Australia needs to ring in changes

Last Updated: Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 22:10

Former Australian cricketer Dean Jones just can’t believe it is taking almost half-a-year for Cricket Australia and the Don Argus-led committee to determine what is responsible for Australia’s drop in rankings from number one to number five.

``This could have been done by now. Why are we waiting?`` asks Jones.

``Everybody knows now what`s going on. It`s ridiculous. I just can`t work out why it`s taken four months to work out where we need to go as a team and a unit,`` a daily quotes Jones, as saying further.

According to Jones, the coaching set-up, led by head coach Tim Nielsen, has been a major issue.

Nielsen, who did not play at an international level, is contracted until after the 2013 Ashes campaign, and Jones and others of his ilk feel that improvements will need to be made if he is to last the Australian summer, and that doesn`t necessarily mean winning, but rather the manner of individual and team improvement.

``Is he a coach or is he a manager?`` Jones asks.

``It`s his last roll of the dice. If he doesn`t do any good by Christmas or after India, they might sack him earlier anyway,`` he feels.

There remains debate as to who was to blame for left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson`s Ashes nightmare - the coach or a player not always willing to take advice.

The hiring of former spearhead Craig McDermott, with 291 wickets in 71 Tests, as the new bowling coach, is being thought of as a step in the right direction.

Youngsters at the Centre of Excellence already speak highly of him. Uncapped predecessor Troy Cooley, who had occupied the role, was not as successful with the Australian bowlers as he was in England.

Johnson last week said McDermott had already shown him how to better grip the ball, hopefully improving his control and accuracy.

Captains have traditionally run the Australian side - except when a young team needs help.

According to Jones and others, this balance of power is likely to be split more evenly as new captain Michael Clarke finds his way.

Clarke had made it known for two months he wanted former Test gloveman Steve Rixon, his first coach at NSW, to replace Mike Young and take charge of fielding in the Australian side.

Standards have fallen in recent seasons. Clarke wanted a hard nut to run these sessions in the mould of a Bob Simpson. Rixon`s history with the Blues, in New Zealand and with Indian Premier League champions Chennai Super Kings is impeccable.

Justin Langer remains the batting coach, although questions have been raised about his value to the team. It has been said Langer needs to become more technically oriented as opposed to ``being a mate``.

He must also improve the team`s running between the wickets.

Other issues include cutting the number of people allowed in the dressing room. It`s been said the players haven`t been allowed to adequately prepare and focus because of all the support staff and outsiders crowding their space.

One suggestion has been to allow former Test players to briefly work with the squad and ``talk cricket``, particularly on overseas tours.

Then there`s the issue of the selection panel, criticised, perhaps harshly, for axing Simon Katich. As Jones says, it`s time for answers.

ANI



First Published: Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 00:00

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