Craig McDermott resigns as wayward Johnson returns
Mitchell Johnson (AAP)
The writing is on the wall. There is just too much cricket; there are too many unnecessary tours.
In last week’s column I argued that Australian cricketers need rest and so do we. Our cricketers need a break from the almost non-stop international schedule.
Something has got to give.
The first victim is Australia’s bowling coach Craig McDermott, the carrot-top, sun-tan-lotion-faced fast bowler of 1980s and 90s.
Will this be the first of many retirements?
Speaking about his decision, McDermott said “it has been a very difficult decision to leave my position as the bowling coach of the Australian cricket team, a job I have thoroughly enjoyed since beginning 12 months ago.
“However the team’s schedule is a particularly busy one and after looking at the upcoming touring demands, I felt this to be the right decision from a personal and professional point of view.”
Cricket Australia should read The Roar website – hear, hear!
“It has been a great honour to work with our most exciting bowlers over this period and we have achieved much success,” continued Craig.
“The progression of particular players and the improvement of depth in Australian bowling stock has been the result of much hard work from both sides and is something I am particularly proud of.”
“While I have agreed to provide input through Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence, I am looking to continue my coaching career in a context that allows me further flexibility and will be looking to explore a range of options.
“I am certainly not ruling out being involved with the Australian cricket team in the future should that fit within the team’s requirements.
“For now though, I want to thank Michael Clarke and head coach Mickey Arthur for the opportunity and wish them and the team every success over a really exciting next 12 months of cricket.”
Arthur praised McDermott’s contribution: “Craig has done an outstanding job since taking over the role and without doubt will be very difficult to replace… He has taken our fast bowlers to another level and his skills and experience will be sorely missed.
“However we completely understand and respect Craig’s decision. The international schedule is a particularly busy one and family must always come first. We wish Craig the best and really hope he can be involved with the team at some point in the future.”
It may also be possible that Craig quit the job as bowling coach as his carrot-top son Alister, also a quickie, is in running for a spot in the Australian team in near future.
I imagine he does not want any accusation of nepotism. But that’s only an unsubstantiated theory.
The 15-man squad for the tour of Ireland and England has produced a few surprises.
There are six quicks (Ben Hilfenhaus, Brett Lee, James Pattinson, Clint McKay, Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins), but only two spinners in Xavier Doherty and Steven Smith, the latter of whom can also bat.
It’s good to see Cummins back but the return of Johnson is a surprise for me.
While loaded with talent, Johnson in recent years has self-destructed himself with his wayward length, bowling his out-swingers way outside the off-stump. He has talked about not enjoying his cricket before a toe injury, which gave him some valuable time away from the game, and away from the spotlight. Yet another sign of too much unnecessary cricket being played.
Looking at the spin department, I would have preferred Nathan Lyon to Doherty as the former bowled very well in the West Indies last month.
The batting is strong with the three Ws occupying the first three positions; David Warner, Matthew Wade (the only wicket-keeper) and Shane Watson.
They are followed by skipper Michael Clarke, who has had a marvellous 2011-12 season as both a batsman and captain, the Hussey brothers Michael and David and George Bailey.
It must have been disappointing for batsman Peter Forrest to miss out after promising performances with the bat against India and Sri Lanka earlier this year.
His century against Sri Lanka at Hobart in February had class written all over it. What are your thoughts, Roarers?
Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.