Sydney: The game of cricket, it seems, is crossing national colours and boundaries, at least as far as Australia is concerned.
According to cricket commentator and columnist Peter Roebuck, while Australia`s selectors are being criticized for choosing 45 players in two years on the one hand, some from different national backgrounds, on the other hand, they are trying to bring in specialized and fresh talent, at least to meet the demands of Twenty20 cricket.
He says that T20 selections have distorted figures. Injuries have also played a part in this development.
He says that those who have been suggesting that Tasmania be given to the Kiwis need to think again. Tasmania is rapidly becoming a cricketing stronghold.
David Boon made the breakthrough, Ricky Ponting proved that a lad from Launceston could captain his country, and now Tim Paine, Luke Butterworth, Xavier Doherty and Ben Hilfenhaus are proving their worth.
And the imports have been well chosen. Mark Cosgrove, Ed Cowan and Jason Krejza are ambitious cricketers, not fading players. And winning sides get attention.
Much of the credit goes to George Bailey and his coach. Anyone remember the coach`s name? It`s Tim Coyle. His modesty is becoming.
Captains run cricket teams. In that regard, the states are in good hands. George Bailey does a fine job in Tasmania, and Cameron White is highly regarded in Victoria. Marcus North and Simon Katich command respect despite long absences.
Several county and former international players are also taking part in Australia`s cricket transformation, Ponting says.
Jason Gillespie and Allan Donald are coaching provincial teams, and the red carpet was put out for New Zealand`s A team.
Cricket Australia deserves praise for its work in the region. Recently, the top cricketers from Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Japan attended a camp run at the high-performance centre in Brisbane.
The game is growing in these places, and it`s avoiding the expatriate trap.
He concludes by saying that governance is the game`s most important issue. With proper leadership, scandals will be few and far between, and the game of cricket needs men of high calibre and integrity.