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Lou

But they don't need to watch the other teams. It's all about focusing on their own games, the rest will take care of itself. Nielsen doesn't even watch his own team playing, his head is buried in his laptop.

Playing minesweeper or possibly even online poker.

Tony

My bet's online poker. Against Warnie.

Hangover Black

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sport/andrew-hilditch-forced-out-in-ca-restructure/story-e6frg7mf-1226118242633

No tears here.

Surprised that Nielsen's role has been "expanded and refined".

This is interesting though : "Nielsen - who is serving a three-year contract - has been given the chance to reapply for the new job."

Maybe the Ashes debacle was the trigger CA needed to sort the joint out.

Good to see that the report was acted on immediately, and they didn't hang around waiting for the current tour to end.

Good stuff.

Russ

It took 20 pages, but the Argus does lay a few punches:

-------
The evidence from the Ashes and other recent series is that our basic cricket skills are lacking in key areas, in particular:
* For batting
— Batting for long periods
— Batting against the moving ball
— Our approach to playing spin
— General batting technique in some instances
* For bowling
— Building pressure
— Bowling to an agreed plan
— Spin bowling and captaincy of spin bowling
— Swing bowling, including generating reverse swing
* For fielding
— Overall fielding, especially catching
— General athleticism
— This has extra significance as in the panel‟s view fielding standards reflect the attitude and professionalism of the team
* For our overall approach:
— Building batting and bowling partnerships
— General game sense/match awareness and cricket expertise, including the ability to problem-solve during the course of a match

----
Pretty damning (though nothing new to AGB).

Russ

Would also love to know where this came from

The Captain should also actively seek and use the counsel of his Vice-Captain, which is an important role and should be more clearly defined

Poor Pup, did Ricky ignore you?

Russ

Hooray for mathematics failure:

Each State Association should target producing Australian players at least in proportion to their State population
Russ

This will improve the standard of Shield competition:

For example, the panel has no objection to PONI being taken out of Shield matches to play Australia A: this will test the depth of the Shield
Tony

As it happened:

Victims of our own success. #Argus-eyed

Stakeholders Sutherland is on the case! #argusreview

The head of the National Selection Panel Group does not have a title. Apparently. #argusreview

Clark: Respect my priori-tye! #ArgusReview

#ArgusReview Jack Clark is a pisshead. Spanky Roebuck said so: bit.ly/of6nsG

Hilditch, Chappell & Nielsen have been Schwabbed. #ArgusReview

Does this mean we are still "smoothly transitioning" from one dynasty to the next? #ArgusReview

“We don’t want quick fixes." I do. There is barely a quick in the country without a back injury. #ArgusReview

@idlesummers Performance based pay will mean the bowlers are reduced to eating gruel. #ArgusReview

The #ArgusReview was not as thorough as I had hoped: "Mr Clarke stressed the Review was not about looking for scapegoats."

Just eavesdropping on Adelaide and I just heard Hilditch call Don #ArgusReview a "merchant banker".

"The structure of the National Selection Panel is sub-optimal." #ArgusReview

Hangover Black

This section (from 2.2.4 Align our incentive systems) is also interesting in how it relates to the AFL Players Association wage claims. Interesting to see if Demetriou uses this argument when next the AFL Commission and Players Association cross swords.

„X Moving away from a fixed share of revenue going into the PPP if required, although to be clear the panel does not wish to deny players appropriate reward for excellence
¡X Instead, a range should be adopted based on the level of performance and benchmarked appropriately to other sports
These principles are standard in the corporate world and should be applied to Australian Cricket at the earliest opportunity.

Russ

Some extended thoughts on the restructure...

We now have 6 people involved in selection and team performances: the Gen. Man of Team Performance, the Chairman of Selectors, the Coach, the two independent selectors, and the Captain. If things go wrong, who is taking the blame? The GMTP is clearly where the buck is supposed to stop, but is he actually going to axe captain/coach/selectors if things go wrong? Is he supposed to lord it like a Director of Football (a hopeless idea that doesn't work), or remain silent and take the blame for incompetents below him?

How can the coach/captain formulate strategy when three selectors are potentially working against them? And if they devolve into opposing groups, each blaming the other, then what?

They should have followed the football route and appointed a coach/manager as GMTP, whose job it is to appoint an assistant coach, specialist coaches, selectors at state level (who communicate with players there), and captain. He can then chair selection meetings between himself or 20 people, who cares? It is his show and his head.

This proposed devolution of responsibility sounds confused in the reading, let alone the working.

Tony

The devolution of responsibility is Christine Nixon-esque. Those in the "hot" seats can look forward to a lot of nights out dining.

Tony

Not that Dickless Tracy invented devolution of responsibility. That's a management trope that has been flourishing wildly over the last 25+ years. Everyone should be involved in the management of an enterprise.

m0nty

Two can play that game, TT.

Ding dong, the 'ditch is dead! (well, sacked at least.) #argusreview

Stakeholders Sutherland says Australian cricket needs a performance culture. First act to perform is for you to stand down sir. #argusreview

Who is that bearded clown with the bow tie next to the #argusreview panel? Is that a PR wonk? Get him out of there!

Hilditch being "not available for the role" is the new "sacked in disgrace". Good one, Stakeholders Sutherland you pollywaffle. #argusreview

I think it's about time we played Ellyse Perry in the men's team, with a view to becoming captain. You know it makes sense. #ArgusReview

Hilditch going into law again... he'll choose the wrong arguments. "How does your client plead on the count of murder?" "Mabo." #argusreview


Tony

Half way through and it is amazing - and not a little flattering - how much is contained within those 21 pages that we have all been smashing on about here.

I have absolutely no doubt concluding that AB, Tubbs, Tugga, Speedy & Args have been assiduously mining the AGB to plot the way forward for Australian cricket.

WE have saved Aussie cricket. Take a bow, us.

Tony

I also have no doubt that Monty & Russ are experts in matrix management structures facilitating open collaborative discussion to achieve the desired outcomes.

Tony

Well, HELLO THERE!

An agreed approach to injury management, especially for fast bowlers.
Tony

To this:

Pitches

There was a significant amount of unfavourable commentary in our interviews about the pitches at Shield level in 2010-11. This may be a one-off issue.

There is merit, however, in reviewing our first-class pitch strategy on a national basis. Key principles should include:

 Each pitch should offer a good balance between bat and ball. The toss should not be decisive

 Each pitch/State should be unique, depending on local soil, history and climatic conditions. For example the WACA should be bouncy, the Gabba assist fast bowlers early on etc. This allows Shield players to develop their skills in different conditions

 Each pitch should offer conditions similar to conditions found at Test level in Australia or elsewhere in the world

I would add: Give us the odd minefield.

Tony

Gotta say I'm pretty impressed with Args' review, despite the business speak. No punches pulled, plenty of gripes addressed. The main thing I reckon needs expansion is talent identification. Perhaps CA can have basketball killed off so that cricket can pinch BB's tall players.

Lou

I like the slamming of the actual playing standards in 1.4 as it is fecking hilarious and anyone on any of the bogstandard cricket forums could have written it but with added emoticons and language censorship. Sounds like not a one of them deserves a million dollar contract, let alone Smiffy.

Five selectors is a worry, I'm hoping the Gen. Man of Team Performance OVERLORD - who the hell is going to get that job - keeps out of the actual team selection even if he sticks his overtitled butt into the general squad matters.

Russ

This may be a one-off issue because noone in Australia can play a moving ball.

Tony, I think the selection committee is a disaster waiting to happen; they can't even explain the structure coherently. I am also disappointed they neither:
a) identified how many players, particularly bowlers are getting into the test side with rock all f/c experience and what to do about it, nor
b) identified any workable solutions for managing spinners or over-worked quicks.

(I genuinely think they should look at allowing 2-3 substitutes from 2nd to 3rd innings; ease the workload, lets spinners play on turning decks, makes batsmen play spinners on turning decks).

Lou

Here, as the Gen. Man of Team Performance is bound to be someone 80% of AGB posters hate, shall we just refer to him as Overtitled Butt?

Agree with Russ. Five selectors is too many, cooks and broth and all that. Two maximum I reckon.

And maybe let T20 be a completely separate matter selected by the vote of the Common People.

m0nty

The GM of TP is the one who keeps the sheds stocked with TP.

m0nty

In fact, we have needed a GM of TP because we have been sorely lacking in TP to wipe up all the shyte our lads have produced. Hopefully the GM of TP can ensure a smooth flow and a perfect flush, as Gentleman Jim Daniels would say.

Lou

What happens if Overtitled Butt produces more shyte than can be cleaned up no matter how many restocks of TP there are?

It's nice that all of this has happened but writing it all down on paper won't make the younger (and at important times, the elder) players suddenly able to play swing, spin... and it won't make Johnson bowl PROPERLY, you know, like an international class bowler most of the time.

Pig's ear, silk purse...

Carrot

I've been a dyed-in-the-wool cricket fan from childhood, but I really can't be bothered reading all of that; I'd much rather get a feel from it from what's discussed here, particularly if from what Tone says it paraphrases what we've been saying for years anyway.

I do have one question though - is there anything in there about the batting of the tail? I have always thought that a tail that bats well is a sign of a healthy side with a healthy culture around it. For all the millions of runs our top order got in our hey-day from 1995-2007(ish), there were many instances where the likes of Warne, Gillespie, Kasprowicz and sometimes even McGrath did their bit to get us out of trouble when the chips were down. Lately we've been rubbish in that department, and I don't think it's a co-incidence. It's one of the things that seems to be going well for the West Indies at the moment, and is giving me hope that they might finally get themselves together. It's also a strength in the current English team.

Tony

Russ, my "pretty impressed with Args' review" was in respect to its potting just about everything and/or one who needed potting. It managed to mention "Players must earn their positions in the time-honoured way of making runs, taking wickets and showing that they are ready to play at the next level" which is a start. And the spin bowling woes (both with the ball and against the ball) were tabled.

I'm prepared to give the new NSP Group a go even though I don't really know if it will work. Someone somewhere (I can't find it; was it here?) mentioned Steve Waugh's removal from the selection panel back in the early Noughties. Since they stopped that then, they obviously thought it was a mistake. What has changed to make them think it is now a good idea?

Tony

Carrot, I reckon the tail batting well follows when the side bats and bowls well. It's a confidence-borne-out-of-superiority thing. They bat with confidence because they one) already have enough runs; or two) they know they can bowl a side out cheaply. The Windies did it, we did it, now England do it. In England's case, their tail actually does have good batsmen - Broad, Swann & Bresnan can all bat. Not that the recent England tail has had a lot to fear from its opposition bowlers.

Has Bobby Simpson's order to Merv Hughes - "get in the nets and bat" - ushered in an era of prosperity for tails worldwide? It would be interesting to see the stats on whether tailenders today bat better than their predecessors. It certainly appears they do. It certainly feels they do, given the number of times I have fumed at the TV, gorge rising, as Ponting drops the field back and we start sending down an aggravating array filth.

The pitches are better, too, which enables your common & garden tailender to hang around and/or swing through the line for nasty runs.

Tony

G-Man: Master of Team Performance.

Tony

Are there plans afoot for the CA board to be Argussed?

Tony
CAUSES OF OUR PERFORMANCE DECLINE

The major issues with the team have been:

4. Inadequate succession planning

Would it be rude of me to ask just what the hell CA has been talking about, for at least the last 6 years, with its blather about transitioning from one dynasty to the next? I mean, pretty much every series in that time we have been reminded Australia's primary goal is to remain A-No.1, top o' the wazza.

Inadequate succession planning?!? Get fvcked.

David Barry

Overall tail-end batting averages have been pretty flat since about 1890. (That's not a typo - from 1890 to World War I, the overall average at positions 8-11 was 15; it was 14.3 in the 1990's and 15.5 in the 2000's. The pre-WWI average might be inflated by the occasional reversal of the batting order on sticky wickets, but I don't think we're in some golden era of tail-end batting.)

Australia's tail has improved by about 3 runs per wicket since McGrath retired. I'd guess that's mostly down to McGrath being swapped for Mitchell Johnson.

Statsguru, and again.

m0nty

There is a separate report into the hierarchy to follow, what Baum called the "Carter/Crawford review of governance".

m0nty

Common sense left the panel on the day Merv Hughes was ousted.

Russ

Changing tack a little. I genuinely think the selectors got (and continue to get) a bum rap. Sure, some of their selections were different to what I'd have made, and some were downright odd, but ultimately, it is the players out on the field, the coach doing the training. Bradman makes a point in Art of Cricket that as much as people dislike selections, you always have to consider whether the players are in fact the best we have, and they just aren't good enough. Given England's annihilation of India that may still be true - it isn't as if the players they brought in did particularly well.

There is a lot of commentary on communication in the Argus review, some of it makes the players look pretty pathetic - the repeated need for "adult conversations". Some just plain selfish - the concern over selectors making things clear. Things have always been pretty clear at AGB: the selectors are arch-conservatives who won't make changes unless they absolutely have to. The bulk of the test side might be lucky to have their place, but their aren't too many, if any, players who can be aggrieved at missing out. I find it hard to believe a player couldn't contact a selector to discuss things, particularly when they some were coaching at state level. As for Chappell; he's a pretty straight talker, by most accounts, if he was "caustic" in the dressing room, it sounds like he told them some home truths. Too little, too late.

Any structure is only as good as the people in it. Who knows how this one will turn out, but the new selection policy looks a bit like shuffling deck chairs to me. But we don't play England for two years, so we won't notice it's failings until we are played off the park again. There is no reason why Australia, even the disfunctional team of last season won't compete with the rest.

Tony

I've always maintained that the selectors would have given potential Test players a solid run in the Aussie team if they thought the person could do the job. To that end they have been thwarted by the Shield batsmen, who have failed to knock the door down and/or actually looked Test-capable and by the bowlers, who keep getting injured. Are there any players who would really, truly and hand-on-heartedly feel dudded? Klinger for one, but his technique has always been called into question. Bailey is another with talent, but as soon as his name was brandished he stopped scoring big runs. Fast Eddie Cowan is similar to Bailey. Cosgrove looks like he might be capable of handling Test bowlers, but doesn't fit the mold; in fact, no mold is big enough. Mitch Marsh could be good in time. Our Phil has holes in his technique you could drive a tram through. Khawaja looks tidy, but needs time. There is no longer the Law, Love, Siddons, Lehmann next level to bolster the Test ranks.

Also, I agree with Jack Clark's we are "victims of our own success." For around ten years we buckled our swashes as we attacked the bowling, but in all candour, Test bowling from the mid 90s to the mid 00s was pretty dire. The pitches were good, too, which meant we could attack with near impunity. And - seriously - the drought meant roads and swing-free atmosphere. Now that we have lost of our buccaneers at the same time conditions have advantaged swing-laden attacks in moist conditions, our less-than-great line-up has been exposed. Shit! Hayden, Gnome, Pointing, Martyn, etc would have been exposed by the Poms last summer. Now it's time to get back to basics.

Tony

Jesus! Since when was Merv the voice of common sense? Not saying he is not, but he never struck me as the NSP's rudder.

Tony

Interesting that Spanky describes "the appointment of Craig McDermott as bowling coach" as an "abysmal" decision.

Tony

Love this:

At least Matthew Hayden has been replaced on the board by Michael Kasprowicz. Whereas the former opener talks gibberish (which did not stop Queensland nominating him), the speedster is eminently sensible.
The Don has risen

You do not need a report to understand the decline in Australian cricket.

The class is missing. As India has found out the Poms have a very good team at present.
sport goes in cycles. Cricket is now in decline. Administration can exacerbate or limit the decline but we will still have a decline.

what bet there are less numbers watching this season despite whatever inanities Channel 9 put up

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