January 4, 2009

Catch 'em young

Cricket Australia need to find fresh faces in a hurry, but they may have left it too late already
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Phil Hughes could well have been blooded in the third Test, but wasn't © Getty Images

The Australian selectors have had to make a lot of decisions lately but the toughest one is just around the corner: do they opt for band-aid solutions to stem the flow of losses or embark on a major operation?

The last time Australia experienced a downturn like the current spiral, triggered by India's 2-0 series win, was in the mid- eighties. On that occasion the selectors opted for a major overhaul. They took into consideration character as well as ability, and this resulted in the selection of uncompromising young players like David Boon, Steve Waugh, Ian Healy and Mark Taylor. The selectors accepted there had to be some short-term pain before the patient returned to glowing good health and a rosy long-term future.

The difference between then and now is in the system that produces the up and coming players. Back in the mid-eighties international players still participated in Australian club and first-class competitions and selectors were prepared to choose promising cricketers when they first flowered. Nowadays the sighting of an international player at club or first-class level is as rare as Halley's Comet, and the debut age of an Australian cricketer is more likely to be in the late rather than early twenties.

A few years ago when Allan Border said, "Australia has to get used to 28-year-olds making their debut," the administrators should have twigged that the system required some tweaking.

What made Australian cricket strong was the competitive environment that produced talented young cricketers. They were sorely tested many times before they reached international level, and having survived those examinations of both ability and character there was a fair chance the better players would survive in the toughest arena.

Through no fault of the board's, that Australian system has been diluted by a crowded international schedule. However, Cricket Australia has contributed to the problem by placing too much emphasis on under-age competitions, where players tend to get picked on age rather than ability.

The sooner a good young cricketer plays against men rather than kids his own age, the better. The best U-17 players should be playing in the first-grade competition, and by U-19 at first-class level, with some even being mentioned as possible international players.

Young left-hand opener Phil Hughes is a 20-year-old with the credentials to succeed, but the Australian selectors didn't grasp the opportunity to gauge his value by playing him in a Test against South Africa after the series was decided.

In an effort to correct the flaw in the "28-year-old debutant" theory CA now stipulates that the interstate rookie contracts only be awarded to players who are under 23. However, this doesn't address the problem, as a really good player should be fairly well entrenched in the international side by the age of 23.

 
 
Australia's current selection panel is choosing from a diminished number of talented young players who have a chance of succeeding at international level. This means they may have no choice which path to take for the future
 

Consequently, the current selection panel is choosing from a diminished number of talented young players who have a chance of succeeding at international level. This means the national selectors may have no choice which path to take for the future, even if their preference was to opt for a major overhaul.

There has to be an express lane for the better young players, and they need to bypass a lot of under-age cricket to be tested against men at an early age. This method places a priority on smart and ruthless selection, as it requires a large pool of teenagers playing club cricket in order to promote a dozen to first-class level, with a view to one or two clinching international honours by their early twenties.

The selectors also need to distance themselves from the senior-player group. They have to take tough decisions, and unfortunately, when the inner circle of players is influential, there's a likelihood that likes and dislikes become involved in selection. Whether a player is liked or disliked shouldn't come into the discussion; the only consideration is whether he can score a hundred or take five wickets.

It will take time to correct the major flaw in the system to the point where benefits start flowing. Unlike when the Rolling Stones first sang the hit, time really isn't on CA's side.

Australia faces a return series in South Africa that will be tough to win, and then an Ashes contest where, for the first time in almost two decades, England could start favourites. It's a tough time for the selectors to embark on a major overhaul, especially when the ranks of the young talent pool are thin.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY arian77 on | January 6, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    Totally agree with Mr.Chappell. Cricket Australia should take a leaf out of Indian Cricket or South African cricket boards, where they recognize the young players quick and groom them among the men. Thats how India got the likes of someone like Sachin Tendulkar who played his first test at the age of 16! And he's not the only one. There are quite a lot of promising cricketers coming out of these systems like AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma are all glowing examples. Guess its time for Australia to groom some youngsters in the B squad and put them in the gentlemen's league when the time is right rather than waiting for the existing bunch to retire or else, it becomes a case of the 40 year old virgin.

  • POSTED BY Clyde on | January 6, 2009, 12:13 GMT

    The basic requirement for a bowler is that he be able to change the direction of the ball, by the work he puts on it, by at least 30cm just before it arrives at the popping crease. It doesn't matter if the bowler is slow-medium, if he knows how to swing it late and a long way, and both ways. These used to be standard requirements for school kids. Now, I don't know why, but I haven't seen this happening in Sydney, where I can guarantee it used to, with a Test-standard Kookaburra, with spin or with conventional swing. There is no other way to win Tests. I don't believe the spin bowlers the Test selectors have shown us would survive in State cricket if the games were five days. They must be getting wickets because batsmen are in too much of a hurry. The single most effective way to find good bowlers would be to change State games to five days. The spinners, especially, we have seen so far have not been physically strong enough to produce enough rip, easily, for the length of the full game

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | January 6, 2009, 8:33 GMT

    I have the highest regard for your cricketing acumen,Ian,but I'm afraid I don't agree with you on this one.The SYSTEM has worked well for 20 years. Australia is the ONLY country that does not chip-chop their captains-in these 20 years we have seen just FOUR superb captains in Allan Border,Mark Taylor,Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting,three of whom have joined the 10,000 Club.16 consecutive Test match wins,not once,but twice.3 World Cups in Succession.Howzat for consistency!The standards set by Australia are the benchmarks other countries want to emulate.It is impractical to assume that Australia will NEVER lose a match.So I would advise against pushing the panic button on Team Selection.It IS,and SHOULD be difficult to get into the Aussie Team.Besides,you forget that two of the three main fast bowlers were unfit to bowl against South Africa-Stuart Clark and Brett Lee.That was pure bad luck.Brett Lee lost 5 kg in the worst environmental conditions-India,and is still not back to full fitness

  • POSTED BY itay128 on | January 5, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    Some interesting statistics: Age(AUS Team in Sydney average): 29.73 (One 21-25, Five 26-30, Five 30) Age(RSA Team in Sydney average): 28.00 (Five 20-25, One 26-30, Five 30) Noticeably, you can see that RSA has exposed more players who are in the low 20s in the team than AUS.

    Age (AUS Team full strength w/ Krejza): 31.36 (One 21-25, Two 26-30, Eight 30+) Age (AUS Team full strength w/ Hauritz): 31.55 (Three 26-30, Eight 30+) According to those averages, I would say an ideal average would be around 27-30 (you may have a different range, I won't over-debate!). Still Australia needs to have a think about the future while slowly transitioning the veterans out (unlike the unstoppable mass exodus with the likes of Langer, Gilchrist, Warne and McGrath leaving within 2 seasons)

    AUS will works it way back up... Either get CA to put more domestic teams (2nd XIs etc) or inject a bit more youth in 1st class and international. As well, can someone give the avg. age of Indian team currentl

  • POSTED BY Pekz on | January 5, 2009, 11:32 GMT

    In with what charont said about a league style competition for T20's why can there not be a Cricket Acadamy team? this will allow young guns to step up and also allow their respective states to show more talent off. Having played against hill, hughes, hazelwood, patterson, faulkner they are very professional in the way they carry themselves and should be promoted more in state teams. perhaps not in the aus team yet but an acadamy team would showcase their skills and allow them to push for state selection which in turn would fastrack a push for aus selection.

  • POSTED BY sdjones83 on | January 5, 2009, 9:19 GMT

    Ponting's incompetent captaincy is exposed by the retirement of his team of 'advisors' whom he had the luxury of playing alongside in his early years as captain. Players like Warne, Lehmann, Gilchrist etc were more skilled captains and aided Ponting's decision making. As for Hayden, the professionalisation of cricket has led to players playing longer and older - they are fit enough to continue and there is money to be made. However this neccesarily has a trickle down effect to first class and grade cricket, eg Hussey was kept out of the international side until he was 30, so he played first class cricket, preventing players like Marsh from earlier exposure at first class level. His generation are only getting the opportunity to make an impact well into their 20s. Is the onus on the state sides to consistantly pick promising 19-20yr players ahead of similarly performing older players?

  • POSTED BY Governor on | January 5, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    Chappelli,

    And, here is an alarming statistic. Ever since Rod Marsh left the Academy in Adelaide in 2001, only Shane Watson has graduated from the 2000-2001 Academy intake to represent Australia at test level.

    From 1991 to 2001, Rod Marsh's disciples who have worn the Baggy Green are: Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Glen McGrath, Dizzy, Michael Kasprowisz, Justin Langer, SK Warne, SCG MacGill, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Andrew McDonald, Cameron White, Brett Lee, Simon Katich and Phil Jacques.

    Since Bennett King and Brian McFadyen have steered the ship since 2001, I can only name Doug Bollinger as the only Australia to have played a test match for Australia.

    These stats must be alarming to tell us that Cricket Australia is not doing enough to encourage the states to play the young cricketers like Michael Hill against men at Shield level.

  • POSTED BY Governor on | January 5, 2009, 8:16 GMT

    Chappelli,

    You are dead right!!

    I know that Greg, yourself, Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden played against men whilst you were 15-16. Your skills were tested and the rest is history!

    Promising teenagers who have been earmarked for national and state under age representation must play against men at 1st District Grade level from 15-19 to test their skills. Secondly, the states must play them at a young age so they can represent Australia by the age of 20-23.

    There is a problem. Cricket Australia must give the states and every district club an incentive to play teenagers against men. Have a look at Victoria. The Victorian selectors will not play Aaron Finch, Michael Hill and Aiden Bizzard in the 4 day matches because Victoria is concerned about winning the Shield instead of developing young talent to wear the Baggy Green.

  • POSTED BY emesar on | January 5, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    It is indeed a timely article ! Hayden, if allowed in his present form, might make a fifty or a hundred sometime in the next two seasons - at what cost to the Aussie team ? He and other seniors like him will halt the traffic for bright youngsters like Phil Hughes. The Sydney test, a dead rubber, would have been a perfect opportunity for the Aussie selectors for trying the young blood. It's been a long time since a younster in his early twenties has debuted for Australia in tests. There is no dearth of raw and young talent - like Ishant Sharma or Ajantha Mendis in Australia. It's a matter of taking a bold decision to infuse talented younsters into the team.

  • POSTED BY bravesoul on | January 5, 2009, 4:51 GMT

    Its time Shaun Marsh and Ben Hilfenhaus were given a place in the test team. And what happened to Beau Casson?

  • POSTED BY arian77 on | January 6, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    Totally agree with Mr.Chappell. Cricket Australia should take a leaf out of Indian Cricket or South African cricket boards, where they recognize the young players quick and groom them among the men. Thats how India got the likes of someone like Sachin Tendulkar who played his first test at the age of 16! And he's not the only one. There are quite a lot of promising cricketers coming out of these systems like AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma are all glowing examples. Guess its time for Australia to groom some youngsters in the B squad and put them in the gentlemen's league when the time is right rather than waiting for the existing bunch to retire or else, it becomes a case of the 40 year old virgin.

  • POSTED BY Clyde on | January 6, 2009, 12:13 GMT

    The basic requirement for a bowler is that he be able to change the direction of the ball, by the work he puts on it, by at least 30cm just before it arrives at the popping crease. It doesn't matter if the bowler is slow-medium, if he knows how to swing it late and a long way, and both ways. These used to be standard requirements for school kids. Now, I don't know why, but I haven't seen this happening in Sydney, where I can guarantee it used to, with a Test-standard Kookaburra, with spin or with conventional swing. There is no other way to win Tests. I don't believe the spin bowlers the Test selectors have shown us would survive in State cricket if the games were five days. They must be getting wickets because batsmen are in too much of a hurry. The single most effective way to find good bowlers would be to change State games to five days. The spinners, especially, we have seen so far have not been physically strong enough to produce enough rip, easily, for the length of the full game

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | January 6, 2009, 8:33 GMT

    I have the highest regard for your cricketing acumen,Ian,but I'm afraid I don't agree with you on this one.The SYSTEM has worked well for 20 years. Australia is the ONLY country that does not chip-chop their captains-in these 20 years we have seen just FOUR superb captains in Allan Border,Mark Taylor,Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting,three of whom have joined the 10,000 Club.16 consecutive Test match wins,not once,but twice.3 World Cups in Succession.Howzat for consistency!The standards set by Australia are the benchmarks other countries want to emulate.It is impractical to assume that Australia will NEVER lose a match.So I would advise against pushing the panic button on Team Selection.It IS,and SHOULD be difficult to get into the Aussie Team.Besides,you forget that two of the three main fast bowlers were unfit to bowl against South Africa-Stuart Clark and Brett Lee.That was pure bad luck.Brett Lee lost 5 kg in the worst environmental conditions-India,and is still not back to full fitness

  • POSTED BY itay128 on | January 5, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    Some interesting statistics: Age(AUS Team in Sydney average): 29.73 (One 21-25, Five 26-30, Five 30) Age(RSA Team in Sydney average): 28.00 (Five 20-25, One 26-30, Five 30) Noticeably, you can see that RSA has exposed more players who are in the low 20s in the team than AUS.

    Age (AUS Team full strength w/ Krejza): 31.36 (One 21-25, Two 26-30, Eight 30+) Age (AUS Team full strength w/ Hauritz): 31.55 (Three 26-30, Eight 30+) According to those averages, I would say an ideal average would be around 27-30 (you may have a different range, I won't over-debate!). Still Australia needs to have a think about the future while slowly transitioning the veterans out (unlike the unstoppable mass exodus with the likes of Langer, Gilchrist, Warne and McGrath leaving within 2 seasons)

    AUS will works it way back up... Either get CA to put more domestic teams (2nd XIs etc) or inject a bit more youth in 1st class and international. As well, can someone give the avg. age of Indian team currentl

  • POSTED BY Pekz on | January 5, 2009, 11:32 GMT

    In with what charont said about a league style competition for T20's why can there not be a Cricket Acadamy team? this will allow young guns to step up and also allow their respective states to show more talent off. Having played against hill, hughes, hazelwood, patterson, faulkner they are very professional in the way they carry themselves and should be promoted more in state teams. perhaps not in the aus team yet but an acadamy team would showcase their skills and allow them to push for state selection which in turn would fastrack a push for aus selection.

  • POSTED BY sdjones83 on | January 5, 2009, 9:19 GMT

    Ponting's incompetent captaincy is exposed by the retirement of his team of 'advisors' whom he had the luxury of playing alongside in his early years as captain. Players like Warne, Lehmann, Gilchrist etc were more skilled captains and aided Ponting's decision making. As for Hayden, the professionalisation of cricket has led to players playing longer and older - they are fit enough to continue and there is money to be made. However this neccesarily has a trickle down effect to first class and grade cricket, eg Hussey was kept out of the international side until he was 30, so he played first class cricket, preventing players like Marsh from earlier exposure at first class level. His generation are only getting the opportunity to make an impact well into their 20s. Is the onus on the state sides to consistantly pick promising 19-20yr players ahead of similarly performing older players?

  • POSTED BY Governor on | January 5, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    Chappelli,

    And, here is an alarming statistic. Ever since Rod Marsh left the Academy in Adelaide in 2001, only Shane Watson has graduated from the 2000-2001 Academy intake to represent Australia at test level.

    From 1991 to 2001, Rod Marsh's disciples who have worn the Baggy Green are: Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Glen McGrath, Dizzy, Michael Kasprowisz, Justin Langer, SK Warne, SCG MacGill, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Andrew McDonald, Cameron White, Brett Lee, Simon Katich and Phil Jacques.

    Since Bennett King and Brian McFadyen have steered the ship since 2001, I can only name Doug Bollinger as the only Australia to have played a test match for Australia.

    These stats must be alarming to tell us that Cricket Australia is not doing enough to encourage the states to play the young cricketers like Michael Hill against men at Shield level.

  • POSTED BY Governor on | January 5, 2009, 8:16 GMT

    Chappelli,

    You are dead right!!

    I know that Greg, yourself, Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden played against men whilst you were 15-16. Your skills were tested and the rest is history!

    Promising teenagers who have been earmarked for national and state under age representation must play against men at 1st District Grade level from 15-19 to test their skills. Secondly, the states must play them at a young age so they can represent Australia by the age of 20-23.

    There is a problem. Cricket Australia must give the states and every district club an incentive to play teenagers against men. Have a look at Victoria. The Victorian selectors will not play Aaron Finch, Michael Hill and Aiden Bizzard in the 4 day matches because Victoria is concerned about winning the Shield instead of developing young talent to wear the Baggy Green.

  • POSTED BY emesar on | January 5, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    It is indeed a timely article ! Hayden, if allowed in his present form, might make a fifty or a hundred sometime in the next two seasons - at what cost to the Aussie team ? He and other seniors like him will halt the traffic for bright youngsters like Phil Hughes. The Sydney test, a dead rubber, would have been a perfect opportunity for the Aussie selectors for trying the young blood. It's been a long time since a younster in his early twenties has debuted for Australia in tests. There is no dearth of raw and young talent - like Ishant Sharma or Ajantha Mendis in Australia. It's a matter of taking a bold decision to infuse talented younsters into the team.

  • POSTED BY bravesoul on | January 5, 2009, 4:51 GMT

    Its time Shaun Marsh and Ben Hilfenhaus were given a place in the test team. And what happened to Beau Casson?

  • POSTED BY CharonTFm on | January 5, 2009, 3:51 GMT

    P.Huges is doing a great job at domestic level and have been fairly consistent in his scores and should be given a chance at top level, even if he is apart of the touring party giving him a opportunity to have exposure to the international arena. Perhaps there should be more incentive for the U19s group to advance to First Class cricket, by having the best U19 group play against some State Teams.

    Perhaps instead of having 6 State teams in domestic cricket they can have more teams battling it out, which increases the exposure of more talented players. Or they can make the T20 competition into a League style of younger and talented players attracting larger crowds and pulling more funding, with top players in league being accepted into the State teams.

  • POSTED BY ChuckingMuraliMakesMeSick on | January 5, 2009, 2:28 GMT

    Can't agree with you on this one, Chappelli - you must pick your team on form and ability, with credits earned if you are the incumbent. With this in mind, Hayden has had his chance and has to go and Jacques should replace him. Hussey has to perform or be replaced by his brother. McGain has to be tried as our frontline spinner. Forget about the allrounder position - an allrounder must be able to justify their position in the side as a batsman or bowler solely anyway. Lee has to take wickets and show genuine pace - or be discarded. It's back to the drawing board and guys like Magoffin, Noffke, Hughes, Smith, Marsh et al, should be considered on Sheffield Shield performances, not age. With all the money in the game players retire later, it's part of the modern cricket landscape. What age they start though is immaterial, it's dependent on when the individual is good enough to compete at test level and is the best available.

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | January 4, 2009, 23:42 GMT

    And further to what I said about selectors ignoring youth, looking at the current Australian contracted players who weren't in that '90s crop of youth, only Michael Clarke (first Test 23), Shane Watson (23) and Shaun Tait (22) were in that youth bracket of 20 to 24 years of age when they played their first Test. All the rest (e.g. Haddin, Jacques, Clark etc) have been over 25. Even our latest debutants, Bollinger and McDonald are both 27, whereas the "young" guy, Hilfenhaus (25) got overlooked. And also, of those contracted players, not one is under 25. Shaun Marsh and Ben Hilfenhaus are the "babies" and they will both be 26 this year and yet to play a Test. Look at South Africa. In the First Test we were beaten by Duminy and DeVilliers, a couple of 24 year olds. In the Second it was Duminy and Steyn (who is 25 but already has 29 Tests to his name, 29 more than any 25 year old Australian). And Australia's best performers in this series, Clarke and Johnson, are our youngest. Says a lot

  • POSTED BY MarkConnell on | January 4, 2009, 23:21 GMT

    While I agree we need to promote young players, we also need to be careful not to go too far and start picking guys solely because they're young. Remember Mark Cosgrove- the last 'young gun'? He's vanished off the face of the earth. Despite the hype, Hughes has only played a handful of games and doesn't deserve Test selection yet. Surely players need to be seen to earn their spot with consistent performances at first class level. Otherwise, why bother playing Shield cricket, just get the media to annoint the next Big Thing.

  • POSTED BY nishad.zaman on | January 4, 2009, 22:24 GMT

    This is no good Jack J. You need not to be feeling too insecured considering the bright future of minnows BD's youngsters. Youngsters from BD are far matured and promising than your lollypop aussi kids. playing with BD / minnows is not a viable defence of your countrymen poor form. Chappel did mention that picking up young player in squad hints the supporter to be patient. So try to have some patience and you might need that for years. And regarding ipl we all knew that aussies would be there is because they are more than proffesional, I reckon they are higly commercial.

  • POSTED BY jwtay on | January 4, 2009, 21:16 GMT

    Look, let's not flog a dying horse! I doubt very strongly that cricket Australia deliberately planned for so many of their greats retiring within such a short period of time. It can happen to any team...it's just how the game goes. If a player is doing great you don't just force them to retire to allow a youngster into the team. Take South Africa for example: It is very possible that players like Ntini, Kallis and Boucher will retire very close to each other....then SA might have the same problem.

    Just give the Aussies time. I just hope that the selectors are willing to stay calm and select players with whom they can build a future.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | January 4, 2009, 19:30 GMT

    Yes indeed Ian, Catch them young.Tendulkar was spotted at 14 and was playing tests at 16.The spotting of talent should start at the school level by greater emphasis on Cricket.Under 17 & Under 19 tourneys are great sources currently used, internationally. There should be more international Juniors matches to develop young talent. Every country goes thru' the same phase as Australia is going thru' now.Fortunately India had spotted talented players like Raina, Vijay, Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Tiwary, Kohli,etc. at a young age gave them chances. Selectors have a major role in long term plannig. By including 2 talented youngsters in their XI e.g. 2 of Fab 4 in Indian line up with say Raina & Vijay, the development of young talent goes on without great impact on team strength. However wholesale replacement is poor plannig. Australia can replace say, Heydon & Symmonds with 2 younger batsmen now. The same can be done with the bowlers. Team Developmentis a continuos process - not an abrupt one.

  • POSTED BY SpottedHyena on | January 4, 2009, 17:11 GMT

    I can't agree more. Get them young. That is what South Africa realised - Kallis, de Villiers, Ntini, Boucher, Gibbs, Smith, Steyn, Morkel - all debut at 21-ish. This gives them a lot of time to develop and become great players - even now 13 years after Kallis debut there is no "retirement frenzy". I can't see the use of picking new players over 30 - unless like Hussey there simply wasn't place for him back then. Australia has been virtually invincible since I can remember (I've only started to watch in 1994) - They still hold the Ashes, World Cup and Champions Trophy. You can't ask for more...they can afford to take a break now - breed and blood the next generation of conquerors. As much as I love Hayden - he must go - he's holding up traffic...if he stays in another year - then there's only a year before the next lot starts going (Ponting, Symonds, Hussey, Clark etc). So if he goes now - you can break the trend before it consumes you, maybe even two years with the same team!

  • POSTED BY JackJ on | January 4, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    Excellent,Chappell. The fabled Aus system has not produced enough super-talent in recent times. The cause is excessive top international cricket. The culprits are obvious: Firstly the dreaded FTP. This monster is unworkable. The minnows like BD must be dropped and a world test championship introduced comprising 6/7 top nations only. The rest can play in another comp. Secondly the number of ODI's played must be managed better. T20? Well this Gorgon, purely a cash-maker, needs to be strictly controlled. 1 month/year set aside for all T20, end of story. It cannot be permitted to encroach on real cricket. Some, like the BCCI, are losing sight of cricket the game in favour of the lucre. This obscures the goal of the ICC, which is to promote cricket, not money. If these things are done, national players can spend more time at home at province level. Standards will rise, their cricketing longevity extended and youngsters blooded sooner in top company. We also need a more active A league.

  • POSTED BY IVA_Richards on | January 4, 2009, 14:20 GMT

    A major difference between today and the 1980s is the conditioning, diet, fitness and physical management of players meaning that there are far more players aged 32-37 who are remaining dominant in international cricket over longer careers. The natural result is that these players, with years of professional experience are harder to dislodge (especially given the rewards for prolonged careers). So younger players will always have to wait longer to get a break. The focus for any country should not be on the age of players (a player may develop into a top class player at 20, 25, 30 or even 32-33) but on their ability and potential to develop their game. It is never optimal from a quality perspective to have so many u/19s players in the Sheffield Shield, given the amount of high quality 25-30 yr old guys around who have plenty of time for a 10 year career and 100+ tests. Young players do have the opportunity to progress quickly in any case, without the need for an overhaul as suggested.

  • POSTED BY Silverado on | January 4, 2009, 14:13 GMT

    I have noticed that Non Asian batsmen tend to peak later than Asian batsmen...they also score high scores when in their mid 30s...examples include Border,Lara,Ponting,Hayden and many more;

  • POSTED BY futurecaptainofindia on | January 4, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    I can remember a post about a couple of years ago wherein the so called 28 yr-old debutant theory was being lauded, for providing a solid grounding through quality first-class & 'A' team cricket as opposed to the 20 yr-old debutant who may come out callow, immature, underexposed and go back a shattered man (eg. L.Shivramakrishnan, various Pakistanis)

    There is no need to point fingers. The Aussies, as did the WI before them, began to take for granted that the top perch was theirs by right, and hence the misplaced presumption that everything about their cricket in their hey-days was perfect.

    It comes down to the fundamental facts. Both teams comprised of quality batsmen, competent skippers,and more importantly, match-winning bowlers. Once these commodities were depleted, the results were there for all to see

  • POSTED BY Aditya_mookerjee on | January 4, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    It is true, that if Matthew Hayden had not been selected later, after he was a relative failure earlier, then he would not have been a vital cog in the Australian Batting. The value of Katich, and very significantly, Hussey, cannot be undermined, because they are advanced in age. They are as respected as Hayden, even though Hussey made his debut in his early thirties, and Katich was not exactly young, when he made his debut. There are a few players who have recently retired, who have the same story as Hayden. So, we cannot be general on our views. The faults pointed out by Mr Chappell, are exactly what caused Australia to be the Australian Team in the 80's and 90's, and today.

  • POSTED BY SittingbourneOwl on | January 4, 2009, 13:28 GMT

    Australia have been stuck on top of the pile for so long that they have neglected the young generation, success can breed complacency at best or arrogance at worst, now the injuries have mounted up, they are struggling to pick a recognisable team, this will only get worst as the fixture list piles up. Can anyone guess the Australian starting line up for the Ashes Test in Cardiff in July, anyone who gets the XI names correctly can be called Mystic Meg!! One of the problems bout newcomers into the Australian Test team is too much ODIs, many players have been introduced to the ODI side, but how many have kicked on to the full test team, some like Symmonds, Hussey, Watson have, but those who have failed include Bracken, Hopes, Lewis, Dorey, Cosgrove, Cullen, is this the fault of one day cricket or the 1st glass game, T20 also complicates this further, as this doesn't provide the skills to survive the test arena.

  • POSTED BY roshanbohra on | January 4, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    why should age be a factor in selection? i mean get a player into the team when he is in form and also be prepared to remove him when he is not. look at hayden everyone knows he is out of form and his experience is not helping australia win any matches then whats the point in having him in the team? sooner or later he is going to score a century and everyone is going to say all he needed was a good knock and now he is in form but look at the damage he has done. firstly he has denied a new player to book his spot in the side , he has kept a player perhaps in peak form out of the side and when hayden finally retires u have one player who was on the fringes low on confidence, a few years older and u r also injecting a less experienced player in the side who may or may not be able to face the pressure now. what i am trying to say is that the selectors should be prepared to drop senior players when they are out of form

  • POSTED BY boooonnie on | January 4, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    People seemed to have forgotten that when McGrath and Warne retired they had several players ready made to step in, primarily MacGill and Stuart Clark. Now not only are they out but so is Lee (out of sorts both emotionally and physically), Hogg (retired too), Watson and Symonds. This kind of injury list would test any country's stocks. However I think we can still look forward to some exciting new talent to rise up over time.

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | January 4, 2009, 11:41 GMT

    Spot on, Chappelli. The selectors have succumbed to short term thinking, or as you call it, bandaid. Ponting, Hayden, Steve Waugh, Langer, Lee, McGrath, Gillespie, Martyn, Healy & Warne, to name a few who helped Australia dominate for so long (and provide many years of service), all played their first Test between 20 and 24 years of age. Michael Clarke seems the only players in years who has been under 25, especially among batsmen. The Australian team has to get back to youth, get back to players who'll serve for 10 to 15 years, not 3 or 4. I fear the success of Gilchrist (first Test at 28), M Hussey (30) and Stuart Clark (30) has distorted the selection panel's perspective. Picking oldies is only thinking about the next Ashes. Picking youngies is about the next 4 or 5 Ashes and that is exactly how Australia's domination came about - they built a team mostly from youth whose nucleus stayed together for years.

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | January 4, 2009, 11:40 GMT

    One more reference, Ganguly got a lean patch, Chappell and whole world sacked him but he thought thats good for him; He focused well on his fitness and game well and when time came back to him, he made one of the stunning comebacks in test history - a person who played wonderful test cricket only after he came back second time after an age of 34. Hayden is exactly a fluent player like Sourav and he is not a very techie stuff; so he just needs to play with fresh mind, make a glorious mark and leave in style. Thats all Hayden can do now, call up Sourav, he would be a good friend when outside cricket field!!! What indian selectors have changed must have been the influence of aussies of that time. Aussies have to do just what their predecessors did!!

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | January 4, 2009, 11:38 GMT

    Did you notice Indian selectors, who did pathetic job until four years ago but how Vengsarkar and Srikkanth have worked which could be one more important reason behind India's resurgence now? Firstly, Sehwag was 'sacked' for a year when he was getting out even by streetboys, and he did not worry and played Ranji trophy and came back a new man, who is now strong than ever. International teams could not get him easier these days. But Hayden doesnt have that luxury of age to do that. But, in Dravid's case, when he was down all others have played well to hide his sorrow and he is too technical to go down and selectors have given him lifeline. Hayden does not have that technicality to rebuild at the age of 37. TBC..

  • POSTED BY peeeeet on | January 4, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    To me it looks as if the Aussie selectors are scared to make a choice and stick with it. They are scared to drop Hayden cos then it takes a guy with over 100 tests out of the team, losing heaps of experience. Then when they make a decision on a new guy and it doesn't work out straight away they don't want to wait and see if they come good. Casson, Krejza come to mind. But the biggest mistake that the selectors have made has not been keeping Hayden, Symonds, Lee or Siddle, but by picking Cameron White as the front line spinner in India. He's the captain of his state team and he doesn't even bowl himself, which obivously means he doesn't even rate his own bowling! In terms of an overhaul, I think the team AND the selectors need a change. Don't worry about an allrounder get an extra batsman, Katich and Clarke are more than capable of bowling, bring in players like Marsh, Hughes, Jaques, D Hussey, Hilfenhaus, Noffke etc

  • POSTED BY stardrifter on | January 4, 2009, 11:24 GMT

    I don't know how many people here actually follow the first-class competition in Australia closely but I'm guessing not one of the people who has posted so far do.

    For one rajeev the great Shaun Marsh who did so well in the IPL is doing ok in the FC arena but not brilliantly, at least no where near well enough to warrant him gaining a Test spot. There are numerous players other then him who are performing much better at the moment, Klinger, Chris Rogers and Hughes for example. Secondly the comment that Brett Lee is past is is bollocks. The man won Aussie Test player of the year last year.

    The article however makes a lot of sense with most of the players being looked at are older. This wasn't helped by the fact that we DID have a golden age of which only a blind Indian supporter can seem able to deny. The players and team that we had have been so good for so long that they are being carried by their reputations alone and need to know when to step aside for a younger generation.

  • POSTED BY Atheed on | January 4, 2009, 11:24 GMT

    "a large pool of teenagers playing club cricket in order to promote a dozen to first-class level, with a view to one or two clinching international honours by their early twenties."

    I think that is the key for Aussie cricket. You have to get the young kids playing more serious cricket, the sooner, the better, and then you can differentiate between the good, and the really good, and you can do it earlier. That way, you will be planning a lot for the future.

    Think about it, arguably the best team in the world on current form, India (good fight with South Africa, though), has the average age of 26-28 (not quite sure), but still, that is a young team, which is performing. If you look at the Aussies, almost everybody is between 32-35, and then think about what would happen, in about 5 years, Aussie cricket could be in a crisis. Like they say, "hope for the best, prepare for the worst." The Australian selectors really need to get their thinking caps on.

    P.S. Spot on article, Ian.

  • POSTED BY uknsaunders on | January 4, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    I think chappell is right to a point. Most countries have age group cricket but good players still play at higher levels if they are good enough, don't they? Anyway, the 28 year old debutant is a problem especially when you consider they need a few games to settle in and most careers finish in the early to mid-30's. Without exceptional long term performers they are due for some very heavy turnover in personnel every 4-5 years or so.

    For a stark comparison look at england - their ashes opponents. Flintoff made his debut at 21,Anderson 21, Broad 21, Cook 22, Bell 22, Harminson 24, Panesar 24, Pieterson 25, Strauss 27, Colly 27 (ODI debut 25). If you look at some of the asian sides, they can start even earlier ie. Tendulkar. This means that if the players make the grade then they have 10-15 years of top level cricket, giving the team consistency and competition for places as another crop of young players emerge.

  • POSTED BY jwtay on | January 4, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    There is truth in the saying: "Your strength is also your greatest weakness."

    For the last 15 years Australia has been blessed in that their test team maintained unbelievable consistency. This made it very difficult for good players to get selected early or consistently (eg McGill and Hussey). However, this strength turned sour almost overnight. Too many players retired over a relatively short period of time, leaving too many holes too cover at once.

    But Aus is a proud sporting nation and I'm sure they will bounce back.... However, we all that back in the early 90's when the once mighty WI fell from grace. It's 15 years later and they still haven't regained much of their former glory.

    Hopefully Aus administration will learn from the mistakes the WI have made over the last 15years.

  • POSTED BY dutchy on | January 4, 2009, 9:52 GMT

    We shouldn't forget that during Chappelli's side, several players were thrown in the deep end without much experience: Ian Davis, John Watkins, Craig Serjeant. Look how well it worked out in those cases.

  • POSTED BY jokerbala on | January 4, 2009, 9:51 GMT

    Hey this is so funny.This same old aussie system, was hailed as the best not too long ago, has become its flaw? It was said,and we believed that by the time an Aussie player made his debut,he is hardened by years of domestic cricket a la Mike Hussey.Now we see people calling for infusion of 20 year olds just for the sake of it.

  • POSTED BY JGuru on | January 4, 2009, 9:48 GMT

    The same Aussie system has unearthed lot of world beaters... Gilly, Warne, McGrath, Steve and Mark Waughs are incredible findings... The current problem that Aussie selectors are facing are due to large pool of talented players retiring at the same time... They will surely re-build. But whether they will be as good as as they have been for the past 10 years remains to be seen..Now Test Cricket has become a level playing field and teams would be competing for the Number 1 spot more often... But it will be difficult for any team hence forth to dominate the Test Cricket like Australia did for the past 10 years...Because the players of Invincible Aussie team were not just talented crickets but world beaters

  • POSTED BY SamRimmington on | January 4, 2009, 9:06 GMT

    anuj_panchal, It's very easy to go for the jugular when you finally beat a team that was once immense but now isn't so. Don't forget that you beat them at home, on wickets that Indian batsmen are used to playing on, with heat that Indian batsmen are used to AND Australia are in a period of transition whereas India are at the strongest they will ever be. Michael Hussey has had a poor two series whereas Indian batsmen seem to go through poor years. I personally can't wait until Gambhir runs out of steam and won't get away with body checking bowlers so leniently. Also when a current Indian bowler has been as influencial as Brett Lee and has taken as many wickets as he has done then maybe you could complain about the lack of yorkers but who is Sreesanth and why does he think that he can have such a big ego when there are other, better players in the side. Australia will never truly decline because it is the only country with a decent system in place abound with world class talent.

  • POSTED BY crankypete on | January 4, 2009, 9:05 GMT

    they have missed great opportunities to blood people in dead rubbers, the last two tests of the Ashes whitewash on slow tracks the perfect time to give a young spinner a game alongside Warney before he retired. Bailey and Cullen were both in good nick at the time. instead, the same old team took the victory lap.

    it's a long way from the days of John Watkins!

  • POSTED BY ErollFlynn on | January 4, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    Ian Chappell has joined the latest band of critics including Neil Harvey who are trashing their current test side! Australia has suffered two embarrassing series defeats to teams who played at their best (perhaps, best ever for India). It is no shame to lose to such teams. Australia will rebuild and be competitive once again. Perhaps, it would not enjoy No#1 ranking but then change at the top is better. Aussies have the fighting spirit and whoever is No#1 will always have to fight hard to retain their position. Australia does have a good domestic cricket scene and many of their cricketers who are yet to play tests or ODI impressed everyone during IPL Season One. Even today, Australia's second eleven would be ranked #5 if they were allowed to play as a separate side. Perhaps a few years ago, the second eleven would have ranked at #2!

  • POSTED BY spreddy1 on | January 4, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    i seriously wonder why shaun marsh is not being picked?.....If i were the selector i would first pick this guy in my team after picking up the captain(Ricky) in any form of the game and defintely test cricket....I don`t understand why he is not being picked ?...is he injured?...the selectors should try to bring atleast some young cricketers into the ODI first and then push them into test squad slowly....I don`t think Hayden should play at all in ODI`s as he is not going to play the 2011 world cup....he should be kept aside like dravid, ganguly in the case of ODI`s....

  • POSTED BY SanjivSanjiv on | January 4, 2009, 8:17 GMT

    Ian you are spot on. As a vivid follower of the International cricket since 1974, I can only suggest that the young cricketers should be picked and given oppurtunity to play against the weaker teams for a good experience before they play against the stronger teams. May be there is a need to play delibrately a young test team against the weaker international team (based on the ranking) and a mix of young and experienced against the stronger team. A young player needs few seasons to play with full potential with confidence and sharpen the skills. For example, you just cann't expect a young player to perform in the South African return tour or in the Ashes or against India. CA needs to dare to be bold. Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia.

  • POSTED BY mjbaker123 on | January 4, 2009, 8:15 GMT

    Whoops almost forgot-How to bring on young Aussie players?-Introduce a an Australia A team into the one day comp or as a 5 game series against the current ODI Australian Team. Worked last time, even though Tubby wasn't so happy. Lol

  • POSTED BY a_u_z_z_1_e_1_d_a on | January 4, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    I am a huge fan of the Australian cricket team as well as the NSW cricket team. In my opinion, the problems start when Australia lost the 2005 Ashes series. At that point in time, the selectors were obsessed with finding the "perfect" allrounder. At first they used Andrew Symonds who in my opinion was never made for test match cricket and we have witnessed it this summer. This was a disgrace as we have never used an allrounder before, why now? Ricky Ponting is a brilliant batsman. The second best number 3 behind the Don. However, his captaining skills must be observed. In my opinion, he is not the best captain for Australia, it should be either Simon Katich, Michael Clarke or when he played Adam Gilchrist.The Australian selectors need to take a long hard look at themselves and decide what is the way forward for this once champion team. They need to blood raw talent esp. P. Hughes and co. if their is any chance for Australia to be top dog.

  • POSTED BY TobeornottoB on | January 4, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    Ian - you are right to focus on the shift in selection policy. Why did the Aus selectors/system stop promoting the talented before 22? M. Clarke is an exception rather than the rule now. The state system still remains healthy - NSW will not win the Shield this year but they have introduced a good number of young players. But the Test team also has two other major problems. 1. Ponting is not equal to the complexities - tactically on the field or with the chemistry of leadership. How long will it take the selectors to realize that he is not part of the future? 2. Promoting youthful talent is essential and can immediately solve batting and fast bowling disorders, but not spin and tactical bowling insufficiencies, which require intelligence plus experience. Here the Aus selectors can be criticized. Where are the nurtured heirs to not only Warne/O'Keefe et al, but also Aldermann/Walker/Fleming?

  • POSTED BY Pupai on | January 4, 2009, 8:05 GMT

    Well, Ian Chappell has given lots of interesting ideas to justify his point. But, somebody with minimum of cricket acumen will understand that these are all side issues. The main issue with Australian cricket is that they are led by one of the worst captains in cricket ever and his lunatic decisions, field-placements, poor man-management skills (Bret Lee.. India...Remember)and absolute road-side antics and mannerisms have just taken the edge out of Australia.I have never seen Australia having so much trouble getting rid of the tail. The pattern of Ricky's captaincy is is very simple- 1. Tailender-Oh! bowl few line and length which he is supposed to nick. 2. Oh! Its not happening. So, instantly go for some mindless short stuff and scare him out. 3. Oh! he survived then he must be good.Fielders deep on off side, two men deep on leg side boundary- easy singles and chewing nails and waiting for mistakes. Bring Michael Clark. He has the Steve Waughish presence about him.

  • POSTED BY arieyan on | January 4, 2009, 8:01 GMT

    I agree with Ian Chappel. This mini crisis that Australia is facing is, in my opinion, due to inaccurate judgement resulting in inappropriate decisions somewhere in the system. Be it selectors, be it the governing body, senior players, captain or the coach. Being a follower of cricket in India, we have realized that the greatest of names do not matter in winning or losing. Its the ability on that day to perform that does. The best time in my opinion to look for a change is not when things start falling apart, but when everything is going right. Australia I believe failed to do that, look beyond far enough, and are spending valuable time now crying hoarse over retirements Warne, McGrath & Langer, at the same time ignoring vulnerable young talents, because they are not yet there in the picture. I love Ponting and I adore Haydo. I would miss them terribly. But they have to give way for the yet unseen heroes. That would be their best contribution to Australian Cricket. Pls Invest in future

  • POSTED BY prashnottz on | January 4, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    What is even more disturbing the lack of quality teenagers in Aussie cricket is the lack of comments to this article by people who really follow Aussie cricket.

    Fair points Ian Chappell. What amazes me is that Cricket Australia did not foresee such a situation 3-4 years back, and work towards building a core of future players. International players playing at club level or first class level can be safely ruled out possible forever, as schedules have become packed and keep them busy throughout the year. Australia in my honest opinion, can borrow a leaf out of India's books, by strengthening the U-19 system. As you said, it can be short-term pain for the FC veterans, but in the medium to long run it can deliver results, like Ishant Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli etc.

    And time to blood Hughes is past. Although I prefer Phil Jaques to take up the place of Hayden, as he is proven, Hughes would have benefited a great degree by an initiation in relatively non-pressure test

  • POSTED BY mjbaker123 on | January 4, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Australia has a lot of great players available especially batsmen. My take on the current situation is that the bowling lacks somewhat. My solution is that we don't need a spinner in the Australian team at present everytime a team is selected (ie Perth and Melbourne in the latest series)because the oz spinners are substandard at present. I think Australia may have had a better chance of avoiding the whitewashing so far if they selected Shane Watson,Marcus North or Andrew Mcdonald instead of Krejza or Horitz. The extra bat would have been invalueable and they strike just as well with the ball as the full time spinners.

  • POSTED BY Nipun on | January 4, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    England starting as favourites in an Ashes Series when Australia should be at least at no.2 in the test rankings ??? What a joke to start the year!England has only Pietersen & Flintoff,& maybe Collingwood to some extent,who can match the Aussies with their guts & ability.Andrew Strauss had a good India tour,but I don't see him scoring runs against Australia against Lee(in any form),Johnson,& co.That Australia's quality has diminished,& yet they are head to head with South Africa(maybe ahead,let's see what happens at SCG),tells volumes about the quality with which they are still playing.Australia just needs to recheck some of its strange selections like McDonald @ SCG(he looks innocuous at best),& they will be all right.Nah,there's no chance that England can clinch the Ashes again.My prediction:3-1 to Australia.(the English win coming in the dead rubber)!

  • POSTED BY masterblaster666 on | January 4, 2009, 6:33 GMT

    I don't think the lack of internationals in the domestic circuit has much to do with it. Gillespie, Bichel, Kasprowicz all spent time in the domestic circuit after being more or less discarded before they joined the ICL - not sure about Bichel, the other two did anyway. India have a strong team with youngsters putting pressure on the seniors to perform but these seniors haven't had time to play in the Ranji matches regularly either. The difference is that India sunk to the bottom of the pile during the 2007 WC at the exact time when other sportspersons from India had some unexpected success - it was a crisis and required surgery and surgery it was. If it ain't broke, don't fix it is too tempting a course to avoid and Aus didn't try to fix a 16-match winning streak, no crime, that! Whether it's Aus or WI or any other team, at some stage, you will have a dearth of talent and will have to rebuild - an unavoidable phenomenon in team sports.

  • POSTED BY don69 on | January 4, 2009, 6:13 GMT

    Ian, normally I agree with you, but not on this one. The strength on the Australian first class system is that it is the closest to test cricket out of all the structures now in place. That means veteran Australian first-class cricketers are not shell-shocked when they are given their chance. Other countries, not having this benefit, have to trial many cricketers before they find some who can cut it at test level. Of Australian cricketers over the last two decades relatively few failed. While I agree there is room for change - forced if need be - I would use the strengths of the system. Hayden may have a good year left in him, but that's it. Lee has a couple more. This is the time to trial uncapped (but experienced) players, who have proven their worth in first class (I would add that I would prefer players who have also proven adapt at county cricket). You mentioned Hughes, but what about David Hussey? Hughes has plenty of time to improve, but Hussey is already a mature cricketer.

  • POSTED BY rajeev on | January 4, 2009, 4:40 GMT

    hi, i do not know too much about aussie cricket but hey how about the kid who imperest us all in the IPL Shaun Marsh---i think he would do great in all form's of the game because "he got THE GAME "

  • POSTED BY klownact on | January 4, 2009, 4:19 GMT

    With the money on offer at domestic level, players who are good enough for first class level but unlikely to progress further are more likely to retain a position long term and prevent younger blood coming in. In a previous generation, there would be the choice between cricket and career and an acceptance on behalf of the not-quite-good-enoughs that they were not going to make it in cricket. As such they would choose another profession, step aside, and give an opportunity to an up and comer.

  • POSTED BY anuj_panchal on | January 4, 2009, 4:16 GMT

    dark future ahead for aussie...................1 they dont take players unless they are in their 32-33.........and when they start playiing bad then there is question mark over there future......just look at hussey ,,where has the talent gone,,,when was the last time u saw brett lee bowling a YORKER........one could hv easily pointed out brett lee was carrying an injury even when he ws in india............few days back i was watching their domestic games and there are some really good fast bowlers,,,dont know why arent they in the team.........................LOOK at our team whenever we see the talent we test it against the best team,,take ishant sharma as example..........he is 20 i think and he has bamboozzld ricky ponting 5 times in test matches..............its not easy to get players like mcgrath,warne ,mark waugh............but even they wr discovered young....................so the aussie selectors ...go for the young and talented ones.........ur era of declination has started!

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | January 4, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with aussi system. But again writers has to write something and be picky. Any Team has to fall down once it reaches its peak. What aussie needs is out and out fast bowler who can adjust length at last minute...like mcgrath.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | January 4, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with aussi system. But again writers has to write something and be picky. Any Team has to fall down once it reaches its peak. What aussie needs is out and out fast bowler who can adjust length at last minute...like mcgrath.

  • POSTED BY anuj_panchal on | January 4, 2009, 4:16 GMT

    dark future ahead for aussie...................1 they dont take players unless they are in their 32-33.........and when they start playiing bad then there is question mark over there future......just look at hussey ,,where has the talent gone,,,when was the last time u saw brett lee bowling a YORKER........one could hv easily pointed out brett lee was carrying an injury even when he ws in india............few days back i was watching their domestic games and there are some really good fast bowlers,,,dont know why arent they in the team.........................LOOK at our team whenever we see the talent we test it against the best team,,take ishant sharma as example..........he is 20 i think and he has bamboozzld ricky ponting 5 times in test matches..............its not easy to get players like mcgrath,warne ,mark waugh............but even they wr discovered young....................so the aussie selectors ...go for the young and talented ones.........ur era of declination has started!

  • POSTED BY klownact on | January 4, 2009, 4:19 GMT

    With the money on offer at domestic level, players who are good enough for first class level but unlikely to progress further are more likely to retain a position long term and prevent younger blood coming in. In a previous generation, there would be the choice between cricket and career and an acceptance on behalf of the not-quite-good-enoughs that they were not going to make it in cricket. As such they would choose another profession, step aside, and give an opportunity to an up and comer.

  • POSTED BY rajeev on | January 4, 2009, 4:40 GMT

    hi, i do not know too much about aussie cricket but hey how about the kid who imperest us all in the IPL Shaun Marsh---i think he would do great in all form's of the game because "he got THE GAME "

  • POSTED BY don69 on | January 4, 2009, 6:13 GMT

    Ian, normally I agree with you, but not on this one. The strength on the Australian first class system is that it is the closest to test cricket out of all the structures now in place. That means veteran Australian first-class cricketers are not shell-shocked when they are given their chance. Other countries, not having this benefit, have to trial many cricketers before they find some who can cut it at test level. Of Australian cricketers over the last two decades relatively few failed. While I agree there is room for change - forced if need be - I would use the strengths of the system. Hayden may have a good year left in him, but that's it. Lee has a couple more. This is the time to trial uncapped (but experienced) players, who have proven their worth in first class (I would add that I would prefer players who have also proven adapt at county cricket). You mentioned Hughes, but what about David Hussey? Hughes has plenty of time to improve, but Hussey is already a mature cricketer.

  • POSTED BY masterblaster666 on | January 4, 2009, 6:33 GMT

    I don't think the lack of internationals in the domestic circuit has much to do with it. Gillespie, Bichel, Kasprowicz all spent time in the domestic circuit after being more or less discarded before they joined the ICL - not sure about Bichel, the other two did anyway. India have a strong team with youngsters putting pressure on the seniors to perform but these seniors haven't had time to play in the Ranji matches regularly either. The difference is that India sunk to the bottom of the pile during the 2007 WC at the exact time when other sportspersons from India had some unexpected success - it was a crisis and required surgery and surgery it was. If it ain't broke, don't fix it is too tempting a course to avoid and Aus didn't try to fix a 16-match winning streak, no crime, that! Whether it's Aus or WI or any other team, at some stage, you will have a dearth of talent and will have to rebuild - an unavoidable phenomenon in team sports.

  • POSTED BY Nipun on | January 4, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    England starting as favourites in an Ashes Series when Australia should be at least at no.2 in the test rankings ??? What a joke to start the year!England has only Pietersen & Flintoff,& maybe Collingwood to some extent,who can match the Aussies with their guts & ability.Andrew Strauss had a good India tour,but I don't see him scoring runs against Australia against Lee(in any form),Johnson,& co.That Australia's quality has diminished,& yet they are head to head with South Africa(maybe ahead,let's see what happens at SCG),tells volumes about the quality with which they are still playing.Australia just needs to recheck some of its strange selections like McDonald @ SCG(he looks innocuous at best),& they will be all right.Nah,there's no chance that England can clinch the Ashes again.My prediction:3-1 to Australia.(the English win coming in the dead rubber)!

  • POSTED BY mjbaker123 on | January 4, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Australia has a lot of great players available especially batsmen. My take on the current situation is that the bowling lacks somewhat. My solution is that we don't need a spinner in the Australian team at present everytime a team is selected (ie Perth and Melbourne in the latest series)because the oz spinners are substandard at present. I think Australia may have had a better chance of avoiding the whitewashing so far if they selected Shane Watson,Marcus North or Andrew Mcdonald instead of Krejza or Horitz. The extra bat would have been invalueable and they strike just as well with the ball as the full time spinners.

  • POSTED BY prashnottz on | January 4, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    What is even more disturbing the lack of quality teenagers in Aussie cricket is the lack of comments to this article by people who really follow Aussie cricket.

    Fair points Ian Chappell. What amazes me is that Cricket Australia did not foresee such a situation 3-4 years back, and work towards building a core of future players. International players playing at club level or first class level can be safely ruled out possible forever, as schedules have become packed and keep them busy throughout the year. Australia in my honest opinion, can borrow a leaf out of India's books, by strengthening the U-19 system. As you said, it can be short-term pain for the FC veterans, but in the medium to long run it can deliver results, like Ishant Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli etc.

    And time to blood Hughes is past. Although I prefer Phil Jaques to take up the place of Hayden, as he is proven, Hughes would have benefited a great degree by an initiation in relatively non-pressure test

  • POSTED BY arieyan on | January 4, 2009, 8:01 GMT

    I agree with Ian Chappel. This mini crisis that Australia is facing is, in my opinion, due to inaccurate judgement resulting in inappropriate decisions somewhere in the system. Be it selectors, be it the governing body, senior players, captain or the coach. Being a follower of cricket in India, we have realized that the greatest of names do not matter in winning or losing. Its the ability on that day to perform that does. The best time in my opinion to look for a change is not when things start falling apart, but when everything is going right. Australia I believe failed to do that, look beyond far enough, and are spending valuable time now crying hoarse over retirements Warne, McGrath & Langer, at the same time ignoring vulnerable young talents, because they are not yet there in the picture. I love Ponting and I adore Haydo. I would miss them terribly. But they have to give way for the yet unseen heroes. That would be their best contribution to Australian Cricket. Pls Invest in future