For Indian cricket fans like me, Ashes cricket had been a low-priority event for a long time.
The 2021 ICC World T20 is two months away, yet Australia look way off their game leading up to the tournament. In their past five T20 series, Australia have lost all five series.
With the T20 World Cup set in the UAE, Australia has their bowling attack set for the tournament. But the batting – particularly a misfiring middle order with no set finished is worrying for Australia. While drastic changes will not be made now, Cricket Australia should rope in Greg Shipperd as Australia’s T20 coach after the conclusion of the 2021 ICC World T20.
For years, Greg Shipperd has toiled away in Australian domestic cricket as a coach, however, his work always went under the radar. In his maiden coaching gig with the Tasmanian men’s side, Shipperd would do something that would be a stepping stone for one of Australia’s best white ball cricketers.
And that was to convince a teen Shane Watson to leave Queensland for the isolated state south of Victoria. Who knows whether Watson would have been the cricketer he was for Australia if Shipperd did not reach out to Watson? After his stint at Tasmania, Shipperd moved to Victoria where most of his coaching success came before his contract was not renewed.
Now coach of the Sydney Sixers, Shipperd has helped the Eastern Sydney franchise win back to back titles in the BBL.
Here is a list of all the titles Shipperd has won as a coach
Sheffield Shield: 2003-04, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15
One Day Cup: 2010-11
KFC Twenty20 Big Bash: 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2009-10
Big Bash League: 2019-20, 2020-21
Bar the BBL titles Shipperd has won with Sixers, Shipperd won his other nine titles as Victoria coach. Alongside coaching stints in Australian domestic cricket, Shipperd was the inaugural coach of the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) for the first four seasons of the IPL.
While the Daredevils capitulated in the 2008 and 2009 IPL semis (more due to Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist having the games of their lives rather than Delhi playing poorly), Delhi were a strong side.
Under Shipperd’s coaching, players such as Amit Mishra, Manoj Tiwary and Umesh Yadav improved their white ball game well with the trio representing India in ODI cricket.
One of the great things about Shipperd is that he understands T20 cricket since the format’s inception. While other states were grappling to terms on how to approach T20 cricket when the Big Bash was a state competition, Shipperd’s Victoria were ahead of the pack.
It should be of no surprise that under his tenure in Victoria, the likes of Brad Hodge, Glenn Maxwell, David Hussey, Aaron Finch, Dirk Nannes and a host of other names got gigs in the IPL and represented Australia in T20 cricket.
Shipperd also understands the fickleness of T20 cricket. In the seventh edition of the Big Bash (2017-18), the Sydney Sixers lost their first six games despite coming close to winning about four of those matches. Had the Sixers ended BBL07 badly, he may have been sacked. But a string of wins saw the Sixers finish with four wins in ten games and they would go back to back in BBL|09 and BBL10.
Now a coaching consultant at Tasmania while the Tigers are searching for a new head coach, Shipperd has had an influential coaching career within the Australian domestic ranks and the IPL dating back from the 1990s. He has a great relationship with Justin Langer – after all, Shipperd was Langer’s first captain in first grade cricket in Western Australia.
In a pandemic world where players are opting out of playing cricket due to bubble fatigue, it is tough on coaches as well to keep their heads up for all three formats. If Shipperd came in as Australia’s T20 coach, it would give Langer a much needed break which would allow Langer to focus on ODI and Test cricket – his strengths as Australian coach so far.
It is time for Australian cricket to allow Greg Shipperd to be involved in their national setup. And the time has to begin from after the 2021 ICC World T20 if Cricket Australia are serious of winning a T20 World Cup on home soil next year.