The future looks bright for Australian cricket

Lachlan Doyle Roar Pro

By Lachlan Doyle, Lachlan Doyle is a Roar Pro

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    Ashton Agar has been recalled into the Test squad. (AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES)

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    Australian cricket is at the moment in a dark place, but they say the darkest hour is right before the dawn.

    Every since the retirement of Justin Langer, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, Australian cricket has been going downhill.

    The next season saw another legend of the game, Adam Gilchrist, go. And just last summer we saw Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting also finish their great cricketing careers.

    Australia is now struggling. They are three nil down with one Test to go in the Ashes and are being referred on social media as ‘Lolstralia’.

    Not a very bright future for Australian cricket? Think again.

    The Australian A team are into the tri-series final, a competition that involves South Africa A and India A.

    They have been the top team in the series, winning three and only losing one match in their four games. They have also beaten Zimbabwe A in a three day match and drew with South Africa A in their four day match with them.

    One of the most important questions is, are the players good?

    Yes, they’re good but not great yet. Players such as Aaron Finch, Alex Doolan, Moises Henriques and Nathan Coulter-Nile are all good future talents that should do some more time in shield cricket.

    Nic Maddinson looks like he could make his Test debut for Australia this upcoming summer.

    Overall, Australian cricket still has a long way to go, although in the next five years we could be number one again in Test cricket.

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    The Crowd Says (133)

    • August 15th 2013 @ 3:27am
      JimmyB said | August 15th 2013 @ 3:27am | ! Report

      That’s the spirit Lachlan, I much prefer your optimism to the doom and gloom of a good many of your countrymen.

      • August 15th 2013 @ 3:42am
        Chris said | August 15th 2013 @ 3:42am | ! Report

        Absolutely. England were officially the worst team in the world in 1999, having lost at home to New Zealand. The end of cricket. Within six years, they beat the greatest team of the last 25 years. It can happen, and it will happen for Australia. It may be three years, five years or ten years. But it will. And so it should.

        • August 15th 2013 @ 10:52am
          Montero said | August 15th 2013 @ 10:52am | ! Report

          10 years? Cricket doesn’t have that much time to get things right here.

        • August 15th 2013 @ 1:24pm
          sittingbison said | August 15th 2013 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

          greatest team of the last 25 years?

          lol 🙂

          • August 15th 2013 @ 7:05pm
            Chris said | August 15th 2013 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

            Sure. In the eighties you had the West Indies you see…

            • August 16th 2013 @ 8:20am
              nickyc said | August 16th 2013 @ 8:20am | ! Report

              +1

      • Roar Guru

        August 15th 2013 @ 10:47am
        sheek said | August 15th 2013 @ 10:47am | ! Report

        JimmyB,

        It’s funny how people see things diffrrently.

        Australian cricket got to this point because CA forgot the reasons that made Australian cricket strong in the past.

        Suggesting that CA should revisit the structures that made us strong in the past is not being gloomy.

        Continuing with flawed structures is a surefire guarantee that it will take longer to recover.

        Test cricket & first-class cricket (Sheffield Shield) go hand in hand. They must be played con-currently with each. That’s not a wish list, that’s ESSENTIAL. And leading players must be available for a majority of Shield matches. That’s also ESSENTIAL to the process.

        All countries go through cycles. However, strong structures mean you’re at the bottom for a shorter timespan, & at the top for a longer timespan.

        Don’t fix the flawed structures & you insure future mediocrity for a long time to come.

        • August 15th 2013 @ 6:43pm
          JimmyB said | August 15th 2013 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

          I don’t disagree with you Sheek, I was just pleasantly surprised to read an article that didn’t suggest dropping the whole team, sacking the coach and so on. As you point out teams go in cycles and at the moment Australia are near the bottom of that cycle, however I genuinely believe that there is a basis for a decent team. They lack experience, but as we know that is only earned the hard way, over time. That’s what this team really needs, some time. Obviously there will be some changes, but they shouldn’t be wholesale.

          • Roar Guru

            August 15th 2013 @ 7:35pm
            sheek said | August 15th 2013 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

            Thanks for clarifying that JimmyB,

            There are people on this site who can’t differentiate between constructive criticism & doomsday prophecy.

            I felt it necessary to clarify your comments.

            However, looking at the team these past few days, there aren’t many who I believe might be playing there at the end of 2014.

            Clarke is definitely safe, Warner perhaps safe. North and Haddin are safe but not getting younger. Harris would be safe bar his dicky body. Ditto Pattinson.

            Lyon might play another 20-30 tests, but you just never feel he’s nailed his possie. Khawaja & Smith have a mountain of work to do. Watson is rapidly using up all his “lives.”

            While even Siddle, Starc, Bird & guys like Cummins are engaged in perpetual contest for pace positions. Agar started brilliantly with the bat, but his bowling is still very raw. Wade needs to improve also.

            Frankly, there’s not enough ‘core’ players that one might think will still be there in 18 months. Many of these guys still have a lot to prove.

            Steve Waugh’s comments that Australia will never dominate again like 2001-07, is very disturbing. He believes future players will be too multi-faceted to excel in one format.

            I would consider those comments damning for test & first class cricket actually. We’re breeding cricketers whose skills will increasingly be removed from five day tests towards three hour slog fests.

            • August 15th 2013 @ 10:24pm
              JimmyB said | August 15th 2013 @ 10:24pm | ! Report

              When you say North, I presume you mean Rogers.
              I agree regarding Watson, he’s got a mental block and seems destined to score consistent and quite attractive 30s and 40s, but I venture that he may never win a test match for Australia, having said that, as a Pom, I would love to see him in your 11 at the Gabba.
              Surely Siddle has done enough to be considered an automatic pick as has Lyon.
              With regards to Steve Waughs comments, well he may be right, to be so dominant is a rare and precious thing and no nation or team has an automatic right to be dominant, if anything, domination damages the sport internationally but also domestically as Australia is finding out now. The old adage about fixing the leaky roof whilst the sun is shining springs to mind.
              You never know though, the next era of Aussie greatness may just be around the corner…maybe.

            • August 19th 2013 @ 3:21pm
              Chris said | August 19th 2013 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

              I believe Steve Waugh was suggesting that nobody would dominate in the way the Windies did in the 80s and then Australia did in the 90’s and 00’s, not just that Australia wouldn’t. The fact that there are so many different formats and so much cricket played, meaning it’s very hard for any team to play match after match with basically the same 11 players as Australia did for so much of those dominant periods was his argument that while you’ll have number 1 teams and the like, it may be very difficult to see any team dominating for a long period of time like those two sides did.

    • August 15th 2013 @ 3:58am
      Matt said | August 15th 2013 @ 3:58am | ! Report

      I agree, but it won’t happen by itsself. Players like Maddinson are hugely talented but their techniques are made for T20. We need to find a way to teach youngsters how to bat in a test match – leave balls outside off and keep a straight bat. A functioning shield competition plus coaching from mentally tough players that have reigned in aggressive techniques themselves (Steve Waugh is the ideal candidate) would be an idea. Of course money being the root of all evil there also needs to be more financial incentive for test players.

      The batting problems Australia have now will be faced by everyone in the next few years and the quality of test cricket will suffer long-term. Our game will be poorer for it.

      • August 15th 2013 @ 9:00am
        Sanjay said | August 15th 2013 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        Watch our for Maddinson, Khawaja, Smith, Warner and Burns to lead our batting in years to come.

        • August 15th 2013 @ 11:02am
          Hookin' YT said | August 15th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          +1
          Jordan Silk as well. Worth keeping an eye on Lynn and Keeper/bat Whiteman from WA.

          • August 16th 2013 @ 3:25am
            Praveen said | August 16th 2013 @ 3:25am | ! Report

            +2 sanjay

      • August 15th 2013 @ 11:09am
        Sideline Comm. said | August 15th 2013 @ 11:09am | ! Report

        I agree Matt, there needs to more incentives for young players to choose test cricket over T/20, and the primary of those must be financial. I understand that cricket Australia contracts are quite lucrative, particularly for the top players, but there really must be some sort of bonus system in place for those who pick test over other forms.

        If a player like Glen Maxwell (no offense to Glen) can get $1m for playing T/20 for a couple of months in India, what hope is there to get young players to concentrate on tests without the knowledge that they will get the sort of money not available elsewhere.

        • August 15th 2013 @ 11:49am
          handles said | August 15th 2013 @ 11:49am | ! Report

          Well, Sideline, I completely disagree with that excuse.

          The pressures faced by Australian test cricket from T20 are exactly the same as the pressures faced by English cricket, and by the game in general, but that is not the point.

          I don’t care is the Test XI is better than the Test XI from the golden era of the late 90s and early 2000s. I just want our test team to be better than England, India, South Africa and a couple of others.

          • August 15th 2013 @ 5:07pm
            Sideline Comm. said | August 15th 2013 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

            So do I mate, so do I. And I wasn’t trying to make excuses for the team, just saying that more money might help.

            I don’t know enough about the structure of domestic cricket and the wages payed to the players of the respective forms to really say whether other countries are facing the exact problem we are. But in Australia there seems to serious financial downsides to cricketers who might only want to concentrate on test cricket. I would like that to be considered.

      • August 15th 2013 @ 12:24pm
        Matt F said | August 15th 2013 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        Every other country plays T20 cricket so to blame our decline on that doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. If anything has hurt our development it was turning the old state 2nd XI sides into Under 23 sides.

        • August 15th 2013 @ 12:40pm
          Hookin' YT said | August 15th 2013 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

          No major country (England-County Championship. India-Ranji Trophy, SAf – Sunfoil), blots out 6 weeks of their championship mid season for hit and giggle. India and SAf play at the end and England embed it with a game here and a game there.

          • August 15th 2013 @ 12:56pm
            Matt F said | August 15th 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

            The decline was in place well before the extended BBL window. It’s not as if we had a bunch of superstar 15-20 year olds who have suddenly had their techniques destroyed over the past few years. The next generation of superstars simply weren’t there. I’m not saying that the BBL window is a good thing, but it’s way down the list of things to blame for our decline.

            It’s also not the first time that we’ve entered a rough patch in test cricket either. You can’t exactly blame the mid 80’s period on T20 cricket…..

            • August 15th 2013 @ 1:57pm
              Hookin' YT said | August 15th 2013 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

              Agree. BBL timing doesn’t ‘help’ though.

              England treat their CC players well, the afficianados respect the comp but not the public…
              http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/jul/30/1

              Why can’t Tassie say go to Brisbane, play a Shield game, a Ryobi and then a BBL. Job done not blot out 6 weeks. But then Gayle and the other wnkers won’t play.

              • August 19th 2013 @ 3:56pm
                Chris said | August 19th 2013 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

                That also can’t happen now that they’ve gone for the franchise model for the BBL teams. So players in the BBL aren’t just playing BBL for the same team as they play Sheffield Shield for.

      • August 19th 2013 @ 4:29pm
        Chris said | August 19th 2013 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

        On what evidence are you saying Maddinson’s technique is made for T20? If anything I’d say he’s more of a long form player. His stats don’t suggest he’s a big hitter T20 player either, averaging 40 in 1st Class and 24 in T20 (with a pretty mediocre T20 strike rate of 123).

        Actually, I don’t know that Australia has turned out all that many great T20 batsmen either.

        I think the biggest issue is actually deeper than Sheffield Shield even. I think you’ll find that if you look into it, there are less kids playing cricket these days. The pool of talent has shrunk. If anything, T20 may actually help to grow that. In the past, playing cricket wasn’t that viable an option to make a living out of. In Australia you had maybe 15 people regularly playing for Australia, and that was the only level where you could make a significant living. Below that you had state cricket where you could get a pretty meagre salary to try and get by on.

        Meanwhile if you look at Rugby League or AFL you have several hundred players in each code making a significant professional living out of it. So that means that you’ve got much more chance of making a living playing a football code than playing cricket. Cricket is still behind on that, but T20 now means that players on that level below the national team can actually make serious money playing cricket.

        So while this may mean that the players who come through may be more likely to make sure they know how to hit sixes, it may well mean that out of all those young, talented people out there who have the skills to be good at any number of sports, cricket becomes a more viable option to choose to pursue thanks to T20.

        That means T20 may actually lead to an improvement in the batting stocks in the long run.

        And it’s a lot easier to take a T20 technique and adapt it to test cricket than the other way around. A grafting batsman will never make it in T20, but someone with a great eye and the ability to pick up the ball quickly out of the hand and pick his spot to hit it can definitely convert that into a very good test technique.

    • August 15th 2013 @ 7:21am
      Liz said | August 15th 2013 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      The truth is the first victim of War.

      • August 15th 2013 @ 8:10am
        JimmyB said | August 15th 2013 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        You can’t handle the truth!!!! 😉

    • August 15th 2013 @ 8:16am
      Andrew said | August 15th 2013 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      The truth from the statistics is Australian cricket is at its lowest ebb since foundation except possibly the 1880s when W G Grace and company monstered our cricket team. Something, somewhere has to change.

      • August 15th 2013 @ 12:45pm
        Hookin' YT said | August 15th 2013 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

        Really?

        1983-1984 West Indies v. Australia West Indies 3-0
        1984-1985 Australia v. West Indies West Indies 3-1
        1985 England v. Australia England 3-1
        1985-1986 Australia v. New Zealand New Zealand 2-1
        1985-1986 Australia v. India Drawn 0-0
        1985-1986 New Zealand v. Australia New Zealand 1-0
        1986-1987 India v. Australia Drawn 0-0
        1986-1987 Australia v. England England 2-1
        1987-1988 Australia v. New Zealand Australia 1-0 (YAY!!!)
        1987-1988 Australia v. England Drawn 0-0
        1987-1988 Australia v. Sri Lanka Australia 1-0 (YAY!!!)
        1988-1989 Pakistan v. Australia Pakistan 1-0
        1988-1989 Australia v. West Indies West Indies 3-1
        1989 England v. Australia Australia 4-0

        • August 15th 2013 @ 1:31pm
          Montero said | August 15th 2013 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

          Umm you do actually realize we’re talking about different team, who came up again different competition, in a different era, which happened 25 odd years ago, when Australia was a different country and the Australian sporting landscape was different.

          You do realize all this right? Right?!

          Honestly the current team would do far worst if it came up against those same teams. No whitewashes there from what I can see. Australia actually won a test match against one of the greatest sides of all time in the mid-80’s WI. Could you imagine the current Aussie side against that WI team? Scary thought.

          • August 15th 2013 @ 2:27pm
            Hookin' YT said | August 15th 2013 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            Bob Holland took 6/54 and 4/90 on a doctored rank turner at the SCG.

            It was a fast bowlers graveyard, Malcolm Marshall 0/111 and Garner 2/102. Wessels made 173. Hilditch (2), Wood (45) and Richie (37 in the batting lineup *rolleyes*.

            Even Murray Bennett took 5.

            Whitewash, smitewash. 4 Tests in England this year, the team that has won the toss and batted has had ascendancy (including Clarke calling correctly at Manchester).

            • August 15th 2013 @ 8:35pm
              blocker said | August 15th 2013 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

              They still won, would this team, I don’t think so.

    • Roar Guru

      August 15th 2013 @ 8:35am
      JGK said | August 15th 2013 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      The competition in South Africa is as far removed from Test cricket as can be imagined.

      I wouldn’t take any encouragement from those results.

      • Roar Pro

        August 15th 2013 @ 9:37am
        Lachlan Doyle said | August 15th 2013 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Yeah I know it was an optimistic comment. Although I can see some good signs for our cricketing future.

    • August 15th 2013 @ 8:49am
      Beardan Returns said | August 15th 2013 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      Like your optimism. Let us know when you are joining the rest of us in the real world again!

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