If sport is a business then cricket in Australia is a failed business. It is a failed business because of incompetent leadership. A board of directors appoints a CEO. James Sutherland was given an established brand with enormous goodwill in the public sphere.
This has now eroded from being a market leader to a marketing nightmare.
One can imagine him quoting Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
No amount of spin (even of the Warne variety) will mask the ranking of number 5. We have gone from a Rolls Royce to a Hyundai. And that is being charitable because a Hyundai is more reliable than Mitchell Johnson.
Australian Cricket needs a woman at the helm. Multi-tasking seems beyond James Sutherland.
Belinda Clark has been manager of the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane since 2005. At the very least she should have taken over from Greg Chappell when he vacated the position. Instead the position is now occupied by Troy Cooley. Cooley has been working unsuccessfully with Mitch Johnson for the last two years.
She would also be a capable replacement for James Sutherland.
England has made great strides in all three forms of the game. Australia are ranked number one in the 50 overs variant and even here the hold is tenuous. While the rest of the World have been refining their 50 overs game Australia chose to experiment with a 45 overs split innings mutant. Neither 50 overs nor 20 overs. How will this affect Australia’s chances in next month’s World Cup?
If Australia does well it will not be because of James Sutherland.
As for Test cricket Australia is ranked fifth and if a Test Championship were to be held now, we would not even qualify.
Australia has not so much fallen from their lofty height as they have been obliterated from the face of the cricketing earth.
Australia’s Test team has been pummelled, trampled and disgraced. For Michael Clarke to talk about “sticking together” and nurturing “the talent in this group” is self-serving in the extreme.
As well as England played, Australia was abysmal. This piece is about Australia’s demise and England supporters should not feel that credit is being deflected from their victory. England has outplayed Australia and there is no question of sour grapes here. England does not need any more praise from me than they are already receiving from their own tribe.
They aspire to be number one and their test will come in July when they take on India at home.
Australia’s cricket team has failed all their shareholders. The club cricketers, the schoolboys and girls, their parents and grandparents. Above all they have failed the paying public.
The sponsors like Vodafone and the Commonwealth Bank could well ask the question “Which Team?”
Sutherland and the members on the board of Cricket Australia have failed. Jack Clarke, as Chairman, was even overlooked for the job of the vice president of the ICC. So much for support from your colleagues. How many more series are we to lose before there is a change?
There should be no illusion that Sutherland and Ponting are on the same page. They are in opposing and polarised corners. For all of Ponting’s perceived shortcomings on the cricket field he remains astute about the direction Australia should be taking. He is a fierce proponent of the Sheffield Shield. He is at odds with Sutherland’s ambivalence on this subject.
Wally Edwards is the next Chairman elect of CA and one hopes he will show more effective leadership.
Mark Taylor is a director of Cricket Australia and needs to assert himself more. Mathew Hayden is a new director and has much to offer now that his playing days in the IPL are almost over. We all know that Australia’s preparations for the Tests against India and England were badly compromised by Bollinger and Hussey being forced to play in the Champions League.
Australia’s shareholding in the Champions League entitles them to about 15 million dollars a year as their share of TV rights. At the same time it cruels our standing in the game.
The first edict must be to prioritise the Shield. October to November should be free of any International commitments. ALL players must play if they are to be considered for higher honours. This has to be the pathway to selection in the Test team. Not the colonel inspired cholesterol-laden Big Bash.
What will our selectors do now? There are no more Tests until we visit Sri Lanka in August. After that we visit South Africa and then host India next summer. All these teams are ranked higher than Australia.
There is no time for Michael Clarke and Ponting to prove they are worthy of retention in the Test side. Neither of them will play any Shield matches before then.
The only players to retain their places in the Test side would be Watson, Hussey, Siddle and Haddin.
Simon Katich has recovered and would be the first opener chosen. He should captain the side to Sri Lanka.
His opening partner should be Shaun Marsh or Ed Cowan. Hughes can be taken as an extra batsman and told to work on his game. Khawaja to retain his spot at three.
The number four spot should go to David Hussey and his brother Michael at 5. Watson at six gives the side the balance it needs. Haddin at seven and Smith as the sole spinner at 8. There is no going back on Smith. He will develop as a spinner and needs to bowl at Test level. Siddle and Pattinson should be the first chosen to lead the pace attack. Bollinger just pips Copeland for the last spot in the playing XI. But Copeland is close to selection.
The other three places in the Test squad should go to Paine as the reserve keeper and Callum Ferguson as the reserve batsman for David Hussey. The last spot could go to Peter George or Mitchell Starc.
Ponting and Clarke can show if they are still worthy by playing in the Shield before India visits. And if form warrants they should not mind playing under Katich. Pietersen has shown it is not so onerous.
Governments change and political leaders are replaced. Companies sack CEO’s and directors so why should cricket be above common business practice?