Is NSW cricket singing the blues?

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Time for Brett Lee to go? (Image: The Associated Press)

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When Brett Lee made those fateful comments that got him in hot water the other week, he was merely stating what many of us were already thinking.

The reaction of Cricket NSW to drop the charges against Lee and asked him to join a sub committee, they all but admitted that they had begun thinking the same way too.

The current state of cricket in NSW should be of a major concern and has been lucky not to garner more attention than it currently has.

The boozy expedition to the CLT20 by WA/Perth and the subsequent fallout, combined with the success of the Sixers, took some of the heat off NSW, however the focus is now squarely back on them with the two Sydney based franchises occupying the bottom two spots on the BBL ladder.

What makes the current state of affairs more galling is the fact that so many warning signs were missed in the off season that could have prompted action to get things resolved.

The departure of Usman Khawaja and Phil Hughes, and their subsequent success and recall to the Australian side showed some signs of the discontent lying around the group.

In the last 2-3 years, the players that have left NSW to play for other states is alarming – Hughes, Khawaja, Steven Cazzulino, Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, Dan Christian, Nathan Lyon, and John Hastings. Even the ‘super-sub’ from Hobart, Jordan Silk, is another who has flown the nest.

The early departure of Ben Rorher and Phil Nevill to the Renegades early in the BBL contract window gave further signs of this, and almost had a feeling of players window shopping for other states to move to next season.

Something also needs to be gathered from the comments made by Stuart Clark at the time when Pat Cummins decided to sign for the Perth Scorchers – another Blue leaving the nest.

Clark decided to come out to the media and give a rant about what the consequences would be for Cummins and his fitness if he went to Perth and that he was worried about the program that WA/Perth would put him on.

History will now show that Cummins broke down after playing the CLT20 with the Sixers, so clearly whatever NSW was doing wasn’t exactly the best either.

Clark’s comments and the subsequent fallout to me showed signs of an organisation that wasn’t looking at the problems in its own backyard, but rather trying to make themselves look better by pointing out the flaws of others.

The dismal performance of the Sydney Thunder must cause some concern. The current playing rosters for the two Sydney teams basically make it the NSW First XI and the NSW Second XI, with the Thunder consisting mainly of those on the fringe of the NSW squad or performing very well in grade cricket.

If the Thunder’s performances are anything to go by, the next tier and generation of NSW cricket is not in the best of shape. David Warner’s desire to leave the Thunder and play for the Sixers, albeit for one game, also gives signs of discontent in the camp.

Some may say the success of the Sixers in BBL1 and the CLT20 are signs that things aren’t that bad, however these all took place before breaking point was really reached. Trevor Bayliss, not Anthony Stuart, was in charge, and the BBL was done and dusted before the halfway mark of Stuart’s first season in charge.

NSW need to take stock, take a step back and take the necessary steps to get things right. They only need look at the case of WA/Perth to see what to do.

After a slow start, the boys from the West have shown some improvement under the guidance of Justin Langer, and there will be many in and around Western Australia cricket that this can be carried through and lead to the revival of a proud cricketing state.

NSW could do worse than follow their lead.