23, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    wish people would stop saying australias problems with T20 are the same as everywhere else in the world!!! they are different. indias ipl is in april its ranji is in nov and there is no overlap. here shield stops to make way for the big bash. indias national team has never played any form of international cricket whilst the ipl is on. here we play tests at the same time as the big bash then bring back the shield when the national side is playing its home ODI's. this season and they are all pretty much like this sees the shield start while the champions league is on in sep. then continues while we tour india for 7 ODI's then we start our test season which MIGHT give the players a 1 match window to play a fc fixture before the brisbane test. then as our test season heats up all bar the 12-13 man squad are playing hit n giggle crap! great help when injuries and form slumps demand replacement players and they get rushed in on the 11th hour after playing 1 more T20 on the other side of aus!

  • kensohatter on July 23, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    @fguy I agree Englands poor results in the 90s cant be attributed to the establishment of 20/20 but what it can be attributed to is a lack of world class test match skills in an era when dominant bowling made it very difficult for batsman of flawed technique to succeed. I think the point the writer is making is that 20/20 deprives young talent the opportunity to develop these skills (with both the bat and bowl) because the onus is on making risky runs rather than valuing your wicket to score big centuries. This means bowlers dont have to work as hard to get wickets (so they dont have to work on swing both ways, variations of spin etc etc) because batsmen will get themselves out. What you end up with is average bowlers and average bowlers playing an average game. I dont want to live in a world where 40runs off 20balls is considered a good innings.

  • sri1ram on July 23, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    From the era of the Windies to the glorious era of the Ozzies, ruthless domination followed by complete ruins. Now welcome to the multi-polar era of the Indians, the Poms and the Saffers! Would love to see the Poms and Saffers play the Ashes at this point. Goodbye Ozzies, your current avatar is an insult to the term "Ozzie grit".

  • Sol09 on July 23, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    I fully agree with fguy. T20 is here to stay and is, in fact, the future of the game. There is nothing sacred about test cricket ; it is largely supported by those who were brought up with it. Today's kids are being brought up with T20.

  • xylo on July 23, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    I don't understand how test material batsman Cowan is asked to drop one-down and then dumped after a match, while T20 specialist "all-rounder" Watson still gets to bat where he wants. The biggest problem with the current team is attitude. Nobody seems to be willing to grind it out through a tough period. Clarke is doing the team no favors too. He has a shrewd mind on the field, but off-field, I highly doubt if he commands respect from his team-mates. Agreed that the departures of Ponting and Hussey left a gaping hole in the line-up, but he did no favors by plotting the exit of Katich. Clarke should get back to the drawing board and start afresh, without any personal preferences or baggages.

  • blackcaps101 on July 23, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    Why not merge the Sheffield Shield and Plunket Shield competitions to create a trans-tasman trophy? This would give the cricketers of both countries more exposure to different conditions and different opposition, as well as perhaps a heightened level of importance of the tournament.

  • Archie56 on July 23, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    Just a short time ago Australia took on South Africa for the number one Test spot and how things have changed. Not long ago Australia were the number one 50 over team and how things have changed. I don't believe Australia have ever seriously threatened the T20 title. To consider the Australian demise as a short term issue though is in my view short sighted. I believe that the current predicament has been in the making for nearly a decade. There would be many contributing factors and most have been discussed. Addressing issues such as the impact of short form games on technique, the relative strength of the domestic competition, the improvements in the cricket played by other national teams, rotation and selection policies and the general skill sets of this generation of Australian players will take time. I would like to start though by picking players for the position they normally occupy. A team full of opening batsman or a team full of allrounders is flawed policy.

  • Wefinishthis on July 23, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    Actually NSW's selectors have been a massive disappointment - as bad as Australia's selectors over the years. The bulk of that 90's/00's freakish talent was supplied by NSW, who could have fielded an Australian team on their own: Taylor, Slater, Clarke, M Waugh, S Waugh, Jaques, Katich, Lee, Bracken, Clark, MacGill, McGrath. Even Gilchrist originally came from NSW! NSW also supplied Bradman and Miller amongst other invincibles in Australia's other great era, so it would be safe to say that if NSW is strong, Australia is strong. Sadly, NSW's system has been badly neglected (as Brett Lee has noted) and the state team has suffered for it. The NSW selectors to this day persist with so much poor talent, import unnecessary talent from other states (e.g. Watson & Lyon) and fail to keep top talent like Jackson Bird. This is why we need to stop these horrible policies at NSW and get Tim Coyle involved at either NSW or in Australia's coaching setup. That man brings out the best in his players.

  • Someguy on July 23, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    @fguy - your argument is pretty flawed. Firstly because the age of the fans that believe T20 is destroying test cricket is irrelevant. You can bet that more than 50% of the people that think T20 is the best form of cricket have only started watching cricket since T20 and have no real understanding of test cricket (or are Indian fans when their test team is struggling... for some reason they all start loving test cricket again when their team is doing well though).

    T20 is not real cricket, it is just hit and giggle stuff. It is a great spectacle, but has very little to do with actual cricket. It raises awareness and money, but that is where the positives end.

    You say that T20 is going to save cricket, but it is only saving it financially. It is destroying the skills of the batsman and bowlers.

    All things die eventually, but for now, test cricket still is and should be the pinacle of cricket. Australian cricket should reflect that. We need more emphasis on shield cricket.

  • aspib on July 22, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    Nice write up Daniel. Just as spectators and tv viewers don't have the patience to watch the long format and are hungry for quick games/results, so do the test players, who are not able to spend time at the crease. Test cricket is firstly a 'test' of your patience and temperament. The purist will exclaim 'well left' when the batsmen let go certain deliveries thru to the keeper. You just can't attempt every delivery, Shewag style! Aussies will take time and turn around their performance. Just like the windies had their hay days and reached lows. Cant see it happening in this series anyways. First they need to get a DRS coach and start winning the mental battles.

  • on July 22, 2013, 23:19 GMT

    Just a quick comment from an ancient cricket tragic. I clearly remember going to the SCG one Australia Day, ( 1951 ?) to watch NSW play Victoria. By mid-day there was not an empty seat, soon there were hundreds standing watching. And they were watching high quality cricket, about half the players were in the test side. Now the shield is good as dead, as is our test side.

  • fguy on July 22, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    @Joshua Johnson - yes India is also responsible for sun rising in the east, didnt ya know? of course IPL forced all the Aussie players to participate & they didnt have any say in the matter. & if the Indian test team is "pathetic" then what does that make the Aus team that lost 0-4 to them.

    atleast we are doing well in our preferred format (ODIs) Aus doesnt even have that.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 22, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    Australian cricket has been on a slide for a long time. It was really started by England a long time ago, and now is being exposed once again for all to see, in a totally one-sided Ashes series that is again being dominated by the superior team, and lost by the far less skillful one. Revelations about dressing room fall outs (to put it mildly) off the field, getting beaten by England like clockwork on the field, Clarke's leadership of these players is clearly in question, well below the standard expected to compete against this awesome England test team. Every one of Australia's eleven is potentially for the chop. England are the polar opposite. Australia have a chance on the next pitch if they post 400. Unfortunately for them, Swann and Anderson keep skittling then for under 200, and it could well get increasing worse for Oz. And England's batting has been great, but hasn't even begun to properly fire yet. It's gong to be eat your sunhat-time again for Clarke when they do.

  • fguy on July 22, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    & if t20 is the cause of Aus decline now than i guess it was the reason Eng were so poor in the early '90s right... oh wait.

  • fguy on July 22, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    gimme a break. i can bet you that 50% of all those lamenting "t20 destroying test cricket" are 40+ years old. in fact, t20 is going to save cricket. it's the gateway to get the kids, families & non-cricket playing nations involved. after all who wants a game where only 7-8 nations are involved. yes, test cricket is going to be marginalised or even die but that would've happened naturally anyway even if t20 hadnt come around. who, except for retirees, has the time to watch a 40 hour game played over 5 days (at the end of which you may not even see a result!). why do you think t20 has all that money flowing to it. its not falling from the skies. its bcoz thats where the audiences are (ie. what most people want to watch). people crying about tests are like those complaining that "the avengers" makes more money than "tree of life". the "purists" may say that tests are better than t20 but that is only their POV. just like LP's lost out to CD's the very same is going to happen here.

  • on July 22, 2013, 20:58 GMT

    Australia also lost to the leading test team at home in the last year. CA does very little to look after the game at junior level and enthuse youngsters.

  • on July 22, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    WOW ..... Australia's Batting is garbage!!! Who would have thought!?!?!?

    Then you take the only opener who is willing to bat like a opener ... dig in, leave balls .... move him to No.3 and then when he fails, drop him and totally annihilate his confidence!!! You finally give UTK a opportunity and you can see him sitting in the change room, building up the tension.

    It is quite evident that Australia has coaches who cannot coach and selectors that can't select and Administrators that manipulate the system to minimise the possibility of a cricket player north of the Tweed, west of Bourke or south of the Murray have little chance of playing for Australia. Meanwhile it appears that your training staff's premier talent is destroying young fast bowlers

    Despite the fact that Queensland either won the Shield or made the final in the past 2-years, not one Queenslander played in Australia A vs Zimbabwe A.

  • Rahulbose on July 22, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    While all the points are valid, talent doesn't just follow a good infrastructure. Sometimes you just gets dealt a bad hand, Aussies have been producing the best cricketers for two decades now and it had to come to an end sometime.

  • on July 22, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    It's amazing how T20 and BBL and IPL are never far away from an Australian defeat.

    Cheteshwar Pujara, Viral Kohli and AB de Villiers are all that one needs to look at. Pujara is a shining example of what the right guidance and mindset can do. He refuses to be lured into changing his game to justify his IPL paycheck. Kohli plays all forms of the game in much the same manner but with a sound technique. AB de Villiers more than justifies his paycheck in the IPL but is still a classy batsman in other forms of the game. Neither of them have needed a phenomenal domestic structure (only England can claim to have that) or sporting/flat pitches to be where they are today.

    Australia's real problem is that they refuse to be humble, to accept that they are not the force they once were and like all other mortals will now need to put in the hard yards. Stop carping, learn to bat and bowl 150 overs an inning in county/Shield matches and half your problems will disappear.

  • doubtingthomas on July 22, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Let's stop debating and accept something that's pretty much written on the wall - T20 will, if not it has already, kill Cricket as we know it. Choices that we have, are either to stop this mania, or get on with the change. We cannot be comparing apples and oranges.

  • on July 22, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    nic maddinson, alex doolan, Jordan silk and joe burns are the future batsmen for Australia in test matches. Australia have got some fantastic bowlers coming through like cummins, sayers and bird. ashton agar will be one of the best allrounders

  • Neutral_man_2010 on July 22, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    Just like England did , bring someone like Andy Flower as a consultant . Could seem totally out of place but may be some one like Sourav Ganguly could help or for that matter " the greatest captain not to captain Australia" Shane Warne could help.That's the need of then hour.

  • ICF_Lurker on July 22, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    One has to wonder if it is the just the cricket team that is going down? Since 90' to mid 2000's, in general Australian sporting team were outstanding. You could look at the number of Olympics medals they had won and see how it was a nation of all around sporting excellence. Indian fans would remember the domination Aussie hockey team did as well. However since around 2008, or thereabouts, Australian sports in general has fared badly. Case in point 2012 Olympics.

    You can also use the same analogy to argue that England is on the up. It is not just their cricket team that is doing good, but also Andy Murray and their Olympic performance in 2012, admittedly at home, was perhaps the best ever.

  • chitti_cricket on July 22, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    No system seems working wonderfully than when it sees success. We all felt shield cricket and infrastructure in Australia for cricket wonderful all the time Australia was successful. But now we think the same is very bad. Agree Australia has bit bad players now but system is not supposed to be blamed for that. It worked for years and will wok again for years. All have to accept one fact that England has good and great players at this moment and Australia mediocre players except Clarke, Clarke alone cannot win test matches, to that matter very rarely a single player ever won a test match..! Now is the time Australia leave all egos apart and seriously think and searh talent and groom then under legends like Warne,Ponting, Mc Grath, Mark Waugh. I see another two or three years of struggle for Ausies, All world teams dream to beat them at home or away only during this time. They will again be invincible in next 4 years and we all will be again cribing on their sucess.

  • on July 22, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    well i must say money is necessary and t20 is a really a thrd dimnsion of crickt...but it was alws obvious tht it will take away the techniques of all the playrs if they are givn a 1st hand oppurtunity and optn at money filld t20 leagues...as a pakistani i see y our batsman struggle because most of thm come from tape ball crickt (tennis balled coverd ib tape) whch is shortr thn evn t20...so there techniques are developd in tht way...also our bowlrs come out of tht and they are bettr prepard bcoz they alws hav to ball fast and accurate to save thmselvs from the wacking around...in short money mattrs and t20 has already affctd half of test playng teams but it has also provided the dollars...

  • on July 22, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    Guys like Phil Hughes and Steven Smith should be sent back to Australia....why id George Bailey not included into the squad...He is one of the best batsmen of Australia in recent ODI series....The main problem of Australia is their selection of players

  • luks on July 22, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    Arthur is wrong about salary caps. Yes, Test cricket is the most skilled format, but that does not mean players should make the most money in it. If some players want to play more T20, let them. There will always be players who will want to play Test cricket and make do with lower payments. They will be better at playing Test cricket and should be preferred at the time of selection. Keep it simple, really. Don't try to go against the flow of the tide. Pollard will never be a great test cricketer and there is no need for him to be forced into one. He will always make more money in T20 than a Test cricketer. So be it. Why worry about it? Think about T20 as a different sport than Test cricket. Let players choose as they wish. There are enough cricketers to serve both T20 and Test cricket. Some will do service in both, some in one. Let the natural events take it own course, but don't try to make artificial boundaries and illlogical things like Test cricketers should be paid more. Wont work

  • dizzay on July 22, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    The Australian Trinity of Cricketing Dysfunction (take note CA):

    As much as i hate to admit it...

    1. Generation Y:

    a) Inattention and immediate gratification. (twitter fb) b) Preoccupation with image rather than substance. (twitter fb) c) Generally being mentally soft and overstating injuries. Can you remember this many injuries 15 years ago?

    2.The lack of interest in cricket with kids primarily due to popularization of Soccer (no offence intended, its just a quicker and easier game to learn and everyone gets to be involved plus there is potentially much more money to be made and poster boys/girls are more glamorous.)

    3. BBL/IPL and rewarding outrageous contracts for little work/talent. Eg. Maxwell scoring 1 mill for 30 runs in 3 matches. Maybe a minor commission based system should be used for our test players. What incentive do players have to be playing quality test cricket when they are already sitting on cushy 20/20 contracts?

  • on July 22, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    Look back towards the Ponting's era. Clark was nowhere even second best batsman in the team. When Clark took reigns and new blood came none of them was even capable of matching Clark, or even out of form Ponting. For some time Hussey was the backbone of the batting and Clark flourished around him giving false image of security to Aussie cricket. And then Hussey took his leave and Clark is nowhere the batsman he was in Ponting's era. How can he be when on the other side wickets are falling. Their bowlers are still threatening but it takes miracles to defend 130...

  • on July 22, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    The premise of the article is spot on. 'Great' players will come along when they will, but unless circumstances are in place to give young players the chance to become the best they can be, there are indeed, wilderness years ahead. I don't think anyone takes for granted that the likes of Shane Warne & Co are going to be replaced anytime soon, but Australia has always had fantastic strength in depth, as Daniel pointed out. It is from fierce competition that great players eventually emerge. They will not be found in the realms of mediocrity. An Ashes series in England (or Australia) without a strong Australian team is a huge disappointment for everyone, including England supporters like me. The lack of fight shown by some Aussies is also mystifying and very 'un-Australian'! It's a shame. I'd sooner see England play well but get beaten by a strong Aussie side than watch a good England team beat a poor Australian team.

  • on July 22, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    Australian cricket will bounce back to being a great team again. We have seen Australia slump like this before under Kim Hughes. Aussies have always been an amazingly talented and aggressive cricketers.

  • CricketMaan on July 22, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    My XI - Hughes, Cowan, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Watson, Haddin, Siddle, Starc, Pattinson, Lyon

  • SidArthur on July 22, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    The reason why grade cricket has gone downhill is because of the rise of the two income family. When I played grade cricket, the girlfriend/wife would come also and make the tea etc., and the blokes would play until they were 35 or more. Not any more. These days, if you haven't made the big-time by 24, you retire from grade cricket as the girlfriend wants you to be at home to do the housework, seeing you both have to work next week. Everyone is time poor, thanks to the "two-income-trap". Consequently, first-class cricket does downhill. This doesn't happen in England as more cricketers can be professionals I presume, I don't know how.

  • on July 22, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Grade cricket in Sydney is a joke. Various clubs are run as family fiefdoms and office bearers push their wards into the higher grades. Unfortunately, these players fail miserably when pushed to the higher echelons as they lack real talent Many talented cricketers (especially those from migrant families) whose parents have no clout are left behind in lower grades to rot. Many of these kids lose heart and don't aspire to reach higher grades or just give up the game for good The appalling state of the national team reflects the parlous state of grade cricket across Australia as they don't seem to produce stalwarts as they did in the past. Nepotism was always talked in the same breath as sub-continent cricket. Little did one realise that Australia is also down with the bug. The Anglo-Saxon image of Australian cricket is not going to deliver the goods in the future and cricket has to learn that from other sports like Rugby, AFL & Rugby League.

  • pangebaaj on July 22, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    I do not agree with the analysis of Daniel. Ausssies were power house in the 90s and 2000s, it was then that no body took care to see the upcoming talent. Warne, Mcgraw, Gilchrist were so talented that it was taken for granted that players coming down the line will be good as them. Their situation now is same as that of England in the 90s. A generation of players was lost in the era of Waugh n Ponting, who struggled to become 12th man ,let alone debut in Test Team.

    I think this situation will improve but in a decade or so like the 70s and 80s of Chappel. Till then CA can only do is to not let the standards down like the West Indies.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on July 22, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Bemused about this 'money making' Big Bash. As I understood it it cost CA $10m each of the first two season. In reality I don't mind it that much but it should be as suggested in Feb/Mar after a summer of cricket.

  • RednWhiteArmy on July 22, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Does anyone feel that Australia's batsmen have been playing too much stickcricket?

  • YorkshirePudding on July 22, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @Chris_P, interesting read, Australia was once the model for thier 'production' line method of developing talent, in fact it was so good the ECB copied it in the late 90's, and we are now seeing the benefits of this as we identify and develop young players.

    Admitidly the ECB got sung with the 40 over competition but its the one bad thing they did, except maybe introduce T20 cricket to the world. Unless its part of a machavelian master plan to cripple the other nations with players who are not able to produce long innings.

  • DragonCricketer on July 22, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Hey, what was everyone saying about the Aussie batting in the early to mid 80's? I forget. I wasnt listening, I switched off. Aussies couldnt win anything let alone the Ashes. That from the all powerful 74/75 team. Greg Chappell, Lillee and Marsh retired at the same time. Also Walters, Thommo, Walker, Edwards, Redpath and Chappelli, Was eceryone dissecting the batting lineup then? I suppose so. We had a strong leader in Border. Oh well. Cycles I suppose. Cant wait to Aussie low cycle is finished.

    (Daniel, I like your reports. I usually read them first.)

  • on July 22, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    Among all this I would like to point out the difference Indian administration has over CA, in that, their unending support to the domestic scene and the onus to provide more opportunity to the fringe players in the IPL. These two things can be taken as an example for bettering domestic cricket in Oz. While first class matches go fairly un noticed in India, they still provide the money and means to carry on and attract local and national talents to playing them. In a way it is the money generated through international cricket that has circulated down to better facilities and attractive incentives. Plus their is the added advantage of having a crack at the IPL if the performances are note worthy. Players like Parvez Rasool, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and others are the prime example. CA certainly need to look into the performance based incentive part of the domestic structure to attract more talent and train them to build a better team for the future. Else, it really looks dark from here.

  • on July 22, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    One thought I have always had with senior club cricket and the Sheffield Shield is that there is no penalty for losing, only an award for winning. Whereas in test cricket, in a one on one competition/series the penalty for losing a game is to go behind the other team by a game. I would like Australia to change its points structure in both club and shield cricket to greater reflect that, or in otherwords reward not losing. The Shield is a competition of 6 teams, so to lose a game, you go behind one other team on the ladder by 6 points, but your result does not affect your teams standings compared with the other 4 teams in the competition. In club cricket, it is even worse, where competitions have from 8 teams in Hobart to 20 teams in Sydney where a loss counts the same as a draw. There is no incentive, once a team falls behind to try and battle it out and bat for a long time, they may as well go all out for the win, and if they lose, it does not matter. It is the point of it all!

  • on July 22, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    Its saddening to see Australia lose without a fight. Whatever happened in the first test looks like a fluke. The Crowd will not be surprised if aussies lose all their tests. The problem with aussies is that all their best players played at the same stage and hence all they touched turned gold. Now these players lack confidence and self belief and most importantly the talent. The current team are not far behind the West Indies. Serious team building exercise is required for them.

  • Chris_P on July 22, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Continued - Like all keen fathers/cricketers, I got my coach's certificate & started coaching juniors. The rules have been changing, from 60 overs, to 55, then 50, 45 to now where they play 25 over games, so "keeping kids interested" & in the game. SO when kids are learning to play 25 over games, how does this grounding prepare them for the real stuff? And even in seniors, we are interspersing 2 day games with 45 over one dayers & 2 T20 games in a day. How is this beneficial for preparation? I see, even now in the competition I play, most of the consistently best batsmen are all older than 30, the best young players coming through are bowlers (including an Australian schoolboy opening bowler from our club). The reason for the abysmal batting was set a while ago, it didn't just happen overnight.

  • Chris_P on July 22, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    My story probably best sums up this. 20 odd years ago, as a teenager, I was going so well in junior cricket that I got promoted to play seniors. Those days, like now were played over 2 Saturdays of 100 overs each. In the mornings, juniors played 60 overs each Saturday in 2 day matches meaning I was on the cricket field (after some rushed driving by my parents for 160 overs in a day, and I loved it. There were no limited overs & in my 2nd season I fielded for nearly 2 full Saturdays while watching an opposing batsman grind out 286 runs in trying to set a competition record for the highest score. Then, soon after, they made new rules limiting first innings to 100 overs, then made it 90, then 80 overs each Saturday. Still, 80 overs was plenty to learn how to graft out a decent score & I had my fair share of them. to be continued

  • Naresh28 on July 22, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    As Shiva kumar said - Oz "mental toughness" was a hallmark of their cricket in the past. Its lacking and is one of the many causes of the decline of Oz. If you look at their side they have not really come up with a Warne, Hayden or McGrath. This Ashes has slipped out of their grasp.

  • crick_sucks on July 22, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    The aussie team must now look back a decade or so and learn from the English teams of that era how they would take defeat after defeat and yet continue to play more cricket with a straight face. They would be ridiculed by the opposition, fans, press and might be even their family. But those brave men never let it affect them and continued to play and lose almost every single game they played. It takes a lot of strength and character. And the aussie team should now learn this art.

  • DSPT on July 22, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    It is clear all the commenting people want one thing for Australian cricket. To bring it back to its glory days. There is not one clear problem or fix that can turn this around quickly. Lehman's inclusion is one step in the right direction, but there needs to be more change at the top, what does Pat Howard actually do? Players need to start taking responsibility for their performance's, no more excuses about T20's ruining preparation etc etc. Players get paid big dollars to perform. As for shield cricket, it is not in such a bad place there is some good talent coming through and some good players who have not at the chance to perform at the highest level, iw Butterworth. As far as a short term fix, CA could so worse than bringing in Katich for the remaining tests to provide some leadership on and off the pitch and provide some insight on what it means to wear the baggy green, he may even score some runs. Just my thoughts

  • on July 22, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    @animeshJ T20 is a "full game of cricket"? How do you come to that conclusion? Yeah we could all go down swinging and be all out for 100 off 15 overs... oh wait.

  • on July 22, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    The fundamental problem with australian cricket is in he junior system which has been taken over by the politically correct. Young cricketers can no long build big innings', they are forced to retire to give others a go. fielders cannot learn how to specialise in, say, slips as they are rotated and limited by number and closeness. captains are not taught tactics, nor field placings and alterations. bowlers cannot bowl long spells. training methods are archaic, fitness training is non-existant. junior cricket is therefore not producing class. batsmen are bashers, bowlers lack control, incentive to succeed is removed.

  • metalhed on July 22, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Wow, its really strange to see that sporting / bowler friendly domestic pitches is being blamed for the lack of Australian batting. For a long time, Indians have blamed lack of these very kind of pitches for Indian batsmen that fail outside the country, unable to negotiate swinging or short pitched stuff. The poor crop of quality fast bowlers from India has also been attributed to no incentive for fast bowling in a country full of dust bowls / flat tracks for cricket pitches.

    While not entirely discarding the need for a balance in kind of pitches where cricketers hone their skills, I still believe that in the end, clever and talented cricketers have in the past, and always shall continue to adapt and outshine the ordinary in any circumstance. With the kind of legacy Aussies have, the bar is certainly very high and I dont think pitches can be cited as the reason for not finding the next Waugh, McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Ponting and suchlike.

  • GloryDaysReturn on July 22, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Mr. Brettig, perhaps the talent gulf between the teams is not as big as it seems. All the Australian batsmen have shown their skill, just not the mental toughness, cunning and awareness that invariably comes with age and experience. England have out-thought, out-witted and applied pressure much better than the Aussies.

    Another key difference is the fact that the Australians have lots of left handed batsmen. Swann, Root and Anderson LOVE lefties. The heavy-footed Australian bowlers (Siddle, Pattinson) creating rough outside the left handers off stump doesn't help either, especially for the team batting last. The solution, as I see it, is for the Australians to employ left hand bowlers (Starc, Faulkner) to create rough outside the right handers off stump, then use Agar and/or Lyon to create havoc for England's batsmen-who are predominantly right handed.

  • Thegimp on July 22, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @Lilley&thompson. your theory would have left us without Hussey, Martin, Langer, Lehman and countless great cricketers

  • skilebow on July 22, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    I think the problem for Aussie cricket is that they have fallen into the 90s English disease of massively over-hyping players after one or two good performances. I thought the first few matches would be tight with Eng pulling away in the last couple. But i was talking to a cricket fanatic of an Aussie on holiday a month ago and he predicted exactly what has happened saying the aussie team, especially their bowling, was not as good as everyone, including themselves, think they are.

  • leeham_69 on July 22, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    a sentiment that has been mentioned in the comments already but worth repeating - 5 or 6 years ago, Shield wickets were as flat as a tack and a lot of the media were suggesting this was the cause of Australian test batsmen's technique being unable to deal with swing and seam abroad. Plenty of runs coming out of Tasmania and they have one of the most 'sporting' wickets in the country. Conditions obviously play some part but it can't be totally to blame.

  • george204 on July 22, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Excessively sporting pitches make for batsmen with crabby flawed techniques who lack the temprement for long innings, bowlers who don't have to work for wickets & fielders who can afford to drop the odd catch because they know there'll be another chance soon.

    3-day declaration cricket on dodgy wickets led England to a 20 year trough (1983-2003), low-scoring dogfights led West Indies into a startling fall post 1995 from which they've yet to emerge, and now Australia have squandered a golden legacy in the same manner.

  • Thegimp on July 22, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    I also wonder if the current policy of CA of only allowing junior bowlers a certain number of overs per day. From memory an under 17 bowler can only bowl a maximum 6 over spell and a maximum 16 overs in a day. So if a number 4 batsman comes in ten overs into a game he may only face a strike bowler for 2 overs before he is rested. When I was Captain of a second grade side and was tasked with developing junior cricketrs I would have to talk to the junior team coach and try to get him to save me some overs for the afternoon. Some days I would only be able to bowl a young quick for a maximum of 5 overs and that is in a 72 over game! Sure we have alot more quicks coming through but as soon as they are asked to bowl a twelve over spell they break. Couple that with batsmen who have never had to face a sustained spell of testing bowling.

  • venkatesh018 on July 22, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    The author is absolutely spot on with this article. The content of this article should apply to India as well. Unless and until the imbalance of T20 players being paid millions of dollars for playing over 7 weeks in a year and First class Shield/Ranji cricketers paid a pittance(relatively) is addressed, Australian/Indian cricket have only one way to go: Downhill.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on July 22, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    @Decorum -I suppose you pointing to Joe root there as the '12 year old' .But correct you ,check cricinfo records he well past 20 and even a few in Aus squad are younger than him. As to his innings,well he should've been out in single figs. had regulation snick behind been taken .Just as luck plays it's role in t20 , it's played it's part in tests here and he just made use of his luck and the huge lead and some tiring Aus bowlers as well.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on July 22, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    So many theories to Aus cricket's state now.The Shield ,Big Bash,IPL,coaching, coaches,Arthur,CA and what not.But just to get to the root of it all, with population just excess of 20 odd million and accounting for demograph like gender,age,health and fitness and sporting participaton ,the human resources ,i.e,- young males,boys and school,age group level just too depleted or even barren. 1 way Aus cricket can compete in this scenario is either 'import' some talent from foreign shores as esp. prominent team does - SA if you like?- OR as the Aussies find not most honorable thing to do get some1 play for them,'grow' em yourself! Yes,just like a food product company having most attractive package,but the product itself poor quality or worse unavailable making little practical, alone business sense.Find the food,plates,spoons be taken care of,not vice versa!So,all Aussies do nation a favor,start planting the 'seeds' now, watch em grow ,taste sweet fruits of your labour in few years !-:)

  • on July 22, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    I think its the pitches. Our players just aren't learning to graft out innings or build up pressure to create wickets. Miss a catch? Never mind another one will come! Drawn cricket matches have become a thought not worth considering in the Shield and it is hurting it us.

    It is quite obvious that Khawaja and Hughes have absolutely no idea of how to play decent spin bowling, when they only see the likes of Beer, Hauritz etc for one or two spells per match on a well grassed wicket, is it any wonder?

    That and the fact that they really aren't playing enough FC cricket. Steve Smith for example has the same FC experience as Joe Root, despite breaking into the Aussie team as a 20 year old, how can we sit back and think that is acceptable? It is not! All of a sudden we seem to have a lot of A tours taking place and that is a very good thing, but it should have been happening a lot earlier.

    In summary, we have been poor at developing young cricketers, they are not getting experience!

  • on July 22, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    Where are all the Australian greats? They can get people like Gillespie, Kasprowicz and even Brett Lee to nurture the fast bowlers or send the youngsters to Chennai under Mcgrath (they can get used to bowling in hot humid conditions as well). Guys like Warne, Macgill or even Brad Hogg can get into the loop and help cultivate the spinners. People like Gilchrist and Ian Healy can marshall the keepers (I cant believe that the best keeper that Australia could come up with was Brad Haddin). Get people like Mark Taylor, Waugh brothers, Slater and Langer to teach people how to bat! they're getting out in England giving practice catches to leg slip for cryin' out loud! For someone who has always had a grudging respect for the juggernaut of Australian cricket, it is very disheartening to not even see them put up a decent fight these days!

  • LillianThomson on July 22, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    Which Australian top seven batsman has scored the most runs in this series?

    Shane Watson. Ahead of Clarke, Rogers, Hughes et al.

    Watson has also made more runs than Cook, Pietersen, Trott and Prior.

    I really don't think that Australia needs Shane Watson to be made into an "escape goat".

  • Decorum on July 22, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    I don't know about this blaming of T20 etc. The 12-yr old who opens for England has basically played his whole career with one-dayers and T20 at the forefront, but he gave a masterclass in Test batting and the importance of patience. I think it just comes down to a particular bunch of over-rated Aussie batsmen, rather than anything systemic.

  • AMIT1974 on July 22, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    All cricketers and adminsitrators are now interested in bang bang cricket where you play for 3 hours and make million bucks. Who wants to spend 5 days seating in sun when much more is available in 3 hours. But at the end of the day we need to understand if we love cricket, its all because of those5 days where all your temprament and skills are tested. That way we will always remember Gavaskar, Richards, Steve Waugh, Lara, Sachin, Ponting, Mcgrath, Warne, Kumble, Dravid, Chandrapaul, kirsten but who will remember the likes of Warner, Pollard etc. Everyone says grass root level needs improvement but where are the actions in that direction ? Its high time ICC should start looking into it. Already we have only 9 test playing nations and out of that only 3-4 are really good. Cricket is dying and we need to do something to save it.

  • heathrf1974 on July 22, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    One of the major problems I feel is the wickets for first class crikcet. They are too green and helpful to bowlers to get results in 4 days. They need to produce test standard wickets to better prepare the players.

  • Jagdish3k on July 22, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    The problem is not the dearth of quality players but the problem lies in application of test matches batting. Moreover you also need to prolong the career of a quality bat like Hussey when resources are thin. The problem with Aussie establishment is that they are impatient with selection.I think you have to give a longer reign to players and develop their confidence.Nathan Hauritz & Lyon were good if not outstanding bowlers but the way they have been treated , they would be shattered. Khwaja,Marsh can develop a good test player provided the opportunity. Test matches is a hard work and its a long term route.

  • munna_indian on July 22, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Probably what clarke is undergoing now can be akin to what dhoni underwent during the twin series whitewashes. may be he is not getting the team he wants and the selectors are not willing to pay heed to his word.

  • LillianThomson on July 22, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    A ten-point manifesto for restored Test success:

    1) Immediate termination of the T20 Big Bash. 2) No "No Objection Certificates" for any Australian under 35 to play T20 anywhere, including IPL. 3) Expansion of Sheffield Shield to include NZ North and South islands. 4) Discard entire Test team apart from Clarke, Agar and Starc. 5) Rebuild with players under 23, with far more Tests v less glamorous opposition. 6) Minimum of 3 home tests per year v Bangladesh, SL, NZ, WI, Zimbabwe. 7) Minimum of 3 away tests per year v same teams. 8) Cap the iconic series v England, India and South Africa at a minimum interval of 4 years between each home or away series. 9) Formally ban any player aged over 25 making his Test debut. 10) Ensure that all Australian Test elevens contain a minimum of 3 players aged under 23.

    I understand the arguments against quotas - but they don't seem to be hurting South Africa too much, they helped to deliver Amla and Philander.

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    They must Stop peddling average cricketers and unearth real talent. Steve Smith, Chris Rogers, Ashton Agar, Phillip Huges. What are they doing wearing Aussie colors ? Too inadequate to be test players.

  • IAS2009 on July 22, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    austrailian team is looking very like WI now a days, like when Amrobse and Walsh retirement WI could not find the talent to replace, Austraila has enjoyed so much talent for so long they believe that their system was very good 9to some extent it was but not entirely), WI was on top because of very good talent, their domestic cricket was always in disarray, likewise Pakistan domestic was in no better shape when Waqar and waseem in team, theu enjoy success for pure talent, when England were tormented by aussies the county teams were no worse than now, Once Aussies will find the talent caliber of Ponting Waughs, Mcgrath, it could be back to winning, but it could be very long wait like WI. Aussies should have groomed player when Hussey and Ponting were around they didn't, they need to build team for test only and separate ODI and T20 completely.

  • munna_indian on July 22, 2013, 4:35 GMT

    Nothing is permanent in life. definitely not winners in cricket. what we are presently witnessing is a baton change happening. the start of the decline of the aussies happened during 2005 ashes loss. atleast, one would have expected wise moves by the aus cricket setup in grooming new generation of players once they foresee the retirements of greats like mcgrath and warne. but it didnt happen and its still not happening. its a purely an administration fault rather than the lack of talent. players who are fit for T20 are picked for the more demanding nature of test matches. not long ago, i was a keen follower of sheffield shield games scorecard with much interest. but what am seeing is the big bash everywhere, that too when it gets a window time equivalent to that of sheffield games, it is sickening. even now its not too late. the aus board can do wonders. afterall mcgraths and warnes are not born, they are groomed.

  • PFEL on July 22, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    All this talk is interesting, but these solutions are not going to change anything. Cricket is simply not popular in Australia anymore. No one cares, less people watche, even less want to play. You can't fix that by changing the scoring system, or paying shield players more (anyone with basic grasp of economics can see why that is ridiculous). Australian slide will continue. Deal with it.

  • Sol09 on July 22, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Every test cricketing country goes through the doldrums for a while, then rises again. It is a cyclical thing. The causes are many and varied and cannot be attributed to just one thing. T20 is only partly responsible. However, I believe it is here to stay because of the money and the fact that the present generation of kids are being brought up on this form of the game : they love the big hitting, music, fanfare and the fact that the game is over quickly. The world is going faster and faster and very few people in the future will have the patience to sit for 5 days for a match which may end in a draw. Equally importantly is the fact that the ICC is trying to spread cricket to countries where the main game is over in 90 minutes ! What chance Test cricket ? Also, there is a chance that, given sufficient international participation, T20 will become an Olympic sport. I feel that Test cricket will ultimately become a backwater for the oldies and diehards, and then disappear altogether.

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    The analysis is very simple. T-20 is the root of all evils. Players are happy making money by playing IPL, Big Bash and reluctant to play first class / test cricket. Aus players like Watson, Clark, Warner, Smith, Haddin, Pattinson, Harris - majority are involved with IPL. On the other hand, Eng players like Cook, Trot, Root, Bell, Bairstow, Swann, Anderson - they are not involved with IPL. T-20 is making the players vulnerable in test; simple equation.

  • KPWij on July 22, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    A great article Daniel highlighting some of the contributing factors to current issues of Australian and unfortunately forecasting future poor performances from the national team. I agree that the emphasis of Shield Cricket has depreciated over the years. However Australia currently is just going through a "cricketing recession" of sorts based on a lack of supply of outstanding talent within the market. We have been very fortunate over the last 2 decades to have once in a lifetime athletes, players who had the ability to win games with solo performances. When placed together in a team the probability of success was inevitable. The current team has one player of that calibre, Michael Clarke, the rest are great players but lack experience and currently confidence resulting in poor results against the 2 best teams going around. Times will be tough for the team, the main thing will be to compete and trust the youngsters like Khawaja/Smith/Highes to develop into hopefully future greats

  • cricket_ahan on July 22, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    @SirVic1973. Shane Watson is not a bad player. And to give him some dues, the man has done equally as well (or equally as poorly, you decide how you want to hear it) as the rest of the team. And the man contributes with both bat and ball. I think the big problem is there doesn't seem to be any unity in this team. Repeated attacks at Watson in particular, even from those inside the Aussie dressing room, suggest he is not a team man. His visible behaviour too suggests that - failing to abide by team orders in India, possibly retiring and then coming back to the team, his poor body language on field, his reckless and selfish use of DRS reviews etc. The culture needs to be addressed first, and this team must play "as a team" NOT a bunch of individuals. Then we address the other issues in this article.

  • RedDirt on July 22, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    Finally the penny's dropped. There are many factors, including the insatiable appetite of the Oz football codes, but the rot started when CA began messing with our pitches. We went from iconic, broad variety of pitches, to 'roads', to 'greentops', with the rest of the world now producing 'bunsen burners' for us to play on. As a result our Aussie batsmen and citizenry were sentenced to a generation of misery. The Bell-less IPL is a "rebel tour". Admit it. Things must change for things to remain the same - a drastic upheaval is inevitable (CEO's avoid such change like the plague, as it means admitting failure). For instance, any non-test player over a certain age should forfeit limited overs cricket for Australia, thereby forcing players to concentrate on FC cricket to maximise career/income. The public needs to see the 5 year plan or the misery will continue. It should be stressed that Bell has middled every outswinger, the entire Australian top 7 has hardly middled one.

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    where is Marcus North? What about Voges?

  • mars000 on July 22, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    I coached junior cricket in Adelaide at district level, meaning this was the path through which players came to play for South Australia, for 10 seasons. Over that period of time I noticed a consistent drop off, with a few exceptions, in the standard of player coming through the system. To me, there is a problem that goes right back to the grassroots of the sport in Australia and the ability of the game to attract players and then retain them once they get past the 16 year old age group. I am not sure of the answers. I think batsmen have be prepared to work on technique and to learn to play long grinding innings and appreciate the value of their wicket from a young age.

  • meursault on July 22, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Good article that manages to highlight one of the major problems: the state of the Shield pitches. Green pitches prevent spinners from coming through and don't force young batsmen to spend a lot of time out in the middle in order to do the job for their team.

    Such pitches were initially considered caused by wet weather, but the last season showed that teams are preparing green tops even when it's not that wet. Clearly it's a simple response to the points system of the Shield competition which makes it necessary to get outright wins at home in order to make the final. We need to look at a more balanced scoring system (like the one used in County cricket) which adequately rewards good performances on all types of surfaces and irrespective of whether they lead to an outright win or not.

  • nzcricket174 on July 22, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    The bigger focus needs to be on Grade cricket. I remember a 15 year old Mitchell Marsh breaking into his club's first grade team. He was unbelievably good and was touted as the next big thing out west. I feel the U19 level hurt his progress, as it was more of a step sideways for a couple of years. More focus should be put towards putting kids against adults. It helps build their character early.

  • Thegimp on July 22, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Whilst I agree that some of these issues are contributing factors I don't agree that it is all that is wrong. This is the cricketing form of the generation that represents their generation in society. They are coddled and soft. I see it in the workplace, in the street and schools. They are taught that they can't lose, they are told how many overs a day they can bowl in a day, they expect everything to come without the hard work. If Alan Border re-emmerged as Australian Captain and gave these guys a good old Captain Grumpy Blasting they would break down cry and sue CA for emotional torment. Apart from a couple of the bowlers I really don't see a Steve Waugh, Geoff Lawson, Dean Jones, Boonie, Geoff Marsh or Craig McDermott to drag us off the carpet. There doesn't appear to guys who would bleed for their county. I don't see Phil Hughes shouldering arms and taking Courtly Ambrose on the chest. They have talent yes, but they don't have good old fashioned guts!!!!

  • SajjadAhmed_CC on July 22, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    Reason for failure of the Australians is BIG GUNS not firing at the right time that is having adverse effetct on new commers. The only solution is to drop Watson down the order at 2 down so that they have the good middle order strength which is collapsing right now. Hughes shown great temprement as a emerging test player so Hughes has to open the batting who can see off the new ball in the seeming and swinging condition... This will help Aussies to challange england.

  • BradmanBestEver on July 22, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    Money talks - pay the shield and test players much more. Eventually,talent will shift to where the dollars are being made - just like what happens in the work force. It's not rocket surgery (a quote from the great Kerry O'Keefe), but it does require a genuine desire to fix the problem.

  • on July 22, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    Speaking as an India fan, it's no pleasure to see Australia slip down to these depths. It's like watching the West Indies go downhill, and this Australian team would probably lose to the current WI. A competitive Australia is important to the overall health of the game, especially at the Test level. At present, what do we have to look forward to? England vs South Africa, and very little else. (If India think they have recovered from their recent troubles, just wait until until November, when they go to South Africa.)

  • TRabbs on July 22, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    Picking test cricketers from a four day green seaming competition is clearly flawed. Is it any wonder that numerous middle order prospects such as Bailey, Ferguson and Smith have never excelled at Shield level?

  • CustomKid on July 22, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    Great article and it highlights a broad range of issues that need to be fixed. I despise T20, it's just a rubbish game but I think test cricket in this country is almost dead as much as it pains me to say it. Has there ever been such a lack of talent at the domestic level with regard to batting stocks? Was it this bad in the early to mid 80's? My memory only goes back to 87, prior to that I was too young.

    Sport is all about the money, time for CA to put some seriously big incentives and performance based incentives on the table for the Shield and the test teams, They have the budget and I'm sure the young players will see the $$$ and commit. BBL should be played at the end of the season post the shield and ranger cup simple as that.

    @smokem - Spot on, I've been calling for his head for many years but as long as he generates revenue the board appears to be happy and he'll continue on his merry way.

  • vswami on July 22, 2013, 3:05 GMT

    I disagree that you cant be successful in T20 and tests at the same time. It simply requires a level of hard work that eludes most of the young players today. I am sure players like Hussey, Ponting, Dravid, Sachin would have adapted to the contrasting needs of T20/ tests if they had been subject to the same situation in their younger years. The reason is they had stable and mature heads at a very early age. Money never diminished their desire to practice for hours endlessly and feel bat on ball and reach a higher level of perfection. The current T20/ tests situation is brutally sifting the mature heads from the immature ones.

  • skkh on July 22, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    When we have CA run by the likes of Sutherland and Howard this is the end result. Last summer when our national team was playing test cricket our state teams had suspended Shield cricket for the Big Bash. CA's focus is on Big Bash to earn fast $. They promoted the likes of Maxwell and brought him into the test side. Ian Chappell has said time and again that our production line is at fault and that he could see no Ponting's or Hussey's on the horizon. CA never gave an ear to the no nonsense talking Ian Chappell but brought in Howard from rugby to improve our cricket!! We have no backup to fall on we have no players to pick from other than these. None of our batsmen are capable of playing a test innings and everyone is in twenty20 mode. Patience is a word they know nothing about. An Indian spinner aptly said that if they bowl a maiden over to the Australians they will get out next over trying to play shots.

  • CoverDrive88 on July 22, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    Couldn't agree more. Add to that the fact that our internationals almost never play Shield cricket & definitely never play any grade games. That means that the other players are never tested against the best. When they step up to Tests they are not ready and have to learn on the job. Also, with lots of 1-day and T20 and the associated flat wickets and demand for aggression, we've developed a lot of batsmen whose technique is poor - foot not to the ball, head not over the ball etc - think Warner, Hughes etc. Ian Botham said last night that he thinks the problem is too many games. Although there are lots of fundamental problems, in a way he's right - the marketing guys are too greedy and are at serious risk of killing the goose that lays the golden egg. There needs to be a more sensible approach which balances the big money against the need to support and develop the game. Who is going to pay big money to watch this for long?

  • redneck on July 22, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    @Angry_of_Wembley mate i have never heard of the goldern age of footy being the 30's and i think you will find crickets goldern age occured well before the 30's also. AFL may only hold half the country's attention but the money it has means it hold a lot more than half australias male athletes attention!!! i dont blame AFL for crickets problems i blame cricket australia for trying to be like the AFL as the problem. they wanted a popular domestic comp like the AFL is and created the big bash. from that year on our batting has got worse and worse as effectivly we are telling our batsman to go out there and slog because thats where the money is to be made in cricket, no one wants a boycott or lawry as batsman anymore. i would kill for a lawry in the current aussie team! someone that wants to bat all day, not make a run a ball 100!!!! these cricketers are almost extinct we need to make some more!!! shefield shield should offer bonus points to bat out a whole days play for a start!!!

  • wellrounded87 on July 22, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    @Behind_the_bowlers_arm I disagree. Big bash is a huge revenue maker and is a good way to blood young talent, however it should not come in the middle of the shield season but at the start or end of the season. It's ridiculous to have it in the middle particularly with the test summer going on and selectors looking to gauge players form with the red ball, yet we have them playing with the white ball.

    @sirviv1973. On the money. Unfortunately we just don't have the players to compete with the top echalon of test cricket right now. I also think it's irresponsible to use Watson as a scapegoat. All of our batsmen have failed. In four innings no one has got a century and the closest we've got is a 19 year old debutant tail ender. The doctoring of pitches to engineer results has to be to blame. We aren't developing quality batsmen or spinners, only fast bowlers. T20 has nothing to do with that, green tops are the problem.

  • LillianThomson on July 22, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    Another part of the problem is the dollar-driven endless cycle of series against England, India and South Africa.

    Australia needs to do what it did in the mid-1980s: discard this team and build a new team of 19-22 year olds, not Quineys and Marshes.

    But to do so they need to play the youngsters against Zimbabawe, Bangladesh, New Zealand and the West Indies for 3-4 years. Not see them destroyed by the top four teams (England, India, South Africa and Pakistan).

  • Someguy on July 22, 2013, 2:08 GMT

    @Emanuel Cummings - yup. T20 is a novelty, but it has somehow managed to be worth more money than test cricket. The IPL is largely to blame for this, with the million dollar contracts for a few weeks work. The BBL being in the middle of the Aussie season is a joke. We have visiting test teams here and nobody playing first class matches for months. What happens when we need a replacement batsman or bowler in the middle of a series?

    I have also noticed the last couple of years that the first class matches have nearly all been played on green tops, resulting in batman getting hardly any runs (no learning how to build a big innings) and fast bowlers getting loads of cheap wickets (not learning how to work for wickets without assistance from the pitch). It's not helping our spinners develop either, because the quicks are cleaning up and the spinners aren't getting a bowl.

  • hoags on July 22, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    Hah. Welcome to NZs world my Australian brothers. We are likewise without any kind of quick fix. Interesting the paragraph about the pitches produced, as we too have had green seamers for a long time, and we too produce batsmen that cant produce a full array of shots and can not bat for sustained amounts of time. And also produce bowlers that can all move the ball on a responsive pitch but are found wanting on any pitch that you have to work a little harder on. Anyway Cricket Australia, if you do come across the answer, please cc NZC in on an email.

  • Angry_of_Wembley on July 22, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    Why is it assumed the dominance of AFL football is at the heart of this malaise? Last time I looked, England was osesses with football, and I cannot remember many cricketers in the past 50 years who turned out for both the summer and the winter game (ITBotham and Scunthorpe United, anyone?). And yet English cricket is going from strength to strength. And since when was the dominance of AFL (in only half the country, anyway) a modern thing? The so-called "golden age" of AFL football was the 1930s, coinciding with the so-called "golden age" of cricket. Crowds have never been greater for either sport since. AFL's greatest growth period, and when the media took it up with even greater obsession than before, was the 1990s and 2000s. For virtually all that time, Australian cricket ruled the roost undisputed. There are deep problems with Australian cricket, but they are not the fault of other sports. Coaching coaches would help - Australia simply does not do it. AoW

  • on July 22, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    Clarke needs to go as Captain, he was never really a good replacement after Ponting. Hussey or even Haddin would have been a better choice.

  • redneck on July 22, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    cricket australia needs to ask its self one question is big bash dollars more important than having top line national side? if it is then keep status quo, if its not then change back to what we had when we were on top!!! as a australian i see cricket being popular in this country as a bye product of having one of the best teams in the world since day 1 of test cricket! not because we love the sport, we love being number 1 and no doubt cricket has given us more time at no. 1 than any other international sport!! big bash might be good to get the wife and girlfriends to come to the cricket with us, but its not going to give us a reason to want to go, yet alone to take the missus!!! cricket is healthy here when the national side is healthy and if we keep hitting new lows with the national team, it will flow onto the big bash as cricket will become less and less mainstream. no one cares about how the melb stars are going if the baggy greens up s@#t creek! CA CANCEL THE BIG BASH NOW!!!!

  • YogifromNY on July 22, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    As an Indian team supporter from the US, I have a suggestion that will fix Australian cricket's problems much faster than the longer-term fixes suggested above: like England, allow foreign players to play for Australia after a minimal waiting period to become a native. Presto, within three to four years, you will get a strong Aussie team, albeit one filled with foreign "Australians". Much like the current English team has over half its contingent from abroad!

  • themightyfenoughtys on July 22, 2013, 1:30 GMT

    don't make me laugh ! Holding up the Ranji trophy as a reason for the success of Indian cricket, or the well organised county season shows a lack of knowledge of either domestic cricket organisation. Yes, next year the t20s in england will be better spread, but currently there's no first class cricket through a month of the english summer, so no way for anyone to force themselves into the test team. Similarly in India, the top players very rarely deign to play Ranji cricket and the route to the top is more about the IPL or the U-19 team.

    What Australia need picking up on, is that they have simply failed to invest properly in their coaching and systems, formerly the pride of the world. The amount of money James Sutherland has raised is indeed remarkable - but he also needs to spend wisely to grow the game.

  • on July 22, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    I very much enjoy watching Australian cricketers get slaughtered. Keep up the good work!

  • caught_knott_bowled_old on July 22, 2013, 1:10 GMT

    No need to panic. When the team is down, its an opportunity to try new talent, and to re-build the team. Every team goes through this situation, but the successful ones are those who have a strong leader (either captain or coach). And where the captain is being undermined by troublemakers in the squad, tough decisions have to taken for the sake of maintaining positive team atmosphere. Unfortunately, Clarke - although a very astute tactician, is not a great leader - at least not for a team in transition. Australia need to look for a captain like Allan Border, Saurav Ganguly, Mahela Jayawardena etc who had to oversee painful transitions.

  • pksports on July 22, 2013, 1:10 GMT

    The Scheduling of The international season need to change. Test matches need to be moved to start in middle of Dec this would give players time to get play some domestic cricket and 4 day games. Starting in November is too early they international player havnt' played any 4 day games before the first test. 20/20 cricket should be just a side line or else abolished to junior ranks. Pitchers need to be made dryer and orientated to similar to the 5 day game and not 4 day orientated. It is going to be a long road back for Aust look at the west Indies who dominated during the 70 and 80 they still are nowhere near the ball park. So Aust will have to also start to rebuild. The team unfortunately is probably the strongest for leading run score in Domestic cricket was Ricky Ponting.

  • smokem on July 22, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    Great article and it really highlights the downward spiral Australian cricket is going through on EVERY SINGLE LEVEL of cricket. When will the CA board wake up and sack the guy who has presided over the slow death of Australian cricket during his time as CEO. How may more failures does Australian cricket have to go through before they get rid of Mr James "Teflon" Sutherland???

  • mulleegrubber on July 22, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    Great article! I've said it before and I'll go on saying it: In pursuit of the quick buck at the expense of all else, CA have relentlessly promoted "swing-and-giggle" cricket and in doing have all but destroyed the longer form of the game in Australia. Why would batsmen now spend years establishing classical technique when they can earn a fortune for a couple of hours slogging in the IPL and BBL? CA must now state that their prime objective is to re-establish the supremacy of our national team. They must cease promoting T20 at the expense of the Sheffield Shield and must declare that Test selection will heavily favour form in the Shield. In other words, it must become apparent that you can either play for Australia or for IPL/BBL but not both. In case CA don't get this message, all Australian cricket-lovers who want to see their Test team back on top should be prepared to boycott the BBL, and to tell its commercial sponsors that, if necessary, we'll boycott their products as well.

  • on July 22, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    I would have thought that the preparation of 'result' wickets would actually assist batsmen in having a better technique for dealing with swinging and seeming balls. Apparently not according to this. Only 4 years ago we were bemoaning the fact that there were too many flat, dry pitches in Australia, and that we were producing batsmen with sloppy techniques. The truth probably lies with a number of the other issues raised in this article, Big Bash, player contracts and general cricket administration. How James Sutherland has survived throughout this decline is the most baffling to me.

  • garr on July 22, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    I never liked 20/20 cricket and defy anyone to cite an innings or bowling display that stays in your mind for longer than a day. Yet I candour Taylor, Waugh, Border, Slater, Richards, Richardson Arabi daDe-Silva and Lara test innings coupled with McGrath,Warne, Caddick, Ambrose, Alderman bowling efforts in tests till the cows come home. Australian cricket or the lack of depth is approaching genocidal proportions, where are the Moody's Laws, Lehman's ,Langer' Katich's who slaved away in shield and county cricket before they even got a ODI vs.e for Australia. we now have players who cannot play a stoic innings like Root 90 balls on 29 runs. I understand cricket is cyclical but this batting line up and the next 12 in the wings earn mega bucks playing 20/20 who cares games and Clarke aside along with the strong willed bowlers suffer with the complete lack of fight shownby Cowan, Watson etc. Bravo England but 128 on a road,come back Katich, Hussey even Punter.

  • HowdyRowdy on July 22, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    A very good article, which is needed to highlight the underlying cause of Australia's disasters in India and England. It's ironic that there will be a few scattered comments on this story, compared with the blizzard of comments about what happens during each day's play.

    Quite simply, the main objective of Australia's domestic cricket should be to prepare potential Test players. You build everything: pay structure, scheduling, pitch preparation, the role of T20 around that.

    I acknowledge that that is a tough task, because the states have their own interests, T20 makes a fortune and is needed to stop soccer encroaching on cricket's role as the dominant summer sport, etc. But this is where Cricket Australia needs to step up, make the appropriate decisions and follow through to ensure they are executed properly.

    My worst nightmare is the long term decline of Aussie cricket, similar to the West Indian pattern. We must do whatever it takes to stop that happening!

  • on July 22, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    It would be best for the future of cricket to cancel the Big Bash and prepare test pitches at shield level, but the problem for CA is that they would then lose one of the biggest money spinners, and the shield would be even less attractive to watch than it is now. There has to be a balance found, because eventually (possibly soon) people will stop wanting to watch the test team, which will lead to even more financial loss. The shield has to be fixed. Personally I find it bewildering and somewhat boring seeing sides bowled out for 80 or 110 on a regular basis. It is not an easy management exercise, but there has to be a better answer than what we presently have.

  • bowzer on July 22, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    The problem with the Aussie is their temperament. They seem to lack patience. South Africa, India and England seem to have player who will wait for the bad ball, score at a strike rate of 20-30 for long periods and then accelerate when the fielding team gets tired. That was evident with Root and Bresnan in the 2nd test. Even with Faf Du Plesis, when he and others batted for almost 2 days to get a draw against Australia. Australia needs to realize the test goes for 5 days and not aim to finish it in 3. It happens far too often and the Aussie need a change of attitude. Getting 50 runs of 60-70 balls is not good when your total is only 150. In 2nd innnings of the second test, after 25 overs, England was only 37 runs, after 50 overs they were 114 runs. They eventually declared at 349. You can't see this current Aus team, having the patients to score only 1.5-2 runs an over for more than 3-5 overs.

  • Redbackfan on July 22, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    Another poor batting performance, Watson, Cowan and Warner need to go they've been there long enough and haven't done enough. Hughes and Rogers earned their spots with strong shield form but now have to step up. Smith and Khawaja have shown good signs at times and also need to step up. So who else to choose? Shield ave. for last year and career in that order(whole no.s only) for poss. top 6 batsmen inc. above players. Rogers49-50Hughes56-44Khawaja39-42Smith37-40 SMarsh dnp-35Voges25-40Bailey18-38Maddinson35-38Burns32-39Doolan42-38 White36-40Ferguson39-36Cosgrove39-43Henriques77-31and Silk 57 after 3 games including Final, and Clark of course . So on recent form there's a few guys who could be given a go like Doolan, Silk, Cosgrove and Ferguson. Haddin and Wade cost us with poor keeping Hartley and Ludeman are better options. I like Agar but Lyon is more experienced and Bird should get a go. Boof didn't get a say in the squad selection maybe next series might be different I hope.

  • Sunil_Batra on July 22, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    Our batting talent is not as bad we think, Khawaja showed his class today with a tough 50 in very tough conditions against Swan. He will kick on from this and establish himself as our 3. Smith has improved his batting and was unlucky to be given out. Outside the team the likes of Maddinson and Burns are future batsman. We will come back sooner rather later.

  • gazoontapede on July 22, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    A sad day for cricket over all. As funny and humiliating as the english supporters find the whole thing,a whole generation of cricket supporters/tragics will be lost.Young people in aust have no real interest in test cricket due to marketing and t/20. Enjoy now as by the time the 2020 season is upon us not many people in aust will really care. this pathetic showing by our team will only add to the disinterest among younger australian cricket fans as these days they have far more to occupy themselves with than test cricket. Also the boring one day games that INd,WI,SL are obsessed with does not help the cause. The state of aus cricket has never been so bad,and not over night.Been for five, six years now. Good luck to the poms,well played.But look in your own backyard too,we are fourth rate side you are beating.You have had enormous top order trouble.bowling not as good as one thinks.(agar,tino best) tailenders score easily agaisnt your attack. Imminent retirments due .RIP test cricket

  • steve.waugh on July 22, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    A system that kept the likes of Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Damien Martin, Michael Hussey, Stuart MacGill and Brad Hodge on the fringes for so long now suffers from the fast-tracking of low-quality talent.

    That plus poor discipline and attitude makes me wonder if the current crop take their places for granted.

  • Clyde on July 22, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    The Australian batsmen get themselves out and so apparently do the Australian cricket administrators. That was a stupid shot, downgrading State cricket. And another one, downgrading State cricket pitches. Thank you Mr Brettig.

  • on July 22, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    Australia is a troubled squad . The struggles for "power" and the rest of it is showing match after match . Firing a Coach will not fix the huge problem the Cricket team have .

  • on July 22, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Good to see aussies on the receiving end after so many years. They oftentimes commented on the quality of opposition for years but now clearly have less than mediocre quality players. Ponting is so wrong to say aussies will win 3-2. Where in the world they are going to bring the confidence in the game from? With trailing by 2 tests, I don't current team is capable of turing things around unlike their predecessors. What are chappells doing now? They should bit the dust and take the entire new generation back to white-board instead of focusing on criticising other countries and their 20-20 success.

  • alstar2281 on July 22, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Hughes, Kawajah & smith are all still young and look confused as to the way they should play. Perhaps fearful that none as had an extended run in the team. Their hestitant play exposes their technical flaws even more. What is concerning is the performance of the experienced players. Watson still can't kick on and constantly is trapped LBW. Rogers looks at sea despite his years of tallying runs for fun. Haddin, who was dropped for his increasingly poor standards behind the stumps, was brought in to replace Wade (he copped the same blame, but is also the only bloke other then Clarke to score a century this year) yet looks like his keeping has gone backwards as has his batting. On top of this Clarke looks hampered by his back. So you have a top 7 who are hopeless out of form or paralysed by fear (or both).

  • HOMEBREW on July 22, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    What ever happened to the Adelaide oval? Where a sheild game would more than likely end up in a draw, making bowlers work hard for wickets & batsmen would prosper. Seems to me that CA are just after the $$$ & nothing else. They seem to think that the public will still hand over their hard earned to watch what they have done to cricket.

    Sure, CA can make lots & lots of $$$ from BBL. At the end of the day it's international cricket that counts, not hit & giggle. I've siad it before and i'll say it again, we should have 3 seperate sides, 1 for tests, 1 for ODI & 1 for 20/20 & 3 seperate coaches. All 3 games are totally different & require different mind sets.

    Sutherland, Howard & Di Venuto should all be sacked. Sutherland because he is just plain greedy and doesn't care about grass roots cricket, Howard because why on earth would you employ someone who has never played the game & Di Venuto who never played a test in his life & was just not good enough at ODI either, what a joke

  • Yabbie442 on July 22, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    I'm involved in "grass roots" cricket, and every year, Cricket Australia *increase* the cost of Milo in2Cricket (cricket version of Auskick).

    Way to increase participation, but pricing families out of cricket and making life hard for the clubs you profess to support!

  • Clyde on July 22, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    On the mental plane I don't think there is much similarity between Test cum State cricket and the short, superficial forms. Test cricket is simply a vastly superior challenge. As an Australian, I am compelled to ask whether the country is still interested. I am old enough to have watched great Australian players like Lawry, Booth or Redpath, who were not going to get themselves out. The country as a whole expected this kind of performance. Has the country changed? Will there be a bronze statue of a player made on the basis of T20 career?

  • on July 22, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    I think Australia have some fantastic young players coming through. nic maddinson, alex doolan, Jordan silk, joe burns, tim paine, adam zampa, chadd sayers, Patrick cummins, ashton agar, gurinder sandhu, jake doran and ben McDermott. these players will be ready in one or two years time.

  • LewisDuckworth on July 22, 2013, 0:11 GMT

    Very good and acurate article. CA really needs to look at how to to turn things around and as the article suggests, starting by financially rewarding the players more for appearances in the Shield team more so then the BBL would be a start.

    I reckon they should bring in teams from ACT (Manuka Oval), NT (TIO Stadium) and Northern Queensland (Cazaly Stadium) to the Shield also. This would expose more players to first class cricket, provide a couple of flat tracks up in Darwin & Cairns where the bowlers would have to learn work hard and the batsman would get a chance to play long innings. To make sure there's no drain on the talent pool the states can bring in two international players each (like County Cricket) to help make sure there's still plenty of quality in the competition.

    BBL could be shortened to a 4 week competiton also I think, maybe from Boxing Day to Australia Day. It does create important revenue for CA, but they need to make sure they get the balance right.

  • landl47 on July 22, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    I have to say that in my opinion everything in this article and the comments on it is wrong. All that has happened is that Australia has hit a poor patch in the number of talented young batsmen coming through. Everyone would agree that Aus is producing good young bowlers- why hasn't that been a problem if the system is so bad? Bowlers are affected even more by T20 cricket because they only get to bowl 4 overs a game and are exclusively focused on saving runs, not getting wickets, the exact opposite of test cricket. Yet there are Pattinson, Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins, McDermott and several others, plus young Agar as a spinner.

    A couple of new young batsmen will soon appear and bingo! The problem will be solved. There's absolutely no need to go around mourning the death of Australian cricket, it isn't going to happen.

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on July 22, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    The irony of this is I recall why our county season started heading towards the structure it has now... "We really must play quality first-class cricket like Shield and dispense with these poor standard three day county games that get decided with declaration bowlers and agreed last innings targets." That was during the Australian glory years when cricket over here was finally forced to take a long, hard look at itself. That wasn't the only change, but it was an important start. I could even go as far as saying Australia did us a big favour and deserve some credit for turning round English long-game cricket.

    One more favour. Could you explain to someone that there will never be an international 50-over trophy headed for these shores unless counties play 50-over cricket?

  • OneEyedAussie on July 22, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    Big Bash is big money. Will Sutherland/CA move it to late January/February in order to accommodate an uninterrupted Shield season when those games are played in front of empty stands? Don't really see it happening. It will be easier for CA to organise some more tours against minnows so the test team can notch up some wins and keep the viewers tuning in.

    If the states are not subordinating the shield results to the results of the test team then there is a problem. If, in fact, states are preparing "result" pitches then this needs to be corrected immediately. La nina is over so there should be no excuse.

  • IntegralCoach on July 22, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Great article Daniel. Your rationale is clear. However, you understate the role of hubris. At the end of the day it is hubris that rots the core of Australian cricket, most notably displayed by the likes of Sutherland and a handful of players including Clarke. What Mickey Arthur was trying to do, amongst other things, was to deal with the hubris in some of the players. We are where we are due to a perfect storm of Aussie hubris. Now, how do you sort that out ?

  • on July 21, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    It's funny how people are blaming the T20 leagues for Australia's dismal batting performances. What about the rest of the international sides like SA, England, NZ etc??.. they're still putting in great test performances and most if not all their top players take part in domestic/international T20 comps.

  • Ram.TG on July 21, 2013, 23:47 GMT

    Bring in Lyon for Pattinson; and Michael Clarke should bowl himself too.

  • peter.suen on July 21, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    It's sad to see England win through poor cricket by Aus rather than excellence from England.

  • AlanF on July 21, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    Australia could help stop the rot by withdrawing from all limited overs cricket, both international and domestic. However, the long term issue is that England now has the best climate for cricket. With Australian summers getting hotter and hotter since the 1970s, and 50 degree days in Perth and Adelaide no longer out of the question, who on earth can bat for a day in such heat?

  • left_arm_unorthodox on July 21, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    This is very astute. Until the Shield is the absolute centrepiece of Australian cricket, with all the fluff of 20-20 at the edges, Australian cricket will not really recover except by the arrival of some unexpected genius, and that would just be a band-aid. How about play 20-20 at the START of the Aussie season? Let people get a bit of touch, start the season off with a bang, get the audiences coming, and NOT relegate test matches and Shield games to spring on green decks? It's a night game, so it does not need to wait for summer holidays to get crowds. Things are backwards now, as noted. And 20-20 will lose its sheen soon enough anyway, and the monkeying around with schedules will be for nothing, then, not even for money.

  • Animesh.J on July 21, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    If someone believes that T20 Cricket is destroying Test cricket, then you need to re-do your home work. T20 is giving exposure to young cricketers, generating revenue and bringing entertainment. its because of T20, some people can sit in front of the TV and watch a full game of cricket. If the Australian cricket team is not doing well, then instead of blaming the T20 format the players should be questioned, the leadership and the team startegy should be questioned. if the cricket council is not promoting test cricket at domestic level then its not because of T20."T20 is destroying Test Cricket" is Red Herring.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    The weird thing about this decline for Australia is that India are the ones responsible for their downfall. Since its inception, the IPL has caused much more damage than it has good. Australia saw how successful and appealing it was to a wider audience and sought to recreate that. Little did they realise that, as with the pathetic state of Indian Test cricket right now, the same is happening to Australia. It's not even the fact that they are suffering from New Zealand syndrome, whereby the batsmen seem to play in T20 mode in Tests and then wonder why they do do poorly. It's simply the fact that too much emphasis on the shorter format means a weak Test side. What is gloriously ironic from an English standpoint is that they are superior to Australia in all 3 formats.

  • mike_b on July 21, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    This is a great article Before a company,business,or any organisation can start performing it has to look in the mirror with honesty.When we were hammering England for 15 years it was the level of their county game that we laughed at.When they got that fixed then the test team followed suit.It aint rocket science!Sutherland MUST accept the responsibilty that goes with his job.Fix the Sheffield Shield & restore it's respect and status - never let it be called the "Pura Cup" again!In India the selection of players such as Maxwell showed how deluded our administrators & selectors had become.The agenda was clearly the hopeful development of cricketers that could perform across "all formats" therefore increasing profit & marketability.What stupid thinking!Anybody who has worked in a modern office environment is well sick of "performance reviews" & other drivel that is spewed out by over-populated middle-management & HR departments.Get the structure right,all will follow.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    Aus was luck they had Wane and Mcgrath at hte same time ......time to take the the blade.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    @Emanuel Cummings: I disagree with you my friend. T20 cricket is only a minor part of the problem. The majority has to do with the poor scheduling and prioritising of state cricket. You see, the BBL is played across the Australian domestic season which is the first 'no-no'. What they could do is play out the T20 stuff at the start of the season and get it over with. Then, focus on playing pure, hard, and quality first class cricket for the rest of the season alongside their international calendar. So if players aren't performing, they could fall back to state teams and reward good performances as it should rightly be done. That's what made Australia a mighty team for almost 2 decades. T20 can never destroy test cricket. FYI, England kept losing in Ashes contests of the past. Was that due to T20 ? Please think about it.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    Aus, going the way of the West Indies. While W I cricket is showing signs of a resurgence. Watson is not an opening bat but a decent number six. One to five there is no batsman of International quality apart from Clarke. CA should have persuaded Hussey to play on at least until the end of the Ashes. With Hussey in the side Australia would have won the First test against England.

  • RohanMarkJay on July 21, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    Agree with Emanuel Cummings. T20 is a big reason why Aussies can't bat themselves out of a paper bag in Test Cricket. In England, cricketers haven't been hit by the T20 fever like has happened in the Subcontinent, West Indies and to a lesser extent Australia. I am sure Aussies will bounce back. Because the Ashes urn is too important to their sporting culture. So you might see them putting restrictions on Aussie players from going to T20 tournaments like IPL. They might toughen up their domestic sheffield shield etc. So because of the Ashes contests I can see test cricket protected in Australia. However, in the subcontinent it is fair to say they don't care about the longer form of the game anymore. T20 has totally taken over there.

  • SheikYerbouti83 on July 21, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Did alarm bells ring anywhere when Ricky Ponting went back to Tasmania and was the season top scorer in the sheild. With all possible repect to Ricky, he is too old for test matches and couldn't quite cut it anymore. If we had any test class batsmen waiting in the wings they would have outscored him in shield cricket....

  • TimFez on July 21, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    How batsmen like Martin Love and Brad Hodge would love to be in their prime right now. These test quality cricketers never got the chance to exceed at the higher level because of the quality of Shield cricket during the 90s and 2000s.

    And at the time we need these players most (post ponting, langer, hayden, hussey) our system has had enough time to 'adapt' and quality talent, which there is a hell of a lot of, aren't able to make runs. Things need to change!

  • kevirose on July 21, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    The demise of the quality of cricket out of Australia goes right back to Cricket Australia. They have done nothing to attract young people to the longer forms of the Game.

  • aracer on July 21, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    Hmm - I'm sure if flat wickets were being prepared they would be blamed for producing batsmen who aren't capable of coping with top class bowlers in helpful conditions. If the batsmen were losing concentration after scoring 20 or 30 (or 60 or 70) then you might be able to blame it on lack of experience at building long innings, but apart from a handful of cases that isn't what's happening - about the only player who really is guilty of that is Watson, and he appears to have a more basic problem.

  • Gareth_Bain on July 21, 2013, 22:20 GMT

    Baffling then, that first class cricket here in South Africa has long been marginalised in this way, and we're currently (just) the #1. This observation isn't meant to come across as smug, as I said at the beginning it truly baffles me!

  • jb633 on July 21, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    The 2005 ashes in many ways was the worst thing to happen to Australian cricket. The series was lost essentially because the Aussie side could not play the moving ball, the same applies to the 2009 ashes. I believe they were so fixated by those losses that they felt they had to produce result pitches in order for their batsmen to learn how to play the swinging, seaming ball. In practice the batsmen coming straight from shield cricket no longer have the capabilities to score a big double hundred, simply because a 70 in the context of some games can be a winning score. They have also lost the players with the ability to play spin, because the pitches in Oz rarely turn any more. Sydney used to turn square, now it is a seaming top, Adelaide and Brisbane have become so placid and even on day 5 don't really turn any more. The Aussie seam attack is decent and certainly on a par with ours. The dropping of Lyon was a disgrace and makes no sense to anyone. The batting is simply woeful.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    Im so happy to see this , serves them right , they were so arrogant in late 90's & early 2000's when they were winning, enjoying it

  • gsingh7 on July 21, 2013, 22:12 GMT

    i guess it was coming of late aus dominated world cricket for a decade or so, now they are being beaten at all places . it wont be a big surprise if they lose 5-0 to england side who are much better at home barring 2-0 thrashing at hands of sa. it might take few years for aus to assemble a competitive batting unit once again. their batting techniques are atrocious.no talented batsman coming through the shield tournament.bowling is average and certainly not world beater ,either.

  • SirViv1973 on July 21, 2013, 22:09 GMT

    @Behind_the-Bowlers_arm, You make sound points regarding the preparation of pitches for Shield games. However CA can't just cancel the big bash there is too much money invested in it and besides the BBL is a shop window for IPL Franchises so how would Aus players get signed if their not playing domestic T20?. It's tough for all the respective boards to balance the traditions of Test/FC with the commercial needs of T20 and Aus seem to be struggling with this more than most right now.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:09 GMT

    I think australia have some good young batsmen coming through but I think they will need to perform one more season in fc cricket. they are not quite ready. alex doolan, nic maddinson, Jordan silk and joe burns are one good season away from playing for australia. I also think we need to give more opportunities to u 19 players at state level. ben McDermott and jake doran are excellent young midlle order batsmen. they should be given chances next season. phil hughes, ed cowan and shane Watson are not good enough at international level.

  • Paul_Somerset on July 21, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    If Australian supporters want to see Shield cricket regain its importance, you can do your bit by making an effort to attend these matches. Forget the quips about English County games being watched by one man and his dog. That's just prejudice from lazy journalists who never go to these games. There are normally about a thousand spectators watching my County's 4-day games at any one time, and it creates an atmosphere which emphasizes to the players that these contests matter.

    People don't necessarily sit through 7 straight hours every day. You can wander in and out as other commitments allow you. If your State has the equivalent of English County membership - a season ticket basically - buy one and just pop in for an hour or two before or after work. It really does make a difference to how players approach First-Class cricket in my experience.

  • sportofpain on July 21, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Fundamentally the youth in Australia do not prefer Cricket. Football (Soccer) and Aussie Rules Football are more popular. So the base is weak and with just 5 First class teams, the opportunity to gain first class experience is limited. So some significant structural problems to begin with. Then of course you have the Aussie haste to do away with the experienced cricketers and the problem gets compounded. I now wonder why there is such a proliferation of Aussie coaches in wold cricket..What are they going to teach the rest of the world when the rest of the world (Eng, SA, India) seems to have moved ahead?

  • RJHB on July 21, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    Australia. The best paid cricket team of all time. And the utterly worst performing of all time. I hope they're all crying themselves to sleep tonight on their bags of money, drying their eyes with hundred dollar bills and looking forward to the condor egg omelette in the morning!

  • Chris_P on July 21, 2013, 22:05 GMT

    @SirViv1973, Yes, only in the some Australian fans who still believe T20 is the best way to determine test selections (witness the calls for Marsh, Bailey etc). This article nailed it pretty well, I knew we would be on the back foot this series, I just didn't pick how much back though! I do feel for our bowlers who must surely be disheartened to see their efforts flushed away.

  • Jaffa79 on July 21, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    It is all that has been predicted and shot down for a long time! The Aussie batting order is dreadful, Haddin is possibly worse than Wade (if that's possible) and the bowling attack is vastly overrated. So many Aussie have talked up their attack as if they are better stocked than the Windies of the early 80s and hasn't theory that been laughably dismissed! It is good that our '80mph trundlers' have come up trumps as shown by Broad hitting Clarke for fun today. It could get worse when England get out of 3rd gear. Aussies play Eng after this series and then South Africa and Pakistan! Oh dear!

  • whatawicket on July 21, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    in the uk we have Jack Birkingshaw an ex player and umpire who travels to all grounds if any problem with pitches re green / dry / or lacking in quality they get points deducted, this penalty at least keeps them honest. with distances in the uk between grounds been much shorter than oz for sure but something i am sure could be used

  • TheDoctor394 on July 21, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    @Emanuel Cummings - You mean T20 is destroying Ausralian Test cricket

  • Nutcutlet on July 21, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    The relegation of the Sheffield Shield to a minor side show in the consciousness of Australian cricket has borne its bitter fruit in an Oz Test side that has little clue of the disciplines that are required to play the longer version of the game, where the cricketers wear cream (or white, in England's case) & the ball is red. Australian cricket has sold its soul to the distracting devils inherent in the Big Bash - & beyond the shores of Oz, to the beguiling easy bucks to be made (not earned - how could they be? - given the format) in the corrupt IPL. To mix metaphors, the chickens have come home to roost - & pathetic specimens they are indeed! Ah well, when mistakes are made, what can be done except admit them? It's time to realise that there is the world of difference between price & value. Cricket in England has never lost sight of what has most value & the T20 comp. is only the county side-show, no more. What counts, what pays off in the longer run, is a winning England Test side.

  • SirViv1973 on July 21, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    There still appears to be some Aus fans in denial. Suggesting that dropping Watson & shuffling the pack will solve the problem. The problem is that Aus are just not producing batsman of test standard right now. Aus may drop SW & bring in Warner for the 3rd test but I doubt anything will change. Even if DW comes in & does well then some1 else will fail & then the call will be for him to be dropped. After DW the next batsman in line are Doolan, Burns & Maddison are any of these guys going to make any difference? the answer is no. There was some debate prior to the series with Ind as to if the right batsman had been selected, here there were no glaring omissions & Aus fans seemed pretty happy with the guys selected. There is no short term fix here, CA needs to be looking at the game at all levels & trying to work out how they can best prepare their young batsman for test cricket. I don't think the issue is just to play less T20, Root has played plenty & its not doing him any harm.

  • on July 21, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Although pointing out some good structural problems with the Australian domestic game, don't be too quick to assume everything is rosy in the battle between first-class and t20 in England. Here t20 doesn't have a window to eat up a portion of the summer, but somehow there are still few FC games in July-august and the flip side of no window is players have to constantly transition between one form and another. Which feeds into poor application during fc games. The major difference perhaps is as soon as a player gets into the England fold they are protected from this scheduling so can focus on preparing for whatever the national team have coming up (Bairstow, Bresnan, Onions have all had their summers managed even when not playing) and England players don't tend to do the World t20 merry-go-round

  • VickGower on July 21, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    "Australia's glaring lack of batsmen capable of playing long innings can be related directly to the emergence of a succession of sporting or worse surfaces, as state teams chase the outright results required to reach the Shield final."

    Very important observation. What I take from this is that it is counter productive to make pitches "result oriented" in an unnatural way. Balance is the key.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on July 21, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    True. Have been saying for a while that the desecration of the Shield is behind this crisis. CA should be instructing groundsmen to prepare Test pitches even if it requires the central appointment of inspectors. The loss of talented teenagers to AFL isn't helping either. CA should be putting money in at that level and creating a career path. And the Big Bash should be cancelled tomorrow. Players can play t20 in the IPL in April, in December and January it should be 4 day cricket on Test standard pitches.

  • on July 21, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    After i watched the dominant Aus team of late 1990s and early 2000's its so good to watch Aus take a beating now.....

  • on July 21, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    Australian, west indian, and pakistani cricket is losing charisma because no 3-4 teams tournamnets are being played. Which makes players sluggish, no rivalry in players after IPL, Big Bash etc... So players these days dnt take international cricket seriously since they r already getting healthy money from leagues... Aussies should go back to drawing board and rethink the whole plan. Their domestic cricket is strong and definately they can stand tall like before... Cheers for Aussies.. Congrats to england on thumping wim..

  • on July 21, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    T20 is destroying Test Cricket

  • on July 21, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    T20 is destroying Test Cricket

  • on July 21, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    Australian, west indian, and pakistani cricket is losing charisma because no 3-4 teams tournamnets are being played. Which makes players sluggish, no rivalry in players after IPL, Big Bash etc... So players these days dnt take international cricket seriously since they r already getting healthy money from leagues... Aussies should go back to drawing board and rethink the whole plan. Their domestic cricket is strong and definately they can stand tall like before... Cheers for Aussies.. Congrats to england on thumping wim..

  • on July 21, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    After i watched the dominant Aus team of late 1990s and early 2000's its so good to watch Aus take a beating now.....

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on July 21, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    True. Have been saying for a while that the desecration of the Shield is behind this crisis. CA should be instructing groundsmen to prepare Test pitches even if it requires the central appointment of inspectors. The loss of talented teenagers to AFL isn't helping either. CA should be putting money in at that level and creating a career path. And the Big Bash should be cancelled tomorrow. Players can play t20 in the IPL in April, in December and January it should be 4 day cricket on Test standard pitches.

  • VickGower on July 21, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    "Australia's glaring lack of batsmen capable of playing long innings can be related directly to the emergence of a succession of sporting or worse surfaces, as state teams chase the outright results required to reach the Shield final."

    Very important observation. What I take from this is that it is counter productive to make pitches "result oriented" in an unnatural way. Balance is the key.

  • on July 21, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Although pointing out some good structural problems with the Australian domestic game, don't be too quick to assume everything is rosy in the battle between first-class and t20 in England. Here t20 doesn't have a window to eat up a portion of the summer, but somehow there are still few FC games in July-august and the flip side of no window is players have to constantly transition between one form and another. Which feeds into poor application during fc games. The major difference perhaps is as soon as a player gets into the England fold they are protected from this scheduling so can focus on preparing for whatever the national team have coming up (Bairstow, Bresnan, Onions have all had their summers managed even when not playing) and England players don't tend to do the World t20 merry-go-round

  • SirViv1973 on July 21, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    There still appears to be some Aus fans in denial. Suggesting that dropping Watson & shuffling the pack will solve the problem. The problem is that Aus are just not producing batsman of test standard right now. Aus may drop SW & bring in Warner for the 3rd test but I doubt anything will change. Even if DW comes in & does well then some1 else will fail & then the call will be for him to be dropped. After DW the next batsman in line are Doolan, Burns & Maddison are any of these guys going to make any difference? the answer is no. There was some debate prior to the series with Ind as to if the right batsman had been selected, here there were no glaring omissions & Aus fans seemed pretty happy with the guys selected. There is no short term fix here, CA needs to be looking at the game at all levels & trying to work out how they can best prepare their young batsman for test cricket. I don't think the issue is just to play less T20, Root has played plenty & its not doing him any harm.

  • Nutcutlet on July 21, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    The relegation of the Sheffield Shield to a minor side show in the consciousness of Australian cricket has borne its bitter fruit in an Oz Test side that has little clue of the disciplines that are required to play the longer version of the game, where the cricketers wear cream (or white, in England's case) & the ball is red. Australian cricket has sold its soul to the distracting devils inherent in the Big Bash - & beyond the shores of Oz, to the beguiling easy bucks to be made (not earned - how could they be? - given the format) in the corrupt IPL. To mix metaphors, the chickens have come home to roost - & pathetic specimens they are indeed! Ah well, when mistakes are made, what can be done except admit them? It's time to realise that there is the world of difference between price & value. Cricket in England has never lost sight of what has most value & the T20 comp. is only the county side-show, no more. What counts, what pays off in the longer run, is a winning England Test side.

  • TheDoctor394 on July 21, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    @Emanuel Cummings - You mean T20 is destroying Ausralian Test cricket

  • whatawicket on July 21, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    in the uk we have Jack Birkingshaw an ex player and umpire who travels to all grounds if any problem with pitches re green / dry / or lacking in quality they get points deducted, this penalty at least keeps them honest. with distances in the uk between grounds been much shorter than oz for sure but something i am sure could be used