The Sheffield Shield, in the 1990s and early 2000s, was the best domestic cricket competition in the world.
Now? Not so much; too overbalanced in the favour of the bowlers, at least that’s what the stats show over the past three to four years.
The need of the hour in the Australian game is to put the Shield right where it belongs – the pinnacle of the Australian domestic cricket calendar.
What can be done to achieve that? Here are a few things to ponder:
1. Play the Shield from October to February, along with the Ryobi Cup. Scrapping the Big Bash League seems impossible, so play it at once over three or so weeks in March.
2. Have the Australia A team in the Shield. Base them in Darwin, Canberra or the like so they play their home matches there. The squad for Australia A should be announced start of the season.
Benefits of doing this:
A. The promising group of Australia A players will be together for the whole season and play as a team.
B. It opens up spots in the state sides for some more promising talented youngsters.
Problems in doing this:
A. The states might be reluctant to release the players for such an idea, but they got to understand the larger picture.
B. Tricky as to how will an injured player be replaced in the Australia A team if the injury happens mid-season.
As an example, the following team can be put out:
Batsmen: Silk, Doolan, Burns, Maddinson, Lynn, Marcus Harris, Mitch Marsh, Handscomb
Bowlers: Sandhu, Hazlewood, Sayers, Agar, Zampa, Cummins
3. Stop the “result pitch” theory for preparing pitches. You have got to learn to create results from whatever surface is made available. I think this single thing has hurt our young batsmen real bad in the past few seasons
So, over to you mates, to accept/reject/debate the ideas this pitch to help save Australian Test cricket.