Ian Chappell
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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

You can't manufacture presence on demand

Australia's coach wants his players to be aggressive, but that will only be effective if it comes through in their performances, not just their attitude

Ian Chappell

July 15, 2012

Comments: 50 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting is ecstatic after his century, Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 1st day, January 24, 2012
Ricky Ponting had a presence on the field because of his aggressive batting style © Getty Images

The Australian coach Mickey Arthur had a few choice words for his team after they fell behind 3-0 to England in their recent ODI series. The question is, were they well-chosen words?

Arthur called for his batsmen to establish a "presence" at the crease. Presence on a cricket field is like respect - it's earned. It's not something that suddenly materialises at the behest of a coach.

Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting all established a presence in the middle via their deeds with the bat. The opposition feared them because all three could make a big score quickly. Players who do that can change the course of a game in one session of bold strokeplay.

Viv Richards used to saunter to the crease masticating a stick of gum and delivering the occasional hefty thump to the end of his rubber handle grip. However, it wasn't the aggressive mannerisms that worried the opposition. The devastation he might cause with the bat was the major concern.

If George Bailey or Peter Forrest suddenly start swaggering to the crease whistling "Advance Australia Fair", the opposition will probably rub their hands with glee and proceed to go about their business with renewed vigour. Coming from Bailey or Forrest, it would be obvious false bravado and the opposition would know as much. While the two think about how they should act, they won't be fully focused on their batting.

There's no shortcut to establishing a presence on the field - it can only be earned by weight and class of performance.

At around the same time that Arthur was reading the riot act to his team in the UK, the former Indian run machine Rahul Dravid was carefully choosing his words during an interview. Among his answers was the admission: "There were times when I thought too much about technique."

Maybe so, but that was Dravid. His belief in himself derived from the fact that he didn't feel bowlers could break down his impenetrable barrier. Dravid had a presence in the middle because the opposition knew they would have to work awfully hard to dismiss him, and that meant less energy to expend on the dangerous strokemakers around him. Aggression isn't the only weapon in the fight to establish a "presence" in the middle.

While he was at it, Arthur exhorted the Australian team to display more "mongrel" in the final match at Old Trafford. Nothing changed, as Australia responded with another lacklustre performance. Once again, was it the right choice of word? The word "mongrel" can easily be misconstrued as a need to display overt aggression.

A couple of seasons ago when Mitchell Johnson was told to be more aggressive, he started goading opposition batsmen. This clearly wasn't the "real" Johnson, and many batsmen looked bemused rather than bothered when he commenced a tirade.

The two best opposition fast bowlers I faced were John Snow of England and Andy Roberts of West Indies. I played a lot of innings against both and never once did any words pass between us. Mind you, I was never in any doubt both were annoyed by my presence in the middle and were hell-bent on bringing an abrupt end to it. The bowling of both Snow and Roberts spoke volumes. They didn't need a soliloquy to get their message across.

Australia are currently struggling because two of their batsmen who maintain a presence are nearing the age of retirement. Despite his skills being eroded by age, Ponting is still a dangerous player, as he showed last summer against India. He can still make a big score; he just doesn't do it as often or in such dominating fashion.

Michael Hussey makes his presence felt on arrival at the crease. He hustles runs via sharp singles and shrewdly judged sprints, and then once his confidence is up he produces exquisite cover drives and strong-arm pull shots. Hussey is a more aggressive left-hand version of Dravid - he sells his wicket at well above market rate.

Australia can win with their strong pace attack. However, they won't win as often as they would like to unless they can unearth some young batsmen whose presence in the middle is a long and fruitful one.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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Posted by hyclass on (July 18, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

@landl47...I enjoyed your blogs on this article with one caveat.There've been several far weaker batting line ups.Two that come to mind are the sides that played for the establishment during the WSC split under Bob Simpson & the 1985 side to Eng.The ODI series in Eng served to highlight the highly misleading nature of Aus's recent Test results when confronted by determined,proven opposition in form.The SL series included statistically the weakest attack in international cricket.Other than the ICC sanctioned 1st Test wicket that saw a fortunate result in little more than 2 days,the wickets in SL were batting roads.India were at possibly their lowest ebb.Zaheer hadnt bowled in months due to injury & Ishant came in with an ankle injury.The team was thrashed in Eng & had no bowling attack.Aus arent terrible,but the continued promotion of players in contravention of their records,ignoring of telling data & lack of consistency & leadership show little of value has changed at CA since Argus.

Posted by jay57870 on (July 18, 2012, 1:52 GMT)

For Mickey Arthur to admit his team has been "bullied" & to prod it to become more "mongrel" is not surprising at all. Let's call a dog a dog: one can't convert overnight a "submissive" cricket squad into a mean "K-9" squad! The Aussies are not dishing it out like they used to in the good ol' days. The Ian Chappell to Rickey Ponting eras were generally marked by the "sledging" culture, reaching its peak with the "mental disintegration" tactics of Steve Waugh. It all changed after the ugly 2008 SCG episode: the huge public backlash caused CA to issue a directive to "change on-field behaviour"! The ACA chief Paul Marsh admitted the "team's performance has been affected" & opponents were exploiting this "weakness"! The Poms took full advantage in their 4-0 ODI triumph! For Ian to pretend that barking was worse than biting in his days is laughable. It's nice nonetheless to see Chappell - the champion of bowling revolutionaries, WSC rebels & aggressive cricket - smoking the peace pipe!!

Posted by jay57870 on (July 17, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

Ian - What an about-face! How ironic that Ian is now singing the praises of Tendulkar, Ponting & Dravid, among other veterans, for their "presence" in the middle. What a Switcheroo! These three are the same "ageing/fading stars" he's been prematurely writing off & hounding for years to retire. All because of his misplaced hangup with Age & "use-by-dates" for anyone over 35! All of a sudden, Ian has found enlightenment in his new Chappell logic: "Presence ... is like respect - it's earned"! Actually, what's hurt Australia in its 0-4 ODI drubbing in England is the very absence of key veterans (besides the excused Michael Hussey): Ponting who was summarily dismissed from ODIs with a phone call; & Simon Katich who was unceremoniously axed from cricket last year. Now, where's the "respect"? Yes, Ian's right about "There's no shortcut to establishing a presence on the field"! But you cannot play the Age-card and "manufacture absences" either and not pay a heavy price for it! Get it, Ian?

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (July 17, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

Australia's problem apart from the general lack of batting options is that they have gone around and round bringing some in and then leaving them out and then starting again. Players like Hughes, Khawaja, S Marsh, North , S Smith etc have been 'the future' but have been shipped in and then shipped out. This is when selectors earn their money. Identify people with the talent and character (i'm suspicious of Watson, Johnson, S Smith etc on that count) and stick with them. I can remember the likes of Steve Waugh not being quick starters in Tests but players like him had been identified as long term prospects by (i think) Lawrie Sawle as Chairman of selectors and perservered with. Can remember reading that by the end of the 1986/87 Ashes series where Aust were comfortably beaten at home they had 5 i think of the top 6 (G Marsh, Boon , Border, D Jones, S Waugh) in place as mostly young players who they went to England in 1989 and started Australia's golden era of 15 years.

Posted by Meety on (July 17, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

@Selassie-I - tfjones1978 used poor choice of words "senior players", what he probably meant were better ODI players (particularly batsmen), not involved in the series. Whilst England won the series fair & square, most reasonable fans would be inclined to think with some basis, that Oz have plenty of other options. This squad is more reflective of an ODI specific team.

Posted by landl47 on (July 17, 2012, 3:01 GMT)

@Jono Makim: I appreciate your optmism, but I can't see much basis for it. Marsh, Forrest and Cowan are journeymen and are never going to be top-class players. Khawaja has a chance, but he's 26 now and his average is going down, not up (he made a century the other day- against a side of players not good enough to get county contracts. It's not exactly a highlight reel, is it?). England found Warner out- he can't play the short ball or the movng ball. He'll do well against popgun attacks like India or NZ, or on the slow and low pitches of the subcontinent, but that won't put Aus back on top. Watson should be batting #6, but he's #3. I do like Hughes, but he has been woefully mismanaged. Ponting and Hussey are 37- 38 by the next Ashes. They won't be around long enough for a new young crop of Aus batsmen to come through, since there are none out there at the moment. I think Benaud would agree that this is the weakest Aus batting line-up in 60 years.

Posted by maddy20 on (July 17, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy Indirect dig at India. I would like to remind you about the 5-0 drubbing of England in Aus. When your best are at the end of their careers, you are bound to loose a few tourneys. That I would not mind. Also barely holding on to a draw in SL was dominating? Mind you there is still a series in India in the winter. In familiar conditions Indian bowlers hnt like packs of wolves and our batsmen give nightmares to even World class bowling attacks. Ask the Aussies who were beaten 2-0 twice. I would like to repeat your silly remarks after that. India did not lose a home series in more than 9 years and I do not expect the England's South African imports to change that.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (July 16, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

a very good article from ian , mickey arthur is obviously giving the wrong advice , he should have just told them to shut up and score runs , all this false bravado and tough guy act looks comical coming from under performers , shane warne , mcgrath and ponting could afford to do that given the team they played for and their own caliber, but not these guys , at least not yet..

Posted by ooper_cut on (July 16, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

Thank you Ian, as always shooting straight. Gone are the eras of such batsmen as Lara, Ponting and Sachin. These are the days of the angry birds like Kohli, Gauti etc who throw profanities when they reach milestones, guess that is the only way they can make their presence felt.

Posted by Selassie-I on (July 16, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

Tfjones1978.... which senior players were rested mate? Mike Hussey was at home for personal reasons and Punter's been dropped, this was the best that Australia have at the moment. Although I would like to see more consistency from the selectors.. it's reeking of England's selectorship int he late 90s, one bad match and you're gone... they need to get a young team in accept that they might not win much for a few years and build from there. It took England 10 years to build....

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 16, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

Brilliant article from Ian. Our weaknesses are not in the talent, there is loads of it. The problem is the issues at the top. The tree has grown into the powerlines and we are short circuiting. Start at the top and axe Sutherland, Langer and Arthur!

Posted by Sarthak1305 on (July 16, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

WHAT???? John Snow gave up his duties on the Knights Watch and became a bowler for england? :O

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (July 16, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

Im sick of certain people saying England are yet to face a stern test outside of England. Didnt we win an Ashes series in Australia 3-1 (With 3 victorys by over an INNINGS). We've had one poor series over the last 3 years & that was played in the unfamiliar surroundings of UAE....apart from that we've dominated.

Maybe those who doubt Englands credentials should look at their own country's results over the last 3 years & see how their last visit to australia panned out...then you can apologise for your stupid comments.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

Calling Aus team for meaningless 5 ODI in middle of an off-season was a bad planning in the first place and now blaming the team for under performing is worse. England is not a place to just arrive and start scoring runs for ordinary mortals, most of them havent toured Eng earlier.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 16, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

@RodStark, or lets hope that they are a franetic for say 5-10 years, but I doubt they will, once this crop of players start to gain experience they will be a decent force, remember the early Border years where aus picked inexperienced players and although they initially lost they soon started to build reputations, I think it took about 4-5 years to get the right mix of players and experience together, with some grizzly old pros (Border, Boon, Merv Hughes) and younger players (Taylor, the Waugh twins, McDermott). In the end they became of of the best sides the world has ever seen, up there with the Invincibles, Huttons England, and the West Indies of of the 75-90's.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (July 16, 2012, 3:15 GMT)


Posted by RodStark on (July 16, 2012, 0:39 GMT)

As an England supporter who lived through the years of being completely dominated by Australia, i always tend to take the Aussies at their word. If someone is selected for their team, I worry that they must be fantastically good! Events have not backed that up. But now I'm noticing that Australian posters in these discussions are discussing the selection issue just like we did till a few years ago. I must have heard close to forty names being pushed for selection in the last few weeks. Let's just hope for their sake that their selectors don't get as frenetic in their selections as England selectors used to back then. Hopefully, they have the system in place to figure out who has true potential and stick with them.

Posted by MetallicFrost1024 on (July 16, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

I'm tired of people blaming the coach. There is only so much a coach can do.... In the end, it's up to the players. Thoughts, ideas, game plans, technique tweaks are all welcome additions that a coach brings to the plate. In the end, it's the players that have to stand up and perform. It's the players that have to understand themselves. Cricket is a mind game of enormous proportions. Very seldom does a bowler bowl a gem of a ball to dismiss a batsman. More often than not it is the batsman that loses concentration and throws their own wicket away. Australia have great talent. The players just need to find themselves and understand their weaknesses and work around them. No coach can do that for them.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 23:56 GMT)

Is it possible that players these days are so over-coached that they don't know how to handle scenarios when things don't go as planned by the coaching staff? What we need are players who have "created" themselves rather than ones who have been "manufactured" through hours of coaching based on all sorts of scientific theory.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 23:41 GMT)

Agreed Ian, and the common theme that characterises the greats you mentioned in Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting is/was their ability to 'find a way' to make runs. I also think of the example of Alistair Cook in the last Ashes series. Though it wasn't the prettiest thing to watch, Cook, in my opinion, established 'presence' by always 'finding a way' to get through sessions, stay at the crease, and grind out runs. Batting long periods of time is no doubt difficult, but so is bowling at the same batsman (or batsmen). Australia's bowling has promise and is performing to a decent standard, but the batsmen need to just knuckle down - play it ugly if you need to, but show some guts to grind out runs and time in the middle.

Posted by Meety on (July 15, 2012, 23:40 GMT)

@YorkshirePudding - yes, the Warner & Watson (to a much lesser extent the Hilfy & MJ articles too), comments bugged me at the time, although I 'spose that if players said nothing, cricket interviews would become boring! Now after being beaten, those comments look pretty useless & are nothing but ammo for the next time they square off! @Jono Makim - in regards the talent coming thru, I think given that we have a fair bit of depth in quality pace bowling, any of our younger brigade (should they be given an extended run), won't find test matches bowling as big of a step up to what they have been facing over the last 2 seasons. Some proof of that, is that quite a few Ozzy batsmen of varying stages of their career have done quite well in England this summer in various formats - despite some uneasy batting conditions.

Posted by jrnmorris on (July 15, 2012, 20:20 GMT)

In short; Get rid of the Saffer coach!

Posted by Alexk400 on (July 15, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

What aussie need is one strong opening batsman who do not lose his wicket. If one end is fixed , its easy to score runs around. At present all musical chairs. Anyone get out anytime. Aussies found many fast bowlers but they still could not find replacement in opening batsman , middle order. David warner is still kinda erratic in Test level. He does play well non swinging conditions. For england ascendency started once Trott arrived. They always had bowlers with dicipline. But with trott they could able to stich a score of 500+runs. So in that sense i think aussie needs michael hussey to play 1st down , question is can he handle new swinging ball?. I am not sure this aussie team can beat england unless pat cummins wreak havoc in England.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

I'm gonna disagree. I don't think what Mickey meant that the Australians must try to act more aggressively on the field. I think he meant that they must show their presence through performance, like Ian said.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

Ian, as always you have nailed it. But I am surprised that Australian selectors did not picked Brad hodge and hogg for this weird series. I don't think this series make any sense to anyone following cricket, and unfortunately aussies end up losing Lee. A tri-series in SriLanka involving Pakistan as well would have served anyone and everyone. That way aussies would have saved themselves from the unforgiving heat of UAE. May be you will wonder now where the common sense is now? Anyways... tough-time for aussies, but I have no doubt they will come out with flying colors...cheers!

Posted by getsetgopk on (July 15, 2012, 15:14 GMT)

Saeed Ajmal was quite successful against England with his talk of Teesra, most English batters fell with Ajmal bowling straight, but he had a strong base line weapon the doosra to fall back on in case the teesra didn't work out, in the end there was no teesra or a teesra with little or no impact but his 'presence' was actually bowling doosra with control and accuracy.

Posted by kickittome70 on (July 15, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

As ususal, Chappelli sums it up. I guess, in addition to what he's saying is that we just dont have the cattle at the moment. Warner & Cowan v Cook & Strauss, Anderson, Broad, Bresnan & Swann v whoever we have who isnt injured. Then you have guys like KP and the very confiudent and in form Ian Bell. And the ever so boring but ever so consistent J Trott. Not a level playing field. The aussies are about 3 players short at the moment. Thank the lucky stars that we have a intuitive and courageous skipper in MJ CLarke, he is our best player and our greatest asset in these uncertain times. He certainly takes great advice and utilises it to it's full extent.

Posted by hyclass on (July 15, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

Well written Ian.For18 months,I've made the same observations.The technique myth was created by CA to validate attitudes towards players,institutions,traditions & curators that had previously carried Aus to unprecedented highs.Its purpose was to direct attention away from its own dismantling of Test & Shield cricket as the gold standard for cricket in this country.The 5 year period from late 06 was used to undermine international performance to make BBL seem more viable.Its seen with false observations re support at club level,undermining groundsmen,Shield,Cof E & 2nd XI comps,ridiculous selections,re-appointments based on supreme failure,J. Clarkes statements that the public were over-reacting after2011 Ashes,Haydens unrefuted statement of non investment in traditional cricket while a CA Board member & acquisition of a BBL side.Introducing BBL a year ahead of schedule to beat Argus findings.I opposed Arthurs appointment & low acumen.To get the right answers, ask the right questions.

Posted by shillingsworth on (July 15, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

@Vic Nicholas - UK visa rules have been tightened. As a result, overseas players will struggle to get a visa for county cricket unless they have played international cricket in the last 2 years.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 15, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

So, to sum it all up: Australia lost to England becasue the players were all trying to be something they are not...

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

Nic Maddinson, Glen Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Phil Hughes, Kurt Patterson and Usman Khawaja all need to play as much county cricket as is possible and is allowed. They are are our crop of young batsmen. We need four of teh above to take the next step or we are doomed to squandering the excellent bowling attack and combative wicket keeper we have unearthed. No batsmen = no hope. A lot must be invested in the above.

Posted by cricketcritic on (July 15, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

Chappell's on the money entirely here. This is why Watson's pre series "predictions", bravado and aggression etc falls short an has done for a few years. You need the game first. McGrath, Hayden etc knew this and put their game in order first. Johnson's mouth is laughable and it affected his game. The 30 second youtube clip of him chipping Jimmy Anderson from the non-strikers end is case in point and classic theatre. Brad Haddin is another who let his mouth get ahead of his game. First things first Aussie

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

@Landl47. Australia's recent run in test cricket has been pretty good, just losing two matches in the last five series, 14 matches in total, I think. While Warner is the only youngster in the line up, Cowan, Clarke and Watson have a lot of cricket left in them and offer a reasonable building block. I think Wade coming in at seven will be a match winner, as seen in the West Indies. Ponting and Hussey have enough in the tank to give time to Warner and Cowan to settle into the team and for one or two of the likes of Khawaja, Marsh, Forrest, Hughes etc to come through................... Chappelli is spot on here and I could just imagine Richie Benaud, Mark Taylor and the like all being in agreement.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 15, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

@Meety, good points about the media, we all remember seeing the comments from Warner about switch hitting Swann, I dont think he ever played a switch hit, or face swann for more than 12 balls in the entire series. then there was the watson comments about a 'weak' england middle and lower order, they didnt take more than 5 wickets in the whole series....Having said that I was impressed by the way McKay kept it tight in all games and he deserved more wickets than he took, defaintely one for the future if they can get him in the test team. I was also suprised by Bailey, not the fastest scorer but he didnt give many chances to England so could do well in tests once Punter or Hussey hang up thier bats.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

Top article. The Aussie ODI side do neat a lift up, surely.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 15, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

As an England fan, It is easy to draw parallels with the great Australian team of the 90's and early 2000's, they had a presence on the field, that instantly put oppositions on the back foot. if you bowled them out for sub 250 first the opposition batsmen would be wondering what demons were in the pitch. If you batted first, and got 250+ you'd think the aussies would get thier. That is what seems to be missing in this current Australian team, theres no fight. for me the "mongrel" spirit comment was more about that never-say-never attitude that players had, you could wrestle Australia to the ground only for them to keep bouncing back and win games from almost unwinable positions.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

A pretty good article,Mr.Chappell.The Australian Players simply looked too lazy and disinterested.There was nothing that suggested they wanted to win.Meaningless or not,this series was to prepare the team for the 2013 Ashes.In retrospect nothing positive has come out.Instead of talking of mongrel the Australians must look to dominate on the field the Border way.

Posted by manojettedi on (July 15, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

It is time Mr.Chappel realized that its nt just Indian batsmen, but the batsmen all over the world, including Australia have been affected by the T20 game. Only a fool would be expecting batsmen to play like the old times and put a price on their wicket. Now it is all about scoring quick runs. If Batsmen have to improve their batting in tests, there is but one solution. Play more tests and cut down on the meaning less ODIs. Australia and England feel their batsmen are safe from the affects of IPL which is completely wrong. England are yet to face tests outside England.Australia are yet win major series outside Australia in the recent times. England will white was Australia in the ASHES. That is for sure.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

completely true...the presence by the Sachin, Rahul, Lara, Kallis, Punter are more due to their ability to score runs rather than on-field bravado...a best case in point is comparing betn Sreesanth and Steyn...I think the current ODI team of Aussies are filled with strictly avergae first class players like Forrest and Smith who would have struggled to rise above shield cricket 10 yrs earlier...when u c d talents dat cudnt gt d cap in the last 2 decades , players like Love, di Venuto, Hodge, McGill n now Ed Cowan is opening the batting with Watto...it just puts everythin in the right perspective...sad to see the demise as it is not due to lack of quality players like Ferguson , Voges, Hussey, White , O'Keefe, Khawaja but more due to selectorial faults and inability to see what is staring them at the face. Players like Forrest are going to remain strictly FC level players no matter how much scope they are given

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

I don't think so what I think is that there is issue between Watson and Clarke and the issue is about Captaincy and I think if Australia board make clear to every one that Clark is a captain for next world cup than the team will come on rite track and they need to be much positive look at the way the top order Batters are batting scoring 30 runs in first 10 over this is not 90 days cricket and Warner is only a T20 player remove him from the side.

Posted by tfjones1978 on (July 15, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

As an Aussie I was disappointed to see us go down four-zip but lets face it. England should be classified as best in all three formats (& nearly are) and we faced them during our off-season with little warm up, after a break and on their conditions. If this was an Ashes series I would feel betrayed, but most followers on this website often say that there is too much ODI and cricket followers dont take many matches seriously. I think Cricket Australia's selection board felt the same thing about this series. If you look at the squad, it was an inexperienced side with most of the senior players rested for this tour (including ponting whom I believe selectors will bring back, its why he was "fine" with it). I think ICC should create "designated" and non-designated series where "designated" matches have meaning & purpose (eg: tiered relegation system) and the non-designated are like "friendlies" are in soccer (they could even be called "friendlies"). Ranking system should ignore those.

Posted by Governor on (July 15, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

Ian Chappell always raises good points. The problem we have at the minute is some states are not giving enough 18 to 20 year young batsmen a go in Shield cricket. Victoria is a prime example. Greg Shipperd is more worried about winning trophies than developing young batting talent for test match honours whilst he promotes Cameron White, David Hussey, Rob Quiney and Chris Rogers for test match honours. Greg Shipperd loves to slip notes under the selectors' door to give his pupils a chance of test match honours!

Posted by getsetgopk on (July 15, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

For once I completely agree with this man, very well said Ian. You have to have ability first mongrel and aggression comes in latter, false bravado will only make you look stupid LOL

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

So truee. Aggression these days is considered to be how brash and uncouth one can be about his game. True aggression means being disciplined and sticking to one's game, a prime example would be Steve Waugh the Iceman.

Posted by MysticMan on (July 15, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

Chappell makes some astute observations about "presence" on the field. In the Indian team, among the new players only Virat Kohli has this presence (IMO). A case in point - Dilshan's joy at catching Virat off his own bowling in WC 2011 final. When he came to the crease the game was tilting Sri Lanka's way; he helped turn the tide with Gambhir.

Posted by Oldpunk on (July 15, 2012, 4:50 GMT)

The call for more "mongrel" is really a sign of desperation. I have no doubt that every Autralian side and player since 2005 is giving 100% - training hard, playing hard, fighting hard. What the selectors/players haven't accepted is that Englands players are technically better than the Australians. Finding new players or upgrading the skills of existing players is not an easy process - but seven years after the 2005 ashes defeat we haven't made much progress largely because we have been in denial. If we keep doing the same thing, we won't change - and that means we will routinely be 3 wickets down for 20 odd in the 2013 Ashes and Clarke/Arthur will be talking about playing hard and tough, showing some aggro, give the poms a bit of mongrel. Please give the poms some cricket instead.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (July 15, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

A player can have a presence only by what he has achieved as a player. Imagine Viv Richards not being the player he was and still chewing gum and walking with a swagger while thumping the rubber grip. It would have looked comical probably. When it is put on, the whole act fades away. The skills also dry up with such behaviour as we saw in Mitch Johnson. Dravid's was more the Gandhian presence. 'Come and get me if you can' kind of defiance. But posterity will only know Dravid the legend not how he achieved that tag.Ricky always looked the part from his debut when he was given out at 96. And so he proved to be. Now he does not need a verbal presence at all. But he still says things probably in humour. Sachin like Lara just cannot sledge. They had 'presence' only because of the legend that preceded them.In some players presence is God given like one Garfield St Auburn. Him of the upturned collar and the easy gait. Chepauk 1967 beckons,Unforgettable really.

Posted by Meety on (July 15, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

Top shelf article IC. It is so true that Dravid had a very healthy dose of presence at the crease. In India, I used to wonder how any one EVER got him out, somewhat more mortal in Oz, but tough to remove. The current team IMO needs to do the opposite of any "playacting", just get down to the business of taking wickets & scoring runs. I noticed that early in the last Oz summer, Pattinson was taking wickets regularly, the second he started talking in the press "Indian batsmen are intimidated by me", he got carted (2nd innings Sydney). Warner & Watto are similar, they don't have the capacity to worry about what the opposition players think about them & keep on the top of their game.

Posted by landl47 on (July 15, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

Australia does have potential in young bowlers like Cummins, Pattinson and Starc, though the ODI series against England showed that there is still some way to go before that potential turns into match-winning performance (in fact, the most surprising thing about the series was how little trouble England's batsmen had with the Aussie attack). However, as Ian Chappell points out, there's not the same talent among the young batsmen. Once Ponting and Mike Hussey are out of the picture, who will fill their shoes? Mickey Arthur has been saying that Australia's top 6 in tests is settled- that's Warner, Cowan, Watson, Ponting, Clarke and Hussey. Only Warner is under 30, the top 3 have yet to show they're test class batsmen and numbers 4 and 6 are 37 years old. It's a far from convincing group and yet if they are considered 'settled' it means there isn't anyone pushing them. To be blunt, the future looks pretty difficult.

Posted by Scgboy on (July 15, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

Some good points, indeed. Ian is right respect has to be earned ,however what I think ,the coach meant was the will to fight. Not over aggression, rather just not take it lying down. Our inability to unearth any up and coming batsman has me , scratching my headIt really does.We have a few in the works , they just haven't kicked on, as expected...

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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