I recently located a piece (maybe it’s a rant) I’d written in the wake of Australia’s humiliating 3-1 defeat to England in the home Ashes Series of 2010-11. It’s interesting to see how little Cricket Australia has done between then, and now (the selection panel and coach have changed). People are writing similar things two and half years later. How can Sutherland keep his job?
13 January 2011
James Sutherland, Tim Nielsen and Andrew Hilditch have avoided taking any responsibility for what is happening in Australian cricket. We’ve just been absolutely hammered by our bitter rivals on home soil and their reaction is not in perspective. Sutherland is more interested in appeasing sponsors with flash in the pan 2020 matches than promoting the specific interests of Shield and Test cricket. Hilditch is only interested in his interpretation and personal standing. Nielsen is not a leader of men in the same mould as Andy Flower or Bob Simpson and subsequently cannot establish a tough winning culture. Our team were absolutely rattled against England, psychologically battered.
The current misguided PR and PC driven culture of Cricket Australia is reflected in the dressing room and it is taking an enormous toll. The focus is all wrong and it stems from these administrators. Test Match cricket is a technical game, but it also requires strength of character, because it is often a game of tactical and psychological warfare.
England utterly dominated the technical and psychological aspects. Did the administration give our players the best opportunity to prepare and execute these skills? I think not. Some might say these observations are knee-jerk, but there are many of us who have been highlighting problems with systems, structures and cultures in our game since 2007 and earlier. These “leaders” have not taken any responsibility, they do not listen and their reaction to this loss solidifies the fact they are not up to the massive task of restoring Australian cricket back at the top. While I’m at it, Australian fans need a serve too.
We have been butchered by a travelling army of English fans and they have utterly embarrassed this nation by turning each and every Australian ground into a manifestation of England. Their support was first class, Australia’s barely existed – and at a time when the team needed it most. Anyone who doubts the compelling impact of this support, well, go and ask the players of both teams. Australian cricket requires change and improvement on and off the field, and on both sides of the boundary fence.