Gideon Haigh
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Cricket historian and writer in Melbourne

Where's the next Katich coming from?

CA needs to focus on developing proper cricketers, but it seems too much in thrall to the needs of Twenty20 to care

Gideon Haigh

June 18, 2011

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A

Cameron Borgas and Daniel Harris celebrate their title win, South Australia v New South Wales, KFC Twenty20 Big Bash final, Adelaide, February 5, 2011
The Big Bash League looks set to make second-class citizens out of the sort of cricketers we have regarded as valuable so far © Getty Images

It's contract time in Australian cricket, and not just for the 25 cricketers other than Simon Katich now enjoying the ripe plums of Cricket Australia packages. All around the country, state associations are making decisions about their player lists for 2011-12 - never a happy time, but round about now indicative of the fiasco that Twenty20 is making of the game in this country.

Here's what's happening. To reflect that the forthcoming BBL is a club competition, state teams are discounting their contracts accordingly. Your 2010-11 contract to play Sheffield Shield, Ryobi Cup and the Competition Formerly Known as the Big Bash might have been worth, say, $80,000; next season for your availability for Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup, it will be closer to $55,000.

The sop being offered to state players is that the BBL will come along later this year and, as in Alice in Wonderland, everyone will win and all will have prizes. The BBL teams have a salary cap of $1 million each to spread over 18 players: that makes for a median contract of $55,000, right? Except it stands to reason that not everyone will receive $55,000. What stands to reason is the opposite, that others will have to make do as the big money chases the most recognisable names: the Test players, even though their availability is far from clear, and the international stars, or what nowadays pass for stars, the Chris Gayles, Kieron Pollards and Shahid Afridis.

Alas, poor Chris Gayle. In Australia in 2009-10, he looked like a superfine Test batsman in the making. Twenty20 has turned him into a device that generates sixes like a novelty Pez dispenser spits out sweets - kind of fun in a kitsch way to begin with, but after a while a chore and a bore. He will be "poor", though, only in cricket terms: for batting a maximum of about 60 balls, he stands to become wealthier than the rest of Caribbean cricket altogether.

The problem, though, is not really Gayle and his ilk. It is Twenty20 itself. Let us say you are a young legbreak bowler, or a dogged middle-order accumulator, or a wicketkeeper who aspires to be more than a back stop, or a gutsy opening bat, or a bowler who maintains full lengths in search of swing. In Twenty20 terms you are not worth $55,000. In Twenty20 terms you may be worth nothing at all.

You are actually the sort of cricketer Australia needs to be developing if it is to arrest the freefall in its global Test ranking; but you are the sort of cricketer whom the BBL looks like rendering a second-class citizen. Australia's most consistent batsman, Shane Watson, struggles to bat longer than two hours, yet our priority is developing players to hit 20 off 10 balls. Australia's best slow bowler is… actually, that's a question for another time, but it's not one the BBL will answer.

Incentives shape outcomes: promise greedy young investment bankers huge bonuses to parcel up toxic mortgages and you shouldn't be surprised if they leave a dirty great financial crisis in their wake. If cultivating the skills of Twenty20 is what will make you wealthy, what young cricketer will not recalibrate his game accordingly - indeed, will not be counselled to do so by his agent, parents and coaches? But, again, please don't be surprised if you end up with a generation of batsmen who can play three different reverse-sweeps and hit inside out over cover then break out in a sweat if they have to play a maiden. And please don't be surprised if you actually erode your overall talent base as under-rewarded specialist four-day players drift prematurely from the game.

It may soon no longer be sensible to call Australian players "cricketers", insofar as that savours of continuity and variety: as part of a culture of infinite interchangeability, better perhaps to designate them APUs (autonomous playing units)

Australia's domestic summer is already a fine old mess. Batsmen lurch from trying to clear their front leg one day to straining to bat for time the next. Slow bowlers can be aiming to fire it in one night and trying to toss it up next morning. The international season is carefully blocked out, with Tests quarantined from shorter forms of the game, because this is known to be difficult; why what is deemed a challenge to a top-class player should be considered second nature to an inferior cricketer eludes me.

At least, though, state cricketers have been able to practise and bond and come to an understanding of one another's games together, to work with one set of coaches, as part of a cohesive and complementary set of philosophies. Now they won't even be doing that. They will be criss-crossing the country to play with strangers, who at other times in summer they will be playing against, for rinky-dink three-hour cricketainments. It may soon no longer be sensible to call them "cricketers", insofar as that savours of continuity and variety: as part of a culture of infinite interchangeability, better perhaps to designate them APUs (autonomous playing units). Whatever the case. Cricket Australia's solution to one domestic mess looks like being to make a bigger, uglier and stupider one, like a bad artist setting out to paint a tree, ending up with something resembling a phallus, and finally painting over the lot and calling it an abstract.

What is truly disturbing about this is the deep phoniness it suggests about Australian cricket at the moment. Consider all the fanfare about the "performance review panel" of wise men (Steve Waugh, Allan Border, Mark Taylor), chaired by Don Argus, chosen to get to the bottom of Australia's cricket woes. The results of some of their deliberations have already been foreshadowed, such as the tinkering with the Futures League, which is sensible, while also looking perilously like too little too late and a face-saving fudge.

Yet the panel looks increasingly like a form of camouflage: the decisions that matter have already been made, and cannot be unmade. Their report lies in the tradition of so many such reports - commissioned to give the appearance that everything is under control, and that the processes already in motion are prudent and thought out. Does anyone believe that if the Argonauts reported tomorrow and described Cricket Australia's embrace of the BBL as hasty, ill-considered, marketing-driven and ultimately destructive, it would make a blind bit of difference?

The panel may come up with some useful recommendations - it has ample cricket sense to draw on. But the probability is that they will fall as seeds to stony ground, because the system into which they must be integrated is geared not to restoring Australia's Test ranking but to creating a noisy performance art for ten-year-olds. Yes, it's contract time in Australian cricket, but with all due respect to an admirable cricketer, the issue is not so much what we have done with the last Simon Katich but where on earth we will find the next.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

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Posted by ygkd on (June 20, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

The point about the language analogy is then that whole languages don't just die because no-one cares, they die because the opportunities with them become too limited (unless you count people constantly talking to themselves). Long-form cricket skills are no different - you don't get them on your own. You need a healthy culture for a lad/lass to learn to bat, bowl & keep for the long-haul. However, if national boards have problems coping with 3 forms of the game, how are common-and-garden clubs supposed to cope? And aren't these the places that set the more talented and committed youngsters on their way to becoming a Katich?

Posted by ygkd on (June 20, 2011, 4:47 GMT)

What I was saying was if prestige shifts in cultural terms (& all cricket is cultural just like language) then just because a lot of people still value long-form cricket doesn't mean it can't suffer serious decline if a significant chunk of the cricketing world are brought up on something else. It's an argument of the 2-edged sword. Cricket in the Olympics, for example, would spread the game but it would be a different game because of it. It has to be. There comes a tipping-point beyond which the old game could be unviable. Now, you might say that if we spread the game world-wide there will be more niches for old ways to flourish - but the contention there is between the rush of spreading the new prestige form and the settling down, where does the old form go in the meantime? I believe managing 3 forms of cricket is too big a task for many boards. If India manages okay, it will only be because of their population etc. If we want to spread T20 we must kill off ODIs for Tests to survive.

Posted by jay57870 on (June 20, 2011, 4:02 GMT)

Gideon - What is truly disturbing about this (article) is (your) deep phoniness it suggests about Australian cricket at the moment (your words w/ my inserts)! Recall your article "Packer's circus"? You toasted "Sir" Kerry Packer for all speedy changes his breakaway World Series Cricket wrought in making it "more like official cricket rather than less, his Australian team more truly the representative of the people"! You liked his promotion of TV revenues, mass marketing and even his exclusive rights & more! You endorsed WSC's investment in popularizing one-day cricket! Why not? Aussies won the World Cup many times! So, what's different now? You blame 20-20 for the Aussie cricket "fiasco." The inconvenient truth: You cannot fight market forces; 20-20 changes are just as inevitable as the "historical inevitability" of WSC's. The genie's out of the bottle. Note 20-20 is authorized, WSC wasn't. Lost your ethical compass? Sour grapes? Not-invented-here syndrome? You're wrong, Gideon.

Posted by Meety on (June 20, 2011, 0:05 GMT)

@ram5160 - its not contradictory - because what is been said is that over time, youth will adapt their game to 20/20. Tests will become less of a priority & will suffer in status & ultimate pulling power. Nobody in the current test scene made it big as a 20/20 BEFORE playing tests. Over time there is an expectation that will change - IF the salaries are bigger in T20. @youngkeepersdad - umm, I dunno if its because its Monday or whether you're on an intellectual plane far higher then me, but I didn't get the point of the "tri-something" arguement!!!!!

Posted by Aussasinator on (June 19, 2011, 15:38 GMT)

Australia have dropped a great opener, while he's still delivering and persisted with a No. 3, when he hasnt looked an international level batsman for more than 2 years. So they actually need two replacements, not one. The approach itself is not convincing and there seem to be pressures and confusions of various sorts, with a rather meek Cricket Australia taking funny steps.

Posted by ygkd on (June 19, 2011, 15:25 GMT)

Cricket has gone tri-form - great! - but if you set up a team in a bilingual area (where 75% still speak a local language at times, which sounds a strong situation) the default team language will be the major outside one (because 3 of your 12 will only know that & 2 others will probably only partly understand the local one anyway). Bilingualism doesn't necessarily save minority languages, it often condemns them instead. The major one gets the prestige. And so to cricket. Your team plays 2-day games and T20. As T20 gains popularity, new players may see it as the prestige form and not want 2-day games. Thus, if 4 of your 12 players/clubs etc want to play T20 only the default setting can become T20 (because it's that or nothing). Despite over 50% wanting longer matches, after a while the seperate skills for the 2-day games could well fall into disrepair anyway and the decline become somewhat irreversable. Cricket has always changed, but managing 3 forms is a juggling act of some order!

Posted by   on (June 19, 2011, 14:13 GMT)

Why all the hate for T20?? Eoin Morgan played all IPl and got hardly any runs, then went for england and got 193 in tour games and two 70's i the tests. It didnt ruin his game at all. Rahul Dravid is a accumulator he still makes good money from T20, amit mishra and Rahul Sharma bowl leg spin and they went well in IPL. Whatever puts bums on seats is good for the game and T20 does that.

Posted by ram5160 on (June 19, 2011, 10:42 GMT)

Why is Gideon contradicting himself? - "Big money chases the most recognisable names: the Test players." Would'nt most people then conclude that you had to be a test match international to earn the big bucks and not focus entirely on T20? Besides this obvious flaw, its a good article.

Posted by Hoggy_1989 on (June 19, 2011, 5:16 GMT)

Phantom XI: I think you've got the wrong time period. That particular message is meant for Sir Donald Bradman and the BCCoA (Board of Cricket Control of Australia) circa about 1968. Players are easily clearing a million dollars a season, and that was BEFORE the IPL came along and added more. The problem with T20 is exactly the same way ODIs started out: New. exciting and fresh; then completely overdone in the name of the dollar. Then in 10-15 years time everyone starts moaning that 'its stale', when in reality all the administrators had to do was take a step back, shorten the 7 match ODI series to 3 or 4, and then there wouldn't be so many meaningless matches played for nothing more than money and TV ratings. T20 is heading down the same path, and we need to look no further than the latest IPL season to see what happens. 74 matches in 4 or 5 weeks...and no one cared by the end.

Posted by prasanna2929 on (June 19, 2011, 3:14 GMT)

PHANTOM 11:I have found dat u don know cricket at all

Posted by Swampy5 on (June 19, 2011, 2:07 GMT)

You're being a little over-cynical this time Gideon. Cricketers (indeed all professional sportspeople) have two career aims - to make money and to be the best they can be. To say that they will now forsake being the best they can be and focus only on the money is stretching it. Look at Dave Warner, who is striving to be a first class cricketer now, when he could take an easier road and snap up as many 20-20 contracts as he can..there is more to professional sportspeople than just taking the cash. Good young cricketers will surely always want to test themselves in the most challenging forms of the game, which are first-class and test cricket, and will strive to achieve that. Furthermore the best coaches will work with these players to achieve this. I'm also a bit wary of the BBL, but I don't think it necessarily spells the end of Australia producing good first-class cricketers.

Posted by AndrewFromOz on (June 19, 2011, 1:59 GMT)

The new BBL concept is absurd. If it had remained state-based and been heavily promoted along state lines, Melbournians would have come to Etihad at night with the roof on to see Hodge and Huss and the rest of the Bushrangers stick it up NSW etc. What they will now be served up is the Melbourne Thingumebobs playing the Melbourne Whatevers - both teams featuring - well - who knows?

Posted by ygkd on (June 18, 2011, 23:47 GMT)

The point about where another Katich comes from is that he won't arise from nowhere, although it may well seem that way. The reality is that there will be a lot of hard work and dedication behind it (as in H.Bhoghle's latest piece) and this has to start at a young age. Thirteen or so is a real critical time and thirteen-year-olds are easily distracted by the lure of fame and fortune. Why knuckle down and learn to play a long innings when hitting boundaries in a cameo gets you more attention? Why learn to spin it when dropping it on the spot is applauded. After all, that's what T20 teaches isn't it? (Well, it mightn't be exactly that but a 13yo won't notice the subtleties). When almost all 13y-olds are drawn by the trappings of T20, the culture of long-form cricket goes out the window. Yes, it was said ODIs would kill tests too, but this is different. The money and the fame in T20 is far greater than that ever was and, although OD changes were beneficial, the current changes go too far.

Posted by   on (June 18, 2011, 23:15 GMT)

For those who have trotted out the argument that T20 cricket hasn't diminished India's cricket, here's the reason why - 1.2 billion people!!! Another fine article Gideon. Having attended a Cricket Australia game devlopment conference a few years back, I saw the beginnings then of an organisation that was slowly losing touch with normality and was making decisions based on strong recommendations from marketing 'gurus' who enjoyed the sound of their own voices a bit too much. The reason the current T20 Big Bash works is that it runs along the tried and true State v State lines and gives the average person the chance to see their state players play. Now CA want to abuse the Goose that is laying them a golden egg and turn it into a city based comp with two new franchises that not one cricket follower can identify with. Will be dead in two years!

Posted by Jose_Cyriac on (June 18, 2011, 22:54 GMT)

Excellent article... CA needs to make sure that the First Class cricket is in good shape before promoting this BBL...

Posted by redbrand on (June 18, 2011, 22:35 GMT)

What I have learnt about 20/20, is that whilst it had an initial appeal and I thought it would kill off ODI's, I now feel that the opposite is starting to happen. If cricket is to be appreciated properly, it really needs a longer form of the game that 20/20 can never deliver. The recent world cup was the beginning of my move away from 20/20 purely because you can never see the good batting that we saw in the world cup won by India.

Posted by Phantom_XI on (June 18, 2011, 21:38 GMT)

Until the advent of T20, cricket has been very poor in financially rewarding its players but players only put up with meagre salary only because of the love of the game(&lack of alternative) that they have. They finally have a chance to get to a level which is consistent with other major sports, though money that players get even from IPL is no way nearer football. Playing for your country and representing test side (in return you will be paid peanuts, adored only by a handful of journalists, and maintain your anonymity that even selectors won't be able to recall who you are) just doesn't wash anymore. I would like to see how and more importantly why cricketers should shun away from money and play only test cricket for living.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (June 18, 2011, 19:10 GMT)

There was a reason why Australia won in Perth in recent Ashes. Make your pitches, that suits your bowling strength, trust me, all problems will start to disappear. It's ridiculous of ICC to question pitches, whenever there is something more for bowlers. If CA is getting funds from T20, then what is the need of making pitches that suits your visitors, why do you need 5 days test pitches!! England batsman will struggle in bouncy and spinning track, well Aus. will struggle against spinners, but still there could have been good contest to watch. And when you have young inexperience bowlers, you need even more help from the pitch. Fix your pitches Australia, look at your bowling strength, and make pitches like that,which is bigger problem than T20. Hussey and Watson were the most successful batsman in recent times, who are very good T20 batsman, and others who are picked, HAVE NOT been picked because of their T20 performances, STILL they fail. Why? Pitches were suiting Eng Batsmen. S.Marsh?

Posted by ramsharat on (June 18, 2011, 15:54 GMT)

With the current senario in Australia i feel it wold be very tough to find another Katich.I dont understand why Australia is trying to compete with India in the matter of domestic T20 tournament.Doing these things they are forgetting about their domestic one-day and test competitions.Another thing is Australia is not like India where u get talented cricketers,so they should try to improve the standards of one-day and the test competitions such that they produce much improved cricketers. Australia worry more about age, i don't understand why. They lost a brilliant player in Brad Hodge.CA should take care of such mistakes not happening in future!!

Posted by thenightwatchman on (June 18, 2011, 14:21 GMT)

Gideon, i really don't like t20 cricket at all. But what I cant understand is that there are other countries that have both healthy well supported and successful t20 domestic competitions and still manage to win test matches with great players. Inda have th Ipl and are the top of the lot in tests while England are rapidly rising in the ranks and won the world t20 thingy. Why cant we in Australia manage both a t20 league and still produce brilliant test players like we always have, at the same?

Posted by crow_eater on (June 18, 2011, 13:49 GMT)

Can't agree more with the article. My only hope is that CA abandon this ill-concieved bastard child of a format they call the BBL after it flops in the first season. Domestic cricket has always been about state vs state, not some contrived marketing exercise!

Posted by del_ on (June 18, 2011, 13:48 GMT)

You can be a bit over the top sometimes Gideon, but this article hits a lot of nails on the head. Unfortunately I am beginning to believe that cricket really is on it's way out and T20 will ultimately take it's place by the end of the next generation.

Posted by jay57870 on (June 18, 2011, 13:44 GMT)

Gideon -- How phony! Don't blame 20-20 for Simon Katich's axing! As Simon himself stated in no uncertain terms: "He [Sachin Tendulkar] is an inspiration to all of us older guys, because he was written off a couple of years ago, ironically by one of our selectors, and the fact is he has proved him wrong." Look again: It's Greg Chappell, CA's full-time selector!!

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (June 18, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

Just get rid of 50 over cricket. It is sucking the life out of tests. Everyone who thinks 20 overs is too short will have no option but to watch tests. Every player who isn't an expert in 20/20 will have to focus on tests.

Posted by popcorn on (June 18, 2011, 13:11 GMT)

The ONLY way out is to select DIFFERENT players for Twenty20 - they should be different from the ones who play in Test matches and ODIs. T20 is about Slogging, ODI and Test Cricket DO NOT ENCOURAGE SLOGGING,except in the 5 over Batting Powerplay, which MOST ODI Teams tend to take it from Over 46 to 50.ODI and Test Cricket need Grafters - more in Tests, but definitely in ODIs.

Posted by WalkingTripod on (June 18, 2011, 13:08 GMT)

@Prasanth Nottath

The simple answer to the question that formed your first sentence is that great players don't forget how to play. The fact that the IPL has not (yet) affected India's Test team is simply because that team is being carried by a phalanx of legendary but now geriatric players, in much the same way that Australia's was until they all finally retired over a period of 3 years and then the house of cards came crashing down.

Lets see where that ranking is in 2 or 3 years time.

Posted by   on (June 18, 2011, 12:53 GMT)

I was under the impression that the IPL began faltering this year and crowds were down. if true, the golden goose may be cooked.

As for Gideon's essay. It is scary as it rings true. My conspiracy theory is that the worlds administrators would like to see the end of their expensive first class competitions and concentrate on the lucrative 20/20.

If that is the case I'd be surprised if people didn't eventually get bored.

Of course, I may be 100% wrong. I hope Gideon is too.

Posted by   on (June 18, 2011, 12:35 GMT)

I wonder what kind of resistance was met when tests were limited to 5 days...

Posted by   on (June 18, 2011, 12:29 GMT)

Cricket will be dead in australia in 10 years....There is no long term view.

Posted by michaelcoffs on (June 18, 2011, 12:24 GMT)

you sir, are a wonderful writer. and love the PURE game, akin to the way you love life. then there is this "cassandra" thing .... keep going, and keep being a voice for the true believers!

Posted by straight_drive4 on (June 18, 2011, 9:24 GMT)

What a great article. Couldn't have said it any better if I tried. Well done and I agree 100%

Posted by akshaysabnis on (June 18, 2011, 8:46 GMT)

In a way the IPL benefits, because the IPL season starts after the entire domestic season in India is over. Yes the Aussies should have a BBL but it should be after the domestic season is ove... that way the pitches have nothing in them (More runs)(pity the bowlers) and there is no switch of formats every alternate day....

Posted by JohnnyRook on (June 18, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

Here is the 8th wonder of the world ladies and gentlemen. A Gideon Haigh article without any of the terms BCCI, IPL or India...Tomorrow the sun is gonna rise from the west and BCCI might as well think of anything else other than money...Haha...

Posted by My_XI_Champions on (June 18, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

The issue with the purists is that they prefer cricket to remain in Test matches and not cross over to ODI or T20s. ODIs had similar form of opposition when it was introduced. IMO, there is nothing ideologically wrong in preferring Tests. But the brain of the matter is, Tests do not produce enough revenue to sustain the game in Australia. State cricket is even less efficient in generating revenue. The administration can help to a certain extent in bringing people to 4 day matches, but they cannot cater to just the purists and ignore the masses. So, they have to do Big Bash, generate revenue and plan to inject some of this revenue back into 4 day cricket. Until Gideon Haigh and people of his ilk can cough up money EVERYTIME for 4 day matches, this is the reality. Personally, I would prefer Test matches to T20, but fully understand CA's decision to focus on Big Bash to generate revenue.

Posted by Winsome on (June 18, 2011, 7:08 GMT)

Beautifully written article. You have picked up on a point that bothers me. The CA 'stars' who already are over-paid in terms of what they actually produce, will be getting money from these franchises for what, one or two games? I can see that there may quite a few non-CA contracted players who will be poorer than before despite having State contracts and BBL contracts. How ridiculous. CA have become quite unembarrassable. Seriously, I feel that Aus cricket has become some sort of reality show obsessed with mediocrity - and we've all seen how much these bear comparison with the real thing.

Posted by ygkd on (June 18, 2011, 6:42 GMT)

I agree, I agree, I agree.... wish I didn't....

Posted by sifter132 on (June 18, 2011, 6:21 GMT)

Always appreciate your writing Gideon - great thoughts. Yes, it would be extremely interesting if this 'review' in progress universally slammed the Big Bash...

Posted by   on (June 18, 2011, 5:53 GMT)

A wonderful article, that highlights everything that's wrong with this system that CA are using.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (June 18, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

You know I posted a while back, slightly tongue in cheek, how being barred from the IPL was helping Pakistani cricket. By and large I still stand by that claim. You'll still have the Afridi's and Razzaq's who will play T20 around the world, but for the younger generation being denied the riches of the T20 format has been forcing them to become better ODI and Test players, especially so outside of subcontinent conditions. I really don't think it's a coincidence that this new young team actually looks half decent and has been garnering positive results this past year. By being denied T20 cricket they're being forced to make a living off Test and ODI cricket which is helping their skills. Too many years of T20 and back alley "gully" cricket hampered the skills of certain players, who had all the requisite ability to play Tests but disliked the hard work and pitiful rewards. (Afridi being the prime example).

Posted by   on (June 18, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

Hmm.. Gideon.. what explains then the success of BCCI and the Indian cricket team in the last three years? If anything shouldn't the IPL have hit them most hard, for obvious reasons? Yet, they have just gone from strength to strength, are no.1 in test and ODI World Champions, and for some curious reason, have lost it's international ranking in T20s steadily...

I think the best solution here is to stop international T20s altogether. And for overseas T20 leagues, boards should give NOCs only to players who have done well in tests and ODIs for their national teams, or with minimum amount of FC cricket experience. I think this will create a condition wherein an aspiring young player will have to show his mettle in international cricket (tests and ODIs) or slug it out in domestic FC circuit to get a chance to shine in other T20 leagues.

Posted by D.V.C. on (June 18, 2011, 5:10 GMT)

I thought the Big Bash worked well. It was a short and sweet tournament that was a curtain raiser to the season. What CA are doing now is abhorrent.

Posted by Hoggy_1989 on (June 18, 2011, 5:07 GMT)

100% truth from Gideon Haigh here. Should CC this to every paid board member and selector of Cricket Australia. It should be all about furthering Australian cricket, not generating a bunch of T20 sloggers that will eventually desert us for the richer (not greener, richer) IPL pastures.

Posted by   on (June 18, 2011, 5:01 GMT)

"Australia's most consistent batsman, Shane Watson, struggles to bat longer than two hours" - a bit harsh, not to mention false...

Posted by VivaVizag on (June 18, 2011, 4:35 GMT)

So you are alive..........

Posted by PYC1959 on (June 18, 2011, 4:06 GMT)

Great article. Australia we should be very worried for the future, we are more and more focusing on the shorter form. Go to the USA and watch Baseball if that is the kind of game you want. CA pull your head out of the sand and develop test players or face the real possibility that in 10 years time there will be no such thing as test matches.

Posted by   on (June 18, 2011, 3:33 GMT)

Hear, hear Gideon! Hit the nail on its head.

Posted by bobbo2 on (June 18, 2011, 3:31 GMT)

T20 does seem to have had a bad effect on Australian batsman. And to be hoenst I feel the new T20 competition will be a mess as without a state to support, I simply could not give 2 stuffs about the T20 game.

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Gideon Haigh Born in London of a Yorkshire father, raised in Australia by a Tasmanian mother, Gideon Haigh lives in Melbourne with a cat, Trumper. He has written 19 books and edited a further seven. He is also a life member and perennial vice-president of the South Yarra CC.

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