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One half of The Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

The Investec Ashes 2013

Australia's era of decline

Fundamental issues remain with how the game is run in Australia, although the country's sporting problems are not restricted to cricket

Jarrod Kimber

August 24, 2013

Comments: 90 | Text size: A | A

Pat Cummins celebrates the wicket of Nasir Jamshed, Pakistan v Australia, 2nd T20I, Dubai, September 7, 2012
Mixed messages: who is really in charge of Pat Cummins' career? © Associated Press
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There is something wrong. Your work has lost the plot. They want to know exactly what the problems are. They appoint an independent commission to get all the facts. You go into the meeting ready to give your full and frank opinion in a safe and anonymous way.

But in the room is your boss. He says you can ask him to leave if you want.

Would you ask him to leave? And let him know that you are essentially about to badmouth him?

Would you keep him there but still be as frank and honest as you would be without him being there?

Or would you leave him there, and say the sort of things that would keep your relationship with him super sweet?

In the last eight Tests, this hard-working, disorganised, plagued-by-infighting, magic-seeking Australia team has lost seven times and not won once. They've lost three of their last four series. And the phrase "Australian cricketer" no longer means a monster that will destroy your hopes and dreams - unless you are Australian.

Australia's Test team has slipped, their ODI side hasn't made the semi-finals of the last two ICC tournaments, and their T20 side is ranked seventh (as laughable as those rankings are). At the end of this Test, Australia will be ranked fifth in the world. If there were to be a World Test Championship, Australia would not be invited. That's not a myth, that's fact. It's also not a mistake, it's well earned.

****

Jason Gillespie never made it to the revenge Ashes. Damien Martyn, Justin Langer, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne retired at them. Matthew Hayden stayed on for another couple of years with Adam Gilchrist. Brett Lee couldn't get through Tests, and ultimately ODIs. Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey went in the same summer. That is ten pretty decent players to leave in seven years.

Players do retire. To be with their families, to take up new positions. Because they're tired. Because they're struggling. Because they're old. Even Sachin isn't going to be playing until he is 50. Things change.

But Australia lost more than just the big names during that period. The ICL came and claimed some of their most experienced and well respected Shield players. Names like Ian Harvey, Matthew Elliott, Jimmy Maher, Michael Kasprowicz, Stuart Law, Michael Bevan and even Gillespie, again, were lost. Cricket Australia decided that any players who were part of the ICL were effectively radioactive. There was pressure from the BCCI, but it was CA that made the decision. Those players who were in the Shield would never play again, instantly weakening it. Those who were coaching candidates would take a few years before they were let back into the ground.

At around the same time, Cricket Australia changed the National 2nd XI competition to the Futures League. The Futures League was not the name of a horrible sci-fi film but a way of getting more young players into the Shield system. A new rule of this competition meant that a minimum of eight players had to be under 23. Turning what was one of the strongest non-first-class competitions in cricket's history into an Under-23 competition with a few wise heads. They also shortened it to three days, and even more bizarrely had capped overs for innings (96 in the first, 48 in the second). A once-proud and important part of Australian cricket had been experimented with, the way stoner pizza-makers do on the late shift.

 
 
The ICL came and claimed some of Australia's most experienced and well-respected Shield players. Names like Ian Harvey, Matthew Elliott, Jimmy Maher, Michael Kasprowicz, Stuart Law, Michael Bevan and even Gillespie were lost
 

The 2nd XI competition was always very important in Australia, as only six teams made up the Shield, so they needed a way to groom and expose new players. It was also a combination of young fresh-faced hopefuls, Shield players who were not regulars, and grizzled club cricketers who had been performing well that year. It was brutal and uncaring, the perfect way to prepare for first-class cricket. And if you listen to the many, many, many Shield cricketers who complain about it, Cricket Australia turned it into a friendly crèche for spoiled children.

One way or another, it is certainly the case that Shield cricket went from the best first-class competition on earth to just another first-class competition. And it did so quickly. In the early 2000s David Hussey was averaging 45 for Victoria and 65 for Nottinghamshire. By 2011 his former team-mate Damien Wright was saying that county cricket was stronger than Shield cricket. Now even if he was wrong, the fact that the two could be compared showed how much Shield cricket had slipped.

There are others who aim their guns at the Big Bash League. Now the BBL has many flaws. Instead of players being contracted for and developed by one club, you add another layer that in many ways never needed to be added. At one stage a few years ago, Pat Cummins was getting advice from the national, state and franchise physios depending on what time of the season it was. It also means that a young player can be paid far more by a franchise than they can for being a first-class player. Cricket Australia is telling these players, directly at times, that T20 is more important than Shield cricket.

The BBL is also midway through the Shield season. It stops Shield cricket dead. Shield cricket ceases to exist for just shy of two months next season. That means for a player who is just a first-class specialist, he gets almost two months off with no first-class games to play during the major part of the summer, and he also can't push his name forward for the Test side in that time. If that player does choose to play, it's also not like they're playing in a strong competition. It has eight teams not six, spreading the talent further. At that time of the year it is practically impossible for the Australian Test players to play. And generally, the overseas players who do play are not the best players on earth.

Then there are some who will say T20 techniques are changing the way young Australians bat, but what country doesn't play T20? Alastair Cook has played T20 for Essex, Jonathan Trott has played T20 for England, and KP plays in the IPL. As do Dravid, Kohli, Tendulkar, Kallis, Smith, de Villiers, Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Gayle. Since the IPL started, Chris Gayle's Test average has gone up four runs. That is despite the fact that he plays in almost every T20 competition on the planet.

The IPL, which does not stop the Ranji Trophy midway through, and does have stars from India and the world, is also not to blame. The South African players are in the IPL, Champions League, and they have their own T20 tournament. They seem to handle all this. It doesn't affect their Test team being the best. Their techniques and behaviour seem unaffected by the big money and constant slogging.

The IPL has even helped Australia in the past. Shane Watson used the first tournament as a celebration of himself as a star. Shaun Marsh showed the selectors he was around. Ryan Harris used it to learn subcontinental bowling. And countless Australian players are given free lessons in playing spin on the subcontinent.

It also means that Aussie Rules football finally has to compete with cricket. Since Aussie Rules went professional, every player who was good at both sports - and since they share a heritage and grounds, there are many - chose football. Almost every champion Aussie Rules footballer has a story about how he was equally good at cricket. How they could be in the top order for Australia had they not chosen another sport. Shane Warne partly chose cricket because he was a failed footballer. Brad Hodge tried to play football. Jamie Siddons, Max Walker, Keith Miller and Simon O'Donnell all played both codes.


Mitchell Marsh in his delivery stride, South Australia v Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, Adelaide, March 7, 2013
Mitchell Marsh: someone who picked cricket over Aussie Rules © Getty Images
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But there are more than 500 active professional football jobs in Australia every year. There are fewer than 100 cricket jobs. Dan Marsh was in the first 40 cricketers for Australia for a few years, and he probably gets recognised on the street twice a year. A comparable footballer would still be getting VIP nightclub treatment five or ten years after he retired. But now cricket can fight back. With the two devils, the IPL and the BBL, kids know there are more jobs, with more pay, that can also make them more famous. Mitchell Marsh, Alex Keath and Meyrick Buchanan all chose cricket over football in the last few years. It isn't many, and only Marsh has really made it, but with Aussie Rules getting bigger, and more sports being played in Australia than ever before, any kids who choose cricket first is a win.

Especially as Australia's recent sporting efforts would suggest that they are no longer the powerhouses they once were at sport.

****

In 2003 an Australian was in a sports bar in New York, watching an NBA game. The guys at the bar heard his accent. They treated him like he was an Australian athlete worthy of praise, not a pudgy world traveller on the way to the World Cup. They also told him that Australians were, by far, the greatest athletes on the planet. At that stage Australians were known for two things - Steve Irwin, and being better than everyone else at sport. The Australian tried to tell them it was a bit of a bubble, and that it wasn't actually a mythical country. Had they found a court, he would have shown them his jump shot to disprove the theory for once and all. Instead the legend kept growing.

****

In the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Australia won no gold medals, and only five medals altogether. In Sydney 2000, they won 16 and 58, in 2004 Athens it was 17 and 50. In Montreal, they were the 32nd-ranked nation, in Sydney and Athens, they were fourth. How did the world's 52nd most populous country, with about 20 million people, end up the world's fourth-best sporting nation at consecutive Olympics?

It was helped by the conditions. An active outdoor lifestyle helped. Most suburbs and country towns had sport at their heart. A joint football, cricket, netball and tennis club was where people spent their time, playing, watching and drinking. The weather helped too. Summer sports can be played almost all year round in many parts of the country. Queensland, as a state on its own, embarrasses whole nations by the number of golds it has won in Olympic pools. Partly, at least, because it's hot there and you want to be swimming all the time. But other countries have good weather and active lifestyles.

It's not genetic. Unlike other small countries that have done well, it wasn't a genetic predisposition to one or two sports; Australians dominated the world in almost everything that could be classed as a sport, other than football. They've won medals in the summer and winter Olympics. They have been blessed with naturally athletic indigenous athletes, but despite their phenomenal success, they are only less than 2% of the population, and they aren't the reason Australia was so successful.

So what was the most important part of Australia's rise to the top? Money and hard work.

 
 
While other countries treated sport as a pastime, Australia looked at it as a business. They found the world's best coaches and ploughed money into sports science
 

While other countries treated sport as a pastime, Australia looked at it as a business. They found the world's best coaches and ploughed money into sports science. They created academies, scholarships and institutes, while everyone else outside of the American collegiate system or the very elite end of sport was working a day job and playing a bit of sport when they could. Sports psychologists joined physios, doctors and nutritionists. Their athletes were better trained, equipped and looked after than those of most nations on earth.

This led to phenomenal success. This led to the myth. But recently it has all started falling down. And it isn't just cricket.

The latest Olympics were very average for Australia. Only seven gold medals, and their worst result since 1988. In tennis, Australia have produced one grand slam winner in ten years. They were beaten at home by the British Lions in rugby. In the latest FINA World Swimming Championships Australia came sixth with three golds. In 2001 they had 13 golds and were the No. 1 team.

There will still be people all around the world who see Australians as these mythical sporting beings who cannot be beaten. But they do get beaten, and they are very much sporting mortals. The rest of the world has simply caught up.

Australian society has changed as well.

People don't congregate around sporting clubs like they used to. There are simply other things to do. The majority of Australia live in the suburbs, and the suburbs have changed. The suburbs were once isolating places where sport was virtually the only distraction. Australian suburbs now have never-ending shopping centres. They almost all have movie theatres, pubs, gambling, gyms, and late-night shopping. Country towns are now just around the corner from a regional centre that will have live bands almost every night, LGBT clubs, and poetry readings at independent bookstores.

Even Australian backyards have changed. Once they were sporting meccas where future stars were first shown how to play. And now every new housing development seems to have smaller and smaller land plots. Backyards are now entertainment courtyards. With enough room for a BBQ and an outside dining set, but not to kick a footy or shoot some hoops.

Immigration and gentrification have changed Australia. As has its obscene wealth. Australia is third in the world for GDP, according to Kevin Rudd election propaganda handed out at Lord's. What constitutes an Australian is more diverse than ever. A Cosmopolitan-drinking tofu eater is in some parts of Australia as Australian as a plumber wearing a singlet and shorts having a VB watching the cricket.

Many Australian fans hark back to captains like Chappelli, AB and Tugga, but Michael Clarke is a much truer representation of how Australia is right now.


James Sutherland and Pat Howard announce the sacking of Mickey Arthur, Bristol, June 24, 2013
Top of three: James Sutherland and Pat Howard © AFP
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Cricket Australia has changed as well. Their chairman of selectors, John Inverarity, is not an ocker unpaid Aussie cricketer but a former master of Hale school and professional chairman of the NSP. They are a marketing machine with a travel lifestyle magazine. Their tour packages of England aren't for cricket fans but for wealthy tourists who happen to love cricket. They have slogans and viral campaigns. They have interns and corporate team-building days. They even have an executive general manager of people and culture.

Cricket Australia is many people. Some of their employees are exceptional. Stephanie Beltrame, the General Manager Media Rights, is probably in the top five cricket administrators on the planet. Chief legal counsel Dean Kino is probably the most important person in cricket you've never heard of. These two spearheaded Cricket Australia's rights deal. There are other quality people as well. Most of them love cricket, or at the very least, Australian cricket. They work hard, they spin, they market, they plan, and they run cricket as best they can.

But the Australia men's team is what they are judged on. It's what funds their big TV deals, it's what gives them any power. That team is failing, and it's partly to do with their mistakes.

The Futures League was stupid. The split-innings List A games were stupid. Giving Greg Chappell the position of National Talent Manager was stupid. Banning the ICL players was stupid. Extending Tim Nielsen's contract for three years was stupid. Making Clarke a selector was stupid. Sacking your coach only two weeks before a major series was stupid.

Also stupid was hiring Pat Howard as the man who would be ultimately responsible, and then letting him fire someone else when things got bad. That was an Argus report recommendation. Another was paying the players based on their performance. But the administrators are not paid on their performance.

James Sutherland is paid to be the CEO of Cricket Australia. Because the chairman's role in Australian cricket is rotated every two years, it means that Sutherland is by far the most important person in Australian cricket. Sutherland has been in charge since 2001. Brad Haddin made his debut that year. Every other current player joined the team later than that.

That makes Sutherland a veteran by anyone's definition. And this year has been horrible for Australian cricket in every way bar financially. It would take someone of staggering incompetence not to get Cricket Australia a huge amount of TV money, and Sutherland is not incompetent. He's a very skilled operator who has turned a semi-professional organisation into a professional one. But other countries are too. And even some who aren't are just outperforming Australia on the field. If Sutherland had a Howard in charge of him, he would never have lasted this long. And it's not just this year. For the past five years Australia have been in decline.

Since the 2007 World Cup, the only major or unexpected wins are Australia beating South Africa in 2009, winning the Champions Trophy the same year, and making one other ICC final in that time. Ponting stepped down, Nielsen left after being asked to reapply for his job, Andrew Hilditch was replaced, Greg Chappell's position was downsized, and Mickey Arthur was sacked.

The person in charge of the whole show is still in charge. And unless there is a coup in the Jolimont office, it's hard to see that changing.

****

During the Argus Review, Sutherland sat in the room while people gave their testimony. Things that could have been said weren't said. Things that should have been said more vehemently were watered down. It instantly compromised what was supposed to be an independent commission into problems in cricket.

Two years on from the Argus review, Australian cricket has not progressed. Howard gets more blame, but the performance on the field, and the decisions off the field, continue to be baffling. And Australia continue to lose.

According to the Argus review, the buck has to stop somewhere. Australia have tried stopping it at the captain, chairman of selectors, general manager of team performance, and two coaches, but eventually, the buck has to stop with the CEO. And that time is now.

For Australian cricket to progress it needs someone new. It needs James Sutherland to get out of the room.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

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Posted by   on (August 30, 2013, 2:51 GMT)

Kimber is right. The IPL , BBL and WI T20 league have destroyed the Sheffield Shield. It was the greatest local comp now its merely another first class comp. With the decline of the 4 day comp in terms of quality the Aus test side has turned to custard.

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

Suggestion: Form an advisory committee drawn from Ponting, M Hussey, Langer, Haydon, Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist, S Waugh, Taylor, Border, G and I Chappell. Include Healy if he agrees to talk moderately. Make CA and team management and selectors talk to them monthly chaired by Sutherland. Keep record of the advice given and compare with ongoing action and performance. Agenda items and questions can be submitted in advance by any meeting participant but will be moderated by chairman. Carke and Lehmann give a brief report at the beginning of each meeting. Give this committee some clout and respect, otherwise they will walk out.

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

There has been too much panic over the downwards slide of Australian cricket, which I think, is harming them. Since the team isn't used to losing, they have trouble accepting that they are landing hard on the earth as a mortal side. That denial mode, and hence panic, hasn't allowed them to set their goals low for the present to build for the future.

And with regards to this Ashes series, they have done remarkably well to be in winning positions in four out of five Tests, against a team of a much higher quality.

Posted by CoverDrive88 on (August 27, 2013, 4:56 GMT)

Excellent article. In particular your list of "stupids" is spot on, although I think we could all add quite a few more given very little time. It seems to me that Sutherland has presided over a time when marketing has become more important than cricket, and short term financial gains more important than longer term success. I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion that he should pay the price. I'd like to see people like Ian Chappell and Tubby Taylor have a lot more influence than people like Sutherland and Howard. The administrators should implement, but the cricketers should have a lot to say on strategy. Just one thing, our international success in sports goes a lot further back than Montreal, which, as you say was a low point, but think Melbourne Olympics in 1956, Davis Cup in the late 50's and 60's. There was no money then.

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 3:15 GMT)

It is so easy that Australian Cricket is on the decline. Except the India series away, i think they are the only team since WC to have competed in all series they played. They dominated SA both Home and Away (Should have won at home,and that shambles @ Cape Town in 2nd Innings ) , they dominated IND (Home), they could have so nearly won 2 tests here.Of course they are not the team of the old,but if they start winning everyone will say "They are back" . ENG had a mojor glitch in the Emirates, India had a brainfreeze with Eng (Home and Away). SA they could have easily lost in AUS,yet to play in subcontinent. PAK so and so. SL,NZ,WI downside. I think it will be a tough battle in Australia.

Posted by Timbo2530 on (August 26, 2013, 23:52 GMT)

@ heathrf1974, I know Johnny's mob always managed to balance them budgets.

I'm a sport's administrator at grass roots level. I've been doing this on an honorary basis now for 15+ years. In my experience the cash to cover costs at grass root level comes from the players themselves and whatever generous local corporate sponsors we can gather. It never filters through from any form of Govt regardless of their political persuasion. Grass root level is where ALL the champions are nurtured at any sport and it is the volunteers that make us great.

Australia's success in all sports is because we love sport full stop. Passion and pride in the Baggy Green, the Kangaroo / Wallaby gurnsey, the AFL Flag is by far the main incentive not the cash. Passion 'n' pride will get the Ashes back......not cash. Cheers

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 23:43 GMT)

Sutherland walking out will not solve the key current problems. CA also needs to find a better replacement. Morale and confidence is poor in and around the team; Mike Hussey quitting abruptly at the top of his game and the Lehmann outburst at Broad are symptoms. Selection strategy hasn't been the best for several years. Dealing with Tests, ODIs, T20s and distractions like BBL and IPL seem to take away focus and clarity from the selectors. Selecting the best combination of 12 players available for each game is a clearer, fairer and more principled selection policy than the far less transparent methods used for sometime. Ponting, Hussey, Steve Waugh, Warne, Gilchrist, McGrath and the like are the more recent greats who have the most current knowledge. Why not ask them for help, or hire some of them in some capacity?

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 23:42 GMT)

Brilliant. This is the first article that hasn't purely blamed t20 for australias demise. Its bad management more than anything else and for that Howard must go.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 22:21 GMT)

It is getting close to time for real Aussie cricket fans to take action. If the Ashes are lost again by Boxing Day there should be a protest outside the CA offices in Jolimont calling for the resignation of Sutherland that evening. After the day's play, of course. Anyone know how to make a good flammable effigy?

Posted by BobFleming on (August 26, 2013, 21:49 GMT)

I have to say, JK has been one of the star turns of the summer for me. Pithy, well-crafted and always meaningful in his content. An excellent addition to the cricinfo stable.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 20:56 GMT)

Jarrod Kimber is becoming an increasingly good cricket writer ... silver lining from Australia's decline must be that it is forcing him to channel his angst on paper

Posted by sarangsrk on (August 26, 2013, 19:07 GMT)

Well written, Jarrod. I have lived in Aus for about 7 years and have seen the passion and commitment towards sports up close. In fact being in a sports loving country was the fore most reason why I liked Australia. I was always in awe of Aussie sports persons for their never-say-die, fair-dinkum attitude but things have changed in last few years. Makes me sad to see a great sporting nation going down hill but this can change over next few years. Looking at the current Aus team, I feel it is seriously short of young batting talent. In my opinion, Aus cricket needs to employ former cricketers watching over the grade level cricket and reporting back to CA about the level/standard of players, techniques and coaching staff. Make the changes at that layer and you will see better basics in each player. You won't have Pontings, Haydens, Mcgraths and Warnes every decade but you can always have Langers and Husseys in every 3-4 years.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 18:24 GMT)

Australia have to be willing to lose allot of test matches over the next 5 years to really develop a world beating team. Great teams require consistent selection, development and a stable team environment. I look at New Zealand as an example. Nz have lost many many many matches over recent years, but they have developed young players who are now coming into fruition as a unit, particularly the bowlers. Have faith in your youth Australia and stick with them. Stop reaching for the old hands such as Haddin time and time again. Stick with the young guys and they will develop into a mighty unit. Stop trying to be like the team in the 90's-00's, they were a freakish team, unlikely to happen again for a long time.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

I was in Australia, Sydney for 2 years between 2005 & 2007. I used to tell my colleagues and friends that Ozzie domination of sports and Cricket in particular is coming to an end. From what I saw at that time the youngsters were more keen on sports like Footsie and Golf. Ozzies once were the unconquered kings in Tennis and surrendered it long long back. Their swimmers are no longer champions. Now, Cricket. In my stay, I have hardly seen an youngster interested in Cricket.

Posted by UltimateCricExpert on (August 26, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

@deedsie10: No Hussey during 2005 and no McGrath in the matches Australia lost...

Posted by baghels.a on (August 26, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

Excellent article Jarrod , covers the entire gamut really , however both problem and solution are are not black and white, As an outsider looking at things i feel Australian cricket and sports in general are going through a downward cylcle , it all can change quite quickly but certain systemic changes are indeed needed.

Jarrod has only highlited Aussie Rules but Rugby or NRL is another one he missed out , Even Football or Soccer as it is refered in Aus is also mounting a challenge .I recently saw 93,000 fans packing the stadium at MCG to watch Liverpool v/s Melbourne Victory for a friendly match !!!

I do agree BBL,IPL are needed to keep the teenagers ang young crowd take to the game but a fine balance has to be struck where Shield competition thrives so it can produced battle hardened test cricketers for Australia.

Posted by Fluffykins on (August 26, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

Personally I am only interested in matches that went the distance and in that respect only the first one was close. I am also looking forward with less trepidation to the trip down under as even well under par the series was already decided before The Oval,which is let's be honest a first for us an achievement in itself. also the standout Oz bowler doesn't look like he will be able to last a five test series which is a concern for the opposition.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (August 26, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

@Timbo2530 I liked John Howard. But you obviously don't know about the Federal Budgets.

Posted by Valavan on (August 26, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

@Hadid Yamin, Unfortunately 1.Trescothick 2.Strauss 3.Vaughan 4.KP 5.Bell 6.Flintoff 7.Geraint jones 8. Simon Jones 9. Giles 10.Harmison 11.Hoggard trumped the same team in 2005 by 2 - 1. Just 8 years and you forgot since Aussies lost it. Even as of now that was beginning of end of Australian domination in Test cricket. cricinfo please publish.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

to justipl faulkner was not discovered in the ipl, he has been on australias rader for ages, players should not be selected on series no one cares about apart from the pay. Faulkner is picked because of the wickets he takes for TASMANIA, and thats the way it should be

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

The last time England were in Australia, everyone said England were gonna win the ashes. Then Australia got England into trouble at the Gabba, Australia took the lead, only to have England rack up 517 for 1 and draw the match. In Adelaide England dominated then in Perth Australia fought back and levelled the series on a bouncy WACA pitch only to capitulate for 98 at the MCG which saw England retain the ashes then the final straw where England bolted to another innings victory at the SCG.

Posted by hhillbumper on (August 26, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

I think a cold hard appreciation is what is needed.pick some players and stick with them. The younger players have been chopped and changed.If you look at the Ashes the main contributors were Rogers,Harris,Clarke and Haddin.All of whom are reaching the back end of their career.Only Steve Smith showed some consistency. Yes there are young fast bowlers but not much cop if always injured.There are lots of excuses re weather,DRS,Umpires and the rest but Australia lost.While Clarke is an adventurous captain maybe he needs to learn to draw tests and not lose.From there comes the confidence to win.This might be unpopular in Australia but some acceptance of a plan moving forward sounds good. They remind me of the England football team.Always going to win every tournament they enter but flatter to deceive.Thanjfully Aus cricket team are not as poor as the Eng Football Team.Golden generation my rear.

Posted by AltafPatel on (August 26, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

Team change, series by series, led to unstable, inexperienced and less confident team.

Posted by deedsie10 on (August 26, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

@ Hadid Yamin - yes England 2005 funnily enough. Won 2-1.

Posted by Markdal on (August 26, 2013, 10:48 GMT)

Jarrod has it spot-on. Cricket Australia is a business, and Sutherland is the CEO. They are currently making money while losing ground, so Sutherland is safe. But eventually, sponsors will start disappearing if results don't improve. People don't want to put their name to a loser. When that happens, what will Sutherland do? Or more importantly, what will the rest of the Board do?

Posted by JustIPL on (August 26, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

Like India and West Indies, now Aussies should try some IPL talent. They might get some run making machines and bowlers like Faulkner.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (August 26, 2013, 10:26 GMT)

@Hadid Yamin -'forget about current england side , could any team in the history beat them in a test seris?' Forget of other sides and history, I am pretty darn sure that current Eng side would have been dealt a 5-0 thrashing seeing how they hads to huff and puff to win over the current Aus side and even had rain, bad light, umps, etc to help them and even in some occasions to save them from certain defeat .

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

1 justin langer 2 matthew hayden 3 ricky ponting 4 damien martyn 5 michael clarke 6 mike hussey 7 adam gilchrist 8 shane warne 9 brett lee 10 jason gillespie 11 glenn mcgrath ... forget about current england side , could any team in the history beat them in a test seris?

Posted by Timbo2530 on (August 26, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

The series was closer than the result. Australia went close in T1 & T4 and the English weather helped everywhere else bar Lords.

@ heathrf1974, your politics theory gave me a chuckle. I thought I'd heard them all but you've found something else to blame poor old Johnny Howard for. Johnny would be hurting just as much as any Aussie cricket tragic mate.

Aussie cricket is in a bit of a rut at the moment. It was always going to be hard plugging the holes left by Ponting & Mike Hussey in such a short period.

The positives have been Chris Rogers and Steve Smith. There are also some young batsmen that are showing promise as potential Test cricketers. Nick Maddinson for one and there's Shaun Marsh, Alex Doolan & Phil Hughes still has a part in my book.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 9:36 GMT)

I am compelled to admit that the more test cricket Watson played (and the rest of the team), the better the Aussies got. This is a clear indication that their fighting spirit is there but that their administrators have got it horribly wrong. In a test you have to be firing from day 1, rather than "day 20". CA has a lot of repair work to do and to do it urgently

Posted by Mahfoozsalim on (August 26, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

The time has gone when Aussies were dominant in the world cricket and time has come for other teams to show them their way. I humbly request Aussies fans to accept the reality of the time and let the team recover from the injuries and do well in the competitions

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

I hate to say that it's many a time that I said that money's the killer of sports, but let's have it again: Money is the killer of sports. On the highest generic level it makes the focus shift from sports to making money. I can't put it more plainly than this. I feel it's time to put a stop to 'the American way' of looking at life and reinvent our own way of life. No more budgeting. No more investors. No more shareholders. Just cricket. Maybe it's about time to quit 'the American way' of looking at life altogether.

Posted by Patorick on (August 26, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

No mention of Rugby League?

Of course.

Posted by hamjan on (August 26, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

Aus. need solid cricketers. their helplessness can be find out from d fact that they are going in Ashes with three or genuine batsman i.e clark, roger, Huges and Khwaja including 5 openers wrner, watson, huges roger and khwaja. THis Aus. team needs solid middle order players.

Posted by Rowayton on (August 26, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

Thomas J Jones, don't know why the Premier League would have an influence on English cricket - European, African or South American cricket maybe. Frankly I don't know if this downturn in Australia is systemic or cyclical and neither I suspect does anyone else. Tell you in 10 years.

Posted by Big_Chikka on (August 26, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

buck stops with ceo. looking at aus/england i can see the same issues arising in england .why? because instead of for example making the market bigger, they reduce the no of teams in leagues, effectively reducing the market for grass roots cricket (results in a side effect of less competition not more), and then through some diddy logic they ( the administrators) decide on preventing international player participation too. professional football is huge because it has many clubs, leagues and opportunities.as for australia i've never understood why ca couldn't keep on top of its production line other than the wrong leadership.

Posted by hamjan on (August 26, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

Aus. need solid cricketers. their helplessness can be find out from d fact that they are going in Ashes with three or genuine batsman i.e clark, roger, Huges and Khwaja including 5 openers wrner, watson, huges roger and khwaja. THis Aus. team needs solid middle order players.

Posted by Sathyasing on (August 26, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

The timing of this article is just nice.I am confident that some changes will happen at the top .Its better to act now for a brighter future.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

I've heard this AFL argument before, but then you could make an even stronger case for the negative influence of the Premier League, which has already started, and runs for 10 months of the year, and pays far far more money than the AFL.

Posted by mamboman on (August 26, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

Australian cricket can trace its decline to two factors: Ponting's relaxation of the merciless style of cricket made famous by Border, Taylor and Waugh before the 200 Ashes and, most critically, they player's loss of faith in the Australian administration after they hung Andrew Symonds out to dry after Monkeygate, Sydney 2007. two predicate causes, exacerbated by dollar chasing administrators since.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

I am afraid Australia has to live with this decline for a decade...

Posted by Clyde on (August 26, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

The administration of Australian cricket is perhaps the toughest thing a potential Test player has to overcome. And I would like to help them by supporting the getting rid of Sutherland. Of course, the next chief administrator will need getting rid of too, and the one after that, and so on, but that is OK. We need all to support the playing of cricket and subvert the administration of it. Let players show what cricket is about, as the administration of cricket is an unappealing thing and a red herring. The forces trying to take cricket off the field into the stand where the coach sits and upstairs where the third umpire is have got to be countered. Jarrod is right about the amount of stupidity, but the monster at the centre of this hydra-head is letting people other than players work cricket out and play it.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (August 26, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

Aqif Mukhtar; Aqif you have a decent point but I think the wrong logic. All Australians follow cricket with a passion, its just the young players know that only 10-15 cricketers make big money the rest make a regular wage. The AFL would have over 300 people payed upwards of 200k a year. Cricketers generally have to wait till the mid 20's to earn decent cash, footballers get it a lot quicker. Our talented youngsters are usually equally talented at football and cricket however the majority will chose to pursue football for a career. However, the balance has been addressed with 20/20 and more players in the future may pursue cricket - however there will always be the obsession with the 20/20 skills that don't help in test cricket. The AUstralian decline has not been as graphic as people suggest though, no team can be dominant for ever. Even in the last couple of years we drew a series with South Africa away and pushed them at home. We have fallen but don't have to rise all that far.

Posted by liz1558 on (August 26, 2013, 7:23 GMT)

So the sum of all this decline is that Australia can only cobble together a batting line up of Wood, Hilditch, Ritchie, Phillips, and Matthews supporting their one outstanding batsman and adventurous captain, AB. Add to this a couple of rookie fast bowlers in Mcdermott and O'donnell...sorry, it appeared to be 1985 again.

This current Aus side closely resembles that team: batsmen who are never likely ti average more than 35 and some promising pace bowlers. Just needs someone to do the AB revival act.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (August 26, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

I know this is not a political forum and I am not trying to influence anyone. When Labor/Left governments are in power they put lots of money into sport. During the 80s and early 90s Australia had a labor government and reaped the rewards around the 90s and early 2000s. Britian similarly has had labour governments during the 90s and 2000s and are reaping the benefits now. When conservative governments are in power they cut this sort of government spending so after 5 to 10 years you see the negative effect in sporting achievements. In summary you'll find sporting success and the type of government in power 5 or 10 years earlier more often than not are inter-linked.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (August 26, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

The problem ... and the continued reign of James Sutherland ... is because CA have become an excellent marketing and money making organisation. Mega tv deals, BBL grown and now sold to free to air tv, lucrative 7 match ODI series in India ..... all of Sutherland's KPI's would have a big tick and a hearty handshake. Unfortunately the the C in CA stands for CRICKET and the winning of Test matches specifically Ashes Tests are tracking at about 0%. The focus is on the wrong things and if you asked the cricketing public what should be the guiding force behind any CA decision the overwhelming choice would be a successful Test team. As outlined above how many of the decisions CA have taken have had that goal as their genesis? For a start , talk me through the point and purpose of the upcoming ODI series in India conducted while England will be in Australia preparing for the Ashes. CA should have a cricket man at the top (Steve Waugh? Mark Taylor?) who would filter all these choices.

Posted by milepost on (August 26, 2013, 6:23 GMT)

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (August 26, 2013, 5:41 GMT), I agree, based on performance (forget about potential, it's a fallacy) England will have a tough time in Australia. With the exception of Lords, Australia were in every game here. Some England fans might be booing Clarke and the bad light but remember this - in a million years England will never try to win a game from the position Clarke was in. Thank goodness for the entertainment too after some pretty disrespectful cricket from England to the paying spectator. Well done England, deserved winners but fans, don't be counting your chickens just yet.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

I hope Pat Cummins is taking control now in managing his own body, after all he knows it best.

Posted by MrKricket on (August 26, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

The sooner CA stops trying to milk this game for all the money it can get the better. Every decision is made on the basis of money not the long term interests of the game in Australia. The BBL which is a C-grade version of the IPL doesn't need to go on for so long. It could be wound up in three weeks - the games are so short the players probably don't even get tired. Four overs for a bowler? Run it out quickly and keep the Shield going at the same time.

As for tours of England they never learn. In the old days they'd play a series of games vs counties to get acclimatised then into the Tests which were spaced out nicely with a country game between each Test except the last two. There is no time to recover now with a Test finishing on Tuesday and starting on a Friday. Way too close together. CA wants a kick in the pants. Could they have prepared worse for this tour with a tour of India where all confidence was always going to be flushed away?

Go, James Sutherland, just go.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

Australian Rules Football (AFL) is doing to Cricket in Australia what Basketball did to West Indies Cricket, which is to completely swallow the lesser money-making sport.

Although Australians do follow their cricket summer (only because of AFL's off season), they hardly know where in the world Australia is playing right now and if they are winning or loosing (Ashes in England is an exception). Probably 90% of kids younger than 16 years don't even know the names of domestic shield teams but as soon as AFL season starts they get out their favourite team scarfs and woolly beanies.

All the new sporting stadiums are designed primarily for AFL with a drop-in pitch option shows the level of commitment from the Government and people's interest towards cricket.

CA really needs to start fighting for its own share in terms of money and sporting infrastructure and stop feeding off on whatever is left after AFL Grand Final in September.

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (August 26, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

We can ignore the factual inaccuracy of the Australia & the Sports World, as this is a cricket site and it's one man's opinion. It's terrific to see the corner turned on the 'era of decline' on field in this series. Sure we lost, that was on the cards, not to mention odds on under Arthur. At least now Clarke can give rein to his inventive Captaincy with a Coach who also believes in risking defeat to empower players to use their skills to win. This contracted group of players will now know that Australian Cricket Onfield Leadership expects risk taking, not essays on how not to lose. However the 'era of decline' will continue in CA headquarters, unless the on field attitude has a chance to permeate the halls of bureaucracy. We need pencil pushers meercatting over their cubicles looking for the tap on the shoulder. See the TV Rights hit grass roots, then we'll see real transition.

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (August 26, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

Dream on F-F-L, 4 or 5 nil! You'll be flat out bowling Australia out twice at home. It takes more than a strike rate of 70 and average in the mid 30's to be effective on Aus wickets, as Anderson, Broad and Swann have found out in the past. They'll be playing on real grounds, not postage stamps where a mishit is four. It is also likely too that the match rules will mean the bowlers can't go off every 15 minutes to comb their hair as they've been allowed to at home. Your best chance of winning a test will be exactly as it was in this Test - if the Australians are making the running. They play to win and settle for a draw if absolutely necessary, rather than 'just getting through the day' which seems to be Eng's game plan.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 4:34 GMT)

The windies dominated in the seventies and the aussies in the nineties. Both now sit near the bottom of the test rankings. Perhaps your time in the sun has passed. The aussie public and selectors seem to be having trouble digesting this. The rest of us are just going to enjoy it after the swagger of the nineties.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

Pheew ... Superb article Mr Kimber one of the best I read. simply summed up the CA state right now. being a Sri lankan and die hard cricket fan I hope this decline is temporary. We all want to see Aussies back in track with full force.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (August 26, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

Kimber highlights money and hardwork as the principles of Australia's cricketing dominance. Well, it cannot be argued by any sane person that money-making is an issue - CA has more revenue than ever before. But is that money being spent wisely?

What has been done to the FC competition in this country is an absolute disgrace. Money chasing: part obsession with winning the Ashes by emulating English conditions and part chasing the short attention span dollar with the BBL.

Isn't it funny that after 2005, when we lost against the so called "moving ball" and prepared conditions to counter it - the English simply dried out their pitches?

Posted by landl47 on (August 26, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

Excellent article. Can I also suggest that another problem is the virtual exclusion of overseas players from the first-class game in Australia. With centrally-contracted players playing only a very minor part in domestic cricket, young Shield players these days don't get much chance to play with top competition. England has an advantage here because more overseas players are available in what is the off-season everywhere but England, but CA needs to find more ways to attract good overseas players and raise the quality of the Shield. Who knows, some of them might decide to stay and play for Australia!

@Cameron Turner: Aus has some promising young bowlers, but at the moment there's not even one test quality attack. Harris has been far and away Aus's best bowler in this series and he's almost 34 and JUST made it to the last day of the series before going down with another injury. Siddle's OK, but Starc's wild, Faulkner and Bird are ordinary and Pattinson and Cummins are always hurt.

Posted by shirl on (August 26, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

Agree with Helen, this is a manifesto, but one thing is not being looked at - Aus Women in many fields of sport are still a dominating force..Perhaps this too should be looked at - why are Aus Women out performing the Aus Men? What is the culture difference there?? Get rid of low performing Sutherland..Perhaps it is the money angle??

Posted by bundybear55 on (August 26, 2013, 1:25 GMT)

Batting for CA, James Sutherland has just prodded forward to a straight ball pitching in line, bat tucked in firmly behind his front pad. The ball brushes his pad, clips the outside edge of his bat, gently dislodges the off bail as the keeper takes the 'catch' then removes the remaining bail as Sutherland loses his balance and falls over in a heap. Does he 'walk' or does he wait for the umpires decision..? As he dusts himself off and looks around he sees the dreaded finger up at both ends... but hang on, he still has a review up his sleeve..! Up in the 'box' Wally Edwards has a quick chat with his mates and rules it is actually the non-striker who is at fault and the message is relayed via the on-field umpire - "on yer bike Mickey...!!

Posted by Not_Another_Keybored_Expert on (August 26, 2013, 0:45 GMT)

Its not all doom and gloom,in the last couple of years Oz have had world champs in Motogp,speedway,Motocross,mens and womens surfing,netball,tour de france,swimming,triathlon,boxing just to name a few,as well as having world class athletes in the NBA,NFL,and MLB, Australia are playing a lot more sports than they used to and its diluting the talent pool.

Posted by spinybabbler on (August 26, 2013, 0:44 GMT)

One of the best article indeed. Good on you mate. It is now time to re haul the Australian cricket calendar. There should be slaughts for every format of the game.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 0:11 GMT)

At least the Aussies look a bit more settled at the end of this series than they did at the beginning. As much as everyone has commented on our endless batting order changes, Shane Watson and Steve Smith have laid their claims to the 3 and 5 spots for the next little while, Chris Rogers isn't going anywhere, nor is Clarke at 4.

The only question is whether Phil Hughes or Dave Warner will play as opener or at 6. The bowling stock we've got is off the charts. Look at all these names who didn't play in this series: Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson, Luke Butterworth, Chad Sayers, Fawad Ahmed, Steve O'Keefe, Pat Cummins. We're loaded for bowling talent.

Australia's resurgence begins now!

Posted by CustomKid on (August 25, 2013, 23:33 GMT)

Not a truer word spoken, the sooner JS is gone the better. They need a fresh set of eyes to turn things around. Who that person is I don't know but they not only need to be a business minded individual but a person with ideas on how to develop the game from the grass roots up. Sutherland came in when the national team was flying and despite his corporate success has torn the heart and soul out of AU cricket especially at a FC level. I'm sure he has advisers who have assisted but some of their decisions have been plain dumb. Time for the board to vote no confidence, there is only so long the AU public will accept the poor performance before they switch off completely. Once they're gone they don't come back in a hurry, you lose a generation of viewers.

Posted by 4test90 on (August 25, 2013, 22:56 GMT)

Good article - but I think one thing that has been overlooked is government policy. Under the Labor govt Aust have had since 2007, our sporting success has declined dramatically whilst England have improved susbtantially since they elected a conservative govt. Under Labor's schools policy in Aust competition is seen as a bad thing - so everybody gets a prize, no one wins, even in football at junior level, they do not keep score. This is to encourage participation but of course does not breed a hard, resilient sportsperson. It may change next week when we go to the polls however.

Posted by Sanj747 on (August 25, 2013, 22:46 GMT)

Jarrod spot on. Sport as it is very much a business today needs change and this has to start at the top. Various sporting disciplines in Australia have had changes at the top including swimming, rugby league. rugby union, soccer and now tennis. Cricket unfortunately has not and is much needed. Bringing in dollars from TV rights deals and making the balance sheet look very positive is one half of the story. The branding of CA and it's image is unfortunately not registering on the populatiry scale amongst followers of the game and the wider public. The responsibility of this in some way or form does rest with the CEO.

Posted by CricketChat on (August 25, 2013, 22:08 GMT)

I don't think ICL impacted Aus fortunes much. Most of them were already over the hill or no hopers for international cricket. Don't much about their decline in other sports, but as far as cricket is concerned, I would say it is mostly cyclical. You don't come across once in a generation type of players of the caliber of Ponting, Hayden, McGrath, Lee, Warne and Gilchrist every year. Decline of West Indies cricket was a prime example of this cycle. Aussies will have to go through a few years of player rotation before the next sets of stars emerge. Eng, India and SA to some extent will dominate the game for next 4-5 yrs as they were able to nurture suitable replacements for their aging stars while they are still playing.

Posted by MinusZero on (August 25, 2013, 21:58 GMT)

Australia's current problem is that they cannot take 20 wickets. Their bowling is undoubtedly better than their batting, but if you cant take 20 wickets, you cant win. I blame the selectors for not giving other players a chance before the retirements of veterans like Hussey, McGrath and Warne. T20 is also not helping. I believe that Shield cricket should adopt the same scoring system as county cricket. I think it would promote more batting health over bowling.

Posted by HansonKoch on (August 25, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

When I travel in India I see kids playing cricket in the street. If there's an open park, I see multiple games sharing the same area. Meanwhile in Australia, I never see any kids playing cricket. Except occasionally on a sloping sandy beach with a tennis ball.

What does that tell you?

If we're to replace Sutherland, would ex-PM John Howard be the worst short term choice?

Posted by Inducker on (August 25, 2013, 21:48 GMT)

Perhaps Australia shouldn't have been so quick to get rid of its South African-born coach. The Australian option has been a dismal failure. Sure they competed well blah blah! but they actually lost 3 - nil and although Shane Warne kept congratulating Clarke on being not frightened about losing in order to try to win, it slowly dawned on Clarke his declaration had actually been rather a dumb one and he rushed for the light meter to stop losing 4 - nil. And if he really wanted to win, why didn't he declare earlier in the first innings to move the game along. Australia should also take a leaf out of England's books and look to import South African cricketers.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 21:42 GMT)

WA cricket used to have a great record for grabbing silverware and producing fast bowlers.Lillee, Massie,Capes, Reid, Alderman,Angel, Mathews, Julian etc.Its been 18 years since we had a local fast bowler in tne Test team and mirrors the decline in Australian cricket in general. Our adminisrators have been lazy, incompetant and lacing in imagination.I remember cricketers from WAs golden era of the eighties and early nineties being denied coaching jobs in the WACA system in favour of school teachers who had been middling grade players. The WACA ground itself was first made bigger for AFL football and then smaller agsin for cricket.Tens of millions of dollars spent yet mothing was spent on the indoor centre which is still a pathetic old shed so small tnat bowlers run ups are limited to a few metres.

Posted by thejesusofcool on (August 25, 2013, 20:48 GMT)

Your administrators were also daft enough to agree just 2 warm-up games before the first Test & there was time enough between the 2nd of these & the start of the Tests for at least one 3-day game as well.

Once bitten, twice shy, I'd have thought, after this happened in 2005 to you. We didn't make that mistake down under last time after Freddie's fiasco tour & have 3 games before the Gabba this time, too.

Think your lot need to start thinking professionally at suits level, too!

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 20:37 GMT)

An excellent article. My question is: Why do we have about 2.5 test quality attacks worth of bowlers, but no test batsmen?

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 20:02 GMT)

I deplore the triumphalism in England over this Ashes win. They have won 4 out of the last fives ashes series so it's not as if this is a rarity. It should be no surprise. This Aussie side has a very poor record in the last year so don't be surprised if England win comfortably over the winter. Australian cricket is in it's worst state since WWII and could go the same way as West Indian cricket. When did they last win a series against England ? It is bad news for test cricket. There are only three decent test sides in world cricket, S.Africa, India and England. I fear that interest in test cricket has declined and the world generally is being suckered by the hype and commercialism of T20. And who can blame the players. Modest county players can make a fortune for just 6 weeks work in the IPL. Why bother with test cricket. Once again money will win out over quality and culture.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 19:27 GMT)

You will find that there is now a very large immigrant population which has little interest in our main sports such as cricket, Aussie rules and league. Sports such as rugby and league are being over run by islanders who are being favoured over the typical Australian. This is why both these sports have gone down in skill levels. With cricket, the fault lies with the administrators and setup of the system. Poor treatment of players has led to a negativity at the higher levels which has continued on the field of play.

Posted by king_julien on (August 25, 2013, 18:03 GMT)

Well I do not agree on the aussies being considered such a powerhouse part completely. Aussies have always been good in swimming etc., have produced few good tennis players (and one legend). And have been good in team sports like Hockey, Rugby and cricket. There are a vast majority of sports in which they do not even have a good presence, boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting, football etc etc

But what has always been outstanding is their fighting spirit, something like the Germans in Football. The reason there was so much respect for the Aussies in sports was for this fighting spirit, not for having ruled many sports. The no. of medals similarly do not have a relationship with the population, there are many other more important factors like economic conditions, infrastructure, sports culture and so on.

Sometimes there are factors which can be controlled but there are others beyond control at other times.But yes the Aussie spirit has enlightened many a dull evenings.

Posted by WAKE_UP_CALL on (August 25, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

Oh Jarrod Where were you ? I am one of the biggest fan of yours especially the way you express your opinions through articles,tweets or videos.Osho once said "Seriousness is sickness" and you do actually follow that psychology the way you bring the fun part without loosing the main plot.Reading your articles make the circuits of brain cells spark in a unique way.You have always made right kinda of noises be it commentators personal interests such as Ravi shastri or Ian botham to the formation of big Kabal and many more.You have actually touched the bigger problem which is not only linked to cricket but to the world which has changed.Its nice that you have thrown light to the myth that T20 destroys test cricket which wasn't true.Its How Ranji,County and Shield cricket that are placed.My only concern is that how Pat Howard after talking negative about its own main player is still in-charge. What does it say about Cricket Australia?

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (August 25, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

A really excellent and comprehensive article. It makes a fool of those who think the answer is simple.

Posted by dontsaythat on (August 25, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

Jarod, very well written, and while some can argue about the merits of whether or not Australia dominated sports at any point in time, they certainly did pretty well in the sports they participated in heavily.

In reference to your opening para's, interestingly one of CA's values is "Speak up and talk straight" . Unfortunately there is some fine print someone that says "but do so at your own peril" and or " you are only allowed to if we agree with you". There are some outstanding people working at CA, doing a great job for little or no recognition and who get very little say in how things are going or could be improved. Unfortunately as they have witnessed in the past, if you speak up or suggest something is not quite right, you are shown the door, hence some well informed people, close to the heart of some of the issues are unable to put their ideas forward.

I am not suggesting changing the CEO would make a difference, but the culture needs to change.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

Really sad state of affaris. As an Indian sportds fan I used to marvel at the Australian supremacy across different sporting disciplines. While their decline in cricket is well known due to the following for the game in India, but the general decline was really news for me. It seems to be the same story - money and the accompanying consumerist culture. Hope it gets better. Australians always had tremendous sporting pride, so it must be hurting somewhere; hope that helps. They still have good talent. And as somebody mentioned in the posts, their 'Golden Generation' could provide the ideal administrative and coaching backup. Hope something gets done sooner rather than later. World cricket needs a resurgent Australia. I am still hopeful that the second leg of the Ashes down under will see a real Aussie fightback. England are having it easy; and they have none of swagger of the champions like the Australia of the 90s or the Windies before them. Of course they still have work to do.

Posted by Dirk_L on (August 25, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

Too true, except this bit: "Even Sachin isn't going to be playing until he is 50."

Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (August 25, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

this is not exactly a decline, its just a bad phase. And decision makers has more to do with it. When you pick guys like Maxwell for test matches (India), leaving performers like SOK home, then not playing some of the players due to homework saga, putting a player in team from outside the squad, its just the decisions which are going wrong at the moment. I reckon there is not many quality in the test team at the moment but things will start falling in place, its just about keep trusting in players ability. Clark, Rhino, Rogers, Siddle are good if we just talk about next 2 years. Smith, Warner and Lyon coming up nicely. Things does not help when you drop guys without reason (Hughes, Lyon). I believe Aus will come strong. We liked & enjoyed defeating you in 2001 and this 4-0 was as farce as was ours when we toured.

Posted by squidhead on (August 25, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

Whoa. I'd say this is one of the best articles I've read on here but this is no mere article. It's a manifesto, and it's the best work I've seen from you, Mr. Kimber. It feels heartfelt, and it resonates with meaning for all of us who have watched the game in this country cartwheeling downhill for a decade, with the remnants of a great team papering over the cracks but only delaying the inevitable catastophe. There is, and has been for a long time now, something very, very wrong with cricket in Australia. It's been unspoken for too long.

Ok, I'm convinced. Sign me up. You and me, Jarrod, and anyone else who remembers how this game is supposed to work - how do we get this thing done? Burning effigies? Occupy the G? Sternly worded letters? 'Coz we can't just keep doing this, can't let him and his kind keep making the same mistakes. It's breaking our hearts. I'm sure you know the feeling.

Posted by aj_123 on (August 25, 2013, 13:02 GMT)

Wonderful Article Kimber . Spot on with Everything . Not only Cricket there is decline in every other sport in Australia . Sutherland Should go .Solutions to come back to no:1 in cricket : 1. Steve Waugh for CEO . 2.Warne should not be anywhere near the dressing room . His influence on clarke is bad and is ruining the performance of the team. 3. Have Multiple captains i.e clarke for tests ,bailey for odi's and watson for t-20's 4. Sack howard, Inverarity n co and bring the likes of Mark Taylor for performance manager , Boof (Manager cum chief selector), Gilly,Mcgrath,Mark Waugh n magill as other selectors . 5. Haydos-batting coach , Mcdermot-bowling coach , punter - fielding coach 6. Shiffield Shield Starting at Mid september n ending in december to coincide with the tests matches so that players get picked based on shiffield , Ford ranger starting in jan 1st week ending 31st n big bash on february . This will make all players play all formats of the game.

Posted by richarevans1 on (August 25, 2013, 12:54 GMT)

"Australians dominated the world in almost everything that could be classed as a sport other than football."

Never happened.

Australia has never been a force in boxing, never dominated tennis, or gymnastics, track, rowing, throwing events, the jumping events, cycling, winter sports etc etc. It's a myth that Australia were dominant in sport in general.

Australia's success in the olympics was based on two things; The end of the Eastern block and subsequent drop off in US interest in the games. This together with the extra investment in Australian sport meant Eastern European coaches were attracted to Australia, one can only guess if they brought their drug technology with them

I think the rest of the article is fair and balanced though. The other thing that you've missed I suppose is that the rest of the world has put more money into sport. In the UK the investment has been vast thanks to the lottery, and it's paid off. Where you once had an advantage that has gone

Posted by VJGS on (August 25, 2013, 12:45 GMT)

Having spent all my childhood and youth watching the Australian team as an invincible force,his is really pathetic and they have no excuse for playing so poorly. I know players like Hussey, Ponting, Gilchrist, Hayden, Warne, McGrath, etc. cannot not be replaced instantly, but CA has had both the time and the talent to get things right. Clarke is still one of the best players to have played the sport. The whole world would tremble before an in-form Warner and Watson. Steve Smith is a fine youngster with a lot of promise, as are many others in the team. This is why their current run in Tests makes no logical sense. Its not like they have no fight either. 2 of the 4 Ashes matches, Australia should have won easily if the weather allowed it or if they held their nerves. I really hope that CA takes the right steps to bring the team back to its former glory. -Sincerely, an Indian Cricket Fan

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

I'm not sure even if everything the writer suggests was put in place if it would make a difference. We have a similar problem in West Indies. There are so many other things kids can do outside of sports more so cricket. This is just how it is in the world.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

Good article Jarrod, it's time the spotlight falls on James Sutherland, if he is indeed the problem that players whisper about but don't speak out about then we need someone new at the helm. Andrew Demetriou is nearing his end at AFL house, perhaps he would be a good fit??

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

Here's yet another bit of evidence that Australia is on the decline, NZ beat them in a test match in Australia in 2011, for the first time in 26 years. And there is still a good chance that NZ could do it again when they next tour Australia unless Australia improve.

Posted by PFEL on (August 25, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

More media exaggeration of the "fall of Australian cricket". It's been an easy way to write a story over the few years or so I guess, but real fans and intelligent viewers will see through it. Yes, Australia aren't undoubtedly the best side in the world any more, but nor are they anywhere near as "bad" as the media is loving to make out. The very same Australian team dominated the "best on Earth" South African team just 8 or 9 months ago for 2 tests, only to be denied by weather and 1 fantastic innings by a debutant. They have also more than held their own in this Ashes series against the "World no. 2" side, as the stats will show, despite weather and umpiring troubles. The results are ugly. But the losses 0-1 to the Saffas, 0-4 to India (on doctored pitches) and 0-3 to England are not even close to being a true indicator. Bad Luck doesn't last forever, and this Australian side has shown that if they can get a bit of consistency that they have been severely lacking they can dominate.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (August 25, 2013, 12:16 GMT)

Blah Blah blah, i think the WHOLE WORLD has now established that Australia is a fallen giant. I can't believe people are still coming to terms with it, move on. Enough of these articles, we have heard it all!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 25, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

England fans are overjoyed that their period of dominance over Australia now spans almost 6 years. In that time, England have just been the far better team, even when they don't play to their potential. Australia have been trying their best, played a whole string of minnow nations to get some confidence, but ultimately it was as most predicted: Anderson and Swann both come away with 20+ wickets. England win 3-0. And the return series in Oz won't make for much entertaining viewing if you're an Australian fan: on the flat decks over there we all know what Cook can do. It could be 4 or even 5 nil over there.

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