Let’s get rid of some sporting rubbish in 2013
Have we seen Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon for the last time? AFP PHOTO/Luis Acosta
If I could wave a magic wand to make instant changes, my targets would be cricket, tennis, and golf.
Abandon the Argus report, and revert to three national selectors – John Inverarity, Rod Marsh and Andy Bichel – all full-time.
Scrap the rotation policy, with every cricketer in contention responsible for his own fitness report, signing a statutory declaration he’s fully fit to be eligible for selection.
That signature would cover any potential litigation that looms from such former fast bowlers as Nathan Bracken, who contends he was forced to play when unfit, a decision he reckons shortened his career.
And reassess Pat Howard’s newly created role as director of team performance. What has that position proved, if anything?
Finally, find a manufacturer who can produce a ball that swings. I refuse to believe the current crop of fast bowlers around the world are incapable of making the ball move in the air. My belief is the seam is far too flat and the shine doesn’t last as long as it did 25-40 years ago.
Get the sport moving by banning the time-wasting tactics.
Strictly police the 20 seconds rule between points. Rafael Nadal is a serial offender with his illegal gamesmanship to slow down play to his own liking, regularly taking over 30 seconds to serve or receive.
Limit selection of balls to serve to just three. Many players take as many as six to decide, which is rubbish.
Limit bouncing the ball before serving to four max – Novak Djokovic bounces up to 32 times before his first serve, and 16 before his second.
And allow coaches to sit on the side-line bench with their charges, as Davis Cup captains do. What’s the point of spending hundreds of hours on the practice court together, only to be told coaches must zip it in the player’s box on competition days?
In the bad old days of amateur rep rugby, coaches weren’t allowed on the field at the half-time huddle. Thankfully that archaic rule went by the boards and if rugby can change, tennis can.
And my pet hate. Golfers should be allowed to repair sprig marks between their ball and the hole.
Obviously the best-performed golfers in any tournament are at the tail of the field at the weekend, the all-important money rounds. Yet they have to negotiate a minefield of sprig marks, giving an unfair advantage to those playing earlier in the day.
Administrators eventually out-lawed the stymie where a golfer could leave his ball between an opponent’s ball and the hole. It was a two-stroke penalty if you struck an opponent’s ball that stymied you.
Sprig marks are a similar hurdle to overcome. Give that rule the long overdue flick to make it an even playing field.
Happy New Year Roarers, the wand is back in its holster.