Oz cricket needs to take bold steps to get back on track: Roebuck

February 2nd, 2009 - 1:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, Feb.2 (ANI): Tough times may be hard to endure, but, they also provide an opportunity, says noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck, adding that the Australian cricket establishment needs to use the recent retirement of performing players to recruit new ones and take bold steps to get back on track.
Numerous names have been bandied about. By all means, let’’s join that debate. But it does not go to the root of the problem. Selectors can only choose from players thrown up by the states, he says.
As a matter of urgency, Australian cricket needs to correct two traits before it is too late first is to find a ruthless response to correct its recent poor performances, and second to ensure the introduction of younger players into state squads.
State teams are getting older. The average age is about 27 Among contracted players, only a handful (five percent) are under 22. Contrastingly, 23 per cent are over 31. The average age of the Queensland squad is 29.4. Martin Love is still playing in his mid 30s, a batsman whose best days are long behind him. For goodness sake, Andrew Bichel is still available. But let’’s not pick on the banana-benders.
He believes teams like New South Wales need quality young players like David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Moises Henriques, and that keeping faith with aging veterans is plain and simple wrong.
Officials must take charge. To that end, CA must insist that every Shield team contains three players aged under 23 - juggle with the number of players and age, but make a rule and apply it, Roebuck says.
He also says that the Australians are not giving enough weight to spin.
Australia need to work out a plan for spin. It’’s no use waiting for geniuses to follow in Shane Warne’’s footsteps. If anything, Warne has been a poor model because his action relies on exceptional finger, wrist and shoulder strength. In any event, spinners cannot learn anything on the sidelines, he says.
Slow pitches are the other blight on the antipodean game. Repeatedly, edges fall short of the slip cordon. Curators must be instructed to leave a covering of grass on their babies, he adds.
He concludes by saying that the national selectors are partly responsible for the debacle.
It is up to them to set an example by choosing a bold team to tour South Africa. Now that the headstrong senior players have retired or lost form, the selectors must include Phillip Hughes, Cameron White (No.6) and Doug Bollinger (the best bowler on display in Newcastle), with Tim Payne on standby as reserve glove man, says Roebuck.
Katich, he says ought to be in the ODI side. He is also a fine captain. (ANI)

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