Sorting out Watto

Selection Criteria for Cricket Australia High Performance Coach:

Flat track bully – Check

Vulnerable outside off stump when ball is bouncing or swinging – Check

Dubious footwork – Check

Goes to water in pressure situations – Check

Merv Hughes’ bunny – Check

Loyalty and commitment to highest bidder – Check

65 Tests; Average 31.32 – Check

Ray Illingworth thinks you’re flakey – Check

Bats better than Pat Howard – Check

Come on down – Graeme Hick – the new man to Head our Centre of “Excellence” (pardon me)

First Class Cricket: 1983 – 2008; England, Zimbabwe, Chandigarh Lions, Northern Districts, Queensland, Worcestershire.

I can’t wait for “look Watto you’ve just got to sort out your footwork, put your head down and grind out some big scores for the team in pressure situations”.

What the????????


  1. You don’t have to be a great player to be a great or good coach. I also think you have to give credit to a guy who played first class cricket for 25 years & scored more than 100 centuries (? before he played test cricket). I think it’s the England selector’s fault that Hick played as many tests with a mediocre average. No-one I’ve ever heard asked to be dropped because they had a low average. Most want to get out there and improve it if they can.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Peter. The ‘bats better than Pat Howard’ list is a long one I’m sure.

    TG is right though in saying you don’t have to be a great player to be a great coach.
    57 first-class centuries for Hick before his Test debut, mainly for Worcestershire and Northern Districts in New Zealand, as well as for his native Zimbabwe. The 7 year qualifying period he had to endure surely harmed him, being forced to play (and dominate) at a lower level while expectations increased.

    Good luck sorting out Watto.

  3. While it is true that you don’t have to be a great player to be a good coach, you have to have credibility. Hick was the Cullinan of his age, and he wasn’t facing a great bowler like Warne.
    John Wright, Dav Whatmore and Andy Flower were not great players but they were gritty opponents who put a high value on their wickets, and opponents respected them. They were the cricket equivalents of the gritty back pocket coaches that have succeeded in footy – Malthouse, Parkin et al.
    I am not parochial, but as in the case of Robbie Deans, you need to be tough to gain acceptance as an outsider.
    Hick could not solve his own technical weaknesses against good quicks.
    He mirrors instead of solves our current weaknesses. We have plenty of players who lack the tight techniques and competitive attitude to succeed at Test level against serious opponents.
    Cricket and Cricket Australia are a joke at so many levels. We are just a supplicant feeder system for the Indian short form entertainment industry, and that is what runs world ‘cricket’ these days. Hick will generate plenty of IPL infantry, but no one capable of standing up to South African or English attacks and conditions.

  4. PB, you make a good case here. Hick may turn out to be a good coach, but he is atypical of the types that usually are. I, like you, reckon his credibility will be an issue (and especially so if he is preachy about getting in behind the ball.) A John Wright or Dave Whatmore type would be my preference too. Reckon the ACB have mucked up here again

    PS: On Andy Flower not being a great player, you might want to re-think that. He has exceptional record to my best recollection.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    A Difficult 1 as you don’t have to be a Great Player to be a Good Coach but with our current situation of Players with interesting Footwork to say the least in S Smith Hughes
    and technical definchincies in Watto if we continue to struggle the Knives will come out pretty quick
    With in Cricket Circles to say Pat Howards employment is mind blowing is a under statement Re Above Andy Flower his career stats compare more than favourably to every Aust batsman only Clarke is in front

  6. Hick has long been mooted.
    I am prepared to give him a crack.
    G Chappell has wielded too much influence for too long.

  7. Elite coaching is one of the Dark Arts.
    I think the general public has been hoodwinkded regarding the importance of coaching in all elite sports, generally.
    The whole industry is a superannuation fund for retired sportspeople.

    For all sports:
    Coaching at the junior club level is a teaching and opportunity-giving occupation.
    Coaching at junior representative level is a teaching and talent-spotting occupation.
    Coaching at club level is usually about satisfying egos and people management.
    Coaching at the highest level I would say has almost no technical focus, but much more of a team dynamic and motivational focus.
    Individual players would have their own fonts of knowledge and trust to whom they return if requiring techincal assistance (e.g. SK Warne & Terry Jenner).

    Regardless, does the coach make the player or do the players make the coach?
    The great chicken and egg.

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