Collo’s Rant

CA have it all wrong

The announced Australian squad for the upcoming Indian tour plagues of inconsistency and irrational thinking.

The squad reinforces the fact that consistent run making at state level will no longer be the determining factor for international selection. To the detriment of Australia’s short and long term future, Cricket Australia are rewarding “potential” at the expense of proven performance.

Australian selectors’ track record suggests we should expect anything but transparency and high-class managerial skills. Over the Australian summer alone, sacrificial lambs have been served up to the South Africans, ala Rob Quiney, just to protect other assets like Phil Hughes. Failed project players like Steve Smith have been dug out of the old dusty closet to make ODI appearances and now named in the squad to tour India.

Without disrespecting Smith, clearly other state players have surged well ahead of him in talent and production. Since Smith’s last test appearance against Pakistan in 2010, he boasts one first-class ton from 40 innings and 17 wickets at 73.11.

What swayed the selectors minds to select Smith in the test squad? Was it Smith’s solitary wicket this Sheffield Shield season or was it his inability to not post a century this summer?

“He’s played well but just hasn’t got the runs this year,” Chairman of Selectors John Inverarity said of Smith’s selection.

After posting 3 consecutive ducks in high school cricket, I proposed similar reasoning to my coach yet to my displeasure I was knocked back.

Why should we feel content and satisfied with CA?

Spinner Xavier Doherty’s selection is even more perplexing. Doherty has taken just the two scalps this Sheffield Shield season. New South Welshman Steve O’Keefe is the more deserving player with 17 wickets at 24.29.

CA is dangerously nurturing an environment that rewards unfulfilled prodigal talent over tough, committed and proven production. Furthermore, CA’s implementation of the “rotation policy” not only fuels this unhealthy culture but also counters Michael Clarke’s efforts to instill dogged toughness into the Australian dressing room.

In what can only be described as the most crucial 12 months in Australian cricket, both on and off the field, since the Allan Border-era, Inverarity and his team of selectors have missed the boat once again.

Move on

A change of broadcaster for the Australian summer of cricket might just be a key to reinvigorating the brand of test cricket and the sport as a whole.

Channel Nine have had a strangle hold on the cricket rights for a quarter of a century.

Kerry Packer’s station has created not only identities on the field but off the field and in the commentary box. Hearing Richie Beneaud smoothly rattling off his thoughts and philosophies on the game of cricket has become a yearly tradition for many Australians.

Channel Nine have also been innovators by introducing Hawk-Eye, stump-mike and Snicko.

Yet, Channel Ten are about to launch a bold bid to gain the rights of cricket after losing the rights to broadcast Australian Rules Football.

FInancially struggling Channel Ten hope that cricket will boost their ratings by gaining a new viewership and maintaining their current.

Channel Ten might just be able to pull it off with a fresh approach to broadcasting cricket. In their last year of broadcasting AFL, Channel Ten was clearly the superior broadcaster than Channel Seven. The camera work and commentary, while not perfect, was  more slick, fluent and engaging than babbling Seven.

Channel Nine’s team is simply growing tiresome. Expecting to listen to cleanly spoken English from “Heals” is like hoping that Bruce McAvaney and Dennis Commetti don’t make their broadcast of an AFL game about themselves. Although, “Slats” has a boyish charm, he to is difficult to take serious as he laughs through a sentence. Beneaud represents professionalism but the others leave the impression that they don’t work at their craft and instead just “rock up for a day at the cricket”.

Muting the TV and listening to ABC Radio’s astute and lively commentary is far more appealing- despite the 10 second delay between the radio and TV.

We have come to accept that Channel Nine is cricket. This should not be the case. Competition will hopefully force the hand of Nine to lift their standards on commentary and the promotion of the game and if they don’t then Ten should be given the opportunity to do so.

Pulling their act together

Finally! I must say I have been waiting, waiting and yes, waiting for Cricket Australia to make a good administrative or team selection call. CA’s selection of Mickey Arthur as Australia’s new coach is logical and sensible.

Unlike past coaches like Buchanan and Nielsen, Arthur will demand and receive respect from the entire Australian cricket team. In his tenure as the South African coach, he wasn’t afraid to speak out and challenge his players but more importantly the administration. Behind close doors, he often confronted South African cricket officials and perhaps this was his downfall in his previous national coaching job. But this time he won’t have to deal with petty officials and racial divisions. Instead, Arthur can focus on what he is paid to do- coach and build a solid relationship with the Australian cricket team.

Arthur has a strong cricket intellect and his presence will be felt.

At last CA are getting their act together. Is this a sign of things to come?

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