Read more

Say what you like about Warne, but it’s becoming a giant yawn

I’ll let you be the judge. Is Shane Warne making comments to enhance the future of Australian cricket? Or is he simply continuing to vent his spleen after being overlooked as captain of the national team?

In my view, it’s starting to become one big yawn. And you wouldn’t get too many disagree if you argued that Warne keeps on making these outrageous statements to deflect attention from his own poor form (and captaincy) during the Big Bash League, when his Melbourne Stars once again missed the final.

Yes, rotating players is proving a frustrating exercise for all and sundry, but it’s a clear sign that those behind the scenes in the Aussie set-up are desperate to succeed in India and especially in England.

Perhaps wrapping players in cotton wool is justified, but, as Dale Steyn proved during the recent Australia-South Africa Test series, he only got better the more overs he bowled.

Ask yourself this question: Would Dennis Lillee have been rotated during his prime?

The fact that Peter Siddle was bowled to the point of exhaustion in the Adelaide Test is because Michael Clarke panicked, and Ben Hilfenhaus didn’t step up to the plate following the injury to James Pattinson.

Sending players to India early for a “training camp” is also ridiculous. Years ago, touring teams used to play games leading up to a Test. It proved invaluable. If you were preparing for a Test match overseas, would you prefer to attend a training camp or play a lead-up game?

The reason South Africa rose to the top in world cricket — at a Test level at least — is Mickey Arthur, so he doesn’t deserve to step aside for Warne’s choice – former Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming. Even before Arthur became head coach, Australia were showing signs that their dominance in the ODI arena was waning. And they’ve never really been a good T20 side.

For Warne to suggest the same 11 players should play all three formats of the game for Australia is bordering on the extraordinary. He suggests that current Australian selectors John Inverarity (chairman), Andy Bichel and Arthur should be replaced in favour of Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming and Mark Waugh.

Current selector Rod Marsh will one day replace Inverarity as chairman, but not yet.

Warne and Marsh are mates after Warne attended the Academy under the tutelage of Marsh.

The only criticism of the selectors is that there are a host of players who may never appear for Australia again after making only one or two appearances at a Test, ODI and T20 level in recent years.

Mark Taylor replacing James Sutherland one day as Cricket Australia’s chief executive has merit, but there isn’t much that Sutherland is doing wrong. Warne also has a close association with Darren Lehmann and Ian Chappell, so it comes as no surprise that he wants to see the former becoming national assistant coach to Fleming and the latter becoming a consultant to the national team. And to top things off, Warne would like to see Mike Hussey and Michael Bevan as national batting coaches and Merv Hughes and Bruce Reid in charge of bowling.

As Australia’s high-performance chief, Pat Howard obviously has an agenda, but let’s give it 12 months before we question his methods  re rotation etc. Bare in mind Australia will battle to win the Test series in India and England, and will start the Ashes as underdogs when England arrive on our shores next summer. And it’s unlikely Australia will show massive improvement in the ODI and T20 arena.

Why? We just haven’t got the players. Most of them are good, but they’re not great — and the loss of Mike Hussey is monumental.

Warne says he is passionate about the Australian team, which is fair enough, but when it comes to making big statements and big decisions there’s a philosophy that you shouldn’t allow your heart to rule your head.

Clearly, Warne is speaking from the heart. In contrast, Cricket Australia were using their head when they announcing this week that they had appointed Dennis Lillee to their high-performance team as a bowling advisor.

As a cricket commentator, Warne makes a wonderful cricket player.

It’s unlikely to happen, but some of us will have our fingers crossed that when the Australian team arrives in England later this year Warne won’t be behind the microphone.

— David White




Leave a Reply

  • Plenty of Paine for Tim Posted on: Jan 2nd, 2017

    He suffered a shocking thumb injury, and unfortunately for Tasmanian wicketkeeper Tim Paine it came at the wrong time…

Read more