Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Australian batting is on the decline, says Ian Chappell

The former Australia skipper Ian Chappell has said in an interview to ESPNcricinfo that there won't be another Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke if numerous gaping "holes in the production line" are not addressed by Cricket Australia (CA) soon. Chappell pointed out how the Australian batting was exposed in the recently concluded Indian tour and the reason for the debacle is the commercial evolution of the game.

The Aussie legend argued his point by saying that change of coaching staff and shuffling of players won't help as CA needs to look how the batsmen are developing at the junior level, the amount of shorter format they are playing and the pitches that are on offer in the Sheffield Shield.

"We are not addressing the fact that there are holes in the production line," Chappell said. "For instance, I have seen the next lot of batsmen at the Under-19 level World Cup and I have not seen any change in what's happening. So I've got to ask the question, if our methods of producing batsmen don't seem to be working, and in my opinion they are not, why aren't we trying to do some other things?

"I don't hear these things being talked about and it's just a matter of will we change the coach, will we bring in a new high-performance [manager], those things are not going to make one bit of a difference. Fix up the core problem and then we might start to get somewhere. The problem with that being, if we fix up the core problem tomorrow, you are talking about another generation before you really start to reap the benefits. So there are some major problems that I see in Australian cricket and I don't think they are being addressed."

He was disappointed at the level of batting demonstrated by the youngsters in India and Chappell said Australia are not going to see the likes of Ponting, Hussey and Clarke again. "If you think about it, Ponting, Hussey and Clarke, you would have to say are the last of that sort of generation who learnt how to survive those tough periods," he said. "You know as a batsman when at times you have to get through half an hour, or it might be an hour, against a really good attack.

"The classic examples are - Clarke at Lord's in 2009. It was a magnificent innings against brilliant bowling from Jimmy Anderson and Andrew Flintoff. In my opinion, that's the best innings I have ever seen from Clarke. And Ponting's innings at Old Trafford in 2005 to save the Test match - 156 I think he got. Magnificent innings, back to the wall save the Test match type innings. That should be standard fare for other Australian Test batsmen. But at the moment you would say, when Michael Clarke retires, that may be the end of that style of batsman."

Moreover, Chappell was critical of the home-work fiasco on the tour and also how the batsmen and management lacked the attitude to adapt to different conditions. He said, the batsmen didn't try to evolve their techniques and prompted panic when the conditions didn't suit their playing style.

"It's easy to be patient when you know that you've got the technique and the wherewithal to cope with spin bowling under those conditions," Chappell said. "Because you know that eventually you can hang around long enough to start to pick up the runs and get things going and then the boundaries come. Then you've got a chance of making a big score.

"But if you don't have faith in your technique and your ability to survive, that's when the panic sets in. So it's got nothing to do with being impatient, it's much more to do with your technique and your non-belief in that technique that brings on the panic."  (CricketNext)

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