Former Aussie Test captain Ricky Ponting has voiced a scathing assessment on the state of Australia’s domestic cricket competition.
Ponting grew into one of Australia’s best Test batsmen during his career, and has added to the growing concern over the Sheffield Shield – particularly its ability to churn out Test-level batsmen.
“You have to question whether the grassroots system is actually working in Australia or not,” Ponting told SEN.
“I’m not sure Shield matches are doing that well to be honest.
“We don’t seem to be producing the level of players that we produced for the past 30-40 years.
“You look at some of the stats of what our Shield players are doing and it’s probably nowhere near where they need to be to have success at Test level.”
However there was a glimmer of hope recently as young guns Jack Edwards and Jason Sangha produced twin tons for NSW, with the latter earning himself comparisons to Ponting himself. (https://au.sports.yahoo.com/future-bright-nsw-young-guns-score-incredible-tons-024351842.html)
But Ponting thinks there is still a way to go as cricket in Australia looks to recover from a dark period in the game:
“I think a board and strong leadership around all of Australian cricket needs to address these issues and then hopefully things start to turn around.”
Sangha’s historic knock was lauded by cricket legend Kerry O’Keefe, saying he had the best technique since Ponting.
“(The problem is) the batting and the technique. But there is a saviour, there was one at the SCG today,” O’Keefe said.
“Jason Sangha. If he was a thoroughbred, his breeding would be Joe Root out of Virat Kohli.
“He is 19 years of age, he got a 100 today, admittedly against that attack that included Matthew Wade. I don’t know about that one.
“But this is the guy who can save the Centre of Excellence, who can save the development programs. This is a player of the ages. He is the best, technically, we’ve had since (Ricky) Ponting.”
‘Stealing an income’: MacGill’s scathing farewell to Pat Howard
Former Australian Test spinner Stuart MacGill has said good riddance to high-performance manager Pat Howard, whose imminent departure from Cricket Australia has been met with a scathing farewell message.
The bloodletting has continued at CA with Howard and media executive Ben Amarfio given their marching orders.
Howard, who was in charge of CA’s high-performance unit and intended to depart when his contract expired after the 2019 Ashes, will leave next week.
Former Australia captain Belinda Clark, another member of CA’s executive, will perform Howard’s job on an interim basis until the governing body settles on a permanent replacement.
Amarfio, CA’s general manager of broadcasting, digital media and commercial, is already out the door.
New chief executive Kevin Roberts was under pressure to enact cultural change after The Ethics Centre’s scathing assessment of CA’s corporate culture.
“It is clear that we need to deepen our relationships with fans, players and the broader cricket community,” Roberts said in a statement.
“Everyone at CA is focused on rebuilding and moving forward after what has been a turbulent year.”
Howard was appointed manager of team performance in 2011. He was one of the governing body’s most polarising and powerful figures.
The creation of Howard’s senior role, which involved responsibilities including the hiring and firing of senior coaches plus helping conduct a formal investigation of the ball-tampering saga, was one of the key recommendations of the Argus review.
MacGill, who played his last Test in 2008 and finished up as a Big Bash player in 2012, wasted no time showing Howard the door.
“I just wish we’d had it a few years ago because Pat Howard’s been stealing an income from Cricket Australia, from cricket, for a long, long time as far as I’m concerned,” he told Macquarie radio on Wednesday.
“It was always a joke to me and to a lot of my mates that he was high-performance manager when his performance over pretty much his entire career with Cricket Australia has been anything but.”
MacGill was particularly scathing of Howard’s influence on the selection of Australia’s cricket team.
Among changes to the pathways system, including a greater emphasis on the age-based Futures League that replaced second XI cricket, Howard implemented apps to track players’ physical and mental health.
While agreeing that such steps off the field are beneficial, MacGill felt the high-performance boss made too much of his powers.