What’s wrong with Australian cricket? Former Test legend Warwick Todd thinks he has some answers…
Published by Warwick Todd
As an emotional, passionate and Australian (not to mention player) and player for the best part of 20 years (a proud one too) I, like many others am frustrated on many levels. The next 12 months is the biggest 12 months of cricket for us in a long, long time, if not longer. There needs to be urgent action to address all areas of the game:
Selecting of teams
This is a vey tough gig as everyone in Australia thinks they can pick the best team. Luckily, I can. In my view, selecting a player is not based solely on statistics and averages, you’ve got to look at when players get their runs and wickets. Anyone can knock up a double century against minnows like Zimbabwe or New Zealand, but can you guts it out on a seaming Edgbaston pitch or take on some chin music in a Caribbean nightclub? If not then don’t even think about being selected.
The rotation policy is WRONG and will never work. Better to pick your best team and stick with it in all forms, too much chopping and changing leads to insecurity, players then start to look over their shoulder or behind their backs which is a guaranteed way to get bowled. There’s an old saying “if it ain’t broke then don’t go changing horses in midstream”. I think it’s Shakespeare. Or Bobby Simpson. Anyway, it’s bloody true. When things are working, why mess around with them? On the 2003 tour of the West Indies we didn’t change underwear for 6 weeks, let alone our top order. As for ‘resting’ players… Come on! After making 210 at Madras in 1986 Dean Jones was hospitalized. Did Deano ask to be ‘rested’? He fronted up at the next match (batting with a runner, a nurse and a saline drip) as only a true Aussie would do. I believe the players should send a clear message to Cricket Australia. “I do not want to be rested or rotated I want to play every game, if I don’t perform drop me”. (Obviously you don’t mean this last bit). I also believe the team should be selected first, not the captain. In fact, the selection order goes: team, team hotel, captain.
So, to my dream team, I could be completely wrong and barking up the wrong creek, but in my opinion if the following people were to fill these roles, then Australian cricket would be in good hands and a great chance of getting back to number 1, where it belongs.
Rod Marsh (Chairman)
CEO of cricket or GM: Steve Waugh
Boss man, cricket supremo. The coach, captain and support staff are answerable to Tugga. And Tugga is answerable to no one, except major sponsors and/or David Gyngell.
Coach: Arjuna Ranatunga
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think a coach is not needed at the top level of our game. It’s a stupid, pointless role, suitable only for a complete loser. Arjuna’s got what it takes.
Fitness Coach: Greg Ritchie
Fat Cat’s form in this area speaks for itself. And it may be a big role but this is a bloke who has always been prepared to bite off more than he can chew.
Drugs in sport.
I have no time for cheats who use drugs. I believe in the natural high that comes from representing your country, or half a dozen Crown lagers.
Cricket is a simple game; sure it has room and a place for scientific research and current technology, which can help learn about an opponent, but not instead of using your cricket brain, together they can work hand in hand to help you put your best foot forward. Technology can help in recovery, but so can sleep and a common sense approach to re-hydration. You cannot re-invent the wheel in cricket, if a player wants to become a better slip fielder, catch more balls, want to get better at bowling a Yorker – put a dollar coin on the popping crease and pretend it’s Lasith Malinga’s big toe. It’s not hard.
The current set up is not working, as the results are showing! When’s the last time a current Australian player has been arrested outside an inner city nightclub? Exactly. We’ve lost that fire in the belly.
It’s time to go back to basics. I will be discussing these points with James Sutherland in the next week, just as soon as he returns my calls.