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Sight Screen

Monday, October 03, 2005

Trouble in Oz land(-worma)

First story of the day..this article from Bob Simpson...on his coaching days with Aus team...and what ails them today. Some of it applies quite directly to the problems we face...even otherwise a very interesting read. One point that I specifically wanted to highlight...something which we also often discuss:

Dennis Lillee headed this programme for over a decade and his brief was to develop and prepare young promising new ball bowlers to replace injured or ageing Test and Sheffield Shield bowlers.
By the look of the bare cupboard around the states, Pace Australia has hardly been a raging success. In fact the very title "Pace Australia" may well have derailed the search for new ball bowlers before it began.
In those days pace was the only thing considered. With Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson and the West Indies, the ability to have new ball success any other way was virtually ignored. Dennis Lillee was a great fast bowler who had enormous success.
Unfortunately trying to copy a great cricketer's personal style is not always the best way. I think this is one of the reasons we don't have swing bowlers around today. I often wonder how many potential medium pacers have been destroyed/lost due to Australia's insane drive for pace alone.
Perhaps under Damien Fleming, a genuine swing bowler, we will see a more balanced new ball approach. While the Australian Cricket Academy has received credit for the development of young cricketers, how successful has it really been?


  • on a different note .. rest of india all out for 137 in the second innings of the irani trophy ... i think it is time we stop calling this team "rest of india" and give it some better name ... i mean this is supposed to be the beginning of the domestic season ... champions of the top domestic tournament pitting their strength against the best of the rest ... and we have exactly "one" player who represents India in both sides put together .. to me, it says one of two things:
    - either we are not getting the right people in the team, with no one from the ranji champs or ones considered good enough to challenge them being included
    - the entire domestic system has gone for a toss, with no meaning to any of these matches - where sub par teams can become champions just bcoz the top players in most states are off on national duty

    By Blogger Keep_it_Cool, at 07:54  

  • hmmm...interesting piece..heard something similar a few years ago about how kids copying Shane Warne's action screwed up their shoulders and all...

    By Blogger TheChowmeinWarrior, at 08:19  

  • keep_it_cool,

    Keep it cool, man. There is no call for calling Railways a sub par team, when in fact they have so clearly outplayed RoI! The result is just a reflection of the fact that a good team is more than simply the sum of its parts. As for the claim that top players in most states are off on national duty, wasn't there recently much wailing and beating of breasts and gnashing of teeth at how no Mumbaikar seems to be able to get into the national team?

    By Blogger idlivada, at 09:29  

  • keep_it_cool: I think its probably a mix of both reasons you give. Railways has been the champion because the other teams(like Mumbai, Karnataka etc) had their top players on national duty(or resting after it) and same happens now with the Irani game...but that does not mean that domestic system has gone for a toss...if you look at the top performers for railways..its been Karthik with the bat and ball(and he is almost a permanent member of our national test team..even if not in playing XI)...and also Parida and Harvinder Singh (who has already got his chances..and should get more soon)..if you look at the last season..the new test players all came from domestic circuit (Gambhir, Jadhav now)..

    By Blogger worma, at 09:36  

  • ..and continuing with same....in ODIs we do get new players whose domestic performances are not justifying their call-up fully...but thats only because we dont have a good domestic ODI setup...hence there is more scope for personal judgements (of selectors...coaches...captains etc..) while noting their performances in ad-hoc forums like U-19, A tours, Challenger, camps etc

    By Blogger worma, at 09:39  

  • From the outside the pitch for the Irani Trophy had some uneven bounce and spin. The new ball was perhaps the easiest to score off. It was a good test for the young ROI batsmen, but they failed. Raina grafted well in the second innings and JP Yadav’s bowling was very tight. ROI went in with one pacer too many and one spinner (Ramkumar) didn’t support Powar. Still, I thought the Kartik- Goud partnership went on for far too long. This pitch helped spin bowlers, like Kartik, who flight the ball and the use the pitch. On flatter pitches, I suspect Kartik needs to add more pace variations and try different angles. I can’t say much about Powar.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 09:41  

  • v. interesting article, worma. An excerpt I thought was interesting:

    "One other area I would like Australian cricket to investigate is why youngsters of today are taking so long to come through the ranks. The teenager in State cricket is almost extinct and many youngsters are winning a position in the Australian Under-19 team before they have even played first grade for their clubs. My gut feeling is that emphasis being placed on youth cricket may well be backfiring and holding back the talented. At present, youngsters can win state and Australian selection at the under-15, 17 and 19 levels.

    The very talented invariably hold back in their age group rather than push the highly talented up to the group above their age or even into higher cricket. Remember I wrote in these pages some time ago that a series of interviews with Neil Harvey, Richie Benaud, Brian Booth, Peter Philpot, Alan Davidson and myself for the archives of the NSW Cricket Association revealed that all of us virtually played youth cricket at school. We all played men's cricket by the age of 12. And interestingly, we all played state cricket in our teens."

    Also interesting was the point you made on why NZ bowlers seem to break down a lot. Though I'm not sure if it was any less common in the past.

    By Blogger roublen, at 12:20  

  • What Bob Simpson says about Aus applies even more to India:
    "In some ways the situation in Australian cricket reminds me a lot of the time when I took over the Australian team in 1985. We were in the middle of a losing streak and had too many players who were lazy, didn't want to practise and only did enough to keep their place in the team. Many were physically unfit and mentally lazy. Many enjoyed the good life and didn't appreciate the great honour of playing for Australia. "

    His coaching approach is similar to Greg's:
    "They were all given an equal opportunity to change their ways and those who didn't fell by the wayside. The rest accepted the challenge and while they might not have been the most naturally gifted players, they worked their guts out and became physically and mentally tough. The two areas we concentrated on in those days were fielding and running between wickets. We were easily the best fielding side in the world and no one beat us for pinching extra runs or saving them. At nets, everyone from the wicket-keeper to the coach bowled to create team spirit and lessen the physical burden of the bowlers. Bowlers more often than not were batting first at nets to ensure they got some practice and prove their batting importance. We wanted our bowlers to be tough, fit and to learn how to keep bowling tight and get wickets even when they felt tired. It was pretty tough, but the players responded magnificently."

    Summary of his other points:
    A captain is only as good as his team. A great team has great players: at the very least, a few match-winning bowlers and a high standard of slip fielding. It is difficult to reliably judge players in domestic cricket without top players playing in them. Only performances against top international players should count. The most talented players must be pushed above their age group and even to state cricket. That has been the pattern of the top Australian players. It would be better for youngsters come into domestic cricket at an earlier age. In Australia the coaching programme relies too much on science or biomechanics and the idea of cloning great players, none of which has not been proven. The emphasis on pace is destroying swing bowling.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 18:32  

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