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Cricket Australia has taken first step to fix mess: Roebuck

August 20, 2011 - Sydney

Australia has taken the first steps needed to repair its tattered cricketing reputation, feels cricket columnist Peter Roebuck.

"Hopefully the Argus report will have the same effect on local cricket as did the Schofield report on the English game in 2006. Happily CA (Cricket Australia) intends to adopt it. CA has also promised to implement the recommendations of the governance report, even if that means accepting independent board members. That, too, is a step in the right direction. The nonsense has to stop. It's time to get back to the basics, and back to work," Roebuck says in his column for The Sydney Morning Herald.

He terms as crucial the fact that the Australian cricket board has been given an opportunity to undo the unholy mess it has created in the past few seasons.

"Avoiding cosy generalities, the Argus report has effectively ditched the entire selection panel and overhauled the backroom staffing. Since both areas were performing badly, it is an important contribution. Over the years, Australia has been able to put the right men in the right place. Somewhere along the way that skill was lost," Roebuck said.

He also said that the chaos in Australian cricket cannot be solely blamed on outgoing chief selector Andrew Hilditch.

"The panel had become an uneasy alliance between his (Hilditch) cautious methodology, Jamie Cox's ambitious analysis and Greg Chappell's restless radicalism. Commonsense left the panel on the day Merv Hughes was ousted. Clearly the next chief selector ought to come from outside this collection," says Roebuck.

He also says that Chappell is better suited to identifying and advising young players than to sitting on a panel planning the next move.

"His (Chappell) mind is an unusual mixture of visionary and vogue; in that regard he is the counterpoint to his older brother. However, he can detect cricket ability at a thousand paces," adds Roebuck.

The next step is to call to account those responsible for the debacle. Abysmal decisions have been taken in recent times, the three-year contract given to Nielsen, the faith shown in Chappell, the foolish season launch, the doomed nomination of John Howard, the appointment of Craig McDermott as bowling coach, the undermining of the state 2nd XI competition, the contracts given to T20 bubblers and denied to accomplished cricketers, the grovelling before Indian power (not least in forcing players to play T20 a few days before a Test series was to begin), the toleration of conflicts of interest. It tells of incompetence in high places," Roebuck concludes.


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