Australian cricket is stuffed

Australian cricket is in crisis there are just so many reasons you can debate these and add yours!


1 – Programming has been an utter disgrace.
Cricket Australia and cricket in general cares far more about money than the good of the game. How in the hell can we be playing meaningless one day games in South Africa instead of being back here playing Shield games – preparing properly for vital home series of TEST matches – real cricket!

Australian Test players play Shield games marginally more often than Richmond win a final and it is a farce that the majority of real summer cricket time, when Test matches should occur, is dedicated to the cash cow, the Big Bash.
India brings in about 70 cents of every dollar generated in the sport, so again 20-20 cricket comes first; just so bitterly disappointing that money rules – not the good of the game.


2 – The positions created in Australian cricket and then the people appointed to the roles.
General manager of high performance, Pat Howard who comes from a rugby background, and being tactful (not my strong point) I am very reliably informed knows zero-zero about the game of cricket! Other roles: dietician, communication manager etc.. – are they just hanger onners there for the gravy ride? Do they really contribute anything? How would Doug Walters, Boony, Warner put up with this? Has it helped the game and the Australian side whatsoever?


3 – The complete and utter stupidity re going on about a bowler’s pace when what type of bowling has run through our batting consistently? Swing bowling! The Hobart pitch and conditions were tailor made for the best exponent of swing bowling in the country by a space in Chadd Sayers – he had to play (let alone for the fact he has taken 17 wickets at 10 so far this season and 182 at 22 in his career!)


4 – The selection of sides.
Wow oh wow, Rod Marsh talking about Jackson Bird’s batting and so the obvious comment is made: so therefore Glenn McGrath wouldn’t have played Test cricket (that was as weird and bizarre comment made in the history of the sport)
(Please comment with other gems re selection and comments).


5 – District Cricket in Adelaide (I think the rest of the country as well?) being played of Sheffield Shield hours 11 till 6, so players have to be there by 9.30 or so. They may have to travel an hour or so to get there and then do the right thing and go back to their club. Don’t get home till after 8 – so guess what? Guys who are married in their 30s and are no longer playing district cricket – so Ken Cunningham, Bob Blewett, Clacker Clarke, Wayne Bradbrook, Bob Zadow etc. who were the TEACHERS of the young guys, and helped provide that hard-nosed edge. And the standard has dropped markedly through not only losing the older players, but the fact that Saturday is just another working day, now.

The game has lost a lot of players for this reason


6 – A reason that is not even thought of but having coached in the last few seasons is split marriages. Yes, it is great that society has moved forward and the male plays more of a role in this situation re having the kids on weekends compared with years ago. Merely stating the fact that has caused a drop off with guys playing cricket.


7 – There are so many more opportunities to play so many different sports than what was really the traditional footy in winter and cricket in summer (OK I know I am going a tad overboard re generalizing so much).


8 – Backyards are so much smaller – so that obviously hurts the chances of cricket being played big time and safety wise. Years ago, as kids we basically got on our bikes, left home in the morning and played with our mates all day, and didn’t return till it was dark. Sadly those days are long gone. (How many games of cricket do you see being played on the road or in parks compared to years ago?) Amount of open space such as parks and reserves to play sport has dwindled.


9 – Kids and bloody computers!!!


10 – The garbage re kids’ sport of not keeping score (OK not quite so much in cricket)
I am referring overall to not allowing kids to learn how to win and lose well – guess what – that is life!


I have given my thoughts re how the game is struggling (even stuffed) right from the top level, grass roots and kids level.
Your thoughts? Solutions Pretty Please? I honestly think it has been a slow decay of the game and I really can’t see any way back. I desperately hope I am wrong.


For a creative expression of what’s wrong with Australian cricket read this (imagined) conversation from a bar in Hobart (by E. Regnans)


Other cricket articles:

Read Mike Sexton on Hookesy at West Torrens – a little known story


FAlmanac banner sq


  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Hard to argue with you here Book. Is Troy Chaplin involved in some way?

  2. Watching this test series so far has caused me nothing but pain. The batting collapse was absolutely no shock. Humiliating defeat in Hobart today.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Phil bloody,Chaplin has as much relevance as the majority of hanger ons and yep bugger it let’s blame him.!Campbell yes totally demoralizing and the personal side really disappointed for Ferg as good a bloke as there is in sport.

  4. I agree with a lot you have wrote. I just have a question only…Do Australia still run a cricket academy, if not then i think they should…most of our batsman now have a very poor technique , especially to a swinging ball …i think we need to get the kids and coach them from an early age otherwise it will be a very long time before we see any world class players coming through the system.

  5. Dan Sergeant says:

    Agree with what you’ve written Book.
    I blame the current malaise of the test team down to T-20 cricket. It’s the HIV of cricket. It teaches players bad habits which translate across to the long form of the game. I remember going to tests at the Adelaide oval 20 years ago where 90 overs were bowled comfortably in a days play and to see 300 runs scored was incredibly good going. Opening batsmen didn’t slash at wide balls 6 deliveries into an innings, and players were prepared to wait for the bad ball and hit it. There was no need to try and force the game from the first delivery.
    I look at our dismissals in the Hobart test and the biggest thing that killed us was the complete lack of footwork. The majority of the dismissals were carbon copy replays with the batsmen looking like their feet were glued to the crease.
    To fix the team we need to select players who want to play for the team and aren’t concerned with trying to get a tv sponsorship or an ipl contract. Players that value their wicket and will cop a hiding to protect their stumps.

  6. Bad headline Malcolm, it’s not stuffed. A lot of areas where improvement is needed now, but it’s way over dramatic to all it “stuffed”. All players are good enough in this team but it’s not happening for them, so yes, change is needed and it will happen. By the way, let’s give some credit to the opposition, they are playing very well!

  7. G’day Book,

    Last weekend, Rohan Connolly made a good point on SEN radio. He pointed out the issues on scheduling on cricket games. Switching various cricket codes would be hard for players. As I had different types of responsibilities at the recent terminated work, I understand how hard and tough switching codes / responsibilities. I’m sorry for the cricket crisis in Australia.

    As for your points of views, I am sad that the cricket organisation cares money, money, money… It’s not good to hear the issues occurred in the district cricket in Adelaide. I agree with you. Who wants to play that requires leaving home early in the morning and going back home late night? No one I reckon. Lack of space in the playground is the big issue for the cricket. Oh I can’t believe it happens in Australia. It has already happened here in Japan long time ago.



  8. Mariusz Danielak says:

    We have been spoiled thtough 90’s + 00’s with our best test team since invincibles. And yet through through those times i heard people ring up and complain how aussies are wimning too easily! Now we go simply through a bad cycle . Worst comments come from people that say we should have more blockers. If we wont promote positive batsman like Warner then test cricket will really die

  9. A quick comment on two of your points Rulebook:

    Before reading this article, I asked my 19 year old son Sheriff Boody, if he’d seen the Test result and we discussed the bad run the team has had recently. He said “Dad, have you seen the size of the backyards of these townhouses and unit blocks?” Point taken (twice tonight).

    In the 90’s my wife played Rugby for Uni in Brisbane. Pat Howard was a current Wallaby. When you went to Uni training, every player from all teams did the fitness training together at the start. Fitness training was run by Pat Howard’s Mother. I realise it’s probably a bit different to be the high performance manager to running fitness training, but makes me wonder if it’s a family trait to take on roles in other sports to those you are familiar with?

  10. Malcolm another thought i just had was you quite correctly identify the lack of knowledge of cricket with some senior official but few seem to question how much proven and successfull coaching experience some of the coaching staff has — leemann has had success with qld but realy how much success has some of the others had, my brief research seems to reflect a pattern of experience in coaching but little obvious successfull coaching over a period of time — needs better research than i can do but just a gut feel obvious type we should look for is perhaps gilespe for bowlers and fielding team tactics??

  11. Malcolm the one thing you haven’t mentioned is the wickets – it seems to me that we can’t bat on turning wickets or seaming ones either – but when do the Shield players get to play on those types of wickets? If they don’t get the practice/experience at Shield level how is that going to translate into Test level?
    I agree that some of the hangers on seem unnecessary but times have changed with the advent of social media – nothing stays on tour anymore – so it needs to be managed. I would have thought that the less distractions the players had the more time they have to focus on cricket.

  12. Mark Clarke says:

    Absolutely agree with everything you wrote there ‘Book! If the grass roots of cricket don’t get their act together, we won’t have any talent in the future. And this creating fancy jobs for the sake of it is just setting up plumb jobs for professional hangers-on! When they started with a “Coach”, I remember Warnies’ comment that “The only coach we need is the one from the Hotel to the Ground” indicates the start of the rot! Only junior grades need a coach!
    The almighty dollar is getting in the way of selecting teams, and the lack of test players in the sheffield shield comp will continue the rot.

  13. picking old guys means you can never drop them when out of form

    stability called for because nobody bangs down the non-existent door. the guys in the team didn’t bang down a door.

    sack everyone and get a new skipper. pick a leggie. run hard between the wickets. etc

  14. Brenton Woolford says:

    Good on you rulebook .. great to hear an opinion . . we all have one. In my view as a cricket director of a grade club your argument about grade cricket is just romanticising about the past. What SACA have done well is try to create an elite competition(Redbacks League) , one problem it suffers is it has no character. However it is enabling SACA to get a better perspective on who can and who can’t – given the comparative population of this state I believe they are doing a significantly better job than perhaps has occurred previously . Grade cricket is grade cricket, I do not agree that it is any different than in years gone past.
    Things have changed, money rules sport unfortunately and it is to the detriment of those core values that are now missing and this is most evident in the obsessive ‘high performance ‘ culture that has taken over elite sporting environments in the western world. In terms of performance with some tinkering Australian cricket will bounce back however life has moved on and the old days are just that. Getting a selection committee who understand the current game has to help so it is time for somebody like Ponting to take over. 20/20 is dominating decisions of administrators and players alike which is to the detriment of a young batman’s ability to focus on ‘red ball cricket’ and therefore the development of young batsman is being hampered in my opinion. When Australian cricket is able to have more focus on a balance of building game awareness/technique as batsman instead of obsessing with teaching young people how to put the ball ‘ on the grandstand roof ‘we will be all the better for it.

  15. Caz Phillips says:

    Not sure what to say ,I cant believe Australian cricket and how its gone from very good to poor .
    What went wrong ?
    Not sure what changes will be made but after a bowling attack that hasnt bowled well at all and our batting keeps collapsing big time.
    I think its not just the players that need changing ,I think our cricket programme can help the players more as well ,they need more preparation for test matches to perform better in pressure situations .
    Love my cricket but performances like these will keep hapoening if they arent addresses in the right way and to get the right people in the right positions is very important .
    Im waiting in anticipation to see or hear the changes and lets hope we can get back on the winning circle and work out way back into the team we were

  16. Re #7: If we’re talking about losing cricketers to other sports we can’t make an exception of AFL.

  17. Typically provocative comments to stir much needed debate Rulebook. What confuses me with all the blame being laid at T20 eroding Test and State cricket is – why Australia? T20 has been just as pervasive throughout the cricket world, but England, India, Pakistan and (obviously) the Safa’s are turning out good test teams and stirring contests. And is the problem with T20 the effect on technique or scheduling and the lack of preparation?
    The Safa’s look much hungrier and more committed. Made me wonder about the effect of the generous remuneration, molly coddling and ‘bubble” cocoon of the contracted Australian test players. Coming from a struggling economy in South Africa the players will be playing for their economic future and their families.
    The Australians are probably already secure in a very comfortable life after cricket – win or lose.
    Makes me wonder if for Australia the problem is not so much T20 and scheduling per se (which are universal problems) but more the lack of hunger and performance based pay.
    Not all the snouts in the trough are coaches and administrators.
    What is certainly true is that IF test cricket is a real priority for Cricket Australia (doubtful but it may become so if the current malaise also spills over to Big Bash cynicism) we have to revitalise the Sheffield Shield as a serious COMPETITION (not factory farm) on diverse and competitive wickets. It has always been the foundation from which everything good comes.

  18. Forget the Argus Report, Cricket Australia must commission the “Rulebook Report”.

    In terms of the Test team, it all begins with #1 – the scheduling/fixturing/programming. Three Tests in three weeks? Ridiculous. One warm-up Shield game? With a pink ball? Ridiculous.

    What is the point of the pre-season invisible One Day (Matador) Cup? The Australian ODI team does not get selected from this comp. The ODI team gets picked from Shield performances, which then results in good first class bowlers (e.g Boland, Mennie, Tremain) getting pasted in ODI’s. Go back to tacking on a one-dayer to the end of each Shield game.

  19. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    What PB said.

    Also, from the Swish Hardtimes Instutute of Technology, research has proven that all we need to do to stop the rot is introduce a mandatory new rule across all forms of cricket namely:

    ‘Six and out’

    I wouldn’t worry, we are still world champs at Electric Light Cricket.

  20. Troy hancox says:

    I can’t find any faults in your points
    Nice work book

    But please get off my tigers FFS

    Cheers mate

  21. All valid points “Rulebook.” The swinging ball appears to be our greatest weakness. Difficult for bowlers to defend poultry scores of 150 or less.

    The drop-in pitches around the country hasn’t helped our cause either. Far too many ‘roads’, ‘highways’ and technically our batters just can’t cope. Modern cricket demands a 100 off 100 balls pace – no player is good enough or strong enough to bat all day, a la AB.

    We went through this in the late 80s. Time to blood some youngsters and develop genuine test quality batsman.

  22. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Dave yes it is my understanding that the cricket academy which is based in Brisbane is still going certainly can debate its effectiveness tho.Scrote while I agree it is important to entertain the basic fundament of the game have been forgotten,Warners shot in the 1st over of the game the best example and yes 20-20 is a lot to blame with many other factors.Fav at the top level is cyclical and we were blessed to have so many elite like Warne,McGrath,Gilchrist etc at the same time I think the game is stuffed re underneath in so many ways I ask you how many guys who are playing,A grade district cricket now would have done so when you started ? Thanks Yoshi yes greed is a huge problem as is lack of space there are many issues facing the game at present which I can not see a solution.Pole agreed in general still need common sense batting tho thanks,TG White being honest I am yet to hear one complimentary word re Pat Howard in cricket circles and possibly so.Tom a very good point and one which needs further research mind you I reckon,Greg Blewetts job as fielding coach isn’t easy with batsman such as Kwarja and Burns average fielders.Charlie yes pitches are a problem and surely we could prepare bunsen burners and seaming tracks drop in pitches are part of the problem re each state losing its individual characteristics ( not all are drop ins tho) and yes agree there is a need for more people to manage things but way way to many and what do they achieve ? Mark as I have said re Charlie’s comment.Peter selection is certainly part of the problem

  23. I am really going to enjoy the first two days of the Adelaide Test as I can’t see it lasting too far into Day 3.
    If it is all about money then surely we need five day Test Matches for each ground to make a decent crust.
    Warner, Smith, Starc and Hazelwood are safe.
    The rest need to be dropped.
    We need batsmen that can build an innings and use their feet properly.
    There are far too many support staff.
    Get back to basics and stop over analysising the game.
    South Africa have no superstars – no-one to fear yet they are thrashing us.
    They are old school, they fight hard and value their wicket. They grind away and make ugly runs.
    Our boys think that they have to hit a four or a six every over.
    Let’s not go back to the Geoff Boycott days of block, block, block.
    Let’s develop appropriate shot selection and patience.
    Maybe they should be on a base salary and then be paid for runs scored, wickets taken and catches held.

  24. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Brenton while the Redbacks league is a step in the right direction correct the comp has no character.
    I still go back to my point re not having the older guys teaching is absolutely vital quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality I totally agree with every other word you have written.Caz the game desperately needs,James Sutherland to admit the programming has been horrendous and must change with out the top admitting they have stuffed up aust cricket will continue to go backwards.Neags v much so,
    George Horlin Smith a classic example struggling to get a afl game while he was the best junior cricketer I

    have been involved with.PB unfortunately I agree with you entirely and re test players used to play a fair bit of shield cricket so runs or wickets were really earned the gap between the levels has grown enormously and yes the hunger and want of our players must be more than questioned.thanks,Smokie yep 3 test matches in 3 weeks incompetent and matador cup wow bewildering as well and clearly not good enough.Swish love the electric light cricket line thanks,Troy and I doubt it.Lachlan yes I thought of the eighties yesterday is it time to say right,Head,Maddison, we are going to pick you and stay with you ? Thanks folks

  25. Book, urgent action is required . You have identified the structural,economic and social determinants of the malaise. The vast experience of the AUFC Blacks and Greys needs to be brought to bear to solve the problem and support resurrection. To this end, a working group needs to be formed. The group will be established and convened at the village green Pimms bar at tea on day 1 of the upcoming. We will have 2 sessions under our belt so should be able to diagnose and formulate. Dr Goatboat and I 69-73 vintage will be flying in to give focus and insights.
    C u there. No charts,A iPads or slide rules the high performance person will bring them.

  26. Good one Malcolm. Agreed. And of course TC is to blame.

  27. john Griffen says:

    Poor Richmond even get a mention !
    Interesting Book and i say interesting as i know jack shit about cricket
    PS is there a job for me with the Aussie Team i love baggy hats ?
    Coach Griffen Level 3 something

  28. Lovely Lisa says:

    Agree, I believe they lack heart. They persevere with some but drop others immediately it makes no sense.

  29. 8, 9, and 10 probably the biggest ones.

    This is not just a bad stage in Test cricket, this is an indication of sport Australia wide. And it started about 15 or 20 years ago.

    Cricket is stuffed
    Rugby Union is stuffed
    Swimming is stuffed
    Gymnastics is stuffed (elite training clubs are closing down)
    Soccer’s depth is ordinary (see the result against Thailand!!)
    Athletics has been stuffed for years (going and watch the Stawell Gift these days – its sad).

  30. Jeff Milton says:

    This problem has been coming for a long time with the lack of future Test class cricketers coming through the club and Sheffield Shield systems. The talent should still be there but the ability of young cricketers to consistently convert this into first class 100s has not been happening for some time. If Australia is again to dominate Test Cricket this needs to be sorted out.
    Now at a lower point than the mid 80s.
    20-20s may be contributing to the problem but if we were playing South Africa in a series of 20-20s next week instead of a Test match, not sure how well that would go either.
    Adelaide Oval Tests traditionally go 5 days but with the Pink Ball and the current South African bowlers 3 days may be a push.

  31. It is real disappointing to see Australian cricket in this state – Laughing stock of world cricket.
    When you think of the aggressive manners the Australians have conducted themselves over the past 10 or so years it is real egg on their faces.
    Some points to add to Rulebooks very good look at the Australian cricket dire situation.
    *The pitches across the country are the same bland drop in pitches-Good for flat tracker batsmen but not good for batting technique.
    *Local cricket is extremely weak due to too many teams (13 in South Australia) and a drain of experienced players not available for many life reasons.
    *The mixture of cricket formats is all over the place, both for national and international players.
    *The High performance academy needs an over haul as they are not producing cricket players for international cricket – facing bowling machine and doing beep tests is not working!!!
    *We don’t seem to be playing enough cricket with our Aust A or other futures teams in other global conditions. What is coming through can not play challenging conditions.
    *We pay our cricket players a very large amount of money just for being selected. Perhaps a performance base should be considered-No runs/wickets less money!
    *The national team seem to be treated as rock stars with a person for every task – some one to hold the towels, someone to wipe the players noses etc.
    perhaps if the players had to do a little more themselves they may become more grounded and learn about application – no hard edge to any of the current generation.
    *Selectors, do they have any idea?
    *Finally it is very hard to find too many players among this current Australian players that you can actually like. Think back to each generation and their were payers you enjoyed watching and cheered for them to perform (Border, Gilchrist, S.Waugh, M.Waugh, Merv, Warne, Langer, etc).
    I Challenge the passionate cricket lovers out their to pick your best Australian 11 – I bet it would be a very tough job as not many in the Shield comp have stood out (mind you hard to do after 2 games).
    Its time to bring in some new faces and change the way of thinking – Klinger has never played for Australia but has made run after run, an older player but hard nosed blue collar player. Sayers would only bowl 128Km (not the 145K that Lehmann wants) but moves the ball both ways. Guess what we cant play….the moving ball give him a go.
    That’s my rant, sorry for banging on, Southies to win 3-0

  32. On the money Imran. An excellent refinement of Rulebook’s opening bid.
    I can only think of one large scale international sport where Australia punches above its weight. Golf.
    Day and Scott are top 10 pros. Chalmers, Pampling, Baddeley have all won on the US tour this year. Hend has been top 3 several times in Europe.
    Luck and Coletta are the top 2 amateurs internationally. Minjee Lee from Perth has won twice on the LPGA tour and her brother won the US Boys Championship. Sue Oh is rising up the LPGA ranks.
    My point is what do they all have in common? Dedication. Countless hours of hard work, practice and COMPETITION. Going overseas at an early age to play in difficult conditions and learn their craft and trade.
    Listen to Day talk about his early years on the US tour when he had to graft to get by and LEARN HOW TO WIN. Look at Luck and Coletta’s dominant performance in the Asia Pacific Masters in South Korea earlier this year against a top international field.
    The TV dollars for such an insular and uncompetitive sport as cricket (only 7 countries can claim to have serious teams) has created insular and uncompetitive players, coaches and administrators. Who knew?
    Boof is an amiable ra-ra man, but should never have been reappointed. Jobs for the blokes inside the tent.
    Gillespie and Bayliss have a much harder edge and don’t tolerate fools, so no wonder they didn’t get the job.

  33. Nick Raschella says:

    Its like Marty McFly and Doc have jumped in their DeLorean time machine from 1985/86 and jumped 30 years ahead and Oz cricket is in the same state. Different factors driving the poor results but fundamental weakness of players with poor technique and ability, poor depth and bad administration like 30 years ago.

    The more things change the more they stay the same it seems

  34. Dave Brown says:

    Yep, I’m also an outlier on T20 – it will be our salvation. One of the reasons our cricket team is a bit crap at the moment is participation at all levels including junior level stagnated about 10 years ago when one day cricket started to lose its appeal. There was nothing to engage kids. BBL is now doing that and has led to a big spike in junior participation. That’s what will improve the depth and quality of players at elite level… eventually. In the meantime go with youth and suck it up.

  35. Hmm i’m still none the wiser if Australia has ever lost ten matches in a row. Can some one answer that ?

    It’s not all gloom and dom ; is it ? James Sutherland has been honest enough to say the obvious; we’re lucky to be a top 10 side? Yes he’s being honest but where is his appraisal of his role in this schemozzle? He’s made recent comments about the $$ being generated by BBL, with the increase in payments to players, so he’s not adverse in blowing his trumpet about what he think she is good but a mea culpa ? When he says we’re lucky to be a top 10 side what blame is he taking? A fish rots from the head down.

    South Africa have only won three series in Australia: the last three ! Seriously who can we include who will strengthen the side. Sure there are blokes like Wade, Holland,Maxwell, but they’ve all been tried and dropped before. Maybe the time is right for them now; maybe. Yep, let’s try Head, Sayers, Paterson, Handscomb. They might turn out duds , but if you don’t try you don’t know, but there are no proven performers waiting for a recall. Regardless of who we bring in the players who have failed this test/series are not up to scratch.

    Having Warney talking about coaching our T20 side indicates the scenario confronting Australian cricket. A man who spent two decades deriding coaches wants to be a coach, not a dissimilar scenario to having Jeff Kennett in charge of Beyond Blue. One really wonders at the criteria for selection in these roles.


  36. Peter Warrington says:

    Maxwell only ever got two tests in a viperous culture in India,a nd one in the Windies. You can’t tell me he wouldn’t be Warner if he got 20 tests ina row like MMarsh almost did (well, you can tell me, but O won’t listen.)

    We should pick on form, potential and age, and not be afraid to drop. If there are 3 stable batsmen (IF… Smith, Ussie and Warner), and a reasonable attack, so be it.

    we got Woodcock, W Edwards, Rick the Snick, Turner, Cosier and Yallop, then Hookes, Hughes and Serjeant, in pretty quick succession, with far fewer tests on the roster, as Sheahan, Stacky, Redders, REdwards and Chappelli went out the door. We kept winning for a while, and 3 of those had pretty signiifcant careers.

    Get em in, give them 2-3 tests, and if they’re young enough, they can come back again if they aren’t good enough or lose form (Voges isn’t good enough AND out of form. Cannot believe he played this week. I am still shaking my mane.)

  37. Very topical ‘Book – no doubt plenty to chew over here for the upcoming 21/2 day Test!

    My view – CA’s focus is on growing the game and making $$ first and foremost. It is a huge business focussed on profits and justifying the number of suits ‘running’ the game. Increasing participation through joey/kanga/womens cricket is all about growing the number of ‘eyes’ and converting them to full on fans who open their wallets (or parents’ wallets) to purchase anything with CA name attached.

    As for developing more quality cricketers and supporting the grassroots I have serious doubts re CA connection or commitment.

  38. Peter Clark says:

    You make some good points Rulebook. I agree on point 1 – stupidity of programming – but this has been an issue for several seasons before the current malaise. I suspect your argument in point 2 is valid – high performance managers in sport need broad experience but have to thoroughly know the game they are dealing with, and earn the respect of the players. On points 3 and 4 – team selection needs a rethink from a new panel. We are now at a similar low point to the mid 80’s, and what helped then may help now despite the current stupidity of cricket programming. Stick with a team of young players you actually believe can play at the highest level under the guidance of a captain (i.e.. Smith) whose place as a batsmen is not vulnerable. Alan Border was not a successful captain nor a great tactical skipper in his early years, but possessed immeasurable strength as a fighter. He learned with experience and with players like D. Boon, D. Jones, S. Waugh, M. Waugh, G. Marsh. C. McDermott, M.Hughes, M. Taylor together they transformed Australian cricket from the doldrums of the mid 1980’s to the height of a World Cup in ’87 and regaining the Ashes in England in ’89. It can be done, but will take some guts from the selectors to pick and stick with players. The stupidity of programming can’t be ignored but it is a global cricket phenomenon. Control what we can, starting with the Sheffield Shield and domestic programming, selectors and coaching panel.

  39. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Nani personally no longer a member so unlikely to be there but I reckon we would do a better job fixing the problems than cricket australia.Daddsy TC as in Tom Charlton is the saviour and TC as in Troy Chaplin is evil.Griff you as a coach in any thing will do me fine thanks very much hey it’s only,30 years ago that you used to introduce me as the aust coach ( in so many different sports to kids great memories ) thanks,LL agreed.Dips exactly and to me they are the 3 most important ones re life as well! Milts spot on re the lack of 1st class hundreds over the last few seasons in shield cricket is a fantastic indicator re our cricket problems.Imran spot on and isn’t it ironic that those of us involved in grass roots cricket have been having this discussion for a few yeas knowing that itroubled times were coming.Peter B your anarlgy with,Golf is superb and highlights other sports problems superbly the other point re Boof is I found it staggering that he accepted another contract with the huge chance that Jake Lehmann would be around the mark by then well and truly.Papa v well put and again totally appropriate.Dave I agree re the importance of 20 20 getting kids involved it comes back to programming sheer lunacy that the most important dates of the summer calendar are increasingly dedicated to 20 20.Glen a indicator that any body is struggling in there employment is giving mixed messages,James Sutherland is doing that.I think,Jeff Kenneth is superb re Beyond Blue.Peter yep time for youth agree totally that,Voges should not be in the side.DL agree with every word way more emphasis on the suits than the good of the game
    thanks folks it is a worthwhile and important discussion

  40. Andrew Starkie says:


    It ain’t rocket science – only sport.

    Policy: you score runs and/or take wickets, you play. if not, you don’t.

    earn your spot.

    Also, CA is greedy; test cricket disrespected

  41. Les Everett says:

    1. sack the dietitian
    2. appoint a marriage counsellor
    3. I once saw Bob Blewett blow a fuse after being run out at Nuriootpa
    4. we had a big backyard in Boulder and so did my friends. We played all summer long but I grew up to be a useless batsman. I think I learned bad habits.
    5. players shouldn’t wear those little caps in the field on hot days. They offer no sun protection.
    6. one lesson from Hobart was that the Marshes aren’t the problem (apart from Rod).

  42. Nick Raschella says:

    Marsh has resigned

  43. Update on Nick Raschella says: November 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm
    Marsh has resigned

    Rod Marsh has resigned he has been named for a comeback in the Adelaide Oval Test!

  44. Thomas Lowrey says:

    To increase cricket interest/exposure in all States, go back to the times when the visiting Sheffield Shield teams also played a 50 over match before they returned to their home State. This gave value for money to paid up members of the local association. Sheffield Shield cricket, in fact all forms of the game, have been devalued due to the compressed, haphazard nature of all current cricket programming. More is not always the way to go.

  45. Good stuff Malcolm. A few thoughts:
    1. We need a Geoffrey Boycott.
    2. Our batsmen have forgotten how to grind out sn innings when the circumstances require it. It seems to be about always keeping the run rate up. Sometimes that is less important than surviving.
    2. Good to see Mennie get a go. Yes Sayers should also be given shot. Will be a tragedy if he doesn’t.
    3. Give Ferg another chance.

  46. Peter Crossing says:

    Well said, young Malcolm, although Points 6, 7, 8 and 9 are social issues that cannot really be controlled by Cricket Australia.
    Good point about the hours played by Grade cricketers.
    I recently heard that wonderful word again when Kim Beazley used it to describe the final week of the Clinton campaign.
    It also refers to the parlous state of Australian Test cricket.
    The statement by CEO James Sutherland (ABC radio interview, Sunday November 13) that both teams had received similar preparation seems at odds with the fact that members of the South African team had played in two matches of domestic cricket before leaving for Australia. And captain Faf du Plessis has stated that the confidence of his team had been positively boosted by the recent ODI series whitewash of an understrength Australian team.
    After the Ashes debacle of last year and what happened in Sri Lanka, it is somewhat disingenuous of Sutherland to now offer up the fact that Australia was the No 1 Test cricket nation mere months ago.
    What can be done? Sutherland has more questions to answer. Two recommendations of the 2011 Argus Review were to play “multiple Shield rounds before the first Test each year” and that each pitch should “offer a balance between bat and ball” and “be unique to local conditions”. This seems like a reasonable place to start.
    There are obvious selection issues. Should Jackson Bird have been selected for a match on his home turf? The hapless Callum Ferguson was on a hiding to nothing.
    And the players. Given the conditions and what had happened in Perth, Warner’s shot selection in the first innings was extravagant in the extreme. He almost repeated it in the second innings. The brain snap that caused the Ferguson run out and the lack of support for Smith by the lower order batsmen also pose questions as to the mind-set of the team, individually and collectively. Smith stated at the end of the Test that the Australian batsmen have trouble when the ball seams, swings or spins. Yep. Well what is being done about it?
    While it would be prudent for any current player to seek advice from former Australian players who have “been there, done that”, the first thing they should ensure is that the volume of the Channel 9 commentary on the dressing room TV is turned off. And as the recent expansive literary efforts by a number of former Australian players seem to imply, things are never as united in the dressing room as all that “here I stand under the Southern Cross with a sprig of wattle in my hand” palaver would suggest.

  47. Martin Rumsby says:

    Your points 1 and 5 are interesting, Malcolm. The time demands and family sacrifices placed on guys playing the longer form of the game at district level is significant and must be impacting on the number of players participating at that level. Perhaps that explains why T20 crickey seems to be growing in popularity.

  48. well at least the Marsh decision is correct. some god awful selection decisions in my time, some in is time:

    * Dougie being recalled then dropped for the 81 tour
    * Whitney not going to England in 89
    * Peter Taylor
    * Martyn’s recall for the Ashes and the dropping of Hodge
    * MAcGill then Brad Hogg post-Warne and the savage treatment of Casson
    * Any time John Dyson was picked

    but Bacchus has to wear: part of the responsibility for:

    * the 5 tests for Bailey
    * Quiney
    * Hastings
    * the dropping of Henriques, and then his bizarre recall this year
    * Agar in England
    * the recall of Rogers at 35
    * finally Ferguson at 31
    * Voges
    * the whole 2015 touring party – what a debacle
    * the non-selection of Ahmed for ANy of the 7 tests on that tour
    * the retention of MMarsh and Lyon when clearly out of form and being towelled up

  49. Rob O'Shannassy says:

    Good one Rulebook

    I have not read all the posts in detail but the majority of the comments made are surely very relevant to the current issues with the Australian team.

    Of course when any team in any sport is losing consistently they have to cope with so much more external pressure as well as their own form issues. Losing and loss of confidence amongst players individually is infectious to all if not the majority of members and can easily become a chronic issue within a team. It is really interesting to watch the change in behaviour and mannerisms of players when the games swings one way or the other. A lot of what is said about losing can also apply to winning. It is also infectious and having some really strong and confident leaders showing the way or some new young confident upstart performing well can assist the turn around.

    The lack of confidence shown by many of the Australian batsmen in recent series is astonishing. It is reflected in hesitant or non existent footwork (you can get away with that on some of the really flat tracks). A lot of times they look like rabbits in headlights. The opposite can be said about the opposition attacks who have their tales up and conviction in their eyes.

    I think what I am trying to get at is what all the great coaches and captains have known and expressed ad nauseum over the years. All the problems start and end all above the eyebrows. So solutions to performance slumps (at any level of sport – assuming players have reached their level by requisite talent and performance) have to start with change to individuals and group mentality. If group dynamics have issues then sometimes you have to make changes in the playing group, leadership or even move the coaching and ancillary staff on to freshen up the players environment.

    A few pet hates of what I am seeing at Grade Cricket and junior level in SA:
    – restrictions on players (fast bowlers) in Redbacks / Futures League teams playing with Grade Clubs. You get fit for bowling by bowling and when not bowling in the off season play other sports or do a lot of cross training. The new regimens don’t seem to be working when you look at the number of pace bowlers who break down or have to be rested with the slightest niggles. Season ending or career threatening injuries certainly was not that prominent in the past. Might have been less interstate/international cricket played then but those players played a lot of Grade cricket as well and then football or baseball in the off season.
    – Some of the restrictions placed on under age players are ridiculous. If you want to produce tough robust quicks they need to learn to bowl decent spells whether it is hot or cold. Survival of the fittest I say.
    – Umpires rulings on wickets and grounds being fit for play. I have seen some outrageous decisions by umpires refusing to let play start or abandon play due to conditions. Those of us who played in the days of uncovered wickets think its a joke and no one had helmets then.

    The policy makers have certainly not helped to produce the sort of hard nut cricketers that Australia probably needs at present.

  50. The rot started the day that batsmen began to be referred to as batters, and everything has gone downhill from there.

  51. Malcolm i’m perplexed by the use of the term superb in describing Jeff Kennett @ Beyond Blue.

    I lived through the 90’s in Victoria. I watched his government close services, sack people, i alone lost three jobs as the services i worked for were defunded during hi s reign. Having worked in the health and community services area since the 1980’s ii feel like chucking when i’ve seen people like him and kate Carnell purporting to speak on behalf of depression sufferers. The politics implemented by people of their ilk have contributed to depression, not in any way been a panacea.


  52. Got ‘im yes!

  53. Thanks Rulebook.

    I’d throw in centralisation – Cricket Australia controls too much of the domestic game – scheduling, playing conditions, the type of ball used, coaching, elite development and performance.

    If we want different types of players, they need to develop in different conditions, under different types of coaching. A trip to play away in the Sheffield Shield should be an approximation of touring another country – a genuine challenge at least!

    There’s a sameness about so many of our batsmen – their stances, hand positions, the way they get out.

  54. Spot on on all fronts Rb. The lack of respect to shield cricket is the biggest. Where are the Hayden law lehmanns Cox Martyn rogers who had to churn out years of runs here and overseas before getting a look in and against quality opposition

  55. Stepping back a bit I think it’s partly cyclical. We’re just average at the moment. How many of the eleven from Hobart would’ve gotten a game under Steve Waugh around the turn of the millennium?

  56. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Starks agreed ca greed is appalling.Pete Clark yes a lot of glaring similarities to the 80s it is time for youth in general.Les Greg did not get his mild manner from Bob well and truly and loved your other pints.
    Papa and DL interesting whether he was pushed or not.Thomas I enjoyed the 1 dayer being added on far better than as a bloody pre season comp that it is now and more relevant.Peter T while yes test cricket is entertainment I hate that we have lost the stonewall player ( well aust certainly has) who fights hard for a draw again shocking programming I highly doubt that,Sayers will bowl,50 odd overs in the shield game starting today and be picked re a test match starting a couple of days later.Noughts superbly put it is insane that we enter a home series underdone common sense let alone any report demands multiple shield games before the test matches.Martin definitely and it is a valid reason to get back to quality not quantity.Peter W yes some of the selections have been bewildering to say the least some of the examples you have provided I agree with some I disagree ( the Jackson Bird batting comment is as bizarre as anything ever) Rob as you and Noughts correctly point out how much the game is played above the ears it is a area where no where near enough time is spent on re cricket at any level,Michael Clarke has been terrible this season with negative comments and I am sure this has affected the overall phycology (thought I have been listening to teenage girls having a cat fight) to say I agree with your pet hates is a massive understatement and what they are doing is clearly not working e.g. Cummins and Patterson
    think of all the quickies who also played county cricket who were bowling fit ( why in the hell people like yourself consulted before this garbage got bought in to the game ? ) Rabs I admit I hate the term as well.
    Glen here is not the time place or forum to discuss,Jeff Kenneth.Wes definitely.Dave yep play shield games using,Duke balls they played 1 shield game last year in kiwi land go further play more games overseas and take academy and other australian a teams and games and play in India etc
    Thanks for the feedback as I have said it is a very important discussion

  57. Love it OBP.
    You’ve tapped a vein here.
    Fair enough that there needs to be a loser in every contest.
    And fair enough that AUS have been outplayed by Sri Lanka and South Africa just now.
    But there a wider problems.
    It seems that T20 and long form cricket might actually be two separate codes – fighting for the same players, grounds, eyeballs. I posted a conversation piece about it here.
    Should have called it “How to kill a goose.” The goose that laid golden eggs is fighting for life.
    Cheers, OBP.

  58. Valid point Malcolm. Be cognisant of the fact he is loathed by many Victorians thus seeing his name extolled brings about these responses.

    Imran your point re performance pay is pertinent. On current form they should be paying for the privilege of playing for Australia.

    Peter C, your citing of Sutherland saying both sides had similar preparations leading into the series highlights the yawning chasm between the ACB’s perception of cricket with the reality of a side that is being trounced.

    Mickey, Smith may have got a spot, ditto Stard or Hazlewood. Warner is not a Langer or a Hayden.


  59. It’s time to take short term pain and just play young talent. We have nothing to lose with current selections like Siddle & Voges ( yes I know his average is around 70 but he played above himself for a short period at Test level on a form roll but he never had the ability to sustain – he should be proud of what he achieved) How about Head, Lehmann, Cartwright, Bancroft, Handscomb, do we have a spinner better than Lyon surely – ask Warney? ( yes I know his record is better than Mallett) -Zampa’s shield record is ordinary , Sayers. Mitch Marsh can only be in the team as a bat 7 ( if not – then never good enuf as a 6). I like Glen Maxwell at 28 with extraordinary talent but what’s between his ears and arrogance is just a bloody waste. He should be batting at six with his offies as a bonus when required if he respected the good ball and defended ( his technique can sufficiently do) and punish the bad ball he is easily able to do. Australia needs him to grow up as a cricketer and realise there are bowlers very capable of getting him out with his current arrogance. He is very capable of averaging around 50 with his incredible talent – but the short form appears his main interest financially.

  60. Love the passion Book.

  61. Totally agree with Dave and Dan and you Malcolm. Exactly why aren’t our senior and junior players taught about a swinging or seaming ball all the overseas teams can??? Obviously our development squads are shit too???.Very sad time for Aussie Cricket

  62. Bardsley down at Birchgrove Oval at 6 in the morning batting in the nets with dew on the pitch to get ready for England…

  63. Aussie selectors are wearing thin on me.

  64. Great article! Totally agree

  65. Luke Reynolds says:

    Scheduling is a disgrace. Pink ball Shield games before red ball Tests, and now red ball Shield games before pink ball Tests. Ridiculous.
    Like that they’ve gone young with our new batting selections, not sure about Maddinson as a Test player yet though.

Leave a Comment