Posts tagged ‘shane warne’

A National Headache

The international backlash to the Australian cricket team’s behaviour following their world cup victory has not been a surprise but has been embarrassing. Add to that Shane Warne’s attempted interviews post match and the tournament has ended on a very sour note for most Australian sports fans who applaud their cricketing feats but not their decorum.

This is sadly not the first time the Australian cricket team have behaved in a way that does not befit men who are representing the country. One Australian official in a diplomatic role told this writer that following a tour of India his staff spent a month going around the country mending bridges and apologising for the behaviour of the players.

What compounds the issue is at the celebration the next day in Federation Square,Melbourne the players publicly seemed to revel in the fact that they had been drinking all night. Captain Michael Clarke appeared on stage from the rooftop bar with the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy, and when asked to describe his overriding emotion answered saying, “A little hungover, I think I speak for everybody in that sense. I guarantee you the boys will continue to celebrate today. It’s the Australian way.”

Brad Haddin has since apologised for going on Triple M Breakfast radio in Sydney having been introduced by team mate Steve Smith as the most drunk of players. Haddin on website Cricket.com.au has said that he wished he hadn’t agreed to go on air. “We were celebrating a World Cup win and enjoying ourselves after a long tournament, in hindsight, we should have stayed off the radio. If I offended anyone, it was never my intention.”  The damage has been done as his comments have been spread across the world’s cricket media.

Comments about his team mates which went like this “I’ll paint a picture for you now. I’ve got a coach who’s spooning the World Cup who can’t speak,” Haddin said. “I’ve got James Faulkner who’s got his clothes off but don’t tell everyone. And I’ve got the Marsh boys, and you know I can’t even talk about the Marsh boys because you know what trouble they have. I’ve got Josh Hazlewood … he’s never been drunk in 30 years. It’s a problem. We just can’t get him drunk. He’s an absolute nightmare to drink with.” Totally irresponsible by a man who has been Vice Captain of the national team and therefore was tipped as a leader.

One has say that everyone expects a team to celebrate after winning a World title, as such titles do not come easily. However players must remember that they are held up – whether they like it or not – as ambassadors of this country a country where Cricket is the national sport a sport permuted to reflect gentlemanly behaviour and fair play; although Australia may well debate this quite vociferously. Representing your country, or club comes with responsibilities and sadly for a while now the Australian cricket team have failed to live up to those responsibilities off the field.

The question has to be asked what is CEO James Sutherland done to arrest this? Why have Cricket Australia been so quite in the past few days, while their reputation is being damaged around the globe, or as in India are they expecting others to clean up the mess. Cricket Australia should have had the players in a controlled environment post match and taken the mobile phones off the players while they were drinking, to protect both the players and the image of Cricket Australia.

Now they face a global backlash.  A strong leader would have fined those players such as Haddin, Clarke and others who wore their hangovers with pride and promoted them, they would have then given the money collected to Alcohol abuse related charities and made the players carry out some form of community service, to try and restore the damaged image.

The other thing that would be nice to see is a public apology to the nation by the team. They made many proud with their victory but have embarrassed just as many post match.

All of these things are unlikely to happen, but one thing is for sure Cricket Australia need to take control and ensure that off field behaviour improves and that others do not have to go around cleaning up after these men behaving like teenage boys.

 

 

 

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April 2, 2015 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

Refusing to Step Out of the Limelight

What a shame that Australia’s triumph in the Cricket World Cup has been overshadowed by the performance of Shane Warne and his post match interviews, but honestly is it really a surprise to anyone.

As insightful as Shane Warne may be as a commentator when he actually focusses on the game he has struggled to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer a member of the Australian Cricket team. This has been evidenced in his continually throwing parties for the team and attending parties with them. There is nothing worse than a player who cannot accept that his time has come to an end and Warne appears to have struggled with that fact.

Channel Nine has to take some of the blame for the focus moving away from the team and onto one of their commentary team, as they should have briefed him to stick to talking about the game. It is all very well having ex players in the commentary box, but they must possess the skills to do the job. Many of the current ‘ex players club’ sadly do not. Most fans assume that the players will go and have a few drinks after the game, and therefore do not need an interviewer to ask such an obvious question, similarly we do not need to hear questions such as “you must be happy with the win?” Most want to be given an insight as to how the player felt during the game, how the game shifted, key points within the game that led to victory.

Back in February Geoff Lemon of the Guardian wrote a brilliant piece on the decline of Channel Nine’s cricket coverage entitled Just Not Cricket. This was written on the eve of the World Cup, but has been justified by the end result.

Either arrogance has seen Mr Lemon’s comments ignored, or quite simply those with contracts at Channel Nine at the present time could not give a damn what the viewer wants. Luckily there was excellent commentary on the radio, with Kevin Peterson being a revelation.

It comes down to be professionalism and sadly Shane Warne has shown a lack of that by being unable to distance himself from the team. His constantly referring to players by their nicknames is another example of his failure to move on. During the World Cup with an international audience, not just one in Australia many viewers would not have had a clue which player was being discussed when only a nickname was used.

It is a shame that such a solid performance by Australia to win their fifth World Cup has been overshadowed by a man desperate to stay in the limelight.

The Word Cup still in this writer’s opinion dragged on way too long. However the best teams ended up contesting the semi finals. The South Africans showed their class in terms of the way they handled the defeat and showed that there are still gentlemen who play cricket. New Zealand found the big occasion just too much but also played the tournament in a spirit that won them many friends. India’s defence of its title was valiant, but as was evident in many games struggled chasing a total, a total that was larger than it should have been due to their not having a truly world class bowler. Australia were almost Germanic in their consistency. There were signs that this team has a new breed of cricketers who are prepared to take responsibility when those around them fail, and that is ominous for other teams around the world, especially England and the upcoming Ashes series.

 

March 30, 2015 at 9:30 am 1 comment

No To Big Boy’s Toys. Is There Another Option?

” A big boy needs a big bat” says West Indies opener Chris Gayle in response to the International Cricket Council’s proposed crackdown on the size of bats ahead of the World Cup.

He has received strong support from former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, “I think that if players like Gayle and Warner are strong enough to lift a bat that heavy at that speed, then good for them, it makes the game a hell of a lot more exciting.” He is quoted as saying.

However not everyone agrees. After all the modern game of cricket, especially in Australia has become a game totally dominated by batsman as the wickets already give the bowlers little help. Many remember how tennis has changed dramatically and become all about power rather than finesse since wooden racquets became a thing of the past. Has the power really made Tennis a better game to watch?

Former Australian Test Captain Ian Chappell is one man who backs the ICC in this move. He has said that the increase in the thickness of the willow put the umpires and bowlers at risk of injuries. Not a reason many expected. Chappell however saved his main criticism of the ICC claiming that they had woken up too late and being behind on so many issues affecting the game, including the size of bats.

“At long last the ICC has decided there’s a problem with the bats. They are being hailed as too good and disturbing the balance between bat and ball. This combined with the fact that the ICC also recently decreed that shorter boundaries are contributing to the problem, is a classic case of being way behind the game.” He said.

One has to agree, and if the ICC does not soon start monitoring the state of the wickets prepared and ensuring that there is something in them for the bowlers we are likely to see the standard of bowling dip even further than it already has at international level in the past ten years. What incentive is there for a bowler to toil so hard when the odds are stacked so heavily against them.

Another change we have discussed on the show on many occasions is that the ICC should take away the restriction on the number of overs bowled. Batsmen do not have to retire at 50, so why should a bowler have to stop after 10 overs. People want to see a battle between bat and ball, and if a team has a bowler like Glenn McGrath who is hard to get away, or a Shane Warne pinning down one end why should they be prevented from using them? If the game is going to become more of an even contest then something has to start going in favour of the bowler.

As for the size of the bat, it has impacted the game. Has it had a positive impact? Some will say yes, as has been shown, but for everyone who says yes, there will be another who says no.

February 10, 2015 at 1:38 am Leave a comment

Forgive the Lack of Perspective

There are a group of cricket writers who turn on their team quicker than a Shane Warnie leggie out of the rough, and for a while it was baffling to understand why.

It was hard to fathom why these scribes find it incomprehensible that Australia could be outplayed or have a bad game and then it became crystal clear.

If one of these writers was 13 years old back in 1989 when Alan Border’s more aggressive approach won back the Ashes for the first time in 12 years, they would be 38 years old now. Even if they were ten years old they would be 35 years old so established at a media outlet. In the last 25 years of their life they would have enjoyed a truly Golden era of Australian cricket. Alan Border was the man who created what has become know as “the indomitable spirit of the Australian game.” A spirit that Mark Taylor was able to take control of and harness, Steve Waugh take to an even higher level of ruthlessness, while Ricky Ponting rode the wave of success created by those who went before him; he was undoubtedly the most challenged tactically as a captain.

If we look at the records of the Captains since Border stepped down in 1994 winning had become a habit for Australian cricket teams. Mark Taylor’s record was 50 Tests as Captain 26 wins, 13 losses and 11 draws, Steve Waugh’s was 57 Tests as Captain 41 wins 9 losses and 7 draws. Adam Gilchrist who took over the reins on six occasions steered the side to 4 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw. Finally Ricky Ponting was Captain in 77 tests he won 48 lost 16 and drew 13. So in 190 test matches these four gentlemen, won 119, lost 39 and drew 32. A remarkable achievement in 20 years.

If we include Border’s record after winning back the Ashes in ’89 (54tests, 25wins, 9 losses, 20draws) the figure changes to 244 Test matches played, 144 won, 48 lost and 52 drawn. That means Australia has lost only 19 per cent of its test matches played up until Michael Clarke took over as Captain. They had won and incredible 59 per cent.

If we look at the record in terms of series played since Border’s Ashes win (the one off test versus the World XI in 05/06 is included) Australia has played 74 Test match series, they have won 50 of those series, lost 17 and drawn seven.

So is it any wonder that the cricket writers in Australia are quick to pounce on those wearing the baggy green cap today? They have been spoiled by the success of the last 25 years and some would say have never been given a sense of perspective as have fans from other Test playing nations.

Heading into this series with Pakistan Michael Clarke’s record as Captain was Played 37 Tests won 19, Lost 11 and Drawn seven. In terms of series won or lost, he has won six, lost three and drawn 2. So he is travelling at close to the average of the previous 25 years with a 54% win ratio.

Yet despite wonderful displays from a number of Pakistani players, none more so than Younis Khan, who notched his third successive century against the Australians. David Warner was hailed – and quite rightly so – when he achieved the same feat so why is Younis’s feat not met with the same enthusiasm? After all Warner was only the seventh Australian to achieve the feat, Adam Gilchrist the most recent in 2005 and Sir Don Bradman the next most recent in 1948.

Younis’s achievement saw him join a unique group of former Pakistani Test greats such as Zaheer Abbas, Mudassar Nazar and Mohammed Yousuf; batsmen to hit three 100s in consecutive Test innings. To put this achievement in context it has been 90 years since a batsman made three consecutive Test hundreds against Australia. Herbert Sutcliffe was the last to have done this, during the Ashes series of 1924-25.

Younis Khan also became the 15th Pakistani to reach 1000 plus international runs against Australia in Test cricket.He has now gone ahead of Sir Garry Sobers with 27 Test centuries and is level with Michael Clarke, Graeme Smith and Allan Border on the same number.

So this is no ordinary player. Yet rather than acknowledge the achievement of a special player, these writers who are not used too seeing Australia outplayed turn on the captain and his charges. Which seems more than a little unfair.

Yet when you look at the era in which they have grown up watching cricket, it becomes a little more understandable. Hopefully time will enable them to have a more balanced perspective.

October 31, 2014 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

One Last Hurrah?

Sunil Gavaskar did it, so why shouldn’t Shane Wrane and Sachin Tendulkar?

We are talking about coming out of retirement to play in a match to celebrate the bicentenary of the MCC. In 1987 Gavaskar who had retired played in the Bicentenary Test at Lords and scored a century for the Rest of The World side.

Tendulkar will captain the MCC team despite retiring from international cricket last year. Old rival Shane Warne will captain the Rest of the World side in this one day game on July 5th. Also expected to play for the Rest of the World is retired South African Captain Shaun Pollock and for the MCC Rahul Dravid.

Both Warne and Tendulkar are Honarary Members of the MCC, and are likely to be star attractions.

Some are questioning why the MCC has had to turn to the retired stars to attract attention to this match, does this not reflect that those currently playing at the top of World Cricket lack the personality and pulling power of the Warne Tendulkar Pollock and Dravids of this world? If that is so how long can the game continue to call back yesterday’s heroes?

Hopefully the MCC may well use this game as an opportunity to showcase up-and-coming talent which may go on and become the next generation of cricketing hero. It will be interesting to see the final team line-ups.

February 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

Flower’s Understanding A Shining Light

Andy Flower faced the press today and discussed the fact that England batsman Jonathan Trott had already flown home from the Ashes Tour and showed great leadership.

Trott has left the Ashes tour of Australia because of a long-standing stress-related condition.He scored just 19 runs – his test average is 46 – in two innings during England’s first Test defeat and was visibly uncomfortable against the bowling of Mitchell Johnson.

“He needs time away from this environment and time with his family.” Flower said. He was not surprisingly asked whether David Warner’s ill advised comments had been the cause for Trott to make this decision. Warner had described as Trott as “poor and weak” a comment that stunned many as it is rare for a fellow professional to publicly diss another.

“I would also say players commenting to fellow professionals in the media is disrespectful and I think on this occasion he [Warner] has got that horribly wrong.” Flower said “I think we set different standards and one of the reasons we don’t like commenting on opposition players is because we don’t know what’s going on in the dressing room, we don’t know what’s going on in their private lives.”

Trott would not be the first England cricketer to suffer such an illness while on tour. Former Captain Andrew Flintoff recently hosted a television program that dealt with sports stars suffering depression and stress, something that he admitted to as well as his friend and team mate Steve Harmison, and boxer Ricky Hatton. Marcus Trescothick courageously wrote about it in his autobiography, and how at times he simply did not want to go on playing.

This is nothing new, there were players in the 80’s who struggled with being away from their families for three months, there are also members of the media following cricket tours who have fallen prey to this in-discriminatory illness.

What has been good to see is the reaction of many cricket fans who have not taken a cheap shot and the support coming from former players such as Dean Jones and Shane Warne. Andrew Flintoff makes a valid point in his tweet, “Over the hardest hurdle in his recovery by facing it head on, which is something we are not all able to do.”

Sports stars may have the glamour and the money but they are all human and they make sacrifices which many of us will never understand. At the end of the day it is only a game, and with cricket having  a higher level of suicide amongst ex players than the national average in every test playing nation, we should take notice of players suffering in this way and all wish them a speedy recovery, while at the same time respecting their privacy.

 

November 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm 2 comments

Ponting’s Past to be Forgotten by Nine

So former Australian Test Cricket Captain Ricky Ponting has announced that he would like a career in the media now that he has hung up his pads, and no doubt Channel Nine will jump at the chance of having him as part of their commentary team, if you can honestly call it that. This season the Nine line up has really emphasised that it is an old boys club and the lack of insight given by the so called experts as they banter between themselves as if they were mates sitting on a sofa at home has been embarrassing. For so long Nine has been the home of cricket, for many years it was the pace-setter so to see it fall so far as it has this season is regrettable.

However we digress, Ponting wishes to join his ex-teammates, which is probably no major surprise, it is a far easier gig than coaching. Ponting has had a habit of getting what he wants, let us not forget that he was the first player in Sheffield Cricket to be allowed to play for a state that he did not live in, Cricket Australia relaxing that rule to allow him to live in Sydney yet play for Tasmania. However back to his new career, like England football captain Alan Shearer maybe he should have thought about this during his career. Ponting like Shearer was far from media friendly during his career or his time as captain, yet now he like Shearer wants to join their throng. In England there was a great deal of annoyance that Shearer despite his at times truculent demeanour was rewarded with a role at SkySports. No doubt there will be some in the Media in Australia who wonder what Ponting has done to deserve such an opportunity, apart from captaining his country. Should a players co-operation with the media be taken into account before they are given such a role?  Should they learn a little more about what it is like to be on the other side of the fence?

The problem with employing many ex-players is that few will be prepared to ask their ex team mates the hard questions, or be critical when criticism is required, which in turn lowers the level of the viewer experience for those watching on television.

It was also interesting to hear Shane Warne last week state that he was still keen to make a come-back to the Australian Test team, as he had something to offer the younger spin bowlers, if that is the case why not take up a role as a coach? One has to wonder if these ex players are too used to getting what they want to realise that  like others there is a pathway that many have spent years working on before you get to the top in these new fields. 

 

December 17, 2012 at 7:58 am Leave a comment

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