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Sight Screen

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

An Aussie decline?

Found something that should intrigue you, in this story in the Hindu, about Greg Chappell. General perception is that the Aussie cricket academy ranks in the top three reasons why that country and its cricket team is unbeatable, yes? So listen to Chappell's take:

Apprehensive about the change from backyard cricket to a structured system of net practice in Australia — an academic one — Chappell said, "We've taken a path that no one's really thought through. The old system was very good. Backyard cricket was competitive - kids were under pressure. They had to make decisions in real time. We've replaced it with a highly controlled system based on batting in the nets. It's a totally different mental environment from playing in a game - a very academic approach.''
Describing Ricky Ponting's men as the last of their kind, he said, "The guys we see playing for Australia today are probably the last of their kind. They learned to play the game before this academic system was introduced.
"Australian cricket has blindly accepted the new system. It's not been tested over the long term, and I think it's got serious shortcomings. We'll know one way or another within a generation,'' he added.

If I understand him right, he is suggesting that structured academy-style talent-honing is more of a problem than a blessing; the logical corollary seems to be that the more unstructured system we have here, where maidan/gully cricket is the game's cradle, nursery and, in some instances, finishing school all rolled into one, has huge advantages.
Must confess this is, for me, a totally new spin -- one that deserves some thought. Meanwhile, lunch, gentlemen; then work. Back here later.


  • Prem,

    I had read this article I think on the SMH couple of days or so back. Will try to get you that link.

    Has the Hindu reprinted that very article? I was wondering how you had missed the article.

    Anyways, will try to get that article.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:16  

  • greg chappell has been saying that all along. If you look at his chappellway website and read some artciles, it will give you more insight into his approach to coaching.
    e.g. He says, to improve batting, its more important to practice like a match situation than just bat in the nets. Have a few targets placed around the ground, tell the bowler to bowl however he wants and try to hit the target. If you achieve that, tell the bowler to name the target next time, and try to hit that. etc. etc.. Basically, practice your batting skills as if you are batting in the real match situations. Practice smart and not just practice.
    I don't think he is opposed to the idea of academy, but opposed to the training methods currently in practice in that academy. He wants more competition and more real time pressure to develop skills.
    If you read his articles in Wisden Asia, they are really good. Once he talked about improving mental concentration, and reasons for getting out 90% of the time is lapse of concentration than good bowling etc. And he articulated the way he went about it. Try applying that (and if you observe closely, dravid does that these day, he closes his eyes before he takes stance and try to concentrate on the ball) if you play cricket in a league try doing that before every ball, and it DOES make a difference.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:18  

  • Janta,

    Did some Googling and found the original article. LInk attached:



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:18  

  • I think Chappell is right when he suggests that unstructured learning is best at the primary level.

    In fact, the benefits of a university style structured system are more useful for people who have been tried at the international level and found wanting. The university system then sort of helps formalize the learning, create a mental roadmap, and effectively target problem areas, and this can help the player emerge stronger. It helped Matthew Hayden.

    In the Indian context, it might help someone like Parthiv Patel.

    By Blogger Arjun Swarup, at 14:22  

  • I think this comes from greg's days of playing backyard cricket with his brothers. He's often said that that's where he trained himself to be mentally strong and super-competitive because he knew his brothers would not take it easy on him and he had to fight to be able to play with them.

    - Aby

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:40  

  • Whatever said and done, academy or no academy, Aussies will unearth new talents. When McDermott retired, they got McGrath. Steve Waugh retired and I thought that their middle order would be brittle and up comes this new kid, Michael Clarke. I think that his skills are insane.

    However, in an Indian context, the talent is there and we need an academy to fine tune their skills. This could be by sending them abroad for training say Australia and England. Hopefully they will not be lost when they tour there later. Also, the coach and captain should have a bigger say in the selection of the team. Then, things might be better for us.

    Also, this is my Indian test XI for next season

    1. Viru
    2. Aakash Chopra
    3. Dravid
    4. Tendulkar (when he returns, until he comes back, Laxman)
    5. Ganguly
    6. Laxman (When Sachin is injured, Kaif should be batting at 5 or 6, or may be try out Ambati Rayadu)
    7. Dhoni/Ramesh
    8. Zaheer
    9. Pathan
    10. Nehra/Balaji
    11. Kumble/Bajji

    The composition of the bowlers 10 and 11 would be dependent on the pitches.

    What do you guys thinks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:46  

  • Care to explain the Dhoni/Ramesh slot? Are you referring to S. Ramesh? Surely not because he doesn't keep. So who is this Ramesh the keeper that I've not heard of yet?

    By Anonymous Jai, at 16:22  

  • Prem,
    You got to understand what Chappell says before you undermine his statement. Take a few hours and read his latest book before you pass comments.

    By Anonymous N, at 22:46  

  • I think the 'logical corollary' is not that obvious, actually. I am sure Chappell does not mean to rip apart any and all structured development and blindly advocate a more earthy approach. It goes without saying that he would like a mix of the two.
    The backyard cricket results he talks about would be the perfect description for what happens so often in Pakistan, I woudl think. Raw talent playing only as they know how- like they wouldon the streets, from the heart.

    While his predictions for the generation do seem a bit extreme, I think he would like to see some more spontaneity and insiticnt in the a cricketr's development.

    By Anonymous akr, at 01:46  

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