The Ashes 2013-14 November 13, 2013

Australia better prepared - Sutherland

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On the day England faced an Invitational XI strengthened by Cricket Australia after the ECB's request to ensure better preparation for its players, the CA chief executive James Sutherland insisted Australia's mixed bag of ODIs in India, domestic limited-overs matches at home then three hurried rounds of the Sheffield Shield had provided a superior Ashes run-in for the forthcoming series.

Speaking at the Melbourne Press Club on Wednesday, following the launch of CA's $29 million national cricket centre in Brisbane the previous day, Sutherland maintained his defiant stance on numerous issues. These included a summer schedule that surrenders the prime months of the season to the Big Bash League while squeezing the Shield and limited-overs tournaments into summer's opening and closing weeks, and CA's insistence that domestic sides place their ambitions for silverware behind the need to develop international players.

Sutherland has clearly wearied of any criticism related to the schedule, which this year had Australia's ODI team in India until after England arrived to prepare for the Ashes while also turning the domestic limited-overs competition into a kind of pre-season carnival at Sydney club grounds. He stressed the BBL was intended not to raise greater commercial revenue for CA but to build a new audience that would ensure the game's continued survival.

"There weren't actually a lot of players who are playing in the Test team in Brisbane who were actually in India," Sutherland said of the schedule. "At the same time there were a lot of players who were back here playing, who have been able to play in the first couple of rounds of Shield cricket and had a really good preparation. We've had a lot more cricket than England have over the last couple of months, so don't tell me we haven't had a good preparation because England have hardly played."

England had originally been slated to face a NSW XI composed of players not needed in the concurrent Sheffield Shield round: to all intents and purposes, a Second XI. However pressure applied by the ECB chief executive David Collier resulted in a selection of cricketers being pulled from each Shield squad to create an invitational team, much to the dismay of numerous state officials, who wondered aloud at why CA had been so accommodating to their opponents. Pat Howard, the team performance manager, has stated that reciprocal treatment will be afforded Australia on the 2015 Ashes tour.

The match is being played on turf less green than it might have been in another season, as one of the other major CA changes for 2013-14 is a greater emphasis on ensuring domestic pitches reflect the conditions more likely to be seen at Test match level. The first two rounds of the competition have been characterised by the most amenable batting surfaces seen in some years, after Sutherland and Howard directed state associations and their curators to shave off the grassier extremes seen in recent seasons.

"The fundamental thing for us is Shield cricket is not about determining who the champion state team is, that is incidental," Sutherland said. "The real thing about Shield cricket is it needs to prepare cricketers for international cricket and particularly Test cricket and therefore the environment in which they're playing should be as much like Test cricket as possible. We don't want those pitches to be barren roads; we want the Gabba pitch to be like the first day pitch of a Gabba Test match.

"I'm not in any way downplaying the importance of creating a competitive environment, but we are investing perhaps $30 million a year in Sheffield Shield cricket and ultimately what we want is a competitive environment where we can drive cricketers to learn how to be successful.

"There was a temptation to chase the outright result to get six points to climb the Shield ladder and to some extent that is natural to want to be the winning team to qualify for the final. I stand by the comment that what we want is a really strong competitive Shield environment that delivers Test cricketers who can play winning cricket for Australia."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 15, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    I wonder how just beating the same team 3-0 in a five test series is worse preparation than losing an odi series in India? Madness..

  • on November 15, 2013, 2:16 GMT

    Here's an interesting stat on the upcoming Ashes: Based on current squads for each team...

    Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Root, Bairstow, Bresnan, Swann, Broad, Anderson, Tremlett, Finn... have all experienced WINNING the Ashes for England.

    Clarke.... is the only Ozzie with experience winning Ashes for Australia.

    Regardless of preparation and form, that sort of imbalance can affect results when a game is close.

  • bobagorof on November 15, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    ""There weren't actually a lot of players who are playing in the Test team in Brisbane who were actually in India," Sutherland said of the schedule" Let's see - Warner, dropped from ODI side, so no. Rogers, no. Watson, yes (and picked up an injury). Clarke, no, but only because he was injured. Smith, no (though it was hard to see why at the time). Bailey, yes. Haddin, yes. Johnson, yes. Harris, no. Siddle, no. Lyon, no. Faulkner, yes. 5 of the 12 selected is not a lot? Really? Unless Sutherland is suggesting Faulkner won't be playing (which is probably the case, by why advertise?), in which case it's 4 from 11. But if it weren't for ill-discipline and injury, it would have been 7 of 12. Don't try to tell me that was due to Cricket Australia's planning!

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on November 14, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    Sutherland has been in this role for too long. The results of our national team are lousy and largely to do with the program of his stewardship of Cricket Australia. If we lose the Ashes and perform badly either Sutherland goes quietly or he is forcibly removed from office. Enough is enough!

  • Meety on November 14, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    Sutherland MUST resign. He is only interested in the bottom line & gives lip service to actual on-field goals. Since he has been in charge - THREE TIMES Oz have played cricket in India in the 2 to3 mths prior to an Ashes in a ROW!!!! He is clueless. Oz should not play any cricket in India in the 6mths leading up to an Ashes series - home or away. It is the worst prep possible. The Ryobi comp was a hastily arranged format to take the focus of the fact that a squad was out of the country in the lead up to the most important event on the Oz cricket calendar. TWO times in a row now, we have surrendered home advantage to the Poms. Everybody else in Oz cricket has fallen on their sword or been knifed over the last decade EXCEPT Sutherland. The Board should sack him - like he did to Arthurs on the eve of the away Ashes (great thought process that)!

  • c_Marsh_b_Lillee on November 14, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    James Sutherland just does not get it, does he? Australian cricket is built upon the Sheffield Shield. To strive for success in the Sheffield Sheild is not "incidental". It is crucial in determining the success of Australian cricket. All the rest is just fluff. Domestic hit and giggle should not be the summer's main course.

  • izzidole on November 14, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Sheffield Shield cricket should be our number one priority since that's where our cricketers make their initial appearance and showcase their talents before they make it to the test team. As such nothing should hinder it's progress as it is the main supply chain for aussie cricket and our future test cricketers. Atleast half of the cricket season starting from October to end of January should be strictly devoted to shield and test cricket and the rest to limited overs cricket including the BBL. If CA is really serious about improving our standards rather than making a fast buck it should reschedule the Ryobi Cup and the BBL untill the latter part of the cricket season.

  • on November 14, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    "The fundamental thing for us is Shield cricket is not about determining who the champion state team is, that is incidental,": & that perhaps summarises what can go wrong if one takes competitiveness out of the game, and places FC cricket beneath the commercial. Taking end December to early February out of the calendar is somewhat perverse. But there again I look for the Yorkshire score before the Test Score

  • Ragav999 on November 14, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @landl47: I don't think age is a number to be obsessed over. The philosophy should be to pick the guys who have proven themselves and who are in form. There is no guarantee that a young team will keep improving. For example, look at Sehwag in test cricket. His average came down in the period when batsmen are supposed to be at their peak (i.e in the age 27-33). Or Harbhajan for that matter. The performance of a cricketer is not a straight line directly proportional to age.

  • xtrafalgarx on November 14, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    @Landl47: Haddin and Rogers are stop gaps, guys to 'do a job' to give us time for other players to develop, it's not as if we are looking at them to be there in 5 years time (though rogers is a tough nut!).

    Injury doesn't last forever, the boys will be back. It's not as if i am saying we are on the rise, what i am getting at is the fact that while you guys have back ups, they simply won't be of the standard that their predecessors have left behind. So much so, that you will struggle.

  • on November 15, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    I wonder how just beating the same team 3-0 in a five test series is worse preparation than losing an odi series in India? Madness..

  • on November 15, 2013, 2:16 GMT

    Here's an interesting stat on the upcoming Ashes: Based on current squads for each team...

    Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Root, Bairstow, Bresnan, Swann, Broad, Anderson, Tremlett, Finn... have all experienced WINNING the Ashes for England.

    Clarke.... is the only Ozzie with experience winning Ashes for Australia.

    Regardless of preparation and form, that sort of imbalance can affect results when a game is close.

  • bobagorof on November 15, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    ""There weren't actually a lot of players who are playing in the Test team in Brisbane who were actually in India," Sutherland said of the schedule" Let's see - Warner, dropped from ODI side, so no. Rogers, no. Watson, yes (and picked up an injury). Clarke, no, but only because he was injured. Smith, no (though it was hard to see why at the time). Bailey, yes. Haddin, yes. Johnson, yes. Harris, no. Siddle, no. Lyon, no. Faulkner, yes. 5 of the 12 selected is not a lot? Really? Unless Sutherland is suggesting Faulkner won't be playing (which is probably the case, by why advertise?), in which case it's 4 from 11. But if it weren't for ill-discipline and injury, it would have been 7 of 12. Don't try to tell me that was due to Cricket Australia's planning!

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on November 14, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    Sutherland has been in this role for too long. The results of our national team are lousy and largely to do with the program of his stewardship of Cricket Australia. If we lose the Ashes and perform badly either Sutherland goes quietly or he is forcibly removed from office. Enough is enough!

  • Meety on November 14, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    Sutherland MUST resign. He is only interested in the bottom line & gives lip service to actual on-field goals. Since he has been in charge - THREE TIMES Oz have played cricket in India in the 2 to3 mths prior to an Ashes in a ROW!!!! He is clueless. Oz should not play any cricket in India in the 6mths leading up to an Ashes series - home or away. It is the worst prep possible. The Ryobi comp was a hastily arranged format to take the focus of the fact that a squad was out of the country in the lead up to the most important event on the Oz cricket calendar. TWO times in a row now, we have surrendered home advantage to the Poms. Everybody else in Oz cricket has fallen on their sword or been knifed over the last decade EXCEPT Sutherland. The Board should sack him - like he did to Arthurs on the eve of the away Ashes (great thought process that)!

  • c_Marsh_b_Lillee on November 14, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    James Sutherland just does not get it, does he? Australian cricket is built upon the Sheffield Shield. To strive for success in the Sheffield Sheild is not "incidental". It is crucial in determining the success of Australian cricket. All the rest is just fluff. Domestic hit and giggle should not be the summer's main course.

  • izzidole on November 14, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Sheffield Shield cricket should be our number one priority since that's where our cricketers make their initial appearance and showcase their talents before they make it to the test team. As such nothing should hinder it's progress as it is the main supply chain for aussie cricket and our future test cricketers. Atleast half of the cricket season starting from October to end of January should be strictly devoted to shield and test cricket and the rest to limited overs cricket including the BBL. If CA is really serious about improving our standards rather than making a fast buck it should reschedule the Ryobi Cup and the BBL untill the latter part of the cricket season.

  • on November 14, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    "The fundamental thing for us is Shield cricket is not about determining who the champion state team is, that is incidental,": & that perhaps summarises what can go wrong if one takes competitiveness out of the game, and places FC cricket beneath the commercial. Taking end December to early February out of the calendar is somewhat perverse. But there again I look for the Yorkshire score before the Test Score

  • Ragav999 on November 14, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @landl47: I don't think age is a number to be obsessed over. The philosophy should be to pick the guys who have proven themselves and who are in form. There is no guarantee that a young team will keep improving. For example, look at Sehwag in test cricket. His average came down in the period when batsmen are supposed to be at their peak (i.e in the age 27-33). Or Harbhajan for that matter. The performance of a cricketer is not a straight line directly proportional to age.

  • xtrafalgarx on November 14, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    @Landl47: Haddin and Rogers are stop gaps, guys to 'do a job' to give us time for other players to develop, it's not as if we are looking at them to be there in 5 years time (though rogers is a tough nut!).

    Injury doesn't last forever, the boys will be back. It's not as if i am saying we are on the rise, what i am getting at is the fact that while you guys have back ups, they simply won't be of the standard that their predecessors have left behind. So much so, that you will struggle.

  • kensohatter on November 14, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Australia are money hungry and its going to cost them long term. Sutherland is kidding himself if he thinks knowledgable cricketing public will believe that the meaningless ODI series in India between ashes test and the BBL scheduling is nothing but a cash grab. He doesnt care about developing the next test team or reclaiming no.1 he doesnt care about creating challenging pitches that ensure a contest between bat and ball. All he cares about is money now by promoting hit and giggle cricket with lots of sixes. @xtra... England and SA will be on top for many years to come because whilst their team may be ageing guys like Root, Rankin, Carberry and Bairstow are waiting and gaining experience in county cricket whilst australians are forced to play BBL and ODI which results in selections like Bailey in a test team despite having now sheffield shield form. Our glory days are now well behind us and it will be a long time till we see another mcgrath, warne, s.waugh or ponting

  • landl47 on November 14, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    xtrafalgarx: Let's assume for the moment that you are right and England is on the decline. What makes you think Australia is on the rise? Aus has two 36-year-olds in the side (one of whom had been dropped and the other had played 1 test) because the younger players aren't up to it. A 32-year-old bowler has joined a 34-year-old bowler as the strike force because the younger bowlers are all injured. Australia relies heavily on Clarke, with a chronic bad back, and Watson, a perpetual under-achiever and both of them are 32. The vacant spot in the batting order has been filled by a 31-year-old debutant with a first-class average of 37.

    If this is Australia's brave new world, I fancy England's chances in the next few years even more than I do now. Cook's 28, Broad's 27 and there are 5 under-25s in the squad. England looks like the team on the rise, not Australia.

  • Insult_2_Injury on November 14, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    Can't wait for Sutherland's double talking bureaucracy to be over. Sutherland oversees "CA's insistence that domestic sides place their ambitions for silverware behind the need to develop international players. I thought the Board got it when they appointed Lehmann - a mentor who knows winning, results driven cricket is the fast track to hardened committed cricketers prepared for International call up. I'm at a loss to remember at any time in history where a 'silverware' winning dominant Shield side hasn't provided the bulk of the International sides. I, as a supporter of Australian cricket, have had enough of Sutherlands 'process' driven garbage and could not care less if he is 'wearied by criticism'. He sets the agenda for Australian cricket and the harsh reality is he has overseen the demise of Australia's competitiveness from World Champions in all three categories to also rans. He should be moved on immediately. Why should we put up with this thru to his contract end in 2015?

  • funkybluesman on November 14, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    The truth is that the overall stats for the last Ashes series would make you think it was a close series. Bell was England's standout with the bat, while Australia's batsmen were more even, most of them getting some runs at different times, so a listing of the top runscorers shows many Aussies at the top.

    The big difference was England managed probably 6 out of 10 consistently for the series, while Australia continually fluctuated between 8/10 down to 2/10 all over the place, and the consistent 6/10 won the key moments required to win the matches that won the series convincingly.

    That is a pretty much exactly what you get with experience, more consistency in performance to be able to pull out the results when the pressure is on. Australia have batsmen who can score lots of runs and bowlers who can take lots of wickets, the question in this series really will be, will they be able to do it when it really counts, when the pressure is on.

  • Brine_in_Brisbane on November 14, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    I know James Sutherland has to be supportive of his employees, but really, he is way off the mark regarding Australia's form. We've had players in all forms of the game, but not many of them have played together in the 1 team in a 4day game. England have been here for some time as a team. This team aspect seems to be lost on James Sutherland and Cricket Austalia.

  • MarshLillee on November 14, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    So Mr Sutherland wants a strong competitive environment to drive success but in the same breath says it doesnt matter who wins the Shield. Sack this imbecile. I know CA doesnt give a fig about anything excepty internationals but it really needs to jolt itself out of that mindset or it will be responsible for the decline of the game. There were 6,500 people at Adelaide yesterday wathching WA v SA. Continue to build on that by making great players available for domestic cricket. On a positive note I think the scheduling this year is a lot better than last year.

  • Maroubra_Flyer on November 13, 2013, 23:35 GMT

    This article was about Australia's domestic scene. I would think only Sheffield Shield cricket should open the season and be played until the tests are done (which is now the New Years Test) This might allow all first class cricketers to play a bit more club cricket as well between games (club cricket can start in Sept). Then follow it with the BBL through to Jan/early Feb and then have the one day tournament and invite 1 international side back to play 5 games at the end picked from the form players of the one day comp. This then means a shorter tour for overseas sides (late Nov to early Jan). I don't think we need to see any 20/20 internationals, BBL has international players and then players will be ready for the Indian Premier League (a sort of preseason)

  • on November 13, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    Let's go for some long term perspective.

    England scraped through the 2005 Ashes, with a bit of assistance from injuries to McGrath and Warne dropping a sitter on the final day.

    England got pasted in 2007, some bodgy selections and a poor choice of captain were mitigating factors.

    If you go by stats England lost the 2009 ashes convincingly - match score of course was different, but don't go believing England had the better players or the better team.

    England won 2011 overwhelmingly and the Australian team looked pretty unremarkable by comparison.

    England were less convincing in 2013 and in my opinion weren't really the better team. They had Bell, Australia didn't. The bowling attacks were on par, both very good. Aside from Bell the standard of the batting was also fairly even, some solid, some not so much.

  • on November 13, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    "The fundamental thing for us is Shield cricket is not about determining who the champion state team is, that is incidental," Sutherland said. "The real thing about Shield cricket is it needs to prepare cricketers for international cricket and particularly Test cricket and therefore the environment in which they're playing should be as much like Test cricket as possible."

    And there we have it. The Sheffield Shield is no longer a competition. It's a breeding ground for a small percentage of cricketers who get to the elite stage. 'No need to win that, chaps. No one wants a winner... we want prime beef.' I'm very tired of James Sutherland.

  • thiruven on November 13, 2013, 21:51 GMT

    Modern day cricketers are fully capable of adapting to changing demands. OZ are much prepared give most of our cricketers has time in the middle and not nets. Momentum and Form will be crucial. Just hope stability is maintained. Times are changing and new reality has set in. The merits of current schedule will pan out in due course.

  • heathrf1974 on November 13, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    We are better prepared largely because, last time they were down here we didn't respect the English. They we magnificent during the last Ashes down under. Should be a closer contest, but England are definite favourites as our batting lineup is still yet to prove themselves.

  • Jaffa79 on November 13, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    @ wonderstar1 & xtrafalgarx...a very interesting assessment of England and Australia's future! Wonderstar, you rate your young whipper snappers like 31 yr old George Bailey do you? Trott is 32 and considered a veteran!! Your bowling hangs on the 34 yr old broken down, one-injury-away-from-being-in-a-wheelchair, warhorse Ryan Harris! MJ is 32, Rogers has one series left, Haddin anyone?? Watson is 31 and has a series or two left in him before he quits for the hit and giggle stuff. Wow. xtrafalgarx...feel the tide has turned do we? The fact England beat India in India and that they smashed you not mean anything? The loss at home to SA? The 3rd Ashes loss in a row, which was 15 minutes away from 4-0? No? Hmmm. Maybe you need to change a few more laws wonderstar1 and you might 'find' a few batters. Oh dear!

  • Optic on November 13, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge Sorry for the multi postings, so many comments never get posted on this place.

    That's the thing though isn't it, what's the point in mentioning what Bailey did 2 years ago. If that had any merit Tendulkar wouldn't be retiring would he. Also one day cricket form has no baring on Test cricket, it's just such a different game, as many batsmen find out.

    Closet FFL lol, says the dude who's nicked his name. If correcting you're facts makes me FFL, you must be taking the dude a bit too seriously, he's quite obviously a wum and like you say it's all fun, but some of you Aussies have let him get to you.

    As for Root he's been moved back to 6 where he's had most of his success at international cricket. The fact he has been moved says more about Carberry this tour so far than Root. Bairstow made 96 and 50 odd against the best attack in the world, so just because he didn't have the best Ashes, that can happen. Look at Clarke in 2010/11.

  • Optic on November 13, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge 'We had more tons, way more 300+ scores, the highest wicket taker'

    Err No you didn't have most tons that was England with 5. Err No you didn't have most 300+ scores that was England with 6 Err no you didn't have the highest wicket taker that was Swann with 26

  • Optic on November 13, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Sponge Did you even watch the last Ashes because if you did you'd know Aus didn't make the most tons that was England with 5, Aus made 4, 2 of which was in a dead rubber and England had 6 300+ scores to Aus 2, . Harris had 24 wickets Swann had 26, so again you're wrong, seriously that is really embarrassing.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 13, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Ok @optic(closet FFL), England have no 3rd seamer. Root displaced himself because he couldn't sustain any form opening so bring in Carberry (who I rate by the way, I followed him before his lung issue, I like him and as a cricket fan he is exciting). But now Root to ??? 6 perhaps (why pick an opener at 6?) prior won't play but if he does fine he hasn't scored runs for over a year. Bairstow keeping? Great but he has proven he can't bat at this level (misses straight ones). It's funny that people harp on about Bailey averaging 18 last season but neglect to mention 59 average the year before and is THE leading run scorer in international cricket this year. That means more uns than any other batsman in case anyone missed the facts again. Apologies for the facts again. @optic, it's all fun buddy, only when they take the field will we know so genuinely I wish all England fans good luck and may we get a cracking series of test matches!

  • LSMKirkpatrick on November 13, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Australia are better prepared this time because it would be impossible to be less prepared than they were for the last Ashes. England's apparent lack of preparation will affect only a few of those players who haven't toured Australia before but I expect them to be in their stride very quickly. Broad and Anderson will take the wickets and Cook, Carberry and especially Bell I expect will score the runs. Pietersen should score well in at least one of the tests (probably winning knock). We should not under-estimate the determination and skill of the Australian players but at the same time Australia should not over-estimate the dire situation that exists in Australian cricket. After all, they have a CEO who is focussed, not on the Ashes, WC or WT20C but instead the bottom line and insisting that Australia has won the Big Bash League, the Ryobi Cup, and will probably win the Sheffield Shield. A navel-gazer if ever there was.

  • Optic on November 13, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Sponge Did you even watch the last Ashes because if you did you'd know Aus didn't make the most tons that was England with 5, Aus made 4, 2 of which was in a dead rubber and England had 6 300+ scores to Aus, seriously that is embarrassing. LOL out Captain and out field, seriously you didn't watch it did you. You're fielding was rubbish last series, don't remember dropping Root when he went on to make 180. Just because Warne says his best mate is a great Captain doesn't make it so you know. He had to do what he did because he went 2-0 down quickly ans was chasing the game from their on, that's why he had to attack he had no choice. While Cook just went about shutting Aus completely down. Mate you're a pale imitation.

  • Optic on November 13, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    @Ben Williams I must have missed Bell getting double hundreds each inning. He scored 3 tons all series and didn't even get England's highest innings score that was Root.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 13, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx, I agree with both you and @FFLNAH. Australia need to prove themselves that is for sure and England don't, their record under Cookie is excellent (take note Lunge, compliments to the opposition are possible). However, Australia are now well coached, their players are all in form, there is competition for spots, they have been getting time in the middle and they are at home. England are playing out of season with far from ideal preparation and their 11 is up in the air. Despite the 3-0 scoreline we all know Australia were in with a crack a fair few times. We had more tons, way more 300+ scores, the highest wicket taker (by far, he even played one test less) and we out-captain and out-field England with some ease. It is Australia's time now but hey I don't have a crystal ball. If I did it would likely predict a 5-0 series victory to Australia :-)

  • Optic on November 13, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge Who are these players playing out of position for England and how are Aus more settled and better prepared. Nine out of 11 places in the England side have been settled for years, just Carbery's being brought in and the the final seamers spot between the 3 tall blokes, 2 of which toured with great success last time. Sounds to me Aus are in a similar position but the rest of the team aren't as good. They have only just brought Bailley in who averaged 18 in Shield Cricket and also Johnson because others were injured. How are Australia brimming with choices, those two calls means the cupboard is well and truly bare to me.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 13, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    Australia are better prepared, that's not news. Xtrafalgarx, I don't get your logic fully. Yes they are seasoned pros but there will be players out of position and even the 3rd seamer spot is in doubt. Not so long ago people were chest thumping and saying the England 11 picked itself, I think it's the other way around now. Australia are settled, brimming with choice and England have a dilemma as to their best 11. Nice.

  • xtrafalgarx on November 13, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    @FFLNAH: I wouldlove to see FFL slither under a rock if we win, it would be such a good feeling to let it all out but were are up against it. This is as good a chance as we have to win the Ashes, i think if we can get the poms here, we might be laughing for a few years yet because i have a gut feel that they are on the decline. Their 2010/11 team was a very fine, diligent and unified team but this time i sense some cracks!

  • xtrafalgarx on November 13, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    @FFL: Fair comment to be honest, even as an Australian supporter myself. England probably don't need as much preparation because they are very experienced now and the core group of players have toured the world a few times over already. So they won't go through the GABBA test on half empty, they will be up for it.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on November 13, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    @wonderstar1 I agree though I expect Australia to win the Ashes in the next 5 weeks and FFL to sliver back under his rock.

  • wonderstar1 on November 13, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    @FFL Australia will be the better team in 1 year or so with emerging players like Maddinson, Bailey to name a few. on the other hand, Eng are just going to struggle with no young players in the mix. maybe they can hire an southafrican teenager lol and make him a british. Wonder where you will hide when Eng lose this ashes. will be very interesting to hear back from you.

  • Copernicus on November 13, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    "The fundamental thing for us is Shield cricket is not about determining who the champion state team is, that is incidental. The real thing about Shield cricket is it needs to prepare cricketers for international cricket and particularly Test cricket." so playing hard to win is apparently not something players need to worry about in test matches? what a joke. Sutherland is completely out of his depth and should have been sacked years ago.

  • CoverDrive88 on November 13, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    And what else would we expect him to say?? At best, preparation isn't as bad this time as the last Ashes in Oz, but it's still ridiculous. He's presided over some of the worst performances we've seen in ages, a truck load of stupid selection decisions, appointment of a coach who seemed to think he was a 1950's headmaster, a shift in strategy to the point where everything seems to be dictated by marketing considerations rather than cricket. Time he got the flick. In fact, way overdue.

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 13, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    I think that Australia's preparation is far superior to 2010/11, the last time England toured. I am not sure that England's preparation is necessarily worse than Australia's though. It is nonetheless an improvement though. It should be an exciting contest. Well done Sutherland on at least improving on how badly you stuffed it up previously.

  • on November 13, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Train Stationer on (November 13, 2013, 11:25 GMT) that's a pretty funny comment considering if England didn't have Bell in the last series, they would've scored less than 200 nearly every innings, that must mean England can't compete at test level either if our bowlers can bowl half the team out so easily??

  • Sigismund on November 13, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    More impeccable logic from the Hinterland: our preparation is somehow a function of someone else's preparation; we want our first-class system to produce players who don't care about winning; look how much money I have spent. It is a shame; it rather spoils the fun for the rest of us when Australians can so easily put the blame for their cricketing malaise on this fellow.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 13, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    Interesting. England have been the better team for years and just because they've been denied enough practice opportunity before the 1st test Sutherland is thinking this will mean Australia might not be too bad after all. The question is simply academic - Who is the better team?

  • MrKistic on November 13, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    So Sutherland is saying Sutherland has done a good job? Well I guess that's good enough for me then. No further scrutiny required!

  • izzidole on November 13, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    James Sutherland has reiterated the importance of the T20 BBL scheduled for the the middle of the ashes test series as purely for the games survival rather than to enhance the coffers of CA. While the Chairman CA very recently was boasting about the revenue it was making from the T20 BBL and was full of praise of Sutherland for a job well done and gave an assurance that even if Australia loses the ashes 5 nil Sutherland's job was safe untill the world cup in 2015. I reckon all aussie cricket fans were shocked to hear this statement and are disgusted that they would have to wait that long to see a change for the better. This clearly goes to show where CA's priorities are whether it's the quality of the sport or the job security of Sutherland. No wonder our standards have deteriorated enormaously in recent times and our credibility as the leading cricket nation has taken a severe beating in world cricket. Another ashes series loss will be the final nail in the coffin for aussie cricket.

  • on November 13, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    It really doesn't matter how well prepared the Australian cricketers are, they are simply not good enough to compete at test level.

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  • on November 13, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    It really doesn't matter how well prepared the Australian cricketers are, they are simply not good enough to compete at test level.

  • izzidole on November 13, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    James Sutherland has reiterated the importance of the T20 BBL scheduled for the the middle of the ashes test series as purely for the games survival rather than to enhance the coffers of CA. While the Chairman CA very recently was boasting about the revenue it was making from the T20 BBL and was full of praise of Sutherland for a job well done and gave an assurance that even if Australia loses the ashes 5 nil Sutherland's job was safe untill the world cup in 2015. I reckon all aussie cricket fans were shocked to hear this statement and are disgusted that they would have to wait that long to see a change for the better. This clearly goes to show where CA's priorities are whether it's the quality of the sport or the job security of Sutherland. No wonder our standards have deteriorated enormaously in recent times and our credibility as the leading cricket nation has taken a severe beating in world cricket. Another ashes series loss will be the final nail in the coffin for aussie cricket.

  • MrKistic on November 13, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    So Sutherland is saying Sutherland has done a good job? Well I guess that's good enough for me then. No further scrutiny required!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 13, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    Interesting. England have been the better team for years and just because they've been denied enough practice opportunity before the 1st test Sutherland is thinking this will mean Australia might not be too bad after all. The question is simply academic - Who is the better team?

  • Sigismund on November 13, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    More impeccable logic from the Hinterland: our preparation is somehow a function of someone else's preparation; we want our first-class system to produce players who don't care about winning; look how much money I have spent. It is a shame; it rather spoils the fun for the rest of us when Australians can so easily put the blame for their cricketing malaise on this fellow.

  • on November 13, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Train Stationer on (November 13, 2013, 11:25 GMT) that's a pretty funny comment considering if England didn't have Bell in the last series, they would've scored less than 200 nearly every innings, that must mean England can't compete at test level either if our bowlers can bowl half the team out so easily??

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 13, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    I think that Australia's preparation is far superior to 2010/11, the last time England toured. I am not sure that England's preparation is necessarily worse than Australia's though. It is nonetheless an improvement though. It should be an exciting contest. Well done Sutherland on at least improving on how badly you stuffed it up previously.

  • CoverDrive88 on November 13, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    And what else would we expect him to say?? At best, preparation isn't as bad this time as the last Ashes in Oz, but it's still ridiculous. He's presided over some of the worst performances we've seen in ages, a truck load of stupid selection decisions, appointment of a coach who seemed to think he was a 1950's headmaster, a shift in strategy to the point where everything seems to be dictated by marketing considerations rather than cricket. Time he got the flick. In fact, way overdue.

  • Copernicus on November 13, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    "The fundamental thing for us is Shield cricket is not about determining who the champion state team is, that is incidental. The real thing about Shield cricket is it needs to prepare cricketers for international cricket and particularly Test cricket." so playing hard to win is apparently not something players need to worry about in test matches? what a joke. Sutherland is completely out of his depth and should have been sacked years ago.

  • wonderstar1 on November 13, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    @FFL Australia will be the better team in 1 year or so with emerging players like Maddinson, Bailey to name a few. on the other hand, Eng are just going to struggle with no young players in the mix. maybe they can hire an southafrican teenager lol and make him a british. Wonder where you will hide when Eng lose this ashes. will be very interesting to hear back from you.