The Ashes 2013 May 16, 2013

Weak Sheffield Shield hurting Australia - Warne

ESPNcricinfo staff
76

Shane Warne believes fast-tracking young players into the Sheffield Shield rather than having them cut their teeth on Twenty20 is key to improving the strength of domestic cricket in Australia and ultimately the national team. In the preview of an exclusive eight-part video series, Words with Warnie, which will appear on ESPNcricinfo in the lead-up to the Ashes, Warne said the Sheffield Shield had slipped from its previous status as the best first-class breeding ground in the world.

The absence of young batsmen making mountains of domestic runs was especially obvious in the 2012-13 season, when the top three Shield run scorers were the 38-year-old Ricky Ponting, Mark Cosgrove, who has been playing for more than a decade, and Chris Rogers, 35. That dearth of batsmen knocking down the door left the national selectors few options but to recall Rogers for the upcoming Ashes series in England.

"I think we've got a lot of talent at the moment. I think if we pick the right players, we stick with them, we back them, and they have to then perform and repay that faith too," Warne said. "If they don't, well, sorry, [you're] out. And that's a fine balance between what's long enough and how long do you stick with someone for. But I think we have got the talent there.

"We've got to get the infrastructure right at domestic level. In any good business we need those foundations to be strong at the bottom and ... we've always prided ourselves on [the Sheffield Shield] being the best first-class cricket in the world. Now I'm not sure we still have got the best first-class cricket in the world.

"I think we have got a pretty good system, I think we have run a very tight ship. And I think we've got a lot of good young players. We just need to fast-track them and get them experience at domestic cricket and learn how to play the four-day game. I think if you can play the four-day game you will adapt to one-day and Twenty20, not the other way around, play one-day cricket and Twenty20s and try to adapt to four-day cricket - it's completely different."

The introduction of the Big Bash League with eight teams has meant that over the past couple of seasons there have been greater opportunities for young players to break into domestic cricket via Twenty20 rather than the Sheffield Shield. Warne said it would take time - and well beyond this year's back-to-back Ashes series - for Australia to get back on track and fight their way up from their current ICC rankings of fourth in Test cricket, third in ODIs and seventh in T20.

"I think we've got it there but I think it's going to take a good 12 or 18 months," Warne said. "We've got to get the structure right, we've got to get the process right, we've got to get selection right. We've got to get that mantra ... put the fans first. Be the best players we possibly can. Be entertaining. Play with passion.

"I think the players love playing cricket for Australia. They're passionate and they would do anything for it. I'm just not sure we're putting the fans first. I'm not sure we've got the structure right, I'm not sure we've got the process right, and I don't believe we're selecting the right players."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Showbags88 on May 16, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    The Sheffield Shield is still a strong competition compared to the rest of the world but it certainly has slipped in quality from its glory days.

    I put this down to a lack of experience in all State teams atm. It's amazing the amount of youth running around in the Shield.

    To rectify this I would (a) Try to ensure enough time in the calendar where the Australian players can go back and play for their States. (B) Allow 1 or 2 overseas players per State team. This would ensure a higher standard competition and make the younger player have to fight for their spots in club Cricket rather than just be picked on potential. (C) Try to encourage older experienced players to play on and lend their experience to the younger generation (ie Ponting and Hussey).

  • MinusZero on May 22, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    What Warnie said is right. If you can play the four day game you can adapt to the shorter games, not the other way around. Watson is the classic example. Good short game player, but nowhere near a world class test player. The selectors have persisted too long trying to make Watson something he isnt. Warner is on the same path.

  • on May 22, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    My suggestion (and yes it could be wrong!) is to: revert the BBL to State v State (add NT & ACT to make 8 teams, Home & Away is 14 matches) and run it as a Friday night competition with the F50 competition run as a Saturday competition (on the following day). Then start each 4 day {Sheffield Shield} match on Sunday to finish on Wednesday. this takes 14 weeks. Then on the 15th Friday have the 2v3 BBL eliminator, on the 15th Sunday through Thursday have the 2v3 Sheffield Shield eliminator, on the 16th Saturday have the 2v3 F50 eliminator. Then on the 17th Friday have the BBL Final, on the 17th Sunday have the F50 final. Then on the 18th Friday through Tuesday have the Sheffield Shield final. (all finals hosted by a rotating state) This gives a total of 18 weeks of play which, if you take a break over Christmas/New Year (9 weeks before/9 weeks after), starts in mid/late October and finishes in early March.

  • AKS286 on May 21, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    @Meety on (May 21, 2013, 0:30 GMT) "This Ashes side is the weakest side ever"- I don't remember his name but said my many cricketing Legends of Aus.

  • AKS286 on May 21, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    @John Baker on (May 20, 2013, 23:56 GMT) Fella Clarke axed Katich,Hussey bro, Haddin, MJ, Watto, Ponting, Marsh, Paine, hilfy, Copeland.Clarke chooses his non-performer men like- Cowan, Wade, Lyon, Starc, Khawaja, over good players. Peter Forrest is a good player for test. I still don't understand why MJ is not selected HE is the best bowler in any format. Australia's every kind of problems arises since Clarke became captain. Can you tell us any problem before Clarke? every one is fearful,demotivated & non- performing under his regime.

  • Meety on May 21, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    @AKS286 on (May 20, 2013, 16:02 GMT) - I am sure you are trying to select the worst side possible. I only bothered commenting as I am bored.

  • on May 20, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    @showbags88 Overseas players are allowed. How else would Johan Botha play for South Australia, it's just that apart from England all other domestic competitions are going on at the same time.

    @AKS286 get rid of Clarke as captain? You can't blame him for any of the batting woes that have befallen Australia, he can't bat for everyone. Nor will changing him have any effect of Domestic Cricket.

    @Dylan Young to be fair, two of those seasons were really soggy.

  • 5wombats on May 20, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Ah! The Ashes forums are back...!! We love 'em! To us nothing much has changed with the internals of Australian cricket at the upper levels. Sure - the selectors have changed, etc, the trouble is that you can have whatever selectors you like but those selectors can't select quality if the quality just isn't there. It's not just me who thinks this - many of my Aussie mates in Australia think the same thing. The other thing that seems to be a problem is the politics - all Aussies know there is a problem - but who are they going to allow on the quest to fix it? Nobody seems to agree, there just seems to be a huge bun fight. Warne himself mentions the politics around selectors and selection. The biggest problem (of many) for Australia is what to do about the batting. The England bowlers will dismantle Australia in England in 2013. Australian batting used to be tremendously resilient - dominating in English conditions. But not any more. Bring it on!

  • AKS286 on May 20, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    Klinger, Hughes, Marsh, Clarke, Paine,Smith/Forrest, Watto, Johnson,Pattin, Siddle, Beer/Boyce.

  • AKS286 on May 20, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    Change your current Oz Captain then suddenly Shield looks like strong, selection becomes good, negative mindset will change, BBL, IPL will becomes fabulous, performance & skill will improve, team will become strong, pitch becomes competitive etc Just single step Change your Current Captain. Hope after the whitewash in Ashes'13 CA will forcefully do this.

  • Showbags88 on May 16, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    The Sheffield Shield is still a strong competition compared to the rest of the world but it certainly has slipped in quality from its glory days.

    I put this down to a lack of experience in all State teams atm. It's amazing the amount of youth running around in the Shield.

    To rectify this I would (a) Try to ensure enough time in the calendar where the Australian players can go back and play for their States. (B) Allow 1 or 2 overseas players per State team. This would ensure a higher standard competition and make the younger player have to fight for their spots in club Cricket rather than just be picked on potential. (C) Try to encourage older experienced players to play on and lend their experience to the younger generation (ie Ponting and Hussey).

  • MinusZero on May 22, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    What Warnie said is right. If you can play the four day game you can adapt to the shorter games, not the other way around. Watson is the classic example. Good short game player, but nowhere near a world class test player. The selectors have persisted too long trying to make Watson something he isnt. Warner is on the same path.

  • on May 22, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    My suggestion (and yes it could be wrong!) is to: revert the BBL to State v State (add NT & ACT to make 8 teams, Home & Away is 14 matches) and run it as a Friday night competition with the F50 competition run as a Saturday competition (on the following day). Then start each 4 day {Sheffield Shield} match on Sunday to finish on Wednesday. this takes 14 weeks. Then on the 15th Friday have the 2v3 BBL eliminator, on the 15th Sunday through Thursday have the 2v3 Sheffield Shield eliminator, on the 16th Saturday have the 2v3 F50 eliminator. Then on the 17th Friday have the BBL Final, on the 17th Sunday have the F50 final. Then on the 18th Friday through Tuesday have the Sheffield Shield final. (all finals hosted by a rotating state) This gives a total of 18 weeks of play which, if you take a break over Christmas/New Year (9 weeks before/9 weeks after), starts in mid/late October and finishes in early March.

  • AKS286 on May 21, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    @Meety on (May 21, 2013, 0:30 GMT) "This Ashes side is the weakest side ever"- I don't remember his name but said my many cricketing Legends of Aus.

  • AKS286 on May 21, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    @John Baker on (May 20, 2013, 23:56 GMT) Fella Clarke axed Katich,Hussey bro, Haddin, MJ, Watto, Ponting, Marsh, Paine, hilfy, Copeland.Clarke chooses his non-performer men like- Cowan, Wade, Lyon, Starc, Khawaja, over good players. Peter Forrest is a good player for test. I still don't understand why MJ is not selected HE is the best bowler in any format. Australia's every kind of problems arises since Clarke became captain. Can you tell us any problem before Clarke? every one is fearful,demotivated & non- performing under his regime.

  • Meety on May 21, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    @AKS286 on (May 20, 2013, 16:02 GMT) - I am sure you are trying to select the worst side possible. I only bothered commenting as I am bored.

  • on May 20, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    @showbags88 Overseas players are allowed. How else would Johan Botha play for South Australia, it's just that apart from England all other domestic competitions are going on at the same time.

    @AKS286 get rid of Clarke as captain? You can't blame him for any of the batting woes that have befallen Australia, he can't bat for everyone. Nor will changing him have any effect of Domestic Cricket.

    @Dylan Young to be fair, two of those seasons were really soggy.

  • 5wombats on May 20, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Ah! The Ashes forums are back...!! We love 'em! To us nothing much has changed with the internals of Australian cricket at the upper levels. Sure - the selectors have changed, etc, the trouble is that you can have whatever selectors you like but those selectors can't select quality if the quality just isn't there. It's not just me who thinks this - many of my Aussie mates in Australia think the same thing. The other thing that seems to be a problem is the politics - all Aussies know there is a problem - but who are they going to allow on the quest to fix it? Nobody seems to agree, there just seems to be a huge bun fight. Warne himself mentions the politics around selectors and selection. The biggest problem (of many) for Australia is what to do about the batting. The England bowlers will dismantle Australia in England in 2013. Australian batting used to be tremendously resilient - dominating in English conditions. But not any more. Bring it on!

  • AKS286 on May 20, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    Klinger, Hughes, Marsh, Clarke, Paine,Smith/Forrest, Watto, Johnson,Pattin, Siddle, Beer/Boyce.

  • AKS286 on May 20, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    Change your current Oz Captain then suddenly Shield looks like strong, selection becomes good, negative mindset will change, BBL, IPL will becomes fabulous, performance & skill will improve, team will become strong, pitch becomes competitive etc Just single step Change your Current Captain. Hope after the whitewash in Ashes'13 CA will forcefully do this.

  • Hammond on May 20, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    I love this. In reality the strongest first class competition in the world is the English county system.

  • Meety on May 19, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    @davos44 on (May 19, 2013, 20:56 GMT) - no arguments about Mennie, although Copeland has been consistantly very good in the Shield for a lot longer, & the 23 wickets is in relation to COUNTY cricket.

  • davos44 on May 19, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    So performing in the shield is a prerequisite for being picked for Australian teams ? Gimme a break. Someone else talking about Copeland with 23 wicks ...what about Joe mennie 33 wicks from 6 shield games...with the best wicket taking strike rate of anyone bar none...the reason he didn't play more and go on to lead wicket tally ..he was o/seas with scorchers early season and missed 3 shield games...these wickets were taken mainly on the flat Adelaide oval deck ...but he couldn't even get a run in the A team ..and I don't think he even made it to coe...quite simply we are not rewarding performance but picking favs and potential

  • Meety on May 19, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    @chicko1983 on (May 16, 2013, 4:50 GMT) - Copeland 23 wickets @ 19 (E/r 2.1, the lowest in Div 2), Murtagh (Shield journeyman) 30 wickets @ 15.2 - leading wicket taker in Div 1 (leading by NINE wickets), 2nd best S/rate of bowlers to have taken 10 wickets or more. Hogan (another Shield journeyman) is 4th in Div2 wicket takers. This suggests to me - that IF these guys are not our "best"FC bowlers, that means that we have others who are better, (meaning more quality seamers), combined with seam favourable pitches, means that our batting stocks are constantly been tested & there are no easy runs. I owuld say we have better batting quality then people think, just we have better seamers getting them out! So we end up getting two nearly neville nobodys leaning up County cricket +mr forgotten man Copeland (who is averaging 50 with the bat).

  • Meety on May 19, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    @Jono Makim - that could serve the need. We need to have FC cricket ALL SUMMER, as otherwise we could end up sending out of nick players on the March/April tours. re: 96 v 100 overs, I think we would be better off going back to 90 overs & adding a 5th day. Assume that would be a financial burden for CA/States, but maybe it could bring in EXTRA TV sponsorship?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 17, 2013, 20:58 GMT

    I agree with Warne, it's no surprise to find that the Australian Shield system is inferior to other leagues, all you have to do is look at the type and quality of players that end up in the national side: T20 quick fixes that never learn to adapt their game, or just plain unskilled 3rd rate players. A good example is the distinct lack of quality Australia could offer on the recent India tour, where their lack of a decent spinner, tragically weak batting line up and a keeper who could barely catch just the tip of the iceberg. Australia should put Warne in charge of it's management structure in a big way: he's got some ideas to make a start and he can't do any worse than where they are currently at.

  • on May 17, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    @Busie1979, no. have you actually watched a SS match in the last half decade? the pitches are ridiculously in favour of pace bowlers.

  • on May 17, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    For years Callum Ferguson's name is mentioned as a Test player, but on the basis of what?

  • Gordo85 on May 17, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    Warne is right on the money with this. He is right we are not selected the correct players. Poor Callum Ferguson is one I have been pushing for awhile now to play Test Cricket. Another one is Mark Cosgrove who lets be honest isn't really an opener but plays First Class Cricket and 50 Over as one.(He was better when he was in the top order not playing out of position) Also poor Chris Hartley must be wondering what else he needs to do to get noticed. Before Ferguson and Cosgrove get too old hurry up and pick them. My last one is Luke Butterworth he performs time and time again but for nothing. That is atleast three players I am going to mention here but I could go on with others.

  • on May 17, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    i've always wondered why ACT and NT don't have Sheffield Shield teams, they should be added to the competition as under 23 teams so young players are guaranteed a chance to play, ACT could select from young players not needed by NSW, Victoria or Tasmania and NT could select from SA, WA and Queensland's unwanted youngsters which would ensure they could field competitive teams, i don't know what the standard of club cricket is like in those 2 states but i'd imagine they wouldn't be able to pick competitive sides consisting of players just from their own state.

  • Busie1979 on May 17, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    1 - It's not 20/20 because other countries are producing good batsmen 2 - It's not the pitches cos oldies like Ponting, Rogers, Cosgrove and Haddin are still scoring runs 3 - It's not the fact that oldies are taking up too many spots - there are no young players making enough runs to push them out 4 - Scheduling is surely a factor, but is it any different in other countries?

    But maybe this is all overcomplicating things. Could it be that there just isn't enough young batting talent? and an overabundance of bowling talent?

  • on May 17, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    @Moppa, interesting idea mate! Maybe then we'd see some flats tracks for teams with good spinners/batsmen or seaming wickets for teams with good pace attacks. This is really how it should be, teams laying out pitches to suit their own strengths which is of course what happens in test cricket.

  • on May 17, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    @Meety, I'd run such a competition up until xmas. The BBL usually starts just before. So then you'd have perhaps two weeks early in the new year where you'd have the BBL finishing up and these young guys being able to take part in the last two thirds of the comp. I think its vitally important that they are able to make a good income at the same time as developing their longer format skills. I think the key would be the earlier start so that the players involved can just get more cricket in. I think in the end its more about getting more cricket into the legs of our young blokes. I would have it as an under 25 tourney plus 2 or 3 older cricketers. That guys like Ussie and Steve Smith are only getting 5 FC matches in a season is really handicapping their development. Start it early with a round or two of matches in Brisbane, Darwin, Cairns, Gold Coast. CA really needs to start getting a little more imaginative!

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on May 17, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    @Ducky. You are correct about Cosgrove, one of the most naturally talented and consistent batsmen we have. And still only 28, he is also very experienced at country level in England. I would pick him in a heart beat and play him in the slips if they are worried about his weight. Many legends have been overweight including Shane Warne and that didn't stop them

  • on May 17, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    SA's Supersport series is probably the strongest in the world . . .

  • ygkd on May 17, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    I like the idea of extending play to 100 overs - except for one point. Slog-fest batting may not be a casualty of such a move - the end result for a "set" batting lineup may be a happy hour at the end of the day's play when they can have a swing against tired bowling, for one simple reason - teams today rely too much on pace. You'd have to do something about the pitches at the same time to make proper spin more necessary, then I'd be all for it. Heavens knows, could two proper spinners in the one side be possible once again?

  • zenboomerang on May 17, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    The real problem is that CA has always (until recently) been a collective of States that have always wanted to hold on to their own self importance & power - NSW, Vic, SA - & haven't worked together to build up a true national competition...

    While sports like AFL & NRL have expanded greatly their market place by expansion over the last 30 years, cricket has fallen backwards... Even todays CA board members are just tokens offering nothing new to CA or improving the games popularity... NSW, Vic, Qld could easily accommodate another team while ACT should host one as well...

    Shield & Ryobi matches are fragmented & not played with a decent schedule for supporters to follow - imagine if AFL or NRL had a 2 month gap two-thirds through the season... Sheer madness...

  • Meety on May 17, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    @OzMongrel on (May 16, 2013, 20:01 GMT) - I agree, not sure what the stats say, but it SEEMS like the only time we get draws in the Shield - is if there has been bad weather. From memory (which is not always an exact replication), it seemed like draws were far more common in the Shield 10 years ago, whether that be equal opposing wills, or more neutral pitches (between bat & ball), I dunno. I would of thought theoretically spicey pitches - should of bred batsmen skilled in tough conditions (seemed to do so in England), however the opposite appears to be happenning (maybe the 20/20 era), it now seems to be a situation where we need batsmen to bat long, regardless of whether the pitch is tricky.

  • Meety on May 17, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    @Jono Makim - maybe it could be played in two halves - pre-Shield & then during the BBL? I think there is a heck of a lot of value having it on during the BBL. It won't compete with BBL viewing, (probably take some players away, but then can be fixed by increasing the quota of imports). We need to plug the massive hole in FC fixtures during the BBL period (IMO). Just on the "maths" of BBL v Shield, the BBL does have the equivalence of 2 teams worth of inports, but do agree that it is a stepping stone to a more guaranteed income out of cricket - when considering the 20/20 mercenary option of roaming form League to League around the world. As far as 100 overs a day, they already do 96, so I don't think that would be the answer. Maybe a 5th day? @Moppa on (May 16, 2013, 10:33 GMT) - ha - love the 2 point deduction idea, particular when just a .2 deduction for over rates robbed NSW of a finals birth, a whole 2 points would be feared.

  • malomay on May 16, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    If the pitches are as bowler friendly as some here would suggest, how is it that a player at the end of his career (too old apparently) in Ponting, able to score almost 1000 runs (911) @ over 75 ? Amazing what a little technique & shot selection will do.

  • nickvegas on May 16, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    Players are retiring far later than previously, that is why no younger players are coming through. With half the team in their 30s, how can an 18 yo future star make it with all these 'experienced' players in the team. As usual, money ruins everyhing

  • ygkd on May 16, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    NZ joining the Sheffield Shield (as Nth Isd & Sth Isd with the Plunket Shield possibly used for ODD) won't happen. There are too many entrenched positions, however good an idea it has been. However, NZ may be the beneficiary of the non-expansion of the Sheffield Shield. Brownlie was unfavoured at WA and left for NZ. Ronchi ran out of favour and later left as well. If there'd been NT and ACT teams, I bet at least one, if not both, would have stayed this side of the Tasman. And yes, Ronchi left to further his Test ambitions, and fair enough, but his axing by WA probably didn't help. Above all, it's worth remembering that the first SS was a three-state affair. On three occasions since, it has been expanded.

  • OzMongrel on May 16, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    You can't build Test quality batsmen and bowlers on pitches that are doctored to get a result in four days. Outright wins in Shield Cricket should be won by the sheer dominance of a team, not by having greentops that give bowlers the upper hand and ultimately shorten the match. Batsmen are not currently able to craft an innings, they are too busy wondering about what the ball will do. Likewise, bowlers are finding it too easy to get wickets and are being elevated to Test level before their bodies have been hardened by consecutive seasons of having to think a batsman out. Somewhere along the line we have become afraid of the draw as a result - we already have first innings points as a means of deriving meaning from a four day game. Shield cricket should be played on Test quality wickets, because only then will we find Test quality players.

  • Metro-ant on May 16, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    The best thing to do is to let more overseas players in like what is done with football. Some would say that they are taking the spots of potential young players but in reality what you are doing is filtering the better players for fewer spots. The ones that make it will be playing in a more competitive environment with international players. It shouldn't go down the county line of 1 foreign player to every 2 brits in a team but could be like a DP to Sydney FC for example but probably someone with more equal skill to the rest of the squad!

  • AKS286 on May 16, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    I don't think so. Aus is having good Sheffield Shield cup.The SELECTION & Clarke are the problem. The problem is in test cricket is that Technique & temperament are priority rather than paper record. eg Marsh is a good player of spin than Hughes, Warner is ideal for limited over, Cowan is a club cricketer, lyon is a school cricketer, Wade is a Waste, Clarke focuses on axing seniors. Forrest, Ferguson, Klinger, Doolan are best for test. Maxwell, Starc, Faulkner, Christan, Quiney are good in limited overs not in test.

  • on May 16, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    Good points to be noted in order to take Australia back on track.To play for home team should be an honor , but with courage and passion.Test cricket is the essence of world cricket. every other form is derived from test cricket. This should be remembered and kept in mind for deciding the future plans.

  • on May 16, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    The shield system is a shadow of its former self.Western Australian cricket especially has been a victim of petty bureaucrats and timeservers in the WACA system.Many former players from the golden age of WA cricket were denied coaching positions in favour of entrenched do nothing seat warmers. There was a cricket australia review of the WACA administration a few years ago, its a pity that it was not made public.

  • ravi_hari on May 16, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    If you look at the number of Aussies in IPL, you get a feeling that there is a huge pool back home and everything is hunky-dory. However, this is possibly the only talent left for Aussies. Most of them either sat out or did not perform well. The ones performing are not in the side. So what is happening with Aussie cricket? Warne is right in pointing out that talent is channelled the wrong way. IPL, BBL are not the platforms to identify talent. Youngsters should perform in the longer versions prepare themselves for tests and then adapt to ODI and T20. Look how Dravid and Hussey adapted. Even in India, only a few are able to balance between all 3 formats, others are found wanting when given opportunities. Rohit, Raina, Yusuf, all are examples of this. CA should think about Warne's comments seriously and draw a perfect map to nurture talent. Not only batsmen, but bowlers also are being affected by T20 and ODI. This is the reason for lack of quality spinners today in Australia. Wake up CA!

  • essobhp on May 16, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Many posters have hit upon 'talent' and other technical issues that explain the decline in Shield cricket but other factors are involved. In 1987 or 1998 I ducked out of work to watch Greg Ritchie and co get 200 runs in the last session of day 4 to beat NSW. There were 2000 or so there to watch it. I'm a cricket tragic and I still go whenever I can but over the last 10 years, I find that it is me and maybe a dozen other people there outside of team personnel and stadium staff watching. This is woeful, and I often wonder why would an elite athlete strive to reach the lofty level of playing first class cricket in Australia to be rewarded with such a pitiful turnout week in week out. It is sad and I do wonder whether this does impact on a player in terms of their desire and motivation to persist with their craft. Perhaps the lack of interest by the Oz public is also having an impact on the talent coming through the Sheffield Shield.

  • Moppa on May 16, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    I have another suggestion - increase the number of overs to 100 per day and extend play by an hour. This would increase the chances of forcing a result without artificial declarations or slog-fest batting. Maybe as an added bonus - extremely strict enforcement of over rates with penalties - to increase the value of selecting spinners. My preference would be for a clock that attributes lost time to the batting team where appropriate (e.g., an injury, change of gloves etc), and this time is 'added on' for the bowling team to use, but within that allowance, a failure to complete the required overs in the allotted time would result in a direct run penalty - 5 runs per over behind or something. @cozas, limiting teams to 100 overs per side would decrease the value of big, steady Test match style innings which are exactly what we want to encourage. @warnerbasher, I used to agree with you on spicy tracks, but our batsmen aren't really that good against the moving ball these days...

  • Moppa on May 16, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    I think the greener, under-prepared Shield wickets have lowered the value of the Shield as a preparation for Test cricket, and I agree with @Jono Makim as to the reasons why that is the case. I have a suggestion to at least move in the right direction: take 2 points off Shield teams when they lose outright *at home*. This would increase the risk of preparing 'result wickets' at home, which teams are doing at present to maximise their chance of getting 6 points. I don't think it would move you towards producing dead tracks, given the carrot of 6 points for an outright win. @PFEL - agreed! @Barnesy444, I think you are being a bit harsh on Warne - if he stuck around in the Shield, people would accuse him of squeezing out a promising young spinner (very different for spinners, where there is only one or two in a team, to batsmen where there are six).

  • Micgyver on May 16, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Warnies got a few good points that should be heard from CA and taken into consideration. Another reason i think Australian batsmen have been under-achieving the last few years is the more bowler friendly pitches. There's been too much juice in it for the bowlers.Good batsmen these days average mid thirties and barely unheard of bowlers are averaging early twenties.

  • zenboomerang on May 16, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    Pity Warne doesn't say anything concrete on fixing the probs in SShield or maybe he just doesn't have a clue.

    What we need is a fixed season without a break in it - Sept to Dec would fix this situation... We would also have players being in form for Test duty if required with the last summer Test played in early Jan - why play SS in Feb/Mar when it doesn't benefit anyone?... BBL & Ryobi are best suited for Jan/Mar when its hotter & day/night games are more family friendly...

    Also 2 more SS teams would give the young players a chance to get experience earlier while also allowing us to develop some grounds that give spinners more of an option than at present...

  • Clyde on May 16, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Talent is often confused with style. Just as the primary talent of a bowler is to help get the team to ten wickets, the primary talent of a batsmen is to refuse bowlers this prize. Australia's present batsmen are particularly low on this crabbed, scrabbling talent. Warner and Hughes have tried it on occasion, and Warner even succeeded, once, as I recall, but in general they have the patience more for a few easy clouts and a modicum of runs, sometimes on the basis that this is their natural game. Winning a game of cricket is not a natural activity but one of application to the game as it is devised. Shield is as near as Australia comes to the game, but perhaps there also needs to be an internal test (small 't) between the central and the peripheral states.

  • on May 16, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    @Warnerbasher, I think that having the wickets spiced up is actually creating problems. A. Batsmen aren't getting conditioned to playing long innings. B. Good bowlers are getting great returns and its a little difficult to tell just who is our best potential test cricketers when they are taking cheap poles on wickets with assistance (John Hastings, anyone). C. Our young spinners are not getting overs in until january/february once things dry out a bit (Jon Holland being placed into the Victorian xi by the CA heirachy on green tracks). D. These pitches are nothing like the drier/flatter test pitches at the next level, it is not realistic preparation for test cricket.

    While the shield stats would suggest we have a huge crop of good to great young bowlers and poor batsmen i'm going to disagree with that consensus and suggest we need to get the state pitches back towards more evenly balanced wickets that give everyone an even chance.

  • gemmy123 on May 16, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    One of the big reasons Australia dominated in the 90s' and 00's was that the batting production line included County Cricket. I wouldnt go as far as to call it a 'finishing school' but it allowed intensive fine tuning of techniques againt (said with gritted teeth) lower quality attacks day in, day out. But you've replaced that process with the IPL where techniques for the longer game erode. Savvy Aussie boards should be looking to send their B-team youngsters to the County game where they can at least be thrown into a daily grind of longer-form matches. It can't hurt even if it means swallowing a bit of pride.

  • on May 16, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    Sorry rabbito but Warney is right. I don't think the Shield is the best competition in the world. I have watched lots of County cricket and Shield cricket and the County Championship is undoubtedly as good. However, the Grade System in OZ certainly stronger than it's English counterpart

  • kiwicricketnut on May 16, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    With such a massive country with such different climates you would think you would have the most variety in pitches in which your first class batsmen could play and train on, your players should be the most prepared to face any foreign conditions because they shouldn't be that foreign but your batters are definately struggling which is wierd because they face alot of quality bowlers. For years us kiwis wanted to have a north and south island team in your domestic competition to not only create more interest in first class cricket with a trans tasman rivalry but to expose our better players to a tougher compitition, i still think its a good idea, not sure aussies would think so, but maybe its not such a superior comp after all.

  • on May 16, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Alex Doolan and Steve Smith should have been given opportunities in the Ashes. Smith has enormous talent. He performed quite well in the subcontinent when all other except Clarke failed. Smith has got excellent leadership skills as well. When Clarke retires, Steve Smith should be made the captain, if he consistently scores runs.

  • Barnesy4444 on May 16, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    I don't disagree Warney. But a big part of it too is when big name stars retire they should go back and play Shield for a season or two like Ponting is doing. Instead they are abandoning Sheffield Shield to go and make quick bucks playing IPL. What does this say to the young blokes coming through? Any names come to mind, Warney?

  • on May 16, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Maybe Australia should consider adding two teams to the Shield. I agree with Warne that exposing 30 odd more quality young guys to hard 4 day cricket can only benefit the Australian game. There are too many older players, who certainly are still good enough (and hence their contracts), but exposure to the next generation is key here. The Australian pool is big enough to accommodate both the veteran and rookie players....and it can only be good for the older guys to share their experience with the youngsters.

  • warnerbasher on May 16, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Fairly obvious but unlikely is that they need to get the international players playing a few games when they are at their peak rather than on their way back from injuries. Unfortunately with Sutherland in charge the bottom line is the focus as no doubt he is on a financial performance contract. I do like the fact that the wickets around Australia have been spiced up which should test the techniques of young batsman coming through but the real test would come for the international fast bowlers bowling at them. In terms of spinners I would suggest that all cricket lovers across Australia donate a ton of money to genetic science in the hope that one day we can clone a Warney or a Tiger O'Reilly

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on May 16, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Whatever is done getting the Test players to play as much Shield as possible needs to happen. At least the first three matches in Oct/Nov and a couple at the end. Bin the Big Bash if necessary. Standards have dropped .... can remember being a WACA member and watching the WA of Gilchrist, Martyn, Hussey, Katich & Langer taking on NSW with Taylor , Slater, Waugh x 2 & McGrath. Playing with those players will lift the young players. The gap between Shield and Tests has widened appreciably so that it is too big a jump now for many.

  • on May 16, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    @Handyandy, they've done that somewhat by picking the likes of Rogers and Haddin. Both performed strongly in the shield.

  • ygkd on May 16, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    I'm not convinced that beefing up the Futures League and beefing up the Shield are incompatible. I see them as part of the same problem. The ladder in cricket is wonky and some of the rungs are not working. Grade/District cricket used to provide one of those important rungs but now is a shadow of its former self. Jono Makim is right that the maths are with the BBL. More places. More pay-cheques. That's why I say the eight-team BBL should be mirrored by an eight-team Sheffield Shield, or there will remain an imbalance. Beefing up the U23 stuff is also necessary.

  • handyandy on May 16, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    I have a weird idea.

    Why not guarantee that the player with the highest batting average for the season (with a minimum run requirement) automatically gets a test spot.

    If nothing else that should encourage players to put their heads down and grind out the runs.

    At the end of the day it should be performances and not potential that gets you a test spot.

  • on May 16, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    Pretty simple maths really, 8 teams in the BBL, 6 in the Shield. Of course players are going to emerge in the BBL first, there is 33% more places!

    @Meety, I like your idea of turning the futures league into a second FC comp, it has to be bulked up quite a bit and perhaps this is where we could see 7 or 8 teams all playing each other at least once. If you started it before the regular season you'd give the opportunity for our test cricketers to play alongside youngsters to gain some form, win/win. These teams could all be based at grounds different to the state grounds, exposing them to different conditions, again a win. This comp. could be finished by christmas allowing these guys to then go play BBL and fight their way into shield cricket for the second half of the season, win/win/win.

  • Rabbito on May 16, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    I agree with him somewhat, i think its quality has slipped a bit - but not to the stage where its not the best in the world anymore...i mean what other competitions are better? englands is rubbish...and i dunno about any others either...

  • Batmanian on May 16, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Decent first class batsmen between twenty and thirty seem pretty thin on the ground. I would put Joe Burns in the team immediately and hope he can turn into a Test player. Phillip Hughes certainly has a mediocre record in parts, and I hope he has worked England out. It's time for Khawaja to perform... I really hope he can; he seems to have had concentration problems in the past. Yep, the stocks are pretty dire. Rogers, Watson, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja, Haddin, Harris, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon is not a terrible batting line up. I can't see much value in Cowan and Rogers together. Got to stick with Warner and Hughes. Don't let Watson near a microphone, and let him open. Please, Khawaja, perform.

  • Meety on May 16, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    @Ducky610 on (May 16, 2013, 2:23 GMT) - yep, if the selectors always were biased against the bulge (like the current mob seem to be), good to great cricketers like Greg Ritchie, David Boon & Mark Taylor would of only been Shield journeymen.

  • Pak_Guru on May 16, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    Finally the law of averages has caught hold of CA..........Good, anyways I was fed up of the Aussie domination especially over test cricket. I truly believe the Aussies will not even qualify for the semis in upcoming CT - England.

  • cozas on May 16, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    I think changing the overs in the shield to 100 per side would help develop players as it gives all players a chance to perform. if u bowl a side out in say 85 overs then your side gets 108 overs to bat and so on. we need to get spinners bowling more in matches young boyce from qld playes 7 or 8 shield matches a season but only bowls 10 or 15 overs a game we need these type of bowlers bowling 30 to 40 overs a game.

  • Brennan_Azza on May 16, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    We certainly have enough talented batsmen in the junior ranks, but something happens when they turn 20/21/22. They stop being spoon-fed through the juniors, there is a lot more pressure, and they have to "fend for themselves" a lot more. Instead of relying on their talent, they must work extremely hard on technique and patience because opposition teams have worked them out by the time they're that age. They stop improving, and fall off the pile. I lament the fact that Australia are in a position where they have to pick 35 year old Chris Rogers, but I acknowledge that we don't have much choice at the moment.

  • chicko1983 on May 16, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    Very select quoting there ESPNcricinfo staff (dont even put a name to atribute this piece to?). By saying he is not sure if we are the best first class cricket comp does not mean it is weak and no longer the best.

    Id say the standard is still the best in any country, merely because there are so few spot available, every team has a couple test standard players. Gone are the days where every team had at least 4 or 5 test standard players though, now its only 2 or 3 in some states.

    Look at County, Aussies still are consistently up the top of runs and wickets tables. Wont change anytime soon, in fact, this is the low ebb in Australian cricket and we still competed for no.1 test spot 8 mths ago!

  • PFEL on May 16, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Fast-tracking young players who aren't ready for first-class cricket into the Shield will strengthen the shield? That doesn't make any sense

  • on May 16, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    I have to agree with warnie. Priorities are given to the short forms of the game too much in regards to the blooding of young talent. I think if a batsmen can master the 4 day game first he can understand how to build an innings an understand his own game a lot more. Therefor he can adjust to the shorter forms a lot easier. It's a win win, Australia will become more competitive and the players will be working harder to keep their spots in the national team with stiff competition from a talented playing pool of young batsmen coming through the ranks, Which I think we have at the moment. Over all Australian cricket will become a far more professional organisation both nationally and internationally. As a cricket lover I just hope someone from cricket Australia takes Warnie's advice seriously.

  • __PK on May 16, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Greatest spinner ever. Astute captain, could have been our greatest if his behavioural issues hadn't ruined it for him. But why do we believe he's an administration genius? He says "I think we have got a pretty good system, I think we have run a very tight ship." but also "I'm not sure we've got the structure right, I'm not sure we've got the process right, and I don't believe we're selecting the right players." I'm not sure if the paragraph about the absence of young batsman was Warne's comment, or just editorialising, but it contradicts Warne's later statement "I think we've got a lot of talent at the moment." And why are we surprised that the top 3 run-scorers last year were our best-ever since Bradman, a vastly-experienced first class player and one with 10 years' experience, none of whom had any national duties?

  • Antir on May 16, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    I am not sure that Warnie has any good answers to the problem of domestic cricket.

  • zenboomerang on May 16, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Pity Warne doesn't say anything concrete on fixing the probs in SShield or maybe he just doesn't have a clue.

    What we need is a fixed season without a break in it - Sept to Dec would fix this situation... We would also have players being in form for Test duty if required with the last summer Test played in early Jan - why play SS in Feb/Mar when it doesn't benefit anyone?... BBL & Ryobi are best suited for Jan/Mar when its hotter & day/night games are more family friendly...

    Also 2 more SS teams would give the young players a chance to get experience earlier while also allowing us to develop some grounds that give spinners more of an option than at present...

  • ygkd on May 16, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    The Shield needs more spots on offer in order to do this. Teams in the Territories would do. The ACT already attracts country NSW players. The NT could help too, especially if a spinning pitch in Alice could add depth to the FC pitches on offer. Warne's right, but there's quite a bit to do because the current structure isn't up to it. To put it in perspective, what is there to offer talented late teens who are yet to catch the selectors' eyes? A run in District/Grade cricket? That's not what it was. The AFL offers the VFL, TFL, SAFL, WAFL as major semi-professional alternatives to the U23 cricket one as well as U18 comps like the TAC Cup at a regional level far beyond the scale of cricket. There's a bottleneck in cricket that AFL does not have. And the BBL, however popular and necessary, is not a suitable alternative. Nor is the short-stuff that dominates junior representative cricket. Longer games and more of them are needed to correctly sort the teenage wheat from the chaff.

  • on May 16, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    australia in order to resurrect their past reputation have to start performing now. they have the bowling resources to win a test match but its their batting that is at fault at the moment.they need to somehow quickly unearth 2-3 talented batsmen who can score big runs in 5 day cricket.

  • BatsmanWhoBowls on May 16, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Pretty spot on Warnie. When players fight their way up domestic level through T20, bits-and-pieces players like Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques (although I was very impressed by Henriques' long debut innings against quality spin in India) are the end product. One of the differences between Australia and England is that England are ignoring their bits-and-pieces players, like Luke Wright and Samit Patel, unless there is no other option. Instead, players should be trying what Paul Collingwood did with great success (although it took him a while); came up through first class cricket, established himself as an batting all-rounder, and then made himself useful as a mix-it-up T20 bowler after becoming proficient as a line-and-length seamer in First Class and List A cricket. Tim Bresnan is another player who may be argued to be in this category, as he can be both consistently threatening with his seamers, and explosive wth the bat out of the middle order, in all formats

  • Meety on May 16, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    I think there is merit in bypassing T20 cricket into FC/Shield cricket. That said, the players (in this case batsmen), must be well credentialled to get that call up. That means strong Grade cricket form - IMO. What I have felt CA can do, (thought this for a while), is re-jig the Futures League. I am happy for the Shield to stay has a 4 (preferably 5) premier FC comp involving 6 teams. What I would like to see, is CA think outside the box & maybe create a 3-day FC comp out of the Futures League - which has FC status. This could be run thru the BBL, & be used for injured Test players looking to get some form (see Watto prior to 3rd Test v SA or the India tour), players who are FC standard but not really 20/20 material (like how Rogers didn't play one BBL edition). In England they have the MCC FC comp, which usually involves County 2nd XIs v Uni teams & that is given FC status. The Futures League could be rigged to being about batting points, not results.

  • Ducky610 on May 16, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    "the top three Shield run scorers were the 38-year-old Ricky Ponting, Mark Cosgrove, who has been playing for more than a decade, and Chris Rogers, 35"

    Yet Mark Cosgrove, who is 28, still never gets a look in... The selectors need to look at his runs not his waist... Worry about improving fielding skills once you've got a settled top 6 who are making runs...

  • on May 16, 2013, 2:16 GMT

    yup..AUS really need to improve their first class structure..

  • bobagorof on May 16, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    I believe part of this issue is that selectors have been loathe to drop older players when they're out of form, meaning younger players don't get experience at the top level and then suddenly you have no experienced guys around when the older player eventually retires. I also remember 10-15 years ago the Test players would return to the domestic competition during breaks in the schedule or in the lead-up to the home series. With the current schedule (international and domestic), this doesn't happen anywhere near as often - meaning domestic players don't get the benefit of playing with and learning from the national players. There's been lots said and written about the dearth of young players in Australia, but Burns, Khawaja, O'Keefe, and Doolan can't get selected, Paine has been forgotten about, and Silk and Agar look like promising players of the future after a handful of games. But as Warne says, you need to actually pick them.

  • bobagorof on May 16, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    I believe part of this issue is that selectors have been loathe to drop older players when they're out of form, meaning younger players don't get experience at the top level and then suddenly you have no experienced guys around when the older player eventually retires. I also remember 10-15 years ago the Test players would return to the domestic competition during breaks in the schedule or in the lead-up to the home series. With the current schedule (international and domestic), this doesn't happen anywhere near as often - meaning domestic players don't get the benefit of playing with and learning from the national players. There's been lots said and written about the dearth of young players in Australia, but Burns, Khawaja, O'Keefe, and Doolan can't get selected, Paine has been forgotten about, and Silk and Agar look like promising players of the future after a handful of games. But as Warne says, you need to actually pick them.

  • on May 16, 2013, 2:16 GMT

    yup..AUS really need to improve their first class structure..

  • Ducky610 on May 16, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    "the top three Shield run scorers were the 38-year-old Ricky Ponting, Mark Cosgrove, who has been playing for more than a decade, and Chris Rogers, 35"

    Yet Mark Cosgrove, who is 28, still never gets a look in... The selectors need to look at his runs not his waist... Worry about improving fielding skills once you've got a settled top 6 who are making runs...

  • Meety on May 16, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    I think there is merit in bypassing T20 cricket into FC/Shield cricket. That said, the players (in this case batsmen), must be well credentialled to get that call up. That means strong Grade cricket form - IMO. What I have felt CA can do, (thought this for a while), is re-jig the Futures League. I am happy for the Shield to stay has a 4 (preferably 5) premier FC comp involving 6 teams. What I would like to see, is CA think outside the box & maybe create a 3-day FC comp out of the Futures League - which has FC status. This could be run thru the BBL, & be used for injured Test players looking to get some form (see Watto prior to 3rd Test v SA or the India tour), players who are FC standard but not really 20/20 material (like how Rogers didn't play one BBL edition). In England they have the MCC FC comp, which usually involves County 2nd XIs v Uni teams & that is given FC status. The Futures League could be rigged to being about batting points, not results.

  • BatsmanWhoBowls on May 16, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Pretty spot on Warnie. When players fight their way up domestic level through T20, bits-and-pieces players like Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques (although I was very impressed by Henriques' long debut innings against quality spin in India) are the end product. One of the differences between Australia and England is that England are ignoring their bits-and-pieces players, like Luke Wright and Samit Patel, unless there is no other option. Instead, players should be trying what Paul Collingwood did with great success (although it took him a while); came up through first class cricket, established himself as an batting all-rounder, and then made himself useful as a mix-it-up T20 bowler after becoming proficient as a line-and-length seamer in First Class and List A cricket. Tim Bresnan is another player who may be argued to be in this category, as he can be both consistently threatening with his seamers, and explosive wth the bat out of the middle order, in all formats

  • on May 16, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    australia in order to resurrect their past reputation have to start performing now. they have the bowling resources to win a test match but its their batting that is at fault at the moment.they need to somehow quickly unearth 2-3 talented batsmen who can score big runs in 5 day cricket.

  • ygkd on May 16, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    The Shield needs more spots on offer in order to do this. Teams in the Territories would do. The ACT already attracts country NSW players. The NT could help too, especially if a spinning pitch in Alice could add depth to the FC pitches on offer. Warne's right, but there's quite a bit to do because the current structure isn't up to it. To put it in perspective, what is there to offer talented late teens who are yet to catch the selectors' eyes? A run in District/Grade cricket? That's not what it was. The AFL offers the VFL, TFL, SAFL, WAFL as major semi-professional alternatives to the U23 cricket one as well as U18 comps like the TAC Cup at a regional level far beyond the scale of cricket. There's a bottleneck in cricket that AFL does not have. And the BBL, however popular and necessary, is not a suitable alternative. Nor is the short-stuff that dominates junior representative cricket. Longer games and more of them are needed to correctly sort the teenage wheat from the chaff.

  • zenboomerang on May 16, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Pity Warne doesn't say anything concrete on fixing the probs in SShield or maybe he just doesn't have a clue.

    What we need is a fixed season without a break in it - Sept to Dec would fix this situation... We would also have players being in form for Test duty if required with the last summer Test played in early Jan - why play SS in Feb/Mar when it doesn't benefit anyone?... BBL & Ryobi are best suited for Jan/Mar when its hotter & day/night games are more family friendly...

    Also 2 more SS teams would give the young players a chance to get experience earlier while also allowing us to develop some grounds that give spinners more of an option than at present...

  • Antir on May 16, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    I am not sure that Warnie has any good answers to the problem of domestic cricket.

  • __PK on May 16, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Greatest spinner ever. Astute captain, could have been our greatest if his behavioural issues hadn't ruined it for him. But why do we believe he's an administration genius? He says "I think we have got a pretty good system, I think we have run a very tight ship." but also "I'm not sure we've got the structure right, I'm not sure we've got the process right, and I don't believe we're selecting the right players." I'm not sure if the paragraph about the absence of young batsman was Warne's comment, or just editorialising, but it contradicts Warne's later statement "I think we've got a lot of talent at the moment." And why are we surprised that the top 3 run-scorers last year were our best-ever since Bradman, a vastly-experienced first class player and one with 10 years' experience, none of whom had any national duties?