Australian coach urges cricketers to focus on game

February 19th, 2008 - 1:52 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Feb 19 (IANS) Australian coach Tim Nielsen feels that Wednesday’s auction for the billion-dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) will occupy the minds of his players, but he urged his boys to worry about watching the ball and hitting it, the media reported here Tuesday. “There is no doubt those things going on have an impact on players. There are things going on in everybody’s life every day of the week that are not related to cricket that we have got to deal with.

“This is one that is public. It’s not having an impact we should be concerned about. We need to worry about watching the ball and hitting it, hopefully where there’s no fieldsman,” Nielsen was quoted as saying by The Age.

Up to 16 Australian players will go under the hammer, in the IPL auction to be held in Mumbai Wednesday. Following Sunday’s victory over India, the Australians have been given three days in their home cities to freshen up for Friday’s one-day game against Sri Lanka in Melbourne, by which time many of them will have been sold to cashed-up Indian franchises.

“It will be nice to have some certainty, a bit the same with the Pakistan tour. But until the decision-makers get all the information they can, we have just got to live with what is going on and make sure we perform.

“It has been a long summer. There have been some issues outside just batting and bowling that have made it more difficult, but not for one second are we using that as an excuse inside the change rooms or out here. It’s something we have to cope with,” he added.

Nielsen has faith in the ability of his players, including out-of-sorts batsmen Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds, to shut out the distractions of this long and controversial summer but he will encourage a back-to-basics approach in an effort to snap the form slump that has produced below-par batting performances in the past three games.

The coach is not kidding himself that the auction will bring an end to the stream of questions thrown up by the IPL, which has the potential to re-shape the international cricket calendar.

But he is adamant that the new Twenty20 tournament, uncertainty about next month’s tour to Pakistan and the accumulated fallout from the Sydney Test are not excuses for lacklustre batting, which has not stopped Australia winning its most recent matches against Sri Lanka and India.

“Once they have the draw, then players will know where they will be playing, but then they will be thinking about how they are going to play for that team, what they’re going to do, when does it impact on them, will we go to Pakistan, will they be able to play in the IPL, how does it work over the next couple of years, will they change the schedule, if they don’t change the schedule what are we going to do, how does it impact the Ashes series, what happens in 2010? It’s not quite as simple as just Wednesday and a draw for the players,” Nielsen said.

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