Doggys Blog

The Future of Coaching Pacemen


Posted on 10 September, 2019 at 19:30


To follow on from my Facebook Post Friday Sep 5th re: the Jofra Archer article in the Age newspaper.

If you were able to read the article the “Fast Man” is expected to change the face of fast bowling for years to come. And I for one hope he does, because Jofra has everything a fast bowler should have.

However, this will mean the re structuring of cricket development programs world wide along with a revision of the content provided to those it is supposed to benefit: Why?

“The Side On Bowling Action” is no longer encouraged in modern day coaching practices.

Having listened to all the arguments behind this decision, I’ve come to the conclusion coaching educators and instructors; have zero understanding of the nexus involved and there are few with the ability to provide an analysis of it.

If you can’t execute it... how could you possibly coach it?

This point very much proven in the Pierik article; where neither he nor any of the high performance experts from Cricket Australia, mentioned the very obvious fact that “Jofra Archer” bowls with a perfect side on bowler action.

So if the next generation are to take on the Archer style, Cricket Australia will be choking on what will be “failed theories” because they have totally disregarded the knowledge and traditions handed down by cricketers from generations past; in particular those held by the late Frank Tyson.

So where does this leave our Nations most credentialed pace bowling experts who were used to highlight the Pierik story line; because it immediately occurred to me that we have developed generations of fast bowling experts with no real understanding of the discipline. Perhaps they’ll be searching scrap heaps for Franks ideology’s in order to keep their jobs.

Obviously this knowledge has escaped Craig McDermott who seems to have blatantly plagiarised the work of a renowned fast bowling high performance coach from England, Stefan Jones, without giving him the slightest acknowledgement. (link blow).

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/JOFRA-BREAKDOWN-Bowling-coach…;

Coaches all over the World will need to familiarise themselves with the teachings of “Typhoon Tyson”. For it was this man, who introduce coaching qualifications standards to cricket in the State of Victoria (with the help of Peter Philpott). I for one completed the course and have been coaching ever since.

Those qualifications non longer recognised of course... disgraceful isn’t it!

Frank was one of the game’s great mentors; a man with exceptional cricket knowledge and most importantly; he possessed an understanding of fast bowling which was as valuable as his analytical ability (After all, Frank had analysed his own game in order to achieve at it’s highest level).

Frank’s philosophy of course, was to have a high side on bowling action and I vividly remember him; standing at the top of my bowling mark at State training; encouraging me to get the front arm and leg high. He would demonstrate the process encouraging me to release over a braced leading leg, to finish with the left arm high behind me as It would encourage the release and transference of weighted momentum. “That’s it, get that left leg through the crease too” he would call out, “It’ll carry you into the follow through”.

He’d reinforce to me every interconnecting component of the bowling nexus explaining that it has to be understood and that every process of its execution must embedded into the mind.., before you turn at the top of the mark for the next delivery.

The fact is... Administrators have the undeniable responsibility to provide proper development and investment to grassroots cricket and yet in truth, I don’t think they recognise that grassroots cricket is the children lured to the game (Cricket assets) wanting to emulate their idols. Not club cricket.

Furthermore, the carrot dangled to entice greater youth participation has been removed. The creation of elite Australian youth squads have surely discouraged many a young cricketer’s longevity in the game.

Late bloomers will see that Cricket Australia of Sate under age squad have been selected; and the message must be clear to all an sundry that if you miss selection any further opportunity has gone... what future is there for me they’ll say and go surfing!

Old Trafford

Posted on 4 September, 2019 at 21:15 Delete delete Overlays edit

The 4th Test at Manchester’s Old Trafford gets underway tonight and it is a must win situation for England.

The toss and the weather will determine the result here... this time of year in Lancashire; the cricket seasons in the various leagues around Lanc’s are drawing to a close.

A drawn Test is not what England want either.

There are are so many variables that could effect this result and must fall into place for England to win, otherwise they’ll go to the Oval, desperate for victory on a venue the Australian’s enjoy and this might be the reason for resting Pattinson; because I can’t remember Starc taking a wicket at Kennington; whereas Siddle and Hazlewood have. Let’s hope Cummins can stay on his feet for the remainder of the series.

So what to do?

With the Oval coming up... I’d play Siddle this Test; on the basis he’ll hit consistent lines and having been rested at Headingley a reasonable gallop before heading to London might be needed. I think Sids needs work to maintain rhythm and confidence and we’ll sure need him working away in partnership for the 5th and final Test. So keep this in mind.

With Starc coming into the 12 and the unreliable Khawaja, making way for Smith. I can’t see the selectors going with 5 bowlers so Siddle or Starc must miss out.

England on the other hand have chosen a quick who bowls good lines and hits the deck. Overton can also handle a bat which makes him an obvious replacement for a jaded Woakes. In my mind, this gives us a pretty good idea as to the type of pitch we can expect at the home of Lancashire Cricket.

During the first two County Championship game’s early this season all but two wickets taken by Lanc’s fell to seamers. This gets back to importance of bowling sustained lines... something the Australian’s have struggled to achieve.

England with a five pronged attacked of Archer, Broad, Overton, Stokes and Leach in support... will attack with Archer using with his great lines and pace. This will allow them to work over the fragile Australian batting with patience whilst exerting the utmost pressure.

Add all this to the ever changing conditions the “surrounding moors” will provide and we will have one very intriguing Test.


Is Jofra corrrect?


Posted on 2 September, 2019 at 8:20 


England's new fast bowling sensation Jofra Archer has played all of 2 Tests and I might add; on wickets that have done plenty. He won’t find these condition everywhere he plays but this hasn’t stopped him from sledging opponents.

The question I ask is; has he experienced enough of the game to be in a position to make such bold statements? In other words, has he earned his stripes? There is no longevity here... that’s for certain!

Most new arrivals to Test match cricket go about their task quietly and with humility... but not “Jofra” and a lack of cofidence will never be his downfall and he desn't hold back when making judgement either. He claims the Aussies panicked under pressure; in other words they choked and let's face it... it is what many have said, but is this true?

Anyway it has raised some questions in particular; about Australia’s ability to overcome what ended up being a very humiliating 3rd Test defeat at Headingley and do they have tthe ability to bounce back?

Let’s take a look at the pressure situations that Australia overcame during at Headingley: firstly Australia were on the back foot after a disappointing Ist innings and fought back to blast England out; no choking under pressure there. Then from a disastrous start to the snd innings, they fought back to post England a sizeable second innings task; no choking under pressure there either; And

Just when England had put themselves back into the contest, on a wicket that was flattening out... Australia rose to the challenge again.

When James Pattinson had taken the wicket of Broad; he had gone for a miserly 4 runs in three overs and I for one, was certain the Aussies had done enough to retained the Ashes and I headed for bed.

Our arch enermy were 9/286, had lost 2 wickets in three deliveries and with a run rate sitting at 2.48, tail end Charlie "Leach" would need to hold our boys out for more than 30 overs or more.

I can say I was dumbstruck to wake up to the news England had won and to learn of Stokes, had done a "Botham 1981". Just think of it... had this been Pakistan who'd lost from this position; the corruption Police and Media would have been all over them.... and calling it a scandal!

With this in mind; I went straight to the cricinfo “commentary page” to check the ball by ball coverage (a terrific way to get a clear perspective of the game, if you ignore the comments). I did some quick calculations and worked out that Stokes had faced just 45 deliveries, (7.3 overs); I realised that he had flayed our attack at just above 11 runs per over.

I dug deeper trying to find the reason; Pattinson I discovered, had gone on to complete his spell, 3 of which were maidens, costing hime 1 wicket for 8 runs. An overall performance of 25 overs 9 maidens 1/47.

Lyon, when I had turned in for the night, had bowled 35 overs, he went on to bowl another 4 overs; finishing with 39 overs for the inning. His last overs consisting of 17 dot balls and 7 scoring shots. This including 4 sixes (3 hit straight and the other an extraordinary reverse sweep over third man) It meant Cummins and Hazlewood had gone for 43 in only 3.4 overs. Hazlewood, in his defence, had already bowled 30 overs; he was spent!

Josh would have been feeling extremely sore having worked hard for his 4 wickets. Trying to get his big frame into gear again, was going to be a big ask. It's not surprising he went for 19 (4, 6, 6, 2 & 1).

Cummins on the other hand... had bowled considerably less, 22 overs and in his next spell of 2.4... conceded 24 runs, the fourth and last ball, being a wide short pitcher, that was smashed through covers for 4 to bring England a remarkable and memorable victory.

In all; from that 115.2 over mark, when I hit the sack, 8 sixes were hit. Of those runs need for victory, 44 were scored between mid wicket and fine leg... I guess we might say the lines were poor! 27 runs were scored straight with only 1 solitary single... this might suggest some baited deliveries (a term we use is shopping for wickets). it will not be the last time this idea fails and finally 22 runs were scored between 3rd man and cover... ok! you don't mind that.

In summing up; we can ask questions like; did we provided Stokes with too many opportunities to play power shots square of the wicket? Or could it be said that we tried to buy wickets. It could; Or that Hazlewood had been bowled into the ground... but he deserved the opportunity to take another 5 for.

As for Pattinson and Cummins... were they under used? I am sure James would have been happy to bowl a few more, especially after taking his first wicket of the innings.

But the truth is... Australia have been playing a bowler short all series and given our batting display; as it turns out, we might as well have played the extra quick all along.

So is Archer correct?

No, Australia had already fought off a number of clutch situations during the game and put themselves in a match winning position. To say the boys choked is an insult to Stokes and Leach.

Archer is full of confidence and is showing a touch of arrogance that comes with inexperience; he will learn the hard way... perhaps as soon as Old Trafford Test.


More on the "Concussion Rule"


Posted on 20 August, 2019 at 0:55 

Yesterday I said the concussion rule cost England Victory at Lords because Australia were allowed a replacement batsmen. This prompted immediate response in defence of the rule and the severity of concussion.

Still, I am not convinced a replacement player should be allowed. Just as we accept an umpires decision when we are dismissed... why is it that we cannot accept a medical decision on the matter?

Concussion after all, is an injury and if sustain during the course of the match; I think it should be treated as such?

Concussion can occur many ways and not necessarily from a blow to the head (the helmet does not prevent it), it can come from a whiplash effect and only rest can repair the damage (just like many injuries). So if we are concerned for a players wellbeing, then the player needs to be taken from the game if the injury is deemed serious.

In the case of being concussed a players judgement, balance, reflexes memory and vision can be affected but it is an “injury” and as a result of this the player could be hit again. So what about the damage next time?

Any other blow to the head region may not need to be so severe from what I have read... this raises another issue. The player will be taking this injury into any future game of cricket... so should he continue to get replacement batsman?

Cricket's The Concussion Rule

Posted on 20 August, 2019 at 0:45 Delete delete Overlays edit

The “Concussion Rule” denied England a series levelling win at Lords last night.

In the course of any sporting event, injuries happen. Jim Anderson if you remember suffered a recurrence of a calf strain in the first innings of the Edgbaston Test; having completed just 4 overs he was unable to contribute for the remainder of the match. England played on with a substitute fielder but were a bowler down for the most of the Test Match.

On the other hand at Lords, Australia were allowed to replace Smith who during a enthralling battle with England’s fast man Jofra Archer misplayed a rising ball and was felled from a severe blow that hit Steve behind the left ear. Steve was forced to retired hurt even though he was wearing all the injury prevention equipment he could find (helmet, leg guards thigh pad gloves etc).

He then returns to crease moments later, but is unable to take the field for the second innings.

Now it is fair for England to play a bowler short, but it is for Australia to play a batsmen short because they were allowed to replace Smith with another top order replacement rather than suffer the inconvenience of playing on with one short; I find this rule absurd.

No athlete wants to suffer injury or loss of form particularly in a team sport environment. In almost all team sport scenarios; sitting on the sidelines are reserve players (replacements) ready to take the field to reduce workload or replace non contributors.

So why are we allowed to replace an injured batsman but an injured bowler?

In all circumstances a bowlers is just as important to a teams chances of victory as any batsmen.

CRICKET AUSTRALIA WANTS TO BE THE CONSCIENCE FOR ALL OF US

Posted on 12 August, 2019 at 20:20 Delete delete Overlays edit

There are serious problems facing the game of cricket: such as

Grass Roots Cricket where participation numbers have been fraudulently portrayed in order to achieve performance bonus’s.

Poor development programs implemented throughout the country; forget that they don’t address the future needs of the game or its sustainability; and

Forget about those being attracted to the game... it’s natural resource.

These are issues that remain unresolved as a result of those occupying CA’s Board Room; the game no longer represent our cricket communities and worse... it seems they can never be replaced. They select from an exclusive club denying those from within the game to advance through natural progression. Please tell me if I am wrong.

How this happened we’ll never know, I’d like to see the information the game’s delegates received to vote themselves out of the game’s decision making process.

A process that has allowed “CA” to release their gender policy without consultation with the game at grassroots where the majority of players have a mother and father and where children are conceived naturally and might become future cricketers.

And so it was no wonder this policy was condemned; prompting a defensive “Tweet” promoting an opinion piece written by its CEO; Kevin Roberts.

Roberts, asks us to imagine being from a marginalised group in society. A society, denied access to sport that will provide a connection to communities where men who want to be women have a place of normality, belonging and inclusiveness, such as women’s cricket.

I don’t know this bloke but having read his self appraising article. To me he’s a “snowflake” pushing an agenda introduced by Alex Blackwell (Cricket NSW Board Member and a gay Women’s Test Cricketer). An agenda she claims is “inclusive” and yet; Blackwell says anyone with concerns for their children playing with or against transgender cricketers, should find another sport.

That’s rather exclusive; don’t you think Alex?

I would love to know how many of the 1200 or so who identify as transgender in our country have actually played cricket? Playing backyard or beach criket does not qualify you as a cricketer. To be a Cricketer, you work your way through the competitive grades to reach a reasonable standard “A Grade Cricket”.

Anyway, apparently it is a human right for males who believe they are female; that they should be treated as natural born women and reap the rewards on offer from that sport. Rubbish! In what world could anyone justify this?

I wonder! how many are using human rights in the reverse; women transitioning to men and wanting to play men’s sport?

I can see someone’s daughter, perhaps 158cm tall, weighing in at 62kg (ringing wet) playing the game, enjoying the thrill of competition against her peers; Yes, her peers! Natural born Women!

Under this CA gender policy this same girl might finds herself facing up to a 195cm 100kilo hairy back who thinks he’s a she with a 142kgram 2pce in hand. Think about that extra strength, muscle memory, lung capacity and larger hands off the long run, delivering that small ball at a pace no normal woman could deliver.

This is absurd, unhealthy, in fact sickeningly and frighteningly so!

Of course Roberts, like all “feel good” globalists claims the issue has been looked into seriously, even the science he says (not the science I have read) and so CA have come up a way to ensure fair and balanced participation.

Roberts claims CA are following Olympic guidelines. A sport in the courts because natural women are complaining the competition is unfair.

Show us the science Roberts. Let us judge the information that has been put forward by your CA latte’ sipping administrators. Show us that you have not been wasting time and energy on minority’s; using valuable funds generated by men’s cricket to devalue the biological values of the majority.

Explain why taking drugs or having surgery to alter your appearance is not just a disguise and why that isn’t cheating the sporting code.

I don’t think supporters want to see athletes born as men accepting the accolades of a sport that was created for natural born women.

TRANSGENDER CRICKETERS, NO WAY!

Posted on 10 August, 2019 at 1:20 Delete delete Overlays edit

To Cricket Australia (CA) if Shane Warne was banned for 12 months for taking a diuretic to reduce weight; and Smith, Warner & Bancroft banned for 12 months for attempting to alter the condition of the ball, also deemed bring the game into disrepute.

You CA are now saying it is fine to take drugs? (To reduce testosterone but not weight); and that it’s ok to tamper with the ball, the balls you're naturally born with / or not, just to pretend your female so you can play Women’s Cricket? ( or even Women’s Test Cricket); and by the way, this is a oneway street, it's not women looking to play mens cricket.

Give Lance Armstrong back his Tour de France wins along with an apology and ignore the Science that tells us male to female transgender athletes do hold an advantage over natural born female athletes; at least the science I’ve read... muscle density, lung capacity and muscle memory and no matter the amount of drugs taken to reduce testosterone; and is that drug any good for anyone, I wouldn't think so.

If that’s not considered performance enhancing; what is it? When an athlete cannot compete against his natural sex, but is able to win against women demoting them from their own sport... this is shammeful and especially when impersonators can take the rewards real women have worked so hard to achieve.

Life dishes out misfortune everywhere; it is difficult to accept, but it is life, as is inclement weather; we all have to accept it. I bet we’d all like to be something we’re not; smarter, thinner, taller and so on; it’s called getting over ourselves.

CA has just created a situation to disadvantage naturally born women; this is not inclusiveness and it’s not within the spirt of the game, Kevin Roberts!

There is no reason why a competition cannot be set up to cater for those who feel disadvantaged just as the over 50 or Over 60, under age or All Abilities?

RIP Women’s Cricket!

CA has used the Money earned by the Men’s game to fund the development of Women’s Cricket and then it does this to it?

The CA Board need to be sacked and the rightful owners of the game reinstated after this statement (below)which I doubt very much, was made on behalf of the game?

This is my opinion and if you don’t like it; I don’t care! Things are getting out of hand!

1st Test Summary 2019 Edgbaston

Posted on 7 August, 2019 at 20:00 Delete delete Overlays edit

At the “Fortress”, Edgbaston, Australia and as my wife said to me this morning, “Gee Australia really thumped England”. And Yes! They did in the end, but it wasn’t all one way, it was a real battle.

Having won the toss and choosing to bat the Aussies came from behind after their top order capitulated. It took a heroic effort from Steve Smith and Peter Siddle to add respectability; and not wanting to take anything away from Smith and Siddle, England were and would be a bowler down for the remainder of the Test.

It should also be remembered that England had taken the advantage by the end of day two; Australia had chosen to use some very ordinary around the wicket tactics; and the deficit had been reduced to a hand full of runs with six wickets in hand.

There is nothing I need to say about Steve Smith, it’s all been said; except for something from former England player and Coach David Lloyd; “Bumbles” in reference to Steve’s second century of the match... If you were viewing at the time you might remember the camera focusing in on a game of cricket being played near bye; And to the two or three spectators watching on Bumbles yelled in jest, “Steve Smith’s still batting”. ����

Yes! England were gone; with Wade and Smith still at the crease, Australia’s total was going to be beyond anything ever chased down at the venue.

What a pleasure it was to watch our bowlers in the second innings; Pattinson and Siddle were wicketless but were magnificent nevertheless; Cummins with three in the first finished with seven for the match but all the quicks beat the bat, with terrific lines, seam position and use of crease. If they maintain these tactics throughout, they will be a formidable combination and be rewarded accordingly. In particular Cummins peppered the corridor with subtle angle changes; And Lyon! Well he took full advantage of the deteriorating pitch to mesmerise his combatants with a nine wicket haul.

I still get a kick from the memory of that former English Offie with such high opinions himself “Graeme Swann” who claimed Lyon would be the weakest link in the Aussie bowling attack. What a sledge to make about one of his peers; he must now, chew on his words each time Lyon has the ball in hand.

This was a win Australia would not have expected and we should not get carried away; the series is far from over.

Former Tasmanian Fast Bowler Mark Ridgway mentioned just the other day in celebrating Matthew Wades “back to the wall”, Test 100; and I agree Bancroft and Khawaja are now under pressure with Warner not far behind.

Fortunately we have youngsters in the wing who are proven contributors.


Tactics


Posted on 7 August, 2019 at 19:55 


In my post on Thursday morning I mentioned that I had doubts re: the bowling tactics the Australian’s might use; then again on Friday, I raised the issue when Cummins had opened around the wicket to Rory Burns; Burns is now 120 odd not out.

When I first saw this approach being employed; I thought why didn’t the Australia’s select the left arm pace of Starc?

Was the concern, batting depth? Because it couldn’t have been balance... not with only 4 bowlers.

As a discussion point, I would argue the stats suggest we could have played both Starc and Siddle; I would be making the claim that our tail has contributed; grandly to our overall innings tally for seasons now. Just think about this; how many times over recent years have we been let down by the top order? (And if we’re looking to the future; surely Carey must better prospect than Wade? )

From Paine down the attack of Cummings, Starc, Pattison, Siddle and Lyon have all proven they can bat and their batting has helped win Tests or save us time and again.

I would be confident (if I were in charge) to have Paine higher. He looks as sound as any of those rated above him or more accomplished albeit he was dismissed poorly 1st innings. This still hasn’t altered my thinking.

And something else to chew on; To me Carey looks confident and reeks of match winning brilliance.

Preview 1st Test Edgbaston 2019

Posted on 7 August, 2019 at 19:50 Delete delete Overlays edit

With the 2019 ICC World Cup out of the way, it is time to sit back and enjoy the truest form of cricket.

A game of intrigue that encapsulates 5 fluctuating days, whether it be a wearing pitch or the physical demands on its participants; we watch on with anticipation and uncertainty as events unfold under overcast skies; or perhaps with expectations bought about by the magnificence of another English summer afternoon that invariably inspires so many a heroic performances. It makes no matter, we absorb and appreciate the mastery of bat over ball or visa versa. This is England v Australia and it is “Ashes Cricket" as it has been, since the very first ball at Melbourne, 15th of March 1877.

Yes! England and Australia have introduced Test Match Cricket to the world; a game that brings people together no matter Race, Politics or Religion and tomorrow the first of another 5 Test series gets underway at Edgbaston.

Over the past months whilst I have been wondering who the Australian selectors might choose to defend that little urn; I was reminded of the former Australian and Lancashire League Professional (Haslingden Cricket Club), Mick Malone; Or if you prefer, “Solo” as his mates call him. Solo played only one Test for Australia against England which was the drawn 5th Oval Test of 1977. Mick bowled a marathon 47 overs in Englands first innings (20 of them maidens) to deserve every one of his 5 wickets (5/63 in fact).

I reference him because he had a talent synonymous to all great cricket teams and in particular to the style of game in England facilitated by the Dukes cricket ball.

Mick was a tall man who bowled with tantalising control with movement and always down that corridor of uncertainty as Damian Fleming would say; drawing batsmen forward to deliveries that might or might not move through the air or off the seam. He had perfected the discipline and with his height, he often found extra bounce. The principle was that if he hit the wicket hard and often enough in the right areas the unsuspecting bounce or movement would bring him reward.

This is a theory that has worked so well for the best in the game, but remarkably, it is a tactic that has been missing from the Australian bowling attack for a few years now. It was definately missing last Ashes series in England; Watson and Marsh cerainly had the ability but seemed to lack the fitness or desire.

So like many Victorians, I was praying the selectors would consider James Pattinson. An intimidating on field personality, with a huge heart and pace. He’s also a proven Duke ball specialist with the skills to take it away late. He worries all batsmen and if he can remain fit for the duration; I feel Australia will be very competitive.

I must admit that prior to learning of his selection and as a Global Warming sceptic, I was about to hang my hat on this theory as the only hope the Aussies had of success. The pace attack of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins would surely need cloudless blue skies and extreme temperatures throughout the entire series for us to have had any chance of holding onto the Urn.

With Patto’s selection I have found some hope but now find myself holding my breath as to the type of tactical instructions given to the bowling group and of course to the question surrounding the Australian batting; will it be able to combat the moving ball especially now that England have Jofra Archer to compliment any combination England might put forward.

I have no doubt his stump to stump lines and subtle use of the crease will create angles to test the best of the Australian batting.

Oh how I wish I could be there in England right now!


To the Australian Bowling Coaches


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:25 


Well done to India, Australia were not good enough on the day but to walk away from that defeat when falling just short and saying that the Indians were in a class above, is a cop out.

In truth we were let down by our the bowling line up.

But why?

Let’s take a look at them; Cummins who was the best of the bowlers started fairly (3 an over off his first 5), but his last 5 conceeded 40 (10/0/55/1).

His opening partner, Starc began well also, going for just 2 an over for his first three. His last 7 however, were a humiliation, costing him 67 (10/0/74/1 with 42 off them off just 7 deliveries).

Coulter-Nile’s 10/1/63/1, 38 of those runs off just 7 deliveries and then we have Stoinis; 7/0/63/2 seemed to be on a spending spree trying to buy wickets. The same could also be said with Zampa 7/0/60/2.

Which means Maxwell (7/0/45/0) was our second most cost effective bowler.

So given the above; I have to ask this question.

Who is in charge of this bowling group?

It appears to me, that none of the bowlers have the ability to think or adapt under pressure.

In particular the quicks cannot put the ball in the same place twice and worse; they haven’t the ability to work to a plan. For example they lack the ability to find lines or use the crease to that advantage those line by creating or varying angles.

This fact alone, suggest the coaching staff have absolutely no understanding of the basic principle, of getting in close to stumps at delivery (a concept used so well by Glen McGrath).

For goodness sake... think about the game; And yes! Your own game, think about what it is that you do best. This might also involve having the intestinal fortitude to stick to that plan, have confidence in your abiliity to excecute disiplines.

One other thing... it helps to hit the pitch on line with length and seam up everytime.


The Mankading of the Australian Cricket Willow Project!


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:25 


I write this post in reply to Age Journalist "Mark Russell" who was too lazy to research the true story. Instead his derogatory "Article" about me, has remained on the Age website since 2005; And

Because of recent comments on social media about the Australian Cricket Bat Willow Project (ACBWP), Australian Cricket Willow Pty Ltd (ACW), the Australian Cricket Bat Willow Trust (ACBWT) and Australian Cricket Bat Willow Plantation Management Services Ltd (ACBWPMS)... This is my story:


In 1995 former Fitzroy Cricket Club Captain Tom Cullen (TC) became a partner in my business Callen Cricket Bats Pty Ltd. Our idea was to re establish the Cricket Bat Willow industry in Australia.

Not long after joining me, TC introduced a friend he described as a multi-millionaire (The Money Man), as I like to call him. His real name is Edward Ashley Murphy (EAM).

As a result of us meeting and on the basis the “Money Man” fund the project, meeting all its expenses, he would be given an equal stake holding and a Directorship in the ACBWP.

This responsibility also included the raising of a prospectus, an idea TC took from “Southern Blue Gum” the only difference, we were going to grow Cricket Bat Willow (The link below tells a sorry tale of TC's idea as a result of it being stolen by charlatans who lied and misinformed everyone involved including Investors).


https//www.smh.com.au/national/willow-bat-cricket-company-seo-here-20150818-gj1jxr.html


The first and most important aspect of the project was to find suitable land to grow the trees and with advice from from Ross Bickford and Dr. David Flinn from the Centre of Forest Tree Technology, we’d found the perfect site. 200 acres of Yarra river flats at Healesville belonging to the Shire of Healesville. The price to purchase this land was $200,000 and the "Money Man" had agreed to put up the money. All we had to do was wait for the approval to be passed in Chambers by Shire Councillors.

There was also another site at Lilydale on the Olinda Creek Flats belonging to Yarra Water that had been made available to us with all the water we needed.

EAM knew all this and of course that TC and I had already established the first Healesville Plantation along with a nursery of 20,000 English Willow trees so planting the area out would not be a problem.

However, by the time council voted to sell us the 200 acres the "Money Man” had, removed us from the project without our knowledge, (and then whilst I was overseas and TC interstate) he removed all of our English Willow root stock progeny, transporting them to Wood Wood along the Murray River, were he was planting them for the prospectus. If you’ve driven to Mildura along the Murray Valley Hwy you might have noticed the ACBWP sign.

Since that time, many things have been written and said between me and the "Money Man”. But all of this is irrelevant, because we are now in possession of the facts, proving every decision or conversation we had ever had with EAM was based on hidden agendas, lies or misinformation.

The following provides the background history:

Many had thought of trying to re-establish the Cricket Bat Willow in Australia. The undisputed fact is... I have actually achieved this and given all that has taken place, I reckon it gives me more credibility than EAM or his cohorts could ever hope to have.

My first Cricket Bat Willow site inspection took place at Stacey’s Bridge in 1985. Friends of mine, former Australian Athletes Rhonda Mallender, her late husband John and training partner Gary Cantwell had passed on information and site locations where Crockett had taken cricket bat willow from farms near Yarrum.

Paul Jones former Northcote Cricketer from Alexandra was with me when we took timber samples from properties in that area to make bats.

From 1976 –1993 I had spent much of my time training, researching and studying the history of the industry and by 1993, I was selling the Callen Bats all over World.

Unknown to me, Lachlan Fisher of Straight Six Bats in Blackburn (now Fisher Bats) had also been researching the industry and had established plantings from cuttings taken from the old Crockett Plantation at Shepherds Flat.

Please note; Fisher was adamant cricket bat willow trees could not be grown in Plantation format (Re his promotional brochures) but has since changed his attitude with the obvious success of the MacLaren Plantation at Healesville.

The truth is… willow is a noxious weed, an environmental pest that invades the waterways and chokes rivers, creeks and streams. Authorities in Australia had banned the planting of Willow throughout the country and they were working tirelessly to remove this pest and restore the natural riparian environment along all watercourses all over our country.

Under Fishers concept Cricket Bat Willow cuttings where planted anywhere and without permit... on the other hand TC and I had spent years working with the Centre for Forest Tree Technology (later the Forest Science Centre), Ecology Australia, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Upper Yarra Valley Dandenong Ranges Authority, Murray Darling Basin Fresh Water Research Centre, Melbourne Water, Shire of Healesville, Shire of Yarra Ranges and Minister of Sport and Recreation and Racing in order to obtain permits to plant Cricket Bat Willow in Australia.

It was on the 6th of January 1995 that TC and I were finally granted PERMITS for a Plantation of Cricket Bat Willow on the Watts and Yarra River flood plain we leased from the Healesville Amateur Racing Club. (I continue to lease this area today)

Enter the "Money Man" EAM.

In May 1995 ACW was set up with TC, EAM and myself as Directors. It is important to note that the Registered Office was the "Callen Business Centre" 50 Mt Dandenong Rd. East Ringwood Victoria and CCB was working full time for ACW. By 1997 TC and I had put in place many strategies for the ACBWP. As Directors TC and I had initiated the following:

• Resolved that ACW lease or purchase 200 acres of Yarra River flats at Healesville for the next plantation.

• Resolved that the ACBWT be established as owners of the ACBWP and that ACW be the Trustee.

• Resolved that the mission of ACBWT be to establish a prospectus.

• Resolved that a booklet, “The Romance of the Cricket Willow”, be prepared by IC.

• Resolved that the ACBWT Deed be prepared by Solicitor Michael Long.

• Resolved ACBWT become the owner of the ACBWP and the intellectual knowledge and Idea of IC and TC.

• Resolved that 500,000 units issued in the Trust, 50,000 units each to IC and TC and 50,000 units to EAM when he fulfilled his funding obligations. A further 50,000 units set aside for others by TC and I felt we should consider for work done.

• Resolved that 300,000 units be used for acquiring a 90% interest in the trees at Healesville Racetrack to be increased from 1200 to 1500 and the remaining units be used to produce a public offering prospectus.

• Resolved that the ACBWT be the sole supplier of cricket bat willow setts (trees) to the proposed public offering prospectus or any other plantings undertaken by the project.

• Resolved that a valuation be carried out on the trees at Healesville to determine a price ACBWT would pay.

• Resolved that initial funds raised by the ACBWT be put toward an interest in 1500 trees valued @ $100 ea belonging to IC & TC.

• Resolved that ACBWT contract CCB as the Maintenance Manager of 1500 trees at a rate of $7.50 per tree per year, subject to CPI and that this was to apply to any other plantings undertaken by the project.

• Resolved that ACBWT licence CCB as its sole grower/nursery provider of cricket bat willow setts (trees).

• Resolved that the 40-acre site at the Lilydale Treatment Plant would become the ACBWT Consumer Reward Program plantation.

These records of the resolutions are recorded in the Minutes of Meetings file and which have always remained with me.

On the 1st May 1997 as Directors of ACW the Trustee for the ACWT, we (IC, TC, EAM) signed the "ACBWT Deed".

By this stage a number of EAM's cohorts (hanger on's) were sniffing about everywhere. Michael James Camilleri more commonly known as James Camilleri, (we found had spent time in the "Big House" for fraud). Then there is John McDonald, every time he opens his mouth, his teeth just about drop out of his head (In the link above McDonald, now Director of ACBWPMS states; "that planting at Wood Wood was the company's best option for growing English willow. "The forestry people recommended Wood Wood as a better growing location." He knows this is not true... he's a liar). He and EAM knew very well that TC and I had all the best scientific information from the real experts.

Then we had the "Fence Sitters", hanging around like bad smells were Doug Warren-Smith (DWS) and a former Victorian team mate of mine, Paul Anthony Hibbert (PAH) who tried to hide his addiction to alcohol by drinking Listerene (We found bottles of it stashed all over the place... and so bad was he that he believed the project was his idea.

Our downfall came on or about the 24th of July 1997 when EAM secretly lodged documents to ASIC's removing TC and I as Directors of ACW. He then issued new Shareholdings in ACW (of course, without first offering those shares to TC and I, the original shareholder) this reduce our ownership in the Project to a minority.

In the wash up, it wasn't until the 25th June 2004 that TC and I were able to get to the bottom of everything that had taken place.

The evidence we needed was found when we discovered the existence of a second ACBWT Deed with the same dated as the original (1st May1997), but this one was signed by EAM and PAH as Director of ACW. Unfortunately for the Money Man and PAH, ASIC records show the Trust Deed cannot be legal as PAH who signed as Director of ACW (The Trustee of ACBWT) Had not been appointed Director until the July 1997 (2 months after they'd signed the bogus Deed).

EAM’ and his cohorts had been found out. If you invested money in the Trust, TC and I tried to help you all but you refused to help us. Fitzroy Doncaster Cricket Club (FDCC) were investors in the original Trust, but rather than support TC or I, who they knew set up the Trust the invested in and knew about the fraud against us, they chose to deal with EAM... I found a letter from FDCC asking EAM to sell their Units... so they didn't invest in Healesville at all, as was claimed on social media last week.

The discovery of Bogus Trust Deed proves that as early as May 1st 1997 EAM and his cohorts had been wrongfully and maliciously conspiring to defraud and injure us, along with our families, our employees, our businesses and the public in order to take ownership of the Australian Cricket Willow Project for their own personal gain and they did this as follows:

In pursuance and in furtherance of the conspiracy, EAM and cohorts did the following overt acts, namely:

(a) On May 1st 1997 EAM and cohorts wrongly and in breach of their employment contract of service and the spirit of the ACBWP secretly replaced the names of the original Unit Holders from the original ACBWT Deed (True Deed) with their own names or Associated Companies to produce a false ACBWT Deed (Bogus Deed); and

(b) On May 1st 1997 EAM and cohorts wrongfully and illegally presented themselves as Directors of ACW in Breach of the Corporations Act and in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 Sections 51(a) and 51 (ac) signed and sealed the Bogus Deed and presented themselves as the owners of the ACBWP and the Bogus Deed as the True Deed.

In Pursuance and furtherance of the conspiracy, EAM and cohorts did the following overt acts, namely:

(a) On or about the 14th of July 1997 and in breach of the Trade Practices Act 51ac began providing misinformation and misrepresentation to IWC, TLC and their business associates to induce and cause injury to their businesses and others; and

(b) On or about July 25th 1997 and in breach of the Articles of Association and the Trade Practices Act 1974 Sections 51(a) and 51 (ac) secretly wrongfully and illegally lodged forms with ASIC to remove the two original and true Directors; and

(c) On or about March 1998 EAM and cohorts formed the company Australian Cricket Bat Willow Plantation Management Services Ltd (ACBWPMS) with the objective of persuading and inducing associates in the employ of IWC and TLC to break their contract of employment or service with their business and to cease work for them and become employed by ACBWPMS; and

(d) On or about July 24th 1998 and in breach of the Articles of Association and section 254d of the Corporations Act wrongfully and illegally lodged forms with ASIC and issued shares of the same class without resolution or offering shares of the same class to the original share holders; and

(e) In or about July 1998 EAM and cohorts wrongfully and secretly removed the true ACBWT cricket bat nursery near Corryong and transported and replanted the nursery at Murray Valley Nurseries near Swan Hill; and.

(f) That EAM and cohorts used the offices and place of business of TC and IC to wrongfully and illegally copied lists, contacts, plans and ideas and to remove files and property and take such files, property and lists away with them and have been using the same for their own purposes of profit; and

(g) On or about July 1998 ACBWPMS issued a public offering prospectus to induce investors to purchase property belonging to the true ACBWT for their own purpose of profit.

As of the 29th of June 2005 the web site www.cricketbatwillow.com.au of ACBWPMS was soliciting investment using the trees belonging to CCB and the recognized true and original ACBWT and using rootstock and intellectual project knowledge acquired by EAM whilst acting as friend, Partner, Director and Financial Controller.

TC and I maintain EAM’s conduct was in all circumstances, unethical, immoral and unconscionable in trade and commerce and in breach of Section 51ac of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Since its incorporation ACBWPMS has issued 4 prospectuses based on the intellectual knowledge and 17,000 cricket bat willow trees owned by CCB and the true ACBWT.

TC and I considered our situation:

We concluded that whilst we'd been severely disadvantaged, so too had all the innocent investors and for the sake of all who had placed their faith in our concept and that we should do something to redeem the losses or at least draw peoples attention to these "A" Holes.

On or about the 30th June 2004 TC’s authorised me to met with EAM and inform him of the follwing and I confronted him in his office at Balwyn:

1/. Under section 254d of the Corporations Act and by resolution in accordance with the true Articles of Association (AA) it was deemed shares allocated to PAH, EAM and his associated companies illegal and under section 26(2) of the AA these shares were forfeited.

2/. Under section 203c of the Corporations Act and by Resolution EAM had been removed as a Director and Office Holder.

3/. By Resolution TLC had been elected Director of ACW.

4/. By Resolution the Trustee ACW has deemed all business carried out under the name of ACW ACBWP and the ACBWT from July 1st 1997 and 30th June 2004 illegal.

5/.That EAM had acted inappropriately and had failed his obligations to the project as resolved by ACW on Wednesday the 5th of July 1995 and was dismissed and that notice was of the 30th of June 2004 the issues concerning the true and original Trust Deed and Register required investigation.

Having informed EAM that I was acting at all times with TC'S Authority I then informed EAM: That

a) That he has failed to act in the interest of Stakeholders and in particular the True Unit Holders; and

b) That he has failed to act within the spirit of the game of ccricket; and

c) That he brings the game of cricket into disrepute.

d) That the discovery of the bogus Deed has created a situation where all, agreements, written or verbal and all decisions made under the name ACW, ACBWP or the ACBWT since the 1st of July 1997 or without TLC or IWC’ authorization and therefore null and void.

And as such TC and I remains the righful Directors of ACW and you're SACKED!

EAM then called the Police but I stayed my ground until they arrived. I wanted the Police to see that nothing untoward had happened and so they couldnt fabricate false stories about me.

All discussions and correspondence concerning the project with EAM and Cohorts as of the 1st of May 1995 had become IRRELEVANT as any decision / comment / thought or idea had been made or based on misinformation and misrepresentations:

(HEDLEY BYRNE AND CO LTD V HELLER AND PARTNERS LTD: HL 28 MAY 1963)

In all circumstance the above certainly lead to my bankruptcy on or about August 2004 in the Federal court.

Whilst all this was going on TC had been working on EAM to find a solution to the mess. But EAM was only trying to coherese his mate against me. On the 15th of June 2005 talks between TC and EAM failed to find a solution. TC as the sole Director of ACW now because of my Bankruptcy appointed me to the position of Secretary (We had research the Law and our understanding was that it does not say a Bankrupt cannot be the Secretary of a Company... it says a Bankrupt canot run a Company or be seen to be making decisions for that Company) and in accordance with the Companies Articles of Association TC directed me to lodge the necessary documents with ASIC to return the company to its legal status and I did exactly that.

On the 17th June 2005 EAM and cohorts were formally advised.

On the 25th September 2005 ASIC in response to a complaint from EAM concluded that the documents lodged with them on the 17th June 2005 void and the registrar be returned to its status of the 15th June 2005.

In a meeting with ASIC, TC and I claimed they (ASIC) had made a decision that should have been determined by a Court. ASIC claimed, that although they had returned the registrar to the status of 15th June it had been done, only for their own records and it did not mean the registrar was legal.

ASIC advised us to seek legal advice. Yeah good on them, I'd written to them twice about all this and they did nothing.

In our opinion TC required no meeting to lodge Documents with ASIC, as the required meetings had been held 12 months earlier.

Sunday October 30th 2005, Mark Russell (MR) of the Sunday Age attempted to portray EAM and his cohorts as the victims of an illegal takeover. IC was unable to comment because matters had placed in the hands of the Fraud Squad MR never made mention of this.

In response to this article I asked MR to arrange a meeting to include himself TC, myself, EAM and Cohorts. The agenda would be the entire project and a story for MR… EAM and cohorts declined.

For those who believed they had invested in the ACW Trust good luck... TC and I tried to make things right but ASIC wasn't interested.

In November 2011 in lieu of years of unpaid maintenance and other expenses the lease and Trees were tranferred to me.



OUR CRICKET HERITAGE SMOULDERING IN THE ASHES OF A PREMIER CRICKET FINAL


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:20


There is something I feel I must say on what came to mind at the conclusion of last Sunday’s Carlton v Geelong 1st XI’s Cricket “Final” at the Junction Oval.

Let me paint the picture.

Geelong had batted first and declared 9/409 and in reply Carlton when I arrived were 5/250. I had been following the game on line so I new the Blues Captain Evan Gulbis had taken charge of the game. It was pleasing for me to see him playing and enjoying his cricket.

He was in total control in the middle, composed and picking the runs off without risk. As it turned out he was at the crease at the end hitting the winning runs. It was his first Premiership and the Clubs first Flag since 1980/81.

As I drove away from the ground I began picturing the celebrations. After all I’d lead the attack for the Blues in their previous flag win.

Fond memories came flooding back.

We’d played that final at the Albert Cricket Ground just up the road and the “Albert” as it’s affectionately known, Is a real cricket ground. With wonderful cricketing ambience, charm and tradition. I swear you feel the presence of those who’ve walk its hallowed turf. Yes I remember a time when I stood at the end of my bowling mark to start play, new ball in hand, three slips, a gully, short leg it’s an emotional yet inspirational feeling. Gee! How I miss playing the game.

And then I thought what a tragedy that we had been sitting at the Junction Oval and even with all the money spent on it... the ground meant nothing to me, it lacked class and cricketing demeanour.

I guess if you played for the Saints it might be different but to me it fails to represent our States cricketing heritage.

In truth I have always been suspicious of those who made the decision to spend money on this ground. It smells to much of a St Kilda past player involvement, a conflict of influence. I wonder if other Clubs feel the same way or if our games representatives (Delegates) had been asking questions about this decision.

In any case, I began asking myself... what has Victorian Cricket become? I have been critical and have voiced my opinions and changes are being made... but all to slowly. "Cricket House" is over populated and cricket in our State is not benefitting... hasn't for a lobg time.

For this competition was once most prestigious competition in our Land and somehow it has been reduced to the insulting standard known as “Community Cricket”.

Who is responsible for this injustice and who is to blame for demeaning our cricket?

When Carlton last won the Premiership the competition it was known as VCA’s District 1st XI Final and Australian Test Cricketer Keith Stackpole was one of the Captains. Our opponents were Richmond Cricket Club lead by Australian Test Captain Graham Yallop and both sides boasted other home grown Test and First Class cricketers.

Watching on last Sunday, it was obvious those on the field of play were well prepared. They were proud to be out there battling it out, they were fit athletic men’s and as a former player I was proud of them.

And yet why is competition not recognised as elite?

How is this competition not our States best... is there any other cricket played in Victoria better?

No there isn’t, nothing compares!

Let’s consider this... The birth of District Cricket can be traced back to the early 1800’s from there the players past and present formed an Association that became the Victorian Cricket Association. The Cricketers of that time put plans in place for the game.

These men had great foresight in wanting to nurture, pass on and uphold traditions. They were honouring those who played and those of future generations... the records prove this!

So why are the traditions of the past no longer valued and why undermine the honour of those before us?

More importantly there must be those within the game’s administration who believed they are above those of us who have been there and done that in the game to make decisions to change things. To take away the things we cherish, the history so important for those who aspire to emulate the feats of the champions before us?

Wake up Cricketers, there are those within the administration of the game (Not only in Victoria) who fail to appreciate it. The game has or is electing or appointing personnel seeking personal status rather wanting to guard the status quo.

Those unable to achieve on the field and fear of those who’ve succeeded in the game. Those frightened others know more and might expose them. How else can you explain the dismantling and downgrading of our Cricket... it has happened because we’ve appointed unworthy unqualified personnel to run the game. They dishonour those worthy and have failed all before them.

And it’s not just our beloved District Competition they’ve dismantled, it is the coaching and pathway structures that did make our State Cricket the best in the Nation.

You only need to look closely at the two talented Teams fighting it out last weekend. Here was evidence that a great cricketing structure existed... two home grown 1st Class Cricketers leading their perspective clubs.

Tim Ludeman Captain Coach of Geelong and Evan Gulbis... both Carlton home grown cricketers.

Both men worthy of representing our State with teams mates who deserve every opportunity cricket in this State can provide and yet no one seems to understand this.

And each Club worthy of being the winner of Victoria’s elite cricket competition, “District Cricket”, but never in my mind should it be a lowly “Community Cricket Competition”, we can find that type of cricket else where.


TO THE CRICKET GROUND IN THE SKY


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:20 


For the past 30 years I have regularly contacted my cricketing mate Jack Houldsworth. Our discussions about family of course and always the Ashes and with the next on our doorsteps, I had been trying to get Jack and his daughters views, so keenly they rub my nose into any Australian defeat.

Unfortunately for the past couples of months my efforts have been in vain because Jack has been poorly.

And then last Sunday I opened an email from Annette (Jack’s daughter) informing me that her father had passed away earlier that day. She was worried I might hear it second hand. I felt useless so far away and unable to provide any comfort...the Houldsworth’s were family to me.

I first met Jack at his Blackburn Tax Office in Lancashire.

In those days Blackburn was the heart and sole of a Cricket League famed by the quality of its paid men, “Test Cricketers hard competitive Professionals and Jack, an amateur from the Church Oswaldtwistle Cricket Club had played and succeed against the best of them. I reckon he would have been 19 when he played 1st team cricket... the year of my birth.

When I arrived in England to play as a Professional in Lancashire League, It was a dream come true and I wanted to learn everything about its history, traditions, the clubs, the grounds and the cricketers. Jack was the man I could learn from. He had played against, so many all my childhood heroes. He was the man I went looking for.

Over the years to come I would sit for hours listening to Jack talk of these Test greats for he’d played with against or had seen them all... Walcott, Weekes, Hall, Griffith, Simpson, Stackpole, Butcher, Nurse, Cowper, Chappell, Hawke, and the list went on to my time in the game playing against and with Jack. The Professionals we were up against were the likes of Holding, Mudassar Nazar, Mohsin Khan, Lillee, Hookes, Armanath, Kapil Dev, De Silva, Richards V., Lawson and Border.

This was they Houldsworth era (1955 and 1987) and they were the golden years for Lancashire League. To be appointed a Professional was an honour and each and every one of us knew it and have taken away fabulous memories. One of mine was being appointed Church Pro in 1985.

Taking the field with Jack was as enjoyable and important to me as it was when I took the field with my father for the Heathmont Cricket Club.

Jack played over 500 League/Cup games and captured 1200+ wickets during a Stella career.

Monday mornings at Jack’s Office became a regular thing. Usually there were three of us, Brendan McArdle Jack and myself. We’d barge into the Inspectors Office... and he’d order his staff to bring cups of Tea and biscuits, he loved it, It was summertime and many enthusiastically joined in the commotion... you can imagine the topic of our conversation and it never changed over the years, Cricket Football and Cricket again.

I remember the time when Church was to decide on whether I would be re signed. I hadn’t had a great season and would have liked another season to make amends. It was Jacks job to inform me I hadn’t... I said why wasn’t I re signed Jack? “You didn’t take enough wickets” was his swift reply. How many wickets should I have taken? “100” Shit Jack I had a 100 dropped catches don’t they count?” No! You are the Pro, you should have caught them yourself”.

He was always honest and I respected him more for it. The next thing he said was, “How would you like a summer in Sth Africa, I’ve recommended you for a job?” And off I went.

I remember fondly sitting with Jack at Bacup, he reckoned God had left his shovel on moors overlooking the ground. It was freezing cold that day, “Long John weather” and Jack nudged me... “You know there’s bears up there too”. “where?” “Up there on’t moors!” “Bull Shit Jack, concentrate on the game!”

He was dry, not out spoken and lived for the game... as the years went by the more he told me he missed playing... “We all do Jack” I would say. “I bet there is not one of us we played with or against who wouldn’t, so you’re not on your Pat Malone mate”.

To the family Jack loved and was so proud of... Annette, Bethany, Phillip and to his beloved Club Church and the entire Lancashire Cricket Community please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss... he gave the game his all to the very last.

RIP Jack, you’ve gone to play cricket on the cricket ground in the sky... and they say it slopes away from the club room end, just the way you like it.


Grass Roots Cricket Concerns


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:20


You might remember the scandalous Cricket Australia (CA) pay dispute where highly paid executives and Board Room Directors, shamefully used Grass Roots Cricket as a pretence to reduce player payments. It turns out however, that it is the top players who are more concerned about the game and that is the way it has been since the early 1840’s?

In truth it is the “best of the best” the top guns who bring in the big dollars for the game and development whilst executives secretly plot to remove the responsibilities from the State bodies elected by players and past playing members all over Australia.

An example of this came to our attention just last week when the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) representing the players announced that it will be providing $30 million to Grass Roots Cricket Clubs from their payments, but wait for it… in conjunction with CA.

Oh scoff & splutter!! I nearly spilt my coffee… who earns that money?

Thanks to the players… Clubs can now apply for $2500 grants through the ACA website and it is a terrific gesture but was it necessary… where is the rest of the money earned by the players? Has it been handed over to the State Association in order to distribute it to Grass Roots Cricket to produce the type of talent the game needs to attract future dividends?

But it raises the question… what exactly is it that CA do?

I expect them to be responsible for International Affairs reporting back to players and past playing members, organizing International and national fixtures, negotiating TV rights, National Teams and collecting the money generated by the best of the best players… and that is all they should be doing.

From the pot of money collected, CA expenses should be paid and the remainder of the very substantial financial wind fall should go to development of the game as determined by each State Association.

I can see this $30 mil being pissed against the wall.

Remember those who participated in CA’s Milo cricket throughout Australia where Parents paid $60 to register their child’s interest in the hope they might learn cricket skills. Apart from the Milo spectacle put on during the lunch break of Test matches it was a disgraceful failure... a bloody embarrassment where the $60 went to CA.

That is CA supporting Grass Roots Cricket while Cricket outside metropolitan areas of Australia is dying!

I guess it’s because I’m from a small country town myself, that the trend alarms me. I began my cricket in Yarck… Yeah I know! "Where the farck is Yarck?"

Yarck is a farming community situated on the Maroondah Hwy which runs north beside the eastern face of Strathbogie Range 14 miles north of Yea and 9 miles from Alexandra to the South East.

Yarck C.C. played in the Alexandra District Cricket Association against Eildon, Marysville, Thornton, three Alexandra teams and Taggerty… but that was many years ago, today the entire Region struggles to field a cricket team.

Just over the range from Yarck to the North West is Euroa where Australian fast bowler Mervyn Hughes was born to play. Euroa made up the Euroa District Cricket Association and further to the north-west between Shepparton and Echuca where the Goulburn meets the Murray River... Australian Test players Matthew Elliott and Jim Higgs learned their cricket in the Kyabram District Cricket Association... they too are extinct.

These are just two of the many Cricket Associations from outside the Metro area all over the country that have folded and in my opinion; nothing of any real consequence has ever been done to solve the problem associated with dwindling numbers. Many reasons have been put forward but nothing to address the issues that might rejuvenate interest or enthusiasm… just lip service.

There are other reasons why am I so concerned about the money going to Grass Roots Clubs… it is because Cricket Clubs these days are all about paying players to bolster the clubs senior side in order to win trophies. In real terms these players have had their chance to advance in the game and are only interested in themselves and what they can get from the game.

Pay Players or investment in junior infrastructure… what should your club do?

"Grass Roots Cricket" in any sense of the phrase is not Senior Grade Cricket and it’s not "Community Cricket", it is those who’ve been attracted to the game in attempt to emulate their idols.

This money offered by the games top players has been done with all the best intentions and should be applied to coaching structures for the grass roots cricket… the children starting out in the game. Skill stations set up about the ground were the kids rotate and participate in drills that will see them develop technique and the confidence to execute the disciplines of the game. Where they learn of its history and traditions handed down by those they wish to emulate… because someday these children will be handing it down to others when their time comes.

Children taught properly learn quickly and progress to competition levels where they should be given every encouragement created by the opportunity of advancement... by producing accomplished cricketers they will have greater confidence and enthusiasm for the game as they progress to higher levels reducing the need for patch up coaching.

I have no doubt this is the best way forward for cricket anywhere. Paying players in an attempt to win medals means nothing compared to the reward of having a youngster representing your club on a Test Arena.

If you were like me you’d remember your time as a child... eagerly wait for his father to come home to bowl to him in the back yard or out in the street. Yes! I like you dreamed of the day I would have the skill to play Test cricket and fortunately I had someone who encouraged and coached me at an early age.

The game has been neglected and development programs have been so out of place that participation numbers have plummeted and this is a stat that belongs to those who voted CA into a position where they’ve been able to dismantle the Governance structures that were not broken.


The Cupboard is Bare


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15 


First of all I don't get paid to comment and I certainly do not rely on Cricket Australia (CA) or any organization associated to them for income... so I am not affraid to say it as I see it... therefore you wont see me sucking up for favour as we see in the media. The only thing I get from Cricket is my 200 club membership. It was something I earned as a player and coach and I am proud of that.

I also wish every Australian Cricketer success and don't be mistaken... I want our players to do well, now and into the future. But most importantly I want cricket in Australia to do well and in my opinion this can only happen if the game is governed by cricketers elected by cricketers with experience in the game... those who work with our great volunteers.

Just look at the situation the Australian Selectors confronted recently... it seems they opened the door of the High Performance Managers office at CA, walked to his cupboard marked "Players ready for Test Cricket" and found it almost bare... for if we are true to ourselves, how else can we describe the 15 man squad to play two Tests against Pakistan in the U.A.E. in November.

There is no doubt in my mind that our high performance strategies and development pathways are failing... we have nothing at all to fall back on as we have found with Warner and Smith disqualified. Our Australian Test Cricket Team named by Chairman of Selectors Trevor Hohns has five uncapped players and only two batsmen averaging better than 40. Usman Khawaja (Averaging 42) has 6 Test centuries and Captain Tim Payne (40.82) who has not yet reached triple figures at that level

They find themselves relying so heavily on Shaun Marsh (37.60) with 9 Test hundreds and those still trying to cement places... Matthew Renshaw (33.47) who still clingings to a maiden Test century was selected in favour of two time century maker Peter Handscomb. Next best and this really does put Australian Cricket Standards into perspective... statistically Ashton Agar (32.50) who dramatically fell short of a début century at Nottingham four years ago, slots in above two time century maker Mitch Marsh (27.85).

There is no doubt that Mitch is the big improver... lets hope he'll be a player of the future and can find someone to bat with and that all the batting stars "Align" so that we are able to out play Pakistan at the crease because our reinforcements... Aaron Finch, Marnus Labuschange and Travis Head, average less than 40 in first class cricket and if we are truly honest... this means that they barely qualify for State selection.

What has happened to the game that was left for us cricketers to nurture. Somehow the responsibility we "Cricketers" inherieted... vanished?

How is it that we now Selectors and Coaches sending a messages to a player that does not apply to others... for those chosen above Glen Maxwell have not been as successful as he. Do you know Maxwell averages above 40 in First Class Cricket compared to those selected above him and has scored as many hundreds with less opportunities in some instances.

Ask yourself this question... Does it seem the game is scraping the bottom of the barrel?

With Hazlewood, Patterson and Cummins injured, it seems like Treveor Hohns resorted to a lucky dip... he dragged out Brendan Doggett from Queensland who has taken 32 wickets in 9 games of First Class Cricket and team mate Michael Neser who at least has captured 98 First Class Cricket scalps... is that as good as it gets?

The saving grace is the 699 Test wickets Starc Siddle and Lyon share between them.

At least that is something to work with and I give them credit for that given the situation.. it will allow Starc to be used in short spells, Siddle to do the grunt work... which provides Payne the opportunity to interchange Siddle and Marsh with Lyon while the ball is holding shape. Then to mix it up with the left arm orthodox of either Holland or Argar... both with Test experience. This could work but as I said... all the cricketing stars in the southern hemisphere will have to align for Australia to finish ahead of Pakistan.

To find our cricket in this situation... does not say alot about the state of Australian Cricket under CA governance or its cast of thousands which include a High Performance Manager, Cricket Development Heads and its "Centre of Excellence" for that matter. They have all taken credit for past glory.

The game has disintegrated under current Policies and it does not matter how many coaching level certificates are certified... if players are not coming through the system with proper technique or thought process, all that can be done is "Patch up Coaching".

Game Development has been on the wrong path for years... I doubt they could recognize "Grass Roots Cricket" if they fell over it and sadly this reflects badly on good coaching efforts around the country.


In the Players Best Interest and Welfare


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15 


I read in the Australian Newspaper that former Australian Captain and Cricket Australia (CA) Director Mark Taylor had defended his CEO James Sutherland over his handling of the “Ball Tampering” incident on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday Show last week.

The Australian Newspaper quoted Taylor as saying, “Sutherland straight away wakes up Sunday morning to the Ball Tampering story, he knows it’s going to be big. Straight away he’s on the phone to everybody including me... to get us all together to discuss the next steps”.

The paper says that he went on to say that once Iain Roy, head of integrity and Patrick Howard ( High Performance) were on the first available flight to South Africa... within 80 hours Sutherland had sorted all the CA Board Members out and had spoken to all players having flown to South Africa himself.

The article also quoted Taylor as having said his CEO’s focus was on player welfare at all times... as it should have been and that his mission was to uncover the facts... not what people assumed, not what people were putting out on Social Media, to find out the facts so we (The Board I assume) could deal with it.

The first thing that struck me about Taylor’s comments was that it was all a bit late as players had already admitted live to the world that they’d cheated.

I must admit, Sutherland certainly jumped into action quicker than he did during the Pay dispute.. where was Taylor?.

But how many “On Lookers” like me could be convinced that the Sutherland’s focus or that of his Board for that matter... would ever have been on the players and their welfare given their attitude during the pay dispute or for the men’s game around this country, rather than damage control.

And are we expected to believe not one CA Board Members was watching the Test live as the Ball Tampering incident played out. Or that Team management weren’t on the phone ringing Sutherlands phone off the wall as he slept through it all.

Did Taylor sleep through the incident as well... he slept through the pay dispute?

I doubt we’ll ever get to the real truth of the matter... but If Taylor and his Board expect us to swallow their message that only 3 players are responsible for this incident they’re kidding themselves.

What is the first thing anyone does who’s been handed a ball to complete an over (in any level of cricket)?

He checks state or condition of the ball.

What about a strike bowler... wouldn’t he be checking the condition of the ball each time he returned to the top of his run?


The Ball Tampering Incident


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15 


A Cricketer plays for the team and through his on field contribution earns the respect of his peers. At least that is the way it was once, but not anymore.


The modern game of cricket has just provided us with an example of what it has become and surely you are as shocked, appalled and deeply saddened by it all as I am.

On display to the world was our most highly decorated Sporting team executing the most dishonourable act imaginable. Our Australian Cricketers were tampering with the sacred cricket ball in an attempt to gain an advantage and it all unfolded live on TV, day 3 of the 3rd Test at Cape Town South Africa.

How could this be happening I thought?

Social Media response was immediate and cruel. It also proved Australian Cricket has few real friends or respect and that our Cricket Culture or image is far from liked. The world audience were happily tarnishing the brand with glee forgetting their own misdemeanours.

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have received their punishment ban but it is only one part of the issue facing Australian Cricket.

I think those handing out the punishment, should be handing in resignations themselves. Not knowing what was going on in that dressing room is not an excuse... it’s a dereliction of duty and it all starts at the top. When the series is done and dusted further changes must be made and here is why!

As a past player who has maintained active involvement in the game... I support the idea that punishment should handed down but there should also be a clear is message sent to the other Test playing nations; get your own affairs in order because Australian Cricketers do not accept double standards.

Unfortunately this message cannot be sent... because those of us Cricketers who have nurtured and honoured the game so it can be handed it down with all its history and traditions are not represented at the administration level.

The sad truth of the matter is that we cannot even vote for those we would like to have representing the game. An investigation into this needs to be undertaken now by the real owners of the game and affiliates.

Once upon a time the game was run by its cricketers... those who’d played and performed at a reasonable level. Those respected and who repaid the game over and over again as a volunteer or as a coach... this is how we once inspired the next generation to set the standard.

The events in South Africa are not the fault of past Cricketers because Modern day Officials have made certain we have no involvement. This means Cricket has lost its conscience, along with the respect of the club culture and the affiliates. Today the administrators of the game believe the infrastructure that surrounds them belongs to them, not the game.

I feel nauseous when James Sutherland uses the words “Cricket Family”. What a joke!

Cricketers once steered the game and they relied on other cricketers to be elected into officialdom to carry on upholding the values and traditions we hand down to them.

Cricketers have always set out governance procedures. It was first set out in the Articles of Association... until secret back room groups undermined it all... first by altering a word here or a phrase there and not so long ago either.

All done in an attempt to keep past players and volunteers out.

Today the responsibility that past and present players had to guide and foster the games honoured traditions and principles have became a thing of the past and they have been replaced by a privileged few. From my experience I believe they lack real passion and respect for the time honoured game.

And what is more disturbing to me is that these undeserving officials cannot be removed even when playing such a huge part in creating this modern culture. A culture that is so removed from the game... that those showing any respect for it are ignored.

And boy didn’t those Corporate types running and sponsoring the game desert the ship leaving their former champion and Australian Cricket Captain to face the baying media on his return to Australia... just a lonely kid facing the aftermath of a terrible judgemental error, a stupid stupid mistake that could have been prevented had the culture bubble surrounding him been respectful to the game.


THE GREAT EAST LANCS GRASS COURT AFFAIR


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15 


I found this script today, written by a good friend of mine John Pomfret 35 years ago... I remember the incident well and John captured the moment magnificently. Had another good laugh about it today. For those of you who know Brendan and how competitive Bushy” McArdle and I were against each other... I think you’ll love it; enjoy

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THE GREAT EAST LANCS GRASS COURT AFFAIR

Way back in 1983 during a period known at East Lancs as “Callen’s second year” an incident occurred that was destined to go down in Club legend as the Grass Court Affair.

Whilst what follows may employ a certain amount of poetic licence it is basically true as I witnessed it as a hysterical 18 year old. In fact the incident led directly to questions being raised in committee as to whether the cricket professional was actually a member of the Club and entitled to use the facilities.

Thanks to the pioneering efforts of those two upstanding Australian gentlemen Ian Callen and Brendan McArdle sanity won out. As a result the Professional is now issued with an honourary membership card and no longer has to tug his forelock and avert his gaze when talking to members of the committee

In those far off days of 1983 East Lancs had both a head groundsman (curator) and an assistant so there were the man hours available to provide grass tennis courts directly in front of the pavilion.

However on the day in question, whilst there were three courts marked out only one had a net in place. It was also occupied by Messrs Callen and McArdle who were engaged in a fiercely competitive match. Enter four tennis members wanting to play who I’ll call Clarence, Daphne, Roger and Penelope for no other reason than the names remind me of the people that they were.

This is what happened next!

Daphne: I say Clarence.

Clarence: What is it old girl?

Daphne: There’s someone on our court.

Roger: Pretty rough looking chaps if you ask me.

Penelope: Rough darling? I’d rather say rugged.

Roger: Never you mind rugged, I haven’t forgotten last week.

Clarence: Now now you two don’t fall out over old news, Penelope’s already

explained that it was all a bit of a misunderstanding with the Vicar and

his bicycle pump.

Daphne: Hear hear.

Roger: You weren’t even there.

Daphne: (Dreamily) No I wasn’t.

Clarence: Steady on, this isn’t going to get our court back.

Penelope: (Eagerly) I’ll go and have a word.

Roger: You’ll do no such thing! Clarence will.

Clarence: Er, um are you sure? I mean look at the size of the forearms on that

one.

Daphne: Oh do get on Clarence, Penny’s right about you being all mouth and no

action.

Clarence: (Approaching the court slowly) I say, you chaps there, what are you

doing?

Ian: G’day mate. We’re playing tennis.

Clarence: (returning to the others) They say they’re playing tennis.

Roger: Oh for goodness sake Clarence old man we can see that! Ask them why

they are on our court.

(Clarence approaches the court again)

Brendan: Look out mate, the soppy Pom’s back.

Ian: (to Clarence) What is it mate? We’re trying to finish a game here.

Clarence: (grandly) I’m afraid that will not be possible my man, this is our court

and we want to play.

Ian: Well we got here first mate and set the bloody net up so you’ll just have to

wait.

Clarence: You misunderstand me. We are the top four players at this club, we

never wait.

Brendan: Today you do.

Clarence: (gaining some ill advised bravery) Who are you chaps anyway? I

haven’t seen you before and I’ll wager you’re not even members.

Brendan: Wager all you like sport, this is Ian Callen he’s the Pro here.

Clarence: The what? (to himself) I thought that Daphne was the only old pro

around these parts.

Brendan: The cricket professional, all the way from Australia.

Clarence: (shocked) Australia! You mean he’s Australian?

Brendan: We both are you daft Pom, now why don’t you bugger off for some

cucumber sandwiches and let us get on with our game?

Clarence: You haven’t heard the last of this.

Brendan: (muttering to Ian) Do you think he could talk chewing a tennis ball?

Ian: Leave it mate, I’ve got to put up with these people till September. Let’s just

get on with the game.

(They continue as Clarence returns to his friends)

Roger: Well what did they say? They don’t appear to be leaving.

Clarence: (pointing at Brendan) That one there in the blue shorts says that the

other one is Ian Callen the Australian cricket professional.

Penelope: I thought that all Australians were criminals and sheep worriers.

Daphne: They can worry me anytime.

Roger: Daphne please!

Clarence: (putting on a brave face) I told them that we are the top four players in

the club and that we never wait but it didn’t do any good.

Daphne: We’re the only four players in the club.

Clarence: Never mind that now, what are we going to do?

Roger: (slapping his forehead) You said it yourself. The one in the blue shorts.

Clarence: What do you mean?

Roger: I mean that he’s breaking the all whites rule. I’ll have him.

Daphne: (to herself) not before me you won’t.

Roger: (walks confidently towards the court and calls to Brendan) Hey there

chummy, just a moment.

Brendan: (just about to receive serve) What now?

Roger: I’m awfully sorry, but you can’t play in those shorts.

Brendan: Hold the serve Ian, this bloke’s just asked me to take off my strides.

Jeez mate, I thought you had a dress code here?

Daphne & Penelope: (both clapping their hands) Oh well done Roger!

Clarence: Ladies really.

Ian: (quietly to Roger) Look mate this is match point, what say you run along and

tell your friends that we’ll be finished in a minute. Unless of course you want

a tennis racquet inserting where the sun don’t shine!

Brendan: Head first!

Roger: (departing quickly) Righty-ho chaps.

Clarence: Well?

Roger: I gave them a stern talking to and told them that this is their last point.

Daphne: Oh how masterful.

Penelope: (snorts with derision) I don’t think.

Clarence: Ok then, let’s go inside and get ready.

(They go inside just as Ian and Brendan finish their match)

Ian: Look mate, I’ve got an Idea to really piss off those stuffed shirts.

Brendan: How do you mean?

Ian: The curator’s left the roller out on the edge of the pitch and it’s going in the middle of the court. If they can start it they can move it.

Brendan: Good on you mate but it’ll cause some trouble.

Ian: It’ll be worth it though.

(Ten minutes later Clarence, Penelope, Daphne and Roger emerge from the pavilion to find the heavy roller smack bang in the middle of the court to the sound of fading antipodean laughter.)

Daphne: (at the top of her voice) CLARENCE! RING THE CHAIRMAN, NOW



"Ashes Cricket" is the sports show piece to the world


21 June 2018 18:50


.

The series is a demonstration or if you like, a "Test" not only of character or ability, but commitment, humility, preparation and planning. All in order to maintain a Nations sporting pride.


And so the 2017 -2018 Ashes series came to end in Sydney and in the final wash up it was Australia 4 England 0.


For the Australian and England Cricket teams every aspect of the game was laid bare and scrutinised but for the respective Nations their "Cricket" can only be judge by the last performance.


I don't know how my many friends in the UK feel about it all... perhaps they feel their team lacked discipline and respect. The Ben Stokes incident did not help the cause and certainly disrupted tour preparations.


I suppose that might be used as an excuse for some but in my mind, the Tourists underestimated the task before them and certainly the Australian bowling attack. There also seemed to be a lack of support for Joe Root, an inexperienced leader without his deputy. Had this been anticipated... it didn't look that way because Joe was far from his best and always under pressure.


To his credit the Captain battled on without retreat from the Sun nor heat nor Pat Cummins.


As I watched, I wondered if England's brains trust ever thought Pat would last the series.


I know I had my concerns but Pat just got better with every Test match. In the end his stamina strength and hunger for wickets astounded me. The big quick played the entire series... ending it in Sydney with an 8 wicket haul. This performance proving beyond doubt that all batsmen require sound technique when confronting fast short pitched bowling.


Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc with Lyon in support were relentless... in comparison to the English attack. With Stuart Broad, under a cloud before the series he went missing when it counted leaving Anderson, Woakes and Overton carrying the burden.


I thought Anderson maintained good lines but without any support... the Australians only had to see him off.


Woakes look good at times, but refused to work his way about the crease and not once did he get close enough to the stumps to take advantage of his natural gift... the leg cutter. With such a delivery up his sleeve he has the ability to threaten any batting... but unless he's prepared to work the lines this will never happen often enough.


Moeen Ali was another great disappointment and seemingly overwhelmed by the Australians and the conditions. I think England could have played Mason Crane much early... it would not have made any difference as it turned out and who knows it might have made him?

From an Australian perspective we'd hoped for a series to lift the spirits of "Test Cricket".


We needed proof that this format of the game has no comparison to the contests which make up "Test Cricket" and as matches ebbed and flowed the Ashes did not let us down even though it failed to deliver the close fought result we were wanting.


It certainly was a terrific appetiser for the Test Cricket that awaits us in South Africa. I will have more to say on this in my next "SportsHounds" contribution.


I must congratulate Steve Smith for an outstanding series... his batting is truly Bradman like. I thought Darren Lehmann, David Saker and staff did a terrific job preparing a squad heavily criticised. Especially Tim Paine, Shaun and Mitch Marsh.


The selectors were proven right as they were with Khawaja... who's persona at the crease, reminds me very much of David Gower, the great England Left Hander... always relaxed and seemingly doing it with ease.



Boxing Day Test A Disappointment


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:10 


So Melbourne's Boxing Day Test ends in a disappointing draw and what a painful 5 days it was for the bowlers. Having watched the first days play I made the prediction that Cook would bat for two days... and he didn't disappoint me. What a humble and modest man he is... a true champions and gentleman of the game, with exceptional concentration skills.


I must say that with the ball barely carrying to the Keeper the bowlers also put in a truly a herculian effort... all plugging away throughout on a very disappointing Test Match Pitch. Special mention must go to Warner and Smith... both leading from the front playing important roles in both innings.


We now look forward to Sydney... and it is shame the series was over before it had reached the two "G's!" The scheduling needs to be looked at by administration, that is for sure.


And so, whilst on the subject of Administration I refer to comments recently made by Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland below:


Yes! Test cricket is in danger I agree, but what is being done about it? We surely cannot blame the Cricketers... or can we?

Let me paint a picture for you and if I am off the mark... feel free to tell me. I'll let you make up your own minds.

When it come to the administration of the game... Where are all the Cricketers?


I think it's a fair question because they are certainly not running the game that's for sure. Otherwise the wickets around the world would be more conducive to good cricket offering an even contest to bat and ball.


I suppose I should clarify those who might be a cricketer... in my mind it can only be he or she who has played and performed at a reasonable level.

So a cricketer in my mind is someone respected by peers, has gone onto coach and inspire those with youthful ambition. There are some of course, who've gone on and achieved much more.


It is also worth stating that Cricketers never play for themselves, always the team and certainly never at the expense of aspiring youth. A Cricketer will respect and support the club and would never believe it operates for their own personal benefit. And one last thing... a true Cricketer is never a miss field, away from being an negative impact on his/her team mates.


History once proved that Cricketers rely on other cricketers they've elected into officialdom in order to keep the game on course, upholding traditional values,controlling purse strings and of course game develop as set out in various Articles of Association... "Crickets Constitution". Unfortunately this is now a thing of the past... As we've all seen over the past scandalous year.


Today it seems certain that those in power are no longer wanted by the overall majority of cricketers... especially at the grass roots level of "The Game!" And what is more, the incumbent have embedded themselves into office and cannot and will not be removed or replaced.

This is a "BS" situation!


A situation where the game is not making decisions on behalf of itself and when you consider the incumbents are telling us Test Cricket is sinking... I am disillusioned and dismayed further. Again I refer to the attached comments by James Sutherland.

It seems to me that James and his Board are so full of their own ego's they fail to recognise that it is "They" who are responsible for the state of Test Cricket and the game in general.


But for most of 2017 the CEO has been blaming his Cricketers, oblivious to the one real thing destroying the game... the lack of Cricketers involved in running the dam thing... does anyone really think for one moment that a Cricketer would want to produce a poor wicket for its cricketers, especially for Test Matches.


The Perth wicket is a tragic situation and it should not be. The MCG Pitch should be the best in world cricket... and so why isn't it the show piece of "World Cricket Wickets".


So you might ask who's responsible... Guess who, Yes! It is "Cricket Australia" that's who!... And all under the watch of Sutherland and his Board.


The MCG wicket once under the control of Cricket Victoria before the rights were sold off to Cricket Australia... the drop in wickets are have an negative impact on the game. But this is also happening everywhere more and more as Test Nation Administrators (Not Cricketers) look to bolster the paid positions they hold.


The problem is not just here in Australia... Let us take a look at Australia's last tour of England. History once proves "The Oval" pitch the best batting strip in world cricket. Edgbaston traditionally not far behind, but neither have played to standard in recent tours.


I ask the question Why? Is it because Administrators are looking to contrive results?


One thing is for sure... it is not the Cricketers... it is those employed by Cricketers to run the game and who now think they own it.

Again I think my questions are reasonable and need to be answered... The game has lost Cricketing values during James Sutherland reign and with the introduction of the Corporate High flyers and executives who wilfully turn their backs on unconscionable behaviour and this includes those with the ability to twist and misrepresent conversation, opinions or the information they pass on.


I think it all so shameful and I am fed up with those who work the figures to , promote or market the game on guesstimates... using the money belonging to the game, the "Grass roots of cricket" in order to promote or justify their employment.


There is a similarity here to the cricket types who for years occupy a position in the team, claiming they they are mentoring youthful aspiration... BS! But "Statistics" can be found on "Mycricket" these days proving conclusively that these types have nothing at all to pass on to anyone but somehow they've infiltrated the system.


Something needs to be done to save not only Test Cricket but the entire game everywhere and the first step is to remove the types failing and abusing it.


This is all happening at the expense of true leadership... those with the ability to anticipate and recognise issues before they happen. Yes, I believe this is where the game is at right now... and somehow the Cricketers have to fix it.



The Game of Cricket Moving Forward


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:10 


Women's Cricket (WC) is up and running around the world and I am told it is in a financially sustainable situation.

This being the case, I believe it needs to be handed over to the Ladies to develop and nurture from this point on.

It is also time for the game to be handed over to its rightful shareholders around the world. In Australia it is the District Clubs and Associates and they must take control of our State Associations and reinstate their authority over the dictatorship that has become Cricket Australia (CA)... the game must administer itself the way it was established and originally set up or it will be owned by money and influence moving forward as it seems it already is.

As I have said many times a thorough review of those employed in cricket throughout Australia needs to be undertaken... the numbers employed grossly overlap the pre existing duties and responsibilities that naturally evolve within the game. The financial saving from this, better applied to grass roots cricket... after all this is where the responsibility of game development truly lies.

Yes! Administrators need to free up positions and employ qualified junior coaches rather than seat warmers. Quality cricket people to assist community clubs develop cricket skills for the boys and girls who are being attracted to the game.

From my experience the game does not need paid administrative workers across regions telling Volunteers what they should be doing... our cricket people are hard workers and are more than capable.

There is something else that needs to be pointed out... for what ever reason a cricketer fails to advanced to District Cricket (I hate the term Premier Cricket) they have missed their chance. But this does not mean they don't have a responsibility to the game.

It is now the time to nurture and provided opportunity for those coming through. The game need not be lost to you! You can now help the next generation by encouraging others.

The game needs to ensure it provides opportunities for cricketers past and present and reward them to take on roles within the community. This is where funds need to be invested.

To provide good coaching programs at the introductory level of the game because every opportunity should be afforded to those the game attracts... otherwise they are being neglected and I say they have for far too long.

Young children soak up everything that is taught to them and in no time at all... it just clicks for them. I have witnessed this as a coach. The excitement is contagious and in no time they are executing skills correctly, with confidence, technique and style.

Sure their nurturing takes patience, requires reinforcement and encouragement but once the child picks it up it stays with them forever, alleviating the need for corrective coaching at competition levels.

A further recommendation.. the outstanding graduates of this type of program should be employed (paid) as assistants to help advanced other participants in the junior development programs within the club. This promotes self esteem and confidence instilling cricketing values and admiration for those moving through the pathway system.

I believe cricket participation numbers will increase on the back of organised and structured development programs where families can witness the advances being made by their children and others generating greater community support and involvement.

I believe a greater number of talented Cricketers (boys & girls) will emerge from such initiatives... who knows we may even increase playing numbers across the country!

I also would encourage greater investment into junior cricket regional competition with sponsorship for representatives and T20 knockout comp prior to Big Bash games in each state with advancement to a national championship.

I would also like to see the best of the youngsters competing at an international level replacing under 17 and under 19 competition who by now should excelling at district crickets levels against hard nosed cricketers.



CRICKET HIJACKING


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:05 


Over recent times I've found myself asking this question... is Mens Cricket being highjacked by safe space snow flakes who are unable to face the hard truth or the reality cricket can dish out to all who play it?

It seems to me that one sector of the Cricket Community is trying to close down any conversation or debate the game might throw up from time to time and if anyone outside their domain has an opinion that they do not agree with... they attack and ridicule them for expressing it.

I was astounded to read comments directed at Patrick Smith a Journalist for the Australian newspaper last week following the opinion he offered on Women's Cricket, see below:

Australian Women’s Cricketer "Alyssa Healy" was so disgruntled she then followed up with an article that was immediately published on the "cricket.com" website. see the link below:

http://www.cricket.com.au/news/feature/alyssa-healy-womens-sport-opinion-cricket-australia-pace-speed-bowling-men-pathways-girls/2017-09-22

Wow!!! Did you happen to notice that she is being ranked, The Number One Wicket Keeper in Australia?

Who wrote this Malcolm Conn???!!!

PATRICK SMITH was a terrific fast bowler for the Prahran Cricket Club and a member of the Victorian State Squad. During his playing days he worked hard on his career as a journalist and today, he is very respected in both the print and radio mediums. And I’ll let you all into a secret... I concur with his thoughts, as do many other experienced cricketers, coaches and cricket experts.

The hash but real truth is that, if you are going to play the game of cricket, you have to learn to deal with opinions, ideas, criticism and analysis from all sections of the game, whether it is from the opposition team on the field, their supporters on the boundary, past players or commentators like me. It is part and parcel of cricket and it is from this, that we learn so much about ourselves and others.

Having read Alyssa's article, I firstly tried to think back over my time to remember if I'd ever seen "sporting identities" of any kind consciously sitting around in their underwear on TV drinking beer. I do however remember as a young man growing up, the very inspirational women of Australian sport... household names in fact: Betty Cuthbert, Dawn Fraser, Margaret Smith (Court), Evvone Goolagong (Cawley), Heather McKay, Shane Gould, Raylene Boyle, era's of triumphant Australian Netball teams and Womens Hockey teams the list goes on... To say there was no avenue to Elite Levels seems disrespectful to all those Australian Sporting Women, either as individuals or as representatives of team sport.

Alyssa, I can tell you that there have been many Australian Women who have successfully competed at the "ELITE LEVELS" of their sport on the world stage and they didn't need TV to inspire them. And for goodness sake... Women’s Cricket has been played throughout Australia for more than 100 years and you might like to ask yourself this question. If Women's Cricket is so successful, as everyone associated with it is trying to force down our throats... how come it is relying on the Men’s game to fund it?

All Cricket Teams in Australia have "Wicket Keepers" and many of these "Glovemen" are playing at a levels far more testing and competitive in standard than Australia's No 1 Women's "Wicket Keeper" and none of them go around throwing the term "Elite" all over the place... one would need to be the best of the best and Womens Cricket has a long way to go before anyone playing it can be measured by that standard.

It seems some are attempting to "jump the cue" to highjack the sporting "Spot Light".

How about we show some respect not only to other sporting codes, successful in their own right, but to all the other "Woman in Sport" competing on the world stage with little recognition. It might also be worth considering the many Junior pathway cricketers who are far better at cricket than any Woman in the game and these young sports people receive little or no recognition or the profile in the game, whilst some with less talent are being called champions of the sport... how does that work?

Women’s Cricket needs to be a success story and until then it's players need to be humble. They must accept constructive critisim and deal with it like everyone else has too. The public don't want to be told they like it when there seems to be issues holding the Women's section of the game back. I have given it great thought, searching for ways to solve the problems I can see. Such as, will the Women's style of game appeal to the traditional cricket fan or will they come in the numbers needed to make the game sustainable and pay to watch it? If not why not?

The most pressing issue for Women's Cricket in my mind, is to find ways to equalize the competition between Bat and Ball.These are questions being asking in the Mens Game where the bats sizes have been reduced. These issues need to be addressed because the game may never stand on its own or attract the support it really needs and it cannot be carried by the Men forever.

In my opinion the first thing we must do is shorten the pitch. Bowlers must be brought into the game. At present the game is totally one sided and unfair for any young women lacking in bowling strength whichs means they're severely disadvantaged. A shorter pitch will make up for the lack of strength and pace, evening the contest between bat and ball, adding greater intrigue to the style of play... it is certainly worth considering.

I'd also like to see a genuine profit and loss statement... detailing the ICC Women's World Cup so that we can be more informed. Being able to make a more reasoned judgement would help all in the game and without all the creative accounting measures used to make Cricket Australia promotors look good... for example sell out crowds at Alan Border Field which holds a massive 6300 people. Let us see where Women's Cricket is truly at... where the money has been spent, where it came from and how much of it came in from TV rights, numbers through the gates by paying customers and in particular... how much did it cost to put the game on at Lords and whether the gate takings covered costs???

So before everyone takes "a fence and a picket" to the commentators... take some time to think about it, I think you'll find that they are are all on the same side.


A VOTE TO PROTECT THE GAME


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:05 


The future of Victorian Cricket will be decided to tonight at "Cricket House' Jolimont and to the Delegates I remind you of your obligation to the game.

I trust all Delegates have searched their conscience... spending all the necessary time discussing your pending vote with your playing lists and members... those you represent. Have you outlined just how critical this decision will be to the aspirations they have, their playing future or for those who'll follow them. You should have done... and well before now.

I hope so, for I am sure you'd want what is best for all Victorians Cricketers with aspirations to higher levels and that would surely "not be" for you to side with the incumbient Board, even though they seem to have seen some light of late... all too little too late, in the opinion of many!

For when Tony Dodemaide was appointed CEO of Cricket Victoria (CV) I like many in the game were excited... we believed we might have found the our crickets saviour, someone to lead it back to the glory days. A time when home grown talent was plentiful and Test Match centuries were being rattled off by our home grown players all over the world.

At the time, I was the bowling coaching of Tony's former District Club "Footscray Edgewater", a club that has contributed greatly to Australian cricket over the years and hopefully will continue to do so if our cricketing system can be restored.

Ironically his club is now leading the charge for change and the reason comes from this... at his clubs season launch at the RACV Club, more than a decade ago, Tony made the following statement; "One third of all cricket being played in Australia is being played Victoria".

All these years later and under Tony's leadership and that of his Board lead by Russell Thomas, cricket in our state has gone backward... proof if you ever needed it, can be found in Cricket Australia's (CA) Cricket Participation Numbers. (or my diagram below) It shows playing levels in Victoria have fallen to less than 1/4 of the games total participants.... from 66% of all cricket played in our country to less than 25%.

Well that is disgraceful... "how can you congratulate" yourselves on that Tony Dodemaide and Russell Thomas? Perhaps you might like to explain how this happened instead of boasting how well the game is doing in our state! Oh that's right, you don't believe you have to answer to anyone!

I will concede Victoria has won a "Hat Trick" of Sheffield Shields and it paints a very nice picture. However if you look under the carpet, where the truth is swept, only 50% of the Victoria Bushrangers victorious teams were Victorian home grown cricketers... which means, either our cricketers are not up to standard or our cricket has worsened or both!

Another job poorly done... I'd say!

So how is it that any responsible cricket representative or administrator can stand up and support the incumbient who've blindly followed CA stategies, overseeing the decline in our cricket, rather than listen to those at the coal face of the game... the true cricket people.

Is it because they're dazzled by CA's "creative accounting" methods? A perfect example of this has been on display recently... so the following is also well worth considering:

CA claim cricket has 1.43m total participants.

800k they say involved in some form of cricket activity to do with the game in schools.

The most interesting statistic however, and again, swept under the carpet, has created a huge lump in the middle of the floor that CA were hoping we'd not notice... that is the 600k so called cricketers who've fail to migrate from school activity to club competition.

The breakdown of CA stats are as follows: NSW/ACT 395k, Vic 375k, Qld 280k, WA 185k WA, SA 125, Tas 45k, NT 25k, 185k indoor cricket

Lets us look at these figures again... 800k schools cricket+ 445k actually playing at club level + 185 indoor = 1.43mil of which 395k are females participating and described as cricketers.

This leaves 1.04mil Male cricketers meaning that out of every 100, about 25 are female cricket participants.

Ok lets say those figures are genuine and are reflected in those 445k actually playing club cricket... it means 18k are females, making 1.6k cricket teams compared to 39k male teams.

We can further assume that of the 18k females playing the game, half are from NSW & Victoria (9k) meaning 4.5k females are playing in Victoria compared to 108k males.

Also found under the carpet are the drop out numbers... CA or CV never mention that club cricket is down 32% from approximately 660k 25 years ago to 445k at club level today and in that number, only 135k are under 12 junior level.

For cricket administrators these hidden figures are tragic and nothing to celebrate... so how the hell, can 1/2 the District clubs in Victoria who claim they are fostering the game, sit on their hands rather than stand up for the game, when the majority of cricket people in Victoria are up in arm's seeking change!

What is going on!

Let us consider the 1.4 mil participants in Australia, of which 770k are from NSW & Victoria which is 1/2 of all participants. From this it is fair to assume 1/2 of all club participants are playing club cricket in NSW & Victoria.

This equates to 225,000 cricketers representing NSW and Victoria.

So what is so significant about this, I will tell you... it entiles NSW and Victoria to a huge share of funding from its investment in CA... set up by the owners of the games, but were are the returns and who's spending it and on what?

Just think about what could have been done with regular income to develop the game within each region of the State?

These are questions being asked by the "New 6" because these funds belong to the traditional owners of the game "The Grass Roots of Cricket". Made up of District Clubs in all states and their affiliates. In Victoria they are the 18 District Clubs, VCCL, VSDCA, CUOV and Womens Cricket.

Just for the record... Womens cricket holds 3 votes and currently hold the balance of power over the "NEW 6" who are seeking answers and change!

Lets put this in perspective... the Victoria Country Cricket League the producer of 49% of Victoria's State Cricketers and our Test players who generate the games income, have one losy 1 vote.

Ladies you need to reconsider your vote and get on the "right side" of Victorian Cricket... for you rely so much of the mens game for funding and each year CA increase its use of shareholder funds for their expenditure which ultimately reduces the effectiveness of each State in its endeavour to develop the game, your game or the mens... whether anyone likes this or not.

Something must be done about this and Victoria's "New 6" are doing "all the fighting" for Victorian Cricket and for the game in "All States" for that matter.

Meanwhile it's all too much for half the District clubs in Victoria including the Women... all bending over backward trying to do favours for themselves without the others knowledge, when they should be fighting for their share of the returns on their investment into the game... where is the transparency?

Consider this:

CA Forecasted revenue over next 5 years is $1.667 bill = 333.4 mil per year

Players to share 27.5% + 2.5% incentive bonus (30%)

$100 mil per year to players less 25 mil to grass roots leaving a gross profit of 233 mil of which 116mil per year should be shared between NSW & Victoria after cost. $58mil per year for Victorian cricket reducing at an never-ending rate thanks to CA's ever rising costs and never-ending effort to take away your share of the games ownership in Australian Cricket

In Victoria your ownship is supposed to be represented by CV who have failed you badly... can you not see this?

It is why District Clubs are up in arms for the game and its future... how can you allow failing administrators power to sell off your entitlements and negate your clubs ability to develop the game within your regions.

When was CA given the right to set about the task of taking ownership of all that has been put in place by your clubs cricketers since the 1860's and why are you not demanding an audit immediately.

As I see it... It is right of the ownsers to spend their share of their investment into CA earnings as they think best.

I feel I have done all I can for the game I believe in and hope the correct decision is made on Monday night the 28th of August 2017... as theoldsaying goes... you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, let's us hope the "New 6" can make history.


THE REAL CUSTODIANS OF CRICKET


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:00 


For all of us worried about "grass roots cricket" here's something you might like to think about... is the game of "Cricket" headed to a "FIFA" type orgnisation?

James Sutherland recently called Cricket Australia (CA) the custodians of the game... "What an absolute load of Bull!"

It is those who have played... are playing or make up the membership of the cricket clubs around the Country who are the true "Custodians" of the game... and those at CA have lost sight of this!

The Truth is "Sutherland" is merely an employee of CA representing.. "the Custodianship" of the game. He was engaged by CA to make sure processes set up by the "Custodians" are being administer in Accordance with Memorandum of Articles (MoA).

The truth is, he and his Board are no longer representing the games Custodians... they now taken over, set the agenda, have become a law un-to-themselves and answerable to no one. The real Custodians no longer have a say and no mechanism to replace the Board when or if they are out of order as they have been during this pay dispute debacle... something that should never taken place in the first instance and certainly the media should never have been allowed to make such an issue of it.

It was handled disgracefully... because the State Bodies are now irrelevant and Wally Edwards and Co the architects.

Did Wally and cohorts ever take a good look at what you was being putting in place? Did they or any of the other Board members look at or consider the "Dominos Effect"... to see whether the system they were putting in place, protected the game, down to the fall of the last domino?

Obviously not!

No longer is the game represented by quality cricket people (I am talking about those with worldly cricket experience). You might argue that some have playing experience but they are restricted in so many other other areas.

Even the two Test playing Board members cannot be placed in that category.... The game needs a well balanced blend/mix?

How many have ever coached a premiership team or structured develop programs to teach proper skill for clubs at park cricket from which youngsters can advance?

How many have been engaged at club level overseeing all the problems being faced by the game? How many have cricket ideas or are visionary with real experience? How many have started up and ran a successful business in the real world? How many have had to find solution for everday problems facing a club or a cricket association?

How many with that type of experience are being elected or employed by those we elect to office? I say that figure is closer to "zero" and certainly no where near what's required.

And this will not change unless States unite and elect quality cricket people to represent the game. People who will listen to Volunteers not remove them from the game. And most importntly we need leaders prepared to take on CA to restructure its Board replacing it with a representative mix of quality cricket people.

Perhaps it is time to involve the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA)... Collectively the game has a wealth of untapped experience and cricket knowledge (Men and Women all with a common bond Cricket). I am sure under quality leadership, we (because I am one of them) as a group could be encouraged to become involved to correct poor judgement decisions of the past and point the game it in the right direction.

Take Victoria... can any in that State be satisfied the programs are working with so many players recruited from outside the system?

I have said it many times... "winning shield with imports is only window dressing", it fails to address any of the real issues facing the game.

I am so pleased the first step are being taken to address the need for change and it is being lead not by me but rightfully the founding members of Victorian cricket and they as I type... they're out every night talking to Cricket People recruiting support in an attempt to remove a very poor CEO and Board.

They have until Monday the 28th of August and if succesfully the game will have a CA member State prepared stand up the Governing Body and gain the necessary support of other State members to entice Directors to cross the floor to restructure the current voting system so that it reflects "proper custodianship".

We hear this word "transparency" a lot... If this can be achieved then I see no reason why the ACA could not be encouraged to be more representative of past players and in turn take up a three seats at CA's Boardroom table... There should never be any reason now for relating to player salaries now that we have settled the component value of the product that CA must sell to generate income for the game.

This would create a situation from where the game is truly representative... Reflective of ALL in the game and it's issues.



IN RESPONSE TO MY CRITICS


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:55 


I have been sledged on facebook and twitter over recent days and it has come from two Subbie cricketers. One a former Premiership team mate of mine... now a self appointed spokesperson for "Womens Cricket" who's goes to great length to "high jack" meetings or conversation in search of notoriety.

The other a former Subbie President burdened with a chip on both shoulders.

I've had to laugh about it all really... here are these two, a pair of confused "Roosters" performing like "clucky Hens" protecting their chicks... excuse the pun!

Anyway I can't leave their nonsense unanswered... so I will use this forum to respond as follows:

Yes! It is true... I support the rolling of the Cricket Victoria (CV) Board in order to keep Victorian Cricket for "VICTORIANS".

And yes!

I am a product of the pathways I was once a young aspiring cricketer who worked hard on his game all the way to the highest levels.

And yes!

I do speak out on issues that I believe are important to cricket, but I deny the accusation that I use "vitriolic" language against women. In fact I have championed women in cricket... particularly the training of women bat makers around Australia.

Anyway, you can judge for yourselves... my publications are available for all to read in this format and at www.sportshounds.com.au.

And Yes!

I make observations and comment hoping to provoke thought or even action. Just recently I attempted to help Women endeavouring to execute bowling disciplines on pitches that were designed for men. My harshest criticism of them has been not to get ahead of yourselves. And not for one moment​,​ have I ever suggested funding for Women's Cricket be stopped... rather it be done without biting the hand that finances it.

And No!

I make will not apologise for defending young Victorians with cricketing aspirations... for it takes courage to fully commit to the game and having been enticed to do so (And that is what we do), it is their right to continue down that path without the fear of players from interstate being flown in over their heads shirt fronting their ambitions. And it is our responsibility to make sure this does not happen!

And no!

It doesn't impress me how many games someone has played... it is the quality time spent developing those who show an interest in the game of cricket and mentoring them to higher honours.

And No!

I take no notice of "guestimates" or touted statistics or creative accounting used to calculate participation numbers nor subsidised attendance levels for that matter.

And yes!

I have captained and coached Premiership teams... all over the world in fact.

And Yes, I have been paid for it.

And Yes!

I have de listed players who've been found wanting "one fielding era" away from being a negative impact on others... replacing them young willing athletic cricketers with aspirations.

And Yes!

I did move on in life... to other more challenging ventures and have never regretted it and have not looked back.

And Yes!

I always speak out to protect the life blood of cricket... the "Volunteers" of the game who we so rely and especially those who don't blow their own trumpet.

And yes!

I have been very critical of the Corporate types demonstrating "unconscionable conduct" and in particular those who ignore or defend such behaviour... for they become equally "complicit".

And Yes!

It will be 5.30 pm Monday 28th of August 2017 at "Cricket House were CV will hold its AGM.

It is the most important day in our States Cricket history. It is all about the future of "Victorian Cricket" and it depends on a successful challenge, otherwise our States Cricketing traditions will be swallowed up and controled by "Cricket Australia" and their Corporate Executives... all with their noses in trough.

And Yes

I am a passionate public backer of this movement and the "OLD BRIGADE" those who gave us the game and those who put "into place" a very successful governance structure that until a decade ago... had protected the game until "Corporates" saw all the money and began dismantling it.

And no!

The game does not need the types in charge of the "MOU" debacle".

What the game needs is a balance between quality Corporate experience and Cricket People who will listen to the heartbeat of the game... those with the ability not only to read the play but who have forethought.

And No!

I have not initiated the proposed "New 6"... this has been undertaken by founding members of Cricket in Victoria (The District Clubs) and their mission is to oust a very poor Board of Directors.

And Yes!

I am whole heartedly encouraging them every step and I was pleased to learn that I've been joined by the Victorian Country Cricket League (VCCL) and the Victorian Sub District Cricket Association (VSDCA)... this brings together an overwhelming majority of cricket people who care about Cricket in this State and in particular "Grass Roots Cricket" and those aiming for higher honours in the game.

And Yes!

This may not be enough to tip the balance. Secret loans, forgiving of loans, special funding offers and a lack of transparency have split Victorian Cricket and the incumbent are to blame for this... no one else.

And Yes!

The incumbents will do or say anything in an attempt to secure votes in the hope of thwarting the spill.

And Yes!

It is the fault of one person who should have walked away a long time ago... but he has a huge ego and no respect for the processes put in place by founding members. If he had he would have walked away 12 months ago.

So for those following this tragic and unwanted "Russell Thomas" ego trip... it will work like this;

That is, if he doesn't see the light before the 28th.

For the proposed "New 6" to become the new Directors of the CV they will need support greater than 50% of 25 votes (18 belonging to Premier clubs, 3 for Women's Cricket, 1 VCCL, 1 Cricket Union of Victoria (CUOV) and 2 VSDCA).

So it will get down to those Club Committees who's conscience will be tested when the time comes to vote on the night... time is running out. You had better start thinking long and hard about your playing lists, Those you represent now and into the future... the young hopefuls you see out there training hard every week and into off season, in hope of reward. Advancement to First Class cricket and beyond.

And Yes!

I remember that dream... it exists in all of those who walk out onto the field of play every weekend. A Vote against the "New 6" and it will no longer exist. It will be something you as a club Delegate... will never be able to explain.

And Yes!

When it all said and done... It is easy to claim you're looking after cricketers and their ambitions in the game.

But how do you did that... "Knowing full well" that for more than a decade now, as a result of this CV Board there has been less than a 50% chance for home grown Victorians aspirants able to earn State representation than it was in my day.

It is time Victorian Cricket took control of its destiny before our cricket is gone forever!

And Yes!

I will be publishing one more article on the subject before the 28th and then it is up to the game itself... my conscience will be clear having done all I can to save Victorian Cricket.

Shorten the Pitch for Women

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:55 Delete delete Overlays edit

I recently wrote a piece for www.sportshounds.com.au where I provided my thoughts on Women's Cricket (WC) prior to the semi finals of Australia's ICC World Cup Semi Finals v India.

I wrote "Unfortunately their batting capabilities far out-weigh the bowling. In fact it’s a no-contest and that is the dilemma facing women’s cricket now and into the future".

A few hours later 'Harmanpreet Kaur" proved how right I was... Kaur destroyed the Australian Bowling attack hitting 171 off 115 balls...her last 100 runs came from 40 deliveries.

Since that time I've been reading comments made by Australian WC Cricketer "Ellyse Perry" who says, "We should not compare her sport to that of men's cricket and that it is time to celebrate the female version of the sport in its own right" and that we should appreciate it as we do "Women's Tennis".

Hang on Ellyse, is women's cricket paying for itself or is it relying on funds from the men's game to develop it?

Don't get me wrong, as a Cricket Bat Willow grower... it's in my interests that WC develops and makes the grade as a sport. Obviously the more girls who take up the game and want to buy cricket bats the better it is for the industry.

But right now I am sure that WC is getting to ahead of itself especially by comparing their cricket to the successful sport of women's tennis. A sport played all over the world by women and enjoyed as a specticle all over the world by both genders.

Tennis offers great entertainment, it's non stop athleticism, skill and intrigue leaves little doubt that you are watching a disciplined sport played by women and that provideds great drawing power.

WC also has its disciplines, many in fact and batting is one of them. But do not forget bowling and fielding with interconnecting disciplines... pace, swing, off spin & leg spin, slips fielding, in field & out fielding and I don't need to tell you that cricket is played over a longer period of time.

For WC to improve to the standard they'd like... then accepting advice or criticism is the way forward. Their game needs to improve in many areas and I am not going to worry about feelings here when I say... people tell me that they dislike WC because the girls look like pint size men running about the field. If you like, compare that to tennis, hockey, softball, netball... or womens athletics and makes it an easy fix in my opinion, so why not just design a more suitable and flattering uniform?

Ultimately success will be determined by the public... Ellyse Perry and co can hope for acceptence but telling the public they must do so will not play out if the game is not paying for itself.

The other observation on how the WC game can be improved is in the bowling department... the lack of pace means the abilities of players go untested.

Cricket’s greatest attribute is an even battle between bat and ball, otherwise the games loses its edge as a contest along with interest, worth and more importantly followers.

Obviously there is a limit to how much pace and venom WC can generate with their smaller physiques but I feel improvment can be made simply by shorten the length of the pitch by 1.82 yards bringing the bowlers into the game.

The equation for this might be as follows: (160kph ÷ 22 yards) - (120kph ÷ 22 yards) and with the use of a smaller 4 piece ball at 142 grams it will benefit the game similar to womens tennis 3 setts compared to 5 for men or women’s track and field for example, where lighter javelins or discusses are launched great distances, giving spectators an entertaining spectacle.

This in my opinion will raise WC to new levels for without pace to hurry stroke play or generate bounce and carry the game will miss the spectacle of white-hot slips catches and greater contests between bat and ball... without this the women’s game will aways fall short of what it could be... never quite qualify as a great spectator and team sport.

The proposed new Cricket Victoria "6"

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:50 Delete delete Overlays edit

I am not running for a position on the Cricket Victoia Board but I have gone out of my way over the years to speak out on issues relating to the game... especially in Victoria. I have also had long talks with those behind the proposed "New" 6 at Cricket Victoria and I have encouraged them all the way.

I am also one of those who believes the pyramid should always have District Cricket Clubs (Premier Cricket down grades the competition) at the top.

After all, they are and should always remain the foundation of cricket in this country from where everything began (The Owners if you like) and where all players should progress on the Path to the higher levels. It is therefore in District Crickets best interest that all and I say ALL CRICKET below it is developing the talent to feed the system.

That these players... in our case Victorian homegrown are provided every opportunity to the best cricketers our state can produce.

But they are not good enough are they (and they haven't been for years under the current Board and system) and we know this only too well.

So we must find ways to improve the programs and make sure investment is best spent. This means making sure it's not wasted in the bar or on players who've had their chance but that it encourages them to get involved to hand the game on to those starting out.

This also applies to clubs who spend it on paying players or coaching programs that neglect proper instruction for juniors. Focus must be the next generations and that should be the agenda of all in cricket. Yes! Country Cricket is a problem and we all recognise this.

Not once in my conversations with the those proposing the new Board... Have they not recognised any of the above. It is one of their highest priorities. Rather than the "cherry picking" the agenda of those in charge at the moment... structured by those who've never committed themselves to the game for the game or VICTORIAN CRICKET and its traditions or philosophies.

I feel the proposed new Board has identified many problems facing the game and will listen to cricket people to overcome them, they'll encourage motivate and reinforce the efforts of all Cricket volunteers within the game and work with real experience inherited from game (not try and remove them). This will involve those who've developed playing lists, who are able to recognise the areas where the game is failing and who are capable of finding real solution.

The Game of "Clones"

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:50 Delete delete Overlays edit

I have no Idea how my fellow past players feel about the direction of the game at present, perhaps the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) could answer this better than any of us,​ but I myself would gladly put my faith in proven Cricket people to run the game along side quality business people. Those who have ​an ability to analyse the game, who have worldly cricket experience where they can work with the “Volunteers of the Game” who bleed cricket​... they are its hard workers​ and RIGHT NOW they are the ones Cricket Australia (CA) seem desperate to remove from the game… ​to replace them with 200 of its "cloned operatives"... at least that's the way I see it!

I came to this conclusion because when I look at those employed at CA... they seem to be of a certain type or personality... perhaps CA is running a "Cloning Program".

I hope I am wrong but when I think about a certain ​CEO representing one of our State Associations writing to his counterpart at CA to tell him that the game did not need the type of person who had played 153 first class games and who was coaching a successful State side... I thought further about Cloning?

If the game loses peronalities, individuality and creativity... it becomes one dimensional and everything will look the same and I don't think I'd be wrong when I say that this is where the game is right now. All States following CA's Strategic Plan and if you take a close look under the new Governance "Rug" or Structure, the State Association Boards are very much the same... no longer what they once were and more of like a "clone" of CA. Now I am worried!

Let us look at Victoria... a "Mini Me" sitting on the lap of CA following their agenda like a "Clone" for every scrap thrown, whilst wasting good "grass roots" money in fact... $85,000 a week of it on "Consultancy fees". Its Board and others too, no longer with a spine to run the game as generations before them had done succesfully.

My conclusion therefore is that all cricket's issues, ideas, disagreements and conflict became too much and this is the reason CA handed its governance to an independent Board. In the past there have been many agendas pushed or even conflicting ideas or opinions between State Associations and Club Delegates. All these bring with it great debate between cricket people and there is nothing wrong with that it is healthy.

Enter the new "Independent Board" striding confidently to the crease on the back of the games success, they takes guard, scratches out centre, surveys the global cricket futures market, and their first ball is very similar to one played successfully 20 years ago. This time however the $$$$ are to much of a tempatation for these "corporate high flyers" who boldly advance down wicket, only to be stumped for a "golden globe" having miss read a well flighted delivery... this "Pay Dispute" is their catastrophic failure.

No it is not healthy when the sport can no longer rely on experienced "Cricket People" to solve conflict... and this current situation relies on "Executive" success stories who've been engaged to steer the game because they have outstanding "Corporate Genius" but when it is all said a done, they're without cricket qualification and the result is clear. The game has been steered onto rocks where wave upon wave of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) are breaking over the sport now wedged tight between scandal and ​​disrepair.​​

​​The situation is surely well past mediation as is any consideration for the sporting public or sponsors... they should have been the first thought.

Instead we find the entire cricketing world waiting in anticipation of a quick fix and that is all it will be... a temporary solution and it will not satisfy the deep under current that lies with those obligated to hand the game on. Yes! that's up to us "Cricketers" and if you take a step back and look long and hard at the way the governance of the game is now structured you'll understand changes need to be made, to prevent events like this ever happening again.

Let's also look at what has taken place over the years... As "Cricketers" entrusted with the responsibility of the game we elected representatives to govern and care for our sport. 150 years on, those appointed in "Trust" for some unknown reason considered their positions to be conflicted and cleared out on us!

I find myself asking this question... How are matters facing the sport of cricket and its welfare considered a "conflict of interest" when the goal is to create a situation of transparency across all sectors of the game? If transparency exists there surely cannot be conflicting interests because we're all searching for solutions in the games best interest. Therefore how can governance in the hands of people with little or zero cricket conscience or experience... be a healthy or a satisfactory situation.

In other words the engagement of high flying executives needed to guide the game is an unconvincing argument.

I see no reason why an experienced Cricket Person who has started or runs his own successful business could not be a Director of CA or why such a person could not be involved in negotiating this pay dispute. In fact it would most likely have been resolved without any issue... because they would have identified the original "MoU" set by its own procedures and so 22.5 % to the players from gross revenue is justified. Explained as a normal cost of sale... every business has a product to build and in this case it is "Cricket Teams". Another 22.5% allocated to the States as an R&D expenditure if you like. The remaining 45% of the gross revenue should be well and truly be sufficient to fund overheads (including Directorial Fees) so that a substantial profit can be dispersed to the 6 member States to develop "grass roots" cricket in their regions.

To ask the Players to accept a % of the profit is not in their interest, we can all see this, because it leaves them wide open to exploitation. How easy would it be to raise overheads and fluctuate the earnings to reduce players income. No! the players are the components that make up the product CA must sell. Even a "Mind Your Own Business" (MYOB) accountancy system user would know the value of a component when calculating the cost of a product and in CA's case it might simply be entered as a "Cost of Sale"... either way, it is deducted from gross income.

The game needs all its present and former players now, those who made the game what it is... those who put their careers on the line and who make up the membership of the ACA. And it is time the States and their Associates all stood up behind us... the "products" they produced "Australia's Best Cricketers".

Yes! stand up with the ACA ​until the CA Board of corporate ​"​high flyers​"​ with its token player representation surrender ​their ownership and place the game back where it rightfully belongs, in the hands of its "Cricket People".

They can do this by giving up 3 votes to the ACA​ and why not... all players current and former would have a say and the game would surely benefit... in my opinion!


Unconscionable behaviour?


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:50 


At the conclusion of cricket last season, I asked Premier clubs what they planned to do about a Cricket Victoria (CV) Board and a CEO, I believe had acted "Unconscionably" and among others things had failed to support our home grown cricket talent.

Casey, Dandenong and Frankston and Ringwood were the clubs I had targeted because they were either supporting the incumbent Board and CEO or sitting with a leg each side of the fence. I felt they owed all Victorian Cricketers an explanation as to why they weren't prepared to support the clubs with an endeavour to rebuild cricket in this State.

Perhaps, it is the time to reminded them why they were invited to join the District ranks... Victoria's Premier Cricket Competition.

It's because they presented themselves to foundation members of Victorian Cricket as worthy participants, capable of contributing to the competition. Each of these clubs explained that they had on their doorsteps, large cricket playing populations in search of avenues to the higher levels of the game and that they could accomodate cricketers with such ambitiion.

And so it was... the foundation members of the 'Victorian Cricket Association" with the best interest of the States Cricketers at heart... did place upon the clubs their "CHARTER" which they accepted and are now shirking!

It's time for these clubs to reciprocate the support they were given by stepping up beside the likes of Essendon, Carlton, Prahran, Footscray, Melbourne, Northcote, Monash Tigers (Richmond) Camberwell Magpies (Collingwood) and Fitzroy Doncaster and other cricket associates from around the state who believe the only pathway to 1st Class Cricket is the pathway through District Cricket now Premier Cricket?

It is where the game began and it is in your best interest that all cricket is developing the talent needed to feed your competition and that these players... in the case of Victorian Cricket are home grown and are being provided every opportunity to become the best in our Country.

Sadly the incumbent Board having failed generations of cricketers are refusing to do what is best for the game in our State by stepping down. Instead they promote themselves as having won a hat trick of "Sheffield Shields". And Yes! it is true, they did but with half a team imported from interstate using our funds, Victorian and Local Government taxes to progress interstate prospects over our own.

It is time we find ways to improve our cricket programs, making sure investment is best spent... not wasting money on consultants or players who've had their chance. But rather providing investment to encourage cricketers to hand the game on ensuring its future. This must also apply to clubs who find it far to easy to spend money on players or coaching programs that neglect proper instruction for juniors... our focus must be on the next generations.

And Yes! Country Cricket is suffering greatly and we all recognise this... but not once in my conversations with those proposing the new Board, have they not recognised this? It is one of their highest priorities and it is not the "cherry picking" agenda of those in charge at the moment.

The time has come to elect a CV Board who'll listen to cricket people, who'll encourage motivate and reinforce real experience inherited from game... those who have the ability to recognise areas of failure and who are capable of finding real solutions.

Victoria this is your last chance to save our cricket... do it!

WHO SOLD CRICKET OUT?

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:50 Delete delete Overlays edit

Australian Cricket flying high as an International sports is spiralling out of control leaving its best players in a haze of uncertainty. Meanwhile at Cricket Australia (CA) the alleged "2 million dollar man" CEO James Sutherland and his Board of Directors are all lying low having terminated their playing list.

They have done this because they're confident of not being thrown out or sacked... as long as they stick together, even though they once had employment obligations pursuant to the rules of their organisation... as set out by law in CA's Memorandum of Articles its (MOA).

For those not familiar with the Corporations Act, a MoA outlines why a company has been established and along with its Constitution sets out rules and governance procedure. One such rule is Rule 2.2.1 from its MoA; determining the setting out of the terms and conditions upon which players may play cricket. It is for this reason a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the players was signed two decades ago... so it beggars belief, why this precedent is no longer suitable when the players have set the standard on the field and the game is attracting big money.

Behind the scenes David Peever and his Board have been basking in the games success and now strangely, they want to roll back the players share of the revenue... What is going on... something "stinks" and we've all got whiff of it!

Following this James Sutherland informed " Grass Roots" that it required 60 million dollars invested into it to bring it up to standard... and for this reason CA are saying they want to reduce the players share of the revenue stream and curiously when increased earning are forecasted!

What has been missed by mainstream media is that CA are not saying they wish to fund the States so they can plan or formulate strategies to assist Clubs and Associates at grass roots, No! They say they want to increase overhead expenditure by employing more... CA wants to place 200 operatives into the field... but what does that really mean? For one thing it means CA is taking away Member State responsibilities to control the stream of money into grass roots cricket... and to the ordinary observer this may seem reasonable enough.

Except if you ask why! Why would CA want to side step the six States who have obligations to those they represent, the Clubs and Associates of cricket?

Could it be that CA wants total control of all Australian Cricket? Many long time cricket people think so. It's been an agenda for more than 20 years and so I felt I should investigate this theory. So I visited the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) to research its Company Register. The records show all the Office Holders elected to the Board over he years... elected to do what is best for the games benefactors in Australia. I discovered that it was about the time Australian Cricket Board of Control became the ACB when the alterations began, slight at first and then to Cricket Australia. This is where change really began, and most intriguing are the "Amendment Resolutions" passed,

The "Count of Monty Cristo" would have been proud_ each resolution coming down like a hammer onto a chisel to chip away, at the foundations of Australian Cricket until very little of it can be recognised and virtually all hope of the crickets benefactors being able to protect the game as and when needed, If not right now for example!

Simon Katich asked a simple question... where has the money gone? Again respected sources within the game tell me CA has 90 Million dollars in cash reserves plus investment property that should have been reinvested back into the development of the game and why hasn't it?

It is also extraordinary to think ex Test Cricketers sitting on the CA Board have been missing when the game is in crisis and needs leadership. Are they expecting us to believe they’re not fully informed? Disgraceful! Why do they deserve the position of a Directorship… what are they there for and is the game being represented as it should be?

What also needs to be explained here… is why the Member States are powerless to avert such a crisis. In the past the States were the Board and transparent with benefactors so what has happened. ASIC records shed the light... they show the passing of resolution to change the rules and the most concerning took place in 2013 elevating each Director to "Member Status" This means the 9 Board Directors of CA now have 9 Member Votes and as a group become the new owners of Australian Cricket... I will say that again "OWNERS" compared to the 6 original State Cricket Association Members representing "Grass Roots", cricket now the minority interest.

Effectively what it means is the States have no influence of power in the decision making process of running Cricket in Australian. Compare this to a large corporation who have a duty of care to their shareholders and where the Board may come and go at shareholders pleasure… to put it bluntly, when it comes to Cricket in this Country, its shareholders are irrelevant and unable to keep executives accountable.

The Board having 9 votes to the 6 belonging to State Associations this means achieving a 2/3 majority when change is need, is almost impossible... 4 Board members would need to cross the floor.

So who were those responsible for representing the interest of Australian Cricket when all these amended resolutions were orchestrated and why in "Crickets Name" couldn't they see the obvious? Why would you give up control and what were the incentives that lured them to give up Crickets rights?

The Board of CA and its executives are shameless and are able to sit there without fear, portraying the Countries best cricketers as over paid and greedy. They can do this because they have made themselves "Untouchable" as long as they stay united. To think that they can get away with what they’ve done to Australian Cricket and the great lengths they have gone to make the players look like the “bad guys!” But not before they’d tried to herd our best cricketers from the flock, with the objective to tempt them with special contractual offers leaving others to fend for themselves.

CA would have created a special group of Australian Cricketers in a select pool and it all fits into the fulfilment of what seems to be a long term CA agenda to side step the games owners. Of course they intend to throw scraps from time to time, by making additional funds available as long, no! only as long as the states comply with their directives. "Dictatorship!" placing CA in perfect position to "CHERRY PICK" talent from anywhere in Australia... firstly for their under age Australian teams, then directly to their Academy and on to the Australia A team... no longer would they need Sheffield Shield Cricket or the excess of players and no need to payroll the benefactors.

Is this the way of the future? Who knows! but if it is the objective, it would have been complete had it not been for the players standing in the way... of what might have been a perfectly executed plan.

The only hope for Australian Cricket now, in my opinion... is for the players to stand firm with the games interest at heart and with the six States in support.

Already this looks to be an impossible task as CA's teeth are deep and we don't know where favours have been done. If only District Clubs and Associates hadn’t fallen asleep at the wheel… shirking their responsibilities to the game. Their last chance is for Delegates join forces across all borders... and take back control and this must start next month at Cricket Victoria's AGM. If they cannot remove the “Squatters" from around their own Board Room table at Cricket House... the game and the reason so many of us have enjoyed our involvement in it and with so many will no longer exist... in my opinion!



Pace Bowling at its Best


Posted on 21 June, 2017 at 0:05


India and Pakistan are obviously great rivals politically but when it comes to “Cricket” that rivalry escalates to stratospheric levels… especially in India.

Since March 1st 2009, the last time Pakistan played a home Test Match, their supporters have not had much to celebrate… so disappointment is something they’ve learned to deal with. However in India, it is a totally different story, especially when the two sides are about to play against each other as they did last Sunday, in the prestigious ICC Champions Trophy final at the Oval.

I got the impression Pakistan supporters were just happy to have made the final and were praying their team would be able to make a game of it, but India on the other hand... a loss against Pakistan is totally unacceptable.

So as I was going to be one of the billion plus viewers watching on television I hoped for a good game, not only for the occasion but because it also involved Mickey Arthur the former coach of the Australian Cricket Team.

If you’ve already forgotten, Arthur was replaced by Darren Lehmann who’s team, ironically had failed to make the semis. I am not saying I think Arthur a better coach; it is that the fortunes of the game can change and turn a full circle in a short period of time as we saw Sunday!.

Another reason I was looking forward to the game was the disappointment I felt when Pakistan's was last in Australia, knowing full well they were much better than they'd shown us.

I had also followed them during the tour of the West Indies and despite the loss of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-haq, talent is plentiful in a country of 190 million... so I was interested to see if they could be competitive and if Arthur could make the difference.

From a bowling perspective, I also thought the form of Hasan Ali and the 18 year old leg spinner Shadab Khan would compliment their Left Arm pace attach to such an extent that I would be prepared to argue the Pakistan attack is now the most exciting in the game… if not the best in world cricket!

So the day began with India winning the toss and sending Pakistan into bat and my immediate thoughts were… This is good for Pakistan, they’ve nothing to lose, let’s hope they can post a competitive score to bring their highly spirited bowling attack into play.

And this is exactly how it turned out... the "unpredictable" batting of Pakistan began nervously with both opening batsman hit in the helmet from well directed bouncers. The Indian quicks were hitting the deck at good pace and then the first ball of Bumrah's second over he was able to take the outside edge of Fakhar's bat with a beauty... but hang on "lady luck" appears and heads Pakistans way. Bumrah had over stepped and Fakhar, who's nearly off the field by now has retrace his steps to take strike.

As we all know Fakhar went onto score a fine century and helped set up two century plus partnership to help Pakistan to a total of 338... a total never before chased down in an ICC final.

Bumrah who'd reached speeds of 146k lost confidence and was going for more than 6 an over. At the other end Kumar was consistantly reaching speeds of 138k, always on line and with late movement off the track. He bowled superbly only to be let down by the Indian spinners... the last thing any of us expected.

Ashwin and Jadeja were nothing like the bowlers we saw in India and it was lucky for India they had Pandya, not only can he bat but he's a very attacking bowler... not express, but with a good action able to bowl well directed lines. He also has the ability to get excellent seam position on the ball to take the ball away from the right handers. He, like Kumar worried all batsman with good shot balls that would test anyone.

However the pressure was easily released at the other end and if it hadn't been for Kumar and Pandya working so well together at the death, the Pakistan would have posted a much higher total.

I’ve always enjoyed watching great bowling partnerships especially when immense pressure is applied. And one of the best batting strips in world cricket with a reasonable amount of grass the pitch was hard and dry with no cloud cover… it as just a wonderful "good seeing", English summer day and so finding excuses for batting failures would not be easy.

When India arrived at the crease, Mohammad Amir took the new ball and from that moment it seemed like a tornado had hit the ground... he struck 3rd ball, a delivery that pitched in line, jagged off the seam just enough to trap Sharma. Then in his next over, he drew Kohli into the shot; the ball did enough off the seam to take the edge but unfortunately for Amir, Azhar Ali spilled the chance.

As a spectator we'd hardly had time to digest the severity of what had actually happened... when he very next delivery, Kohli chancing his luck, went even harder at the ball. This time a thick outside edge flew to backward point where the athletic teenager Shadab Khan leaped high and to his left clasped the ball and Kohli was on his way.

Pakistan’s were out of the blocks with intensity levels that were through the roof and so much so, that the Indian fans were already looking for the exit signs.

But whilst Amir had taken the scalps, he was being well supported at the other end by another left arm quick Junaid Khan. Who was attacking the batsmen, giving nothing away and so quickly were things happening... commentators seemed dumbfounded.

Then last ball of Amir’s 5 over… the the prize scalp of Dhawin, who tickled one that bit just enough from a good length off a scrambled seam and the catch was safely taken by Captain Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps.

If the game wasn’t over at this point.. it wasn't long after India had posted their 50, in fact 9 balls later when, Shadab Khan caught Yuraj with a well flighted leg break that turned just enough. It sounded like a bat pad, the umpire had thought so, I surely couldn’t be certain. But so confident beyond his eighteen years was Shadab he forced his Captain to review the decision and the Indian supporters were off… long legging it down Harleyford Rd.

The two attacks, to be honest, were impressive and it may have been a total different story had it not been for a bowler trying to exert just that little bit more from the pitch.

You have to hand it the Television coverage, so good these days, you get to see things that you wouldn’t pick up, as a spectator on the ground or as a player on the field.

For example, how the fingers grip the ball, whether there is any wrist action at delivery, seam position created or the reaction of the ball hitting the pitch in relation to that seam. So what is it that sets a bowler apart from another... is it the pace of the delivery or the consistency of the line... I’ve always believed the later, the most important and watching the fast bowlers in action, working in partnership was a joy. Something I'll always find interesting until my dying day... I reckon!.

As the game progressed I recalled something "Darren Lehmann" had told me (not that I agree with him). He believes a pace bowler could not be considered for selection if he could not sustain 140k plus. Perhaps this is a reason the South Australian quick Sayers cannot get a game. Anyway, his reasoning is that it is far too easy for batsman to adjust their shot selection... and yet we were witnessing the opposite at the Oval.

I think Darren needs to reconsider his opinion... we were watching the best batman in the world being intimidated by aggressive bowling between 130k and 142k and as I have mentioned... no need to look further than "Pandya" who showed the world, you don't have to be express to be intimidating as long as you're action is reasonably side on and you are working the lines. A good action, yes, it's oh so very important, because it allows a bowler to achieve the most deadly of deliveries... I am referring to late movement off the wicket.

A result of being able to hit the deck hard with your lines right and whether short or full you will worry batsmen. So never mind worrying about spots on the pitch... concentrate on line and good seam position. This means the batsman is always in two minds even If short, it will be into the chest or over off stump or straight at the head. If it is full of length it will draw the batsman into a shot.

Therefore it is so important for a pace bowler to hit the seam with regularity and all the better if rotating over the front foot enabling the technique required to take the ball away off the wicket.

Think about the off spinner who requires a side on position at a minimum to get the body rotation he needs to release his back leg through the crease. The follow through (bowling arm, front arm and weight transfer (Nathan Lyon is a perfect example)) required to generate spin, drift or bounce; its same for a leg spinner (Shane Warne a wonderful side on action with rotation over the front leg with follow through... perfect example).

It is no different for any bowler who is wanting to execute a leg cutter or away swinger, except you'll need a complete understanding of the bowling nexus made up of many interconnecting components; a synchronised action involving weight transfer, back leg release facilitating rotation over the front leg, into the follow through down the pitch so that you can look deep into the eyes of the batsman.

Well I hope you got as mush as I did from the perfectly demonstrated performance put on by the Pakistani attack on Sunday night.

What concerns me though... I don't see our bowlers in Australia being able to execute such a technique with regularity and that is surely a worry because Ryan Harris was a perfect exponent of this type of bowling... so hopefully some of his skill will be passed on soon.



The Day Victorian Cricket Fought Back


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:45


Premier Cricket Coaches have been discussing their concerns for Victorian Cricket with Club Officials for years. I know I was one of them and I have no doubt that these concerns were passed on. But nothing changed... it just got worse!

The concerns became problems and so the murmurings of disquiet began. Still nothing changed and so the rumblings started and got louder by the day at “Cricket House” in Jolimont Victoria.

And sitting around the table at Cricket Victoria is Chairman Russell Thomas, his Board and CEO Tony Dodemaide carrying on seemingly oblivious to the chorus of complaints that were being made against them.

I have often wondered how they could carry on... knowing they were being thought of as incompetent.

I suppose it all gets down to the ego's of those at the Board room table, for the Chairman, his Board and CEO knew very well that they no longer had the confidence of those they were elected to represent.

Did it matter to them? No, I don't think it did!

I am told they held onto power only because they offered secret deals and favours in return for voting support. However, that support disappeared last Thursday afternoon... the day Victorian Cricket "fought back!"

It happened about 5pm the 15th of June and the silence became deafening at "Cricket House" Jolimont when documents were lodged in accordance with the Consitution of Cricket Victoria and these pursuant to the Corporations Act contained resolutions to remove each member of the Board.

What sealed their fate, wasn’t the poor sponsorship and commercial deals they made, nor their poor communication skills, threats or bullying behaviour, not even the lack of concern shown for members… No, it is what I consider to be an attempted “Sting”, so slyly and cunningly perpetrated on unsuspecting stakeholders (Clubs, Players and Regions and Associations) called the “Breaking New Ground Stategy”.

From where this idea came, nobody knows as yet... many say it is a Cricket Australia agenda. In any case it was designed to take control of the game of cricket in Victoria by disbursing the voting rights of “Shareholders” to all corners of the state.

Just imagine if the various cricketing regions were provided such favour, each voting against the other unable to find common ground and a Board with the controlling votes… a "Carte blanche" to totally control our Victorian game of cricket.

I am told those on the Board were still pursuing this agenda up until Thursday afternoon, believing they had been victims of unwarranted criticism and so with their feelings badly hurt and tails between their legs, those still with connections with Premier Clubs ran to them asking for support.

Unbelievable even astonishing when you think about it... that is to ask members to condone and support their behaviour, when others are objecting... is this not asking Club Commitees to make themselves and their unsuspecting members "equally" complicate to the Deed?

In my opinion those behind the formulation of the “Breaking New Ground” concept and its presentation behaved in a manner that is... in all circumstances unacceptable under the "Trade Practices Law" and this is surely something all Cricket employees, Associates and Premier Club Committees should think long and hard about between now and the Cricket Victoria AGM in August... when it might be necessary for your club Delegate to stand up and vote for Victorian Cricket and its future.

Is this the "Governance" model for Cricket in Australia?

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:45 Delete delete Overlays edit

Here is a stat for those who think cricket should follow the "AFL" governance model;

Vic Country football has 443 teams 40% are non competitive averaging 0.86 wins at the half way mark of the season;

Thats 170 teams with 146 wins between them



Are You a Qualified Cricketer?


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:45 


This could be your story young man… it is about a cricketer who sets out aiming for the highest honours of the game, committing to the pathway system and in many cases whilst trying to complete an education. It cannot be easy?

When his time comes, he might burst onto the Premier Cricket scene with a series of fine performances earning state selection (in my dreams) and like many before him… the world beckons.

It might start off with a contract to play as a Professional, perhaps in the prestigious "Lancashire League" England.

By doing this, he accepts the responsibility of leadership… it’s a real learning curve, far from his homeland and nothing like anything he’s ever experienced. No where near as simple or as easy as finding a club for an English cricketing holiday.

In this situation, a Professional Cricketer finds himself an ambassador for his country, where he will have to learn to appreciate local community history, customs, philosophies and traditions not only to do with his club… but throughout the league and the country.

It is such a wonderful life experience that will reward him with friendships he finds amongst many other cricketers and people from around the globe, playing with or in surrounding leagues.

It is also a testing time for he will confront many trying moments… no doubt searching for ways to overcome unfamiliar wickets, weather conditions, regulations and tactics. He will also be compared… rated to those before him.

He will be asked many questions that will test his mental capabilities and maturity but by seasons end he will have found a way through which will hopefully lead to a proven 1st class cricketer career or higher.

What ever else he learns from the experience he will have learned the meaning of the “Cricketers Code”, that he and those like him are responsible for nurturing the game as those before him have done.

However and with such a wealth of “worldly cricketing experience” do we see these Cricketers being trained to take up administrative positions within the game, where they can use their vast knowledge and experiences to foster it?

Fair question I think... because if we are to honour this “Code” it is essential that qualified, dedicated experienced cricketers are employed for that reason.

I took the opportunity to read the last Cricket Victoria (CV) “Annual Report” where I counted 91 people employed.

Of those employed with the qualification I have outlined "Three":

• Tony Dodemaide, CV (CEO) Australia, Victoria, Sussex, Footscray Cricketer, Manager Corporate Marketing MCG, Head of Cricket Marylebone Cricket Club

• Shaun Graf, CV (Cricket Operations) Victoria, Western Australia, St. Kilda Cricketer

• Andrew McDonald CV (Coach Bushrangers) Victoria, Sth Australia, Leicestershire Melbourne Cricketer

And keeping these three in check… an incompetent unqualified Board with only one (Paul Jackson) a qualified Cricketer and only 2 (John Douglas & Phil O’Meara) qualified Cricketer Delegates.

Either qualified cricket people are failing their responsibilities to the “Code” or they are being deliberately excluded... What ever the case it is shameful!

The game needs a good blend of qualified cricket people and qualified Cricketers

Talent always comes to the "Top" or does it?

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:40 Delete delete Overlays edit

Yesterday, a former team mate said to me “Don’t worry about the way the game is heading… the best will always come to the top!”

But it does worry me… and it should worry everyone associated with sport!

This was not the first time I’d heard such a comment… the last person to say this to me was formerly of the Northcote Cricket Club.

Both players had played District Cricket; the other a hand full of games for Victoria in the late 70’s.

What concerns me about this ideology is that it is so very nonchalant!

Yes! Very much like the way these former team mates of mine approached and played their cricket. I was disappointed for them; because I felt they should have gone much further in the game.

They were two cricketers that got by on natural talent but neither of them would ever push their ability to the point where they laid everything of themselves on the line. To me, it is a bit like an athlete who never puts him/herself to the test by competing up front to win, preferring to stay the distance for a PB.

It’s the difference between those who will succeed and those who will not!

So I say to those who think that the talent will always come through… think again, years could be spent wasting time, molly coddling “talent” if the proving grounds of sport disappear.

In Victoria a majority of District Clubs are attempting to spill a very poor Cricket Victoria Board who are blindly following Cricket Australia strategies and have reduce our State Cricket testing grounds to a lowly Community Level.

So if the spill gets up I would hope they make it their priority to restore the competitiveness of Premier Cricket by demoting 4 of the under performing clubs back to Sub Districts Level or have them relocated to major cricket areas Gippsland, Bendigo, Shepparton and Ballarat.

I would also hope more of our 1st class players will be available to play and train along side club players.

Yes! You can see the talented ones, they’re all about us, but it is when they’re “under pressure” the “clutch situation”… that’s when you see if they have it or not.

It takes far more than talent to make it through the system… don’t get me wrong, you certainly need it but you also need a desire to compete and fight it out against the best hard nosed elite players.

This is where you win respect, learning that you have the mental toughness to overcome the fear of “doubt”… and this what separates those with talent from those who will go on.



And now "IT'S BACK TO THE GAME OF CRICKET"


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:35 


I think we can manage our cricket much better and far more cost effectively if we simplify its governance. What is in place now is over kill and for the game to function meaningfully and transparently, information must flow from the grass roots of the game to the top of the chain, free from agenda driven idealogy.

The following was and is an example of such a system:

CRICKET AUSTRALIA

(Not for Profit)

Governed by 7 Directors (One from each State & one independent Chairman)

Responsible for day to day Management of Australian Cricket Internationally; and

Cricket Revenue & Distribution (including independent Overseer/Audit committee); and

Arranging International scheduling & Logistics

Interstate Cricket affairs

High Performance of National Squads

STATE CRICKET

(Not for Profit)

Each State to be governed by 7 Independent Directors

(1 to be elected Chairman)

Representing Club Delegates and Associates;

Responsible for overseeing Day to Day Cricket Affairs

Interstate Logistics

Premier Cricket Fixtures

Management & High Performance of State Squads & Teams

Metro & Country Senior Cricket

Responsible to Independent overseer for Revenue; and

Allocation of Funds to District Clubs & Zone Development

DISTRICT CRICKET CLUBS

(Not for Profit)

Governed by (Club Committees including Zone Representatives)

Representing Zone affiliates and members: and

Responsible for overseeing Day to Day Cricket Affairs

High Performance District Squads including Pathways programs associated with Zone development programs

Representing above all else:

Milo to Under Age Cricketers throughout each Region of the State (Zone, Association, clubs & schools)

LEAGUES and ASSOCIATION

(Not for Profit)

Governed by (Elected Committees including Regional & Club Representatives)

The above may seem like the game is stepping back in time, but in my mind there was not a lot wrong with the system we had.

Key stakeholders with a wealth of cricket experience and knowledge had a say in the way the game was run and this made it very easy for even the lowest level cricketer to offer his or her ideas. Today you are told what is best for the game and if you do not agree... "You're from the Ice Age, mate!"

In my mind, Cricket Australia (CA) under its new corporate business structure is seeking total control of the game, with little regard to the shareholders and above many other things… they are not qualified as cricketers.

This has come about, in my opinion, because elected State Cricket Authorities lost sight of the meaning associated with the “Cricket Code”. A code which has been handed down by generations of us and that is:

"As cricketers, it is our responsibility to nurture the game".

As a result the game has lost its "State" individuality, philosophies, traditions and cricket is on the path to being "One State Organization" and this cannot be good for it.

Under this structure... we also see the game being neglected in the most important development areas by the cherry picking mentality of the "One State" concept.

Therefore the game is no longer inclusive... rather exclusive and hardly transparent.

Even the games most valued Asset (Our Nations Elite Cricketers) are treated as enemies by those with their "Snouts in the Trough" .

CA in my mind have made our State Cricket obsolete and for years have neglected another of our greatest assets, the young children showing an interest in the game... the “Milo Cricket Children” boys and girls, from the "Grass Roots" of the game.

These children Boys and Girls are the future of Cricket... the reason the game is “SUSTAINABLE”.

CA and their cohort employees who search for ways to look after themselves, are now using "Grass Roots" Cricket to break the Players and I find this dispicable.

To do this James Sutherland the CEO of CA has just decided he's a Junior Cricket Coach.

If he was any sort of Coach he would have been pushing the grass roots agenda, long before now and in fact he would have been using the words "Neglect".

For example an issue that has been staring him in the face as CEO for a decade:

That is the drop out rate for cricket!

It begins at the 15-17th year and the reason... and it still has not been identified, for if it had, James Sutherland and CA would have done something about it, a long time ago, don't you think ?

I believe those lost in the 15-17 year group, is more to do with the fact that they're unable to execute the basic skills associated with the sport.

And in my opinion it can only be a sign of neglect for:

• If a participant cannot execute the basic skill… there is no enjoyment!

• If he/she has not been educated or taught about the game he/she will have no passion for it!

So instead of searching for reasons as to how this can be overcome, James Sutherland and CA have rejected Junior Cricket and instead of nurturing this talent source... they turned to the “Women’s Game”.

And how they pat themselves on the back telling us how much the womans game has grown! When in truth, it cannot stand on its own feet, financially and relies on the revenue the elite men generate.

Did you know that the split between Male and female cricket, is 92 to 8 and in reality most girls believe that “Cricket Clubs” are not a fun place to be!

Please don't get me wrong... I have no problem with the concept of promoting Women’s Cricket… I just think that we need to be careful, that we do not get too far ahead of ourselves and that we do not neglect our responsibilities to the Men’s game. For without the top class men players coming through, the game would generate little interest and there’d be no money.

This bit is for you James Sutherland... you have neglected the single most important aspect of the game that makes it “Sustainable” Junior Cricket... do not prentend you've ever cared, because if you had, anyone in your position would have done something about it long before now. I think you've suddenly released this could be a lever against the "ACA " and honestly... if "Grass Roots needs the money you say it does... then the game is in real trouble and CA is to blame!

In fact, I would go so far as to say... you do not know what the grass roots of cricket is?

There has been no money or resources directed at the children who’ve shown their interested in the game which is neglect!

Why time, money and resources are not being spent on coaching blueprints or strategies designed to turn children into cricketers with the technique and style that is needed to advance in the game, is beyond me.

Just recently I read “Community Cricket” Blueprint for Metro Cricket” put out by Cricket Victoria, but which I think comes from CA.

It took a lot of people, a lot of time, energy and resources and it’s supposedly designed to ensure Cricket remains a sustainable sporting option.

It quotes many obstacles the game might face moving forward in an attempt to justify the game tripping over its self, but unfortunately it only highlights issues relating to poor and failing governance rather than addressing any issues relating to "Cricket's Sustainability”.

When Cricket governance concentrates its efforts on competitions for those who have had their chance of higher honours and who play in competitions that continually disrespect the “Cricket Code”, as they’ve been doing for so long... investment there is just a waste of time and money!

Get those nose's out of the "Cricketing Trough"

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:30 Delete delete Overlays edit

The game is in termoil... from state level to international and in my opinion, it is the fault of James Sutherland and his Board.

If you didn’t know the history behind the game of cricket in Australia, I will give you some background information… it began at club level and as competition grew clubs formed governing bodies to manage demand. Various State bodies were formed, such as the Victorian Cricket Association (VCA) the New South Wales Cricket Association (NSWCA) and so on domestically.

It is from here the Australian Cricket Board of Control (ACB) was established to arrange National and International fixtures.

The Cricket Revenue generated was shared amongst the States from where it was distributed to shareholders for the development of game at “grass roots”. The game moved along very well surviving two “World Wars” and even “World Series Cricket”.

With each passing era the game adapted, moving with the ebb of time… but what we are seeing today is something completely different. You must look deep into the murky depth of what ACB has become… a governing body in search of total control over all aspects of the game in Australia, reducing the various governing bodies to irrelevancy… therefore it is a takeover and certainly not “déjà vu” from the “Packer Era” as some of you might think!

Today the ACB trades as “Cricket Australia” (CA), a governing body with an independent board, no longer representing the States and no link with the games shareholders "the owners" of the game in our Country who gave birth to it… the District Cricket Clubs and Associates.

Any normal cricket person would ask, how can this be… the answer is because we’ve allowed the governance of our game to become unbalanced… too many types have been introduced from failing tertiary backgrounds, failing cricket careers and many lack in personality, worldly cricketing knowledge or hands on grass roots experience: and

Without such experience they’d lack vision, passion or understanding of the game or its traditions and that is the reason they recruit only from within their group... otherwise they'd be found out for what they are!.

I would go so far as to say that this has been a conscious almost incestuous program for with each new recruitment the games buoyancy is lost and along with it… the ability to feed untarnished (agenda free) information from grass roots to decision makers.

It is an “imperative” for any decisions maker in Cricket to be in touch with the “pulse of the game” around this country.

As this is no longer the case, those employed in the game have been able to manipulate the system to promote their importance and along with it, their own agendas, rather than what the game requires; and

If it wasn’t their intention… why then would the game need an independent board? Wake up people!

Governance should be for the game, by the players and for the supporter of the game?

So the target now for the “CA Highbrows” is now the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA)… the games last bastion..

In my mind the ACA represents players (both former & current) but it also needs to reflect this in its governance structure... a meaningful demonstration of the wealth of knowledge that exists around the country… from where the game came from and to where the game will be taken.

For CA to take full control of the game as its governance so obviously desires it must break the ACA… so it really gets up my goat when a former player like Mark Taylor comes out against the ACA and says

“Things (discussions with the ACA) haven’t been going anywhere for months”; or

“Every time you (CA) makes money you (CA) gives away a certain percentage” obviously he’s been indoctrinated or he has no idea!

Mark is a “Channel Nine” employee who is benefitting from the games TV rights and also sits as a current serving CA Board member… talk about conflict of interest and to make such statements, his understanding of “business” let alone “cricket business” seems non-existent.

So let us look at the questions;

Who makes the money and who puts the value into the game?

Surely not the 1000 or more employed by the game across our Nation and as “Fox Colley” puts it most eloquently … “all with their noses in the trough!”

In my opinion, it is certain that without the talent of the Men’s game and its drawing power… there would be no “Revenue” and certainly no CA!

So the arguments or lack of argument between CA and the ACA, I think gets down to what should be recognised… that the top Men Players are the most valuable Asset the game has, at this point in time and should be treated as such. It should also be recognised that not always will our cricket be on top of the world game and so… perhaps a performance base salaries structure could be considered.

As for Women’s Cricket, they have been a revelation but until they have developed their game and are standing on their own it is a “marketing expense” associated with the development of the game and it should be treated as such otherwise they are getting ahead of themselves.

Expecting income when the games doesn’t cover costs can only be detrimental to all grass roots cricket including the development of the women’s game.

So in saying this… no one deserves to be entitled until the gate takings prove otherwise.

"3 Types of People in this World"

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:30 Delete delete Overlays edit

Because I am of the opinion that half our top class cricketers come from country cricket, I was interested to read the “Review of Country Cricket in Victoria” prepared in 2015 by David Richards OAM.

Unfortunately before I'd got to the end of the "Introduction" I was suspicious that an outcome may have been given prior to the undertaking of the review. The reason, in his introduction the Author emphasised the report was based on one premise… "that the heart of the game is the club!"

Hang on a minute, isn't the heart of the game "Junior Cricket" and the club, the facilitator?

As I read on I thought to myself "Goodness me, tell us something that we don't know!"

Not once did the Author find it necessary to attend a country club senior/junior practice night or most importantly a "Milo Cricket" session... so how could there be any value placed on this review... unless an agenda was the priority?

I guess we'll never know really... but given the way Cricket Victoria's CEO and Board Chairman Russell Thomas tried to push through the "Breaking New Ground" stategy... I will trust my own judgement.

So I began to take a more concerted look into the governance of the game in Australia;

At the top of our “Cricketing Tree”, sits Cricket Australia formed by representative State branches. The lower branches, the strongest and largest belong to the original Premier Clubs who provided all the support for the Cricket Tree as it evolved. So we can be sure that the growth rings demonstrate DNA origins and the supporting limbs of Associate or affiliates. Nothing has changed over time, each year the game grows and continue to grow as each spring the "Cricket Tree" drops it fruit to the "Grass Roots" of the game... infant cricketing talent, all the young boys and girls who've become interested in the game!

This is the "Heart of the Cricket" and the future of the game from where each club evolves and from where our future Australian Cricketers will come... this talent only needs nurturing, a little time spent teaching the fundamental values of cricket, introducing cricket skill programs... but here lies the problem... these children are being neglected because the clubs are unable to meet associated costs and there they sit, the Board Rooms of Governance, totally oblivious. We know this true, otherwise something would have been done about it a long time ago: And

The Proof also lies in these reports "Argus Report", the "Crawford- Carter", "Richards Review" and finally Cricket Australia's "Premier Cricket Accredition Plan"... if anyone has time to read them. Not a mention of it anywhere, in any of the Reports the slightest reference to the neglect suffered at the heart of the game... the "Grass Roots” of cricket.

The game requires people who can demonstrate and instruct the necessay skills of the game and what is more... Coaching is all about patience where a coach must demonstrate, demonstrate, encourage, reinforce and praise each attempted effort associated with the execution of a cricket discipline.

So why are there no programs to foster or harness the interest "Milo Cricket Children" have shown the game?

It stands to reason the interest leads to the talent needed to produce cricketers and if nutured and encouraged it will produce good technique?

In my opinion and from experience, here lies the answers to most if not all cricket's problems.

Rather than talking about better coaching if you refuse to address the issue "What is being coached or who is being coached or who is coaching". It is a meaningless endeavour. So I ask... why spend time money and resources coaching senior cricketers going nowhere in the game whilst neglecting to invest in the future... those at "Milo level" when the games future relies on them and no one else?

We should be relating cricket stories, capturing their imaginations, instructing proper technique using drills that reinforce eye hand skills, umpiring, wicket keeping and with progression introduce compentent young proven players from that very program as support coaches... this will further encourage self-esteem leadership skills.

This will surely lead to children executing the skills so they will find greater reward and fun times in the game. The flow on effect will eventually solve many problems along the pathways to the higher levels and alleviate the frustrations that come with being a "patchwork" coach.

I have doubts about those we've put in charge of the game for they have shown little knowledge of it or its nexus and most importantly no foresight at all: And

It get worse... instead of concentrating on International affairs, its National Teams and the competition that feeds those teams, Cricket Australia believes it is in the best postion to foster the game... this of course being in total contradiction and in conflict as to why the organization was established in the first instance. So I would say with little or no knowledge of grass roots cricket and having taken its eye well and truly off the ball "Cricket Australia" was complicit in allowing the IPL to establish and then to prosper... a situation which now means the game is facing the prospect of handing over its rewards from the "Cricket Tree" to the money of IPL cricket and where no returns can be received to benefit our game across Australia, nor anywhere else for that matter!

Our Cricket requires leadership that is for sure... but surely from those with a greater understanding of the game and most importantly by cricket people educated by the game. The Crawford - Carter Governance Reports suggests those from "big business" are the most qualified?

Whilst I agree with much of that report, I have my doubts regarding the types required to lead,

Perhaps I can best explain it this way... Ron Barassi (#31) once told me "they're are 3 types of people in the world, those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who say... What happened?"

I think I'd choose the person who'd "Made it Happen" every time, wouldn't you??



We're all here for the game of cricket... or are we?


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:30 


Yes!

We’ve all heard the words before and these days they’re passed around by anyone and everyone trying to benefit from or to push an agenda.

It seems the game is being shoved, pushed and screwed as if it were a towel waterlogged with money.

This has been allowed to happen because District Clubs (Crickets Regional Custodians and their Associates) now referred to as Premier Community Cricket Clubs (PCCs) have been rather negligent, not paying attention and have placed too much trust in their governing bodies.

They have taken little notice as various administrative factions (Types) have been introduced and like ants... they have been allowed to work day by day unchecked and have manovered themselves into a position were they can take the control of the game.

Transparency is non existant these days as the "Types" work secretly behind the scenes, undermining a system that was working well, a system developed by cricketers for cricketers, over the ages and which produced world class performers.

How did we ever produce a cricketer in the "dark ages" they exclaim!

For the common person in the street, the paying customer, those who fill the cricket grounds wanting to see the best our cricket has to offer, sit oblivious to the irregularities or murmurings at the heart of the game... as are those who compete at the highest levels of Grade Cricket hoping for higher honours. This could also be said for the participating under age aspirant in the Pathway Programs. None of them have any idea what is being thrown at the game by the various "Types" most of whom seek a "Badge of Honour”.

These "Types" are out of control and change must be made... but have PCC committees sort advice from those they represent and are they instructing the Delegates accordingly?

For example have the following PCC's:

Ringwood, Dandenong, South Melbourne Casey, Frankston Pen, Camberwell Magpies or Geelong informed their players of what is unfolding behind the scenes at Cricket Victoria or have they received a favour in some way? Would they deny their playing group? Have they consulted them? Have they explained how important the Delegate vote is to the aspirations of the playing group and will that Delegate vote represent them or will it be cast for undisclosed favours?

If you are associated to one of those playing groups and it is your dream or hope to play higher levels of cricket or if you know of someone like this then you need to tell others. Be diligent tell others in your club, your friends and team mates. Share this blog, let your feeling be known to your club and supporters... NOW is the time, not later, it must be Now!!

It is so important for you all and for future Victorian cricketers?

If your club has not explained the issues or why the majority of clubs and Associates are seeking to remove the current Cricket Victoria Board and CEO... then the club has failed its duty to you a pathway participant and to the game.

Why? the following is a good example:

Young trusting lads put their faith in the hand of Clubs all over our country, hoping that those in charge provide quality mentors who’ll coach, manage and guide them.

What a huge responsibility this is... but who are they? What are their qualifications and what are the qualifications of those who engaged them?

Just recently in my home state of Victoria, the governing body ran an “Under 18 State Championship” for aspiring lads as part of the pathway program.

What a debacle it turned out to be.

Prior to the competition the Cricket Victoria Pathway Championship Coordinator was told by various long time servants of the game that his design for the “Championship” was flawed. It was explained that under his system a team might very well win all 4 games but fail to qualify for the Semi finals.

Of course this "Type" knew better than anyone and ignored the advice, proceeded unchecked and guess what??

Yes!

You can guess it… It was “Northern Rivers” a strong and very proud cricketing region who played four and won four only to miss out on a berth in the finals. These kids, their Clubs, their Associations and their parents were devastated and demoralized. They did not deserve this insult, Tony Dodemaide!

But it doesn’t end there… one of the teams Northern Rivers defeated was able to qualify above them?

This is the way of the Cricket Victoria CEO and Board under Russell Thomas.

We do not need “Badge of Honour” Types who refuse to listen and who run about unchecked, willing to spend money that should be used to for the betterment of cricket in our state.

Last year Russell Thomas and his Board spent a staggering 4 Million Dollars ($85,000 per week) on Consultants.

It is hoped that all PCC's and Associates can come together under Geoff Collinson from the "Footscray Edgewater Cricket Club" at a meeting coming up very soon and secure our crickets future.


Something to think about


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:30

 

I have given a great deal of thought to the game of over the years, in particular the development of the game and its pathway systems. Obviously most of my thoughts have been to do with cricket in Victoria... so please don't hold that against me.

I was a young country boy who became interested in cricket because of my father and Mother. Dad was playing cricket and football for Yarck (a small country town 9 miles from Alexandra on the Maroondah Hwy) Mum was scorer. But Dad had also played under Leo Finch at Carlton so naturally I was going to follow in those footsteps dreaming of higher honours.

I remember one hot summer day listening to the cricket on the radio… Bobby Simpson was nearing a hundred. I was in “make believe” land, (some say I still am), playing every shot for him and running each run between the wickets I’d set up on “Wrights Lane” out side our house. Unfortunately Freddie Titmus ended “Bob Cats” innings at 91.

Who would have thought that someone from Yarck, was destined to play Test Cricket let alone under him 16 years later?

I was probably very fortunately that my parents moved to Croydon a few years later where I was able to play junior cricket. (Yarck’s population was about 50 and had barely enough children to keep the school open)

So I began my cricket at the Heathmont Cricket Club in the RDCA and the pathway to higher levels was easy enough to follow: Practice hard, continually make runs or take wickets, earn representative selection and eventually an invite into the District ranks.

In those days the Dowling Shield was the avenue most young cricketers followed but I thought it more beneficial for me to compete against men to test myself. So as a 15 year old I earned selection for the RDCA u21’s against CUOV u21 Association teams. I did well and went on the represent the CUOV in national championships and was then selected for the National Team.

I was 18 when I was invited to Carlton where Peter Bedford was the coach and I started in the 3rd XI. Each year I was able to earn promotion based on my performance. It wasn’t easy by any means; I found that there were so many good cricketers all desperate to succeed and so it took five years for me to earn selection to play for my country.

The pathway to higher levels obviously worked well for me so I cannot understand why it is still not the preferred avenue today.

It was based on performance… isn’t that a good idea?

So we get to the reason I am writing this… I was astounded to read recently that Cricket Australia had named an under 16 Australian Team. I immediately thought… what do all the other young developing cricketers around the country think about that?

I feel that if you ever wanted to demoralise a young cricketer, offer the Australian dream, entice our children to take up the game, lead them along the so called pathway system and then cut them adrift by selecting an Australia U16 team. Meanwhile the majority of our youth cricketers who missed out must be wondering if it is worthwhile continuing on.

I think about Glen McGrath… who was missed by every development program. Why? Because some kids develop slowly, they are still growing and lack the strength.

What could be more soul destroying than for a 15 year old waiting for their body to catch up to miss out? And what about Mum and Dad, think about the process, every parent goes through because they believe that there’s a pathway to follow.

Here is Mum washing and ironing the whites each week, having picked up the young aspiring child from school for Milo Cricket, then onto practice, then to matches in under 12’s, u14’s representative cricket and on to u16’s only to see others chosen ahead of their child and given priority and special treatment.

It makes me wonder why Cricket Australia recommend that clubs should retire batsman after so many runs or why we give very child a bowl even when they can't. It seems that there is a contradiction somewhere in all this?

So having missed selection, the family sit around the dinner table discussing whether or not they should continue on. Perhaps they can make it through the District ranks... now “Premier Community Cricket”.

Is it worth the effort?

They might not think it is… or perhaps they might think of leaving home to go to Melbourne or any other Capital city, find a job, practice hard. There is a chance of making it through the ranks to State Selection… but what about the draft system someone might be brought in over me? I suppose I could go to another State and do a “Peter Nevill”, I could be that lucky or not?

I cannot see why the pathway system has been made so uncertain… it should be about taking the opportunity.

I have an idea, let us make it performance based… make runs, take the wickets and hold the catches.

I can see huge problems with Australian Cricket because it seems to me that they believe our future cricketers should just be allowed to have fun without being disciplined or challenged. It is my belief that we have far too many academics from an failing education system running the development of the game and we need to balance this out very quickly otherwise we'll have cricketers coming through who've never been disciplined or challenged and life as is cricket... is a real challenge where no one in the real world is or should be entitled.

Yes have fun and enjoy the game... it is great for keeping the numbers up so the marketing arm of the game can promote "more people are playing cricket than ever before". Let us get them on the “SCG or MCG” during the lunch break of a Test, never mind that they can’t hold a bat, bowl a ball or catch it!

We can tell everyone that there having fun and look how well cricket is doing… can we have more funding please?


Can you direct me to a Cricket Pathway?


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:30


I have given a great deal of thought to the game of over the years, in particular the development of the game and its pathway systems. Obviously most of my thoughts have been to do with cricket in Victoria... so please don't hold that against me.

I was a young country boy who became interested in cricket because of my father and Mother. Dad was playing cricket and football for Yarck (a small country town 9 miles from Alexandra on the Maroondah Hwy) Mum was scorer. But Dad had also played under Leo Finch at Carlton so naturally I was going to follow in those footsteps dreaming of higher honours.

I remember one hot summer day listening to the cricket on the radio… Bobby Simpson was nearing a hundred. I was in “make believe” land, (some say I still am), playing every shot for him and running each run between the wickets I’d set up on “Wrights Lane” out side our house. Unfortunately Freddie Titmus ended “Bob Cats” innings at 91.

Who would have thought that someone from Yarck, was destined to play Test Cricket let alone under him 16 years later?

I was probably very fortunately that my parents moved to Croydon a few years later where I was able to play junior cricket. (Yarck’s population was about 50 and had barely enough children to keep the school open)

So I began my cricket at the Heathmont Cricket Club in the RDCA and the pathway to higher levels was easy enough to follow: Practice hard, continually make runs or take wickets, earn representative selection and eventually an invite into the District ranks.

In those days the Dowling Shield was the avenue most young cricketers followed but I thought it more beneficial for me to compete against men to test myself. So as a 15 year old I earned selection for the RDCA u21’s against CUOV u21 Association teams. I did well and went on the represent the CUOV in national championships and was then selected for the National Team.

I was 18 when I was invited to Carlton where Peter Bedford was the coach and I started in the 3rd XI. Each year I was able to earn promotion based on my performance. It wasn’t easy by any means; I found that there were so many good cricketers all desperate to succeed and so it took five years for me to earn selection to play for my country.

The pathway to higher levels obviously worked well for me so I cannot understand why it is still not the preferred avenue today.

It was based on performance… isn’t that a good idea?

So we get to the reason I am writing this… I was astounded to read recently that Cricket Australia had named an under 16 Australian Team. I immediately thought… what do all the other young developing cricketers around the country think about that?

I feel that if you ever wanted to demoralise a young cricketer, offer the Australian dream, entice our children to take up the game, lead them along the so called pathway system and then cut them adrift by selecting an Australia U16 team. Meanwhile the majority of our youth cricketers who missed out must be wondering if it is worthwhile continuing on.

I think about Glen McGrath… who was missed by every development program. Why? Because some kids develop slowly, they are still growing and lack the strength.

What could be more soul destroying than for a 15 year old waiting for their body to catch up to miss out? And what about Mum and Dad, think about the process, every parent goes through because they believe that there’s a pathway to follow.

Here is Mum washing and ironing the whites each week, having picked up the young aspiring child from school for Milo Cricket, then onto practice, then to matches in under 12’s, u14’s representative cricket and on to u16’s only to see others chosen ahead of their child and given priority and special treatment.

It makes me wonder why Cricket Australia recommend that clubs should retire batsman after so many runs or why we give very child a bowl even when they can't. It seems that there is a contradiction somewhere in all this?

So having missed selection, the family sit around the dinner table discussing whether or not they should continue on. Perhaps they can make it through the District ranks... now “Premier Community Cricket”.

Is it worth the effort?

They might not think it is… or perhaps they might think of leaving home to go to Melbourne or any other Capital city, find a job, practice hard. There is a chance of making it through the ranks to State Selection… but what about the draft system someone might be brought in over me? I suppose I could go to another State and do a “Peter Nevill”, I could be that lucky or not?

I cannot see why the pathway system has been made so uncertain… it should be about taking the opportunity.

I have an idea, let us make it performance based… make runs, take the wickets and hold the catches.

I can see huge problems with Australian Cricket because it seems to me that they believe our future cricketers should just be allowed to have fun without being disciplined or challenged. It is my belief that we have far too many academics from an failing education system running the development of the game and we need to balance this out very quickly otherwise we'll have cricketers coming through who've never been disciplined or challenged and life as is cricket... is a real challenge where no one in the real world is or should be entitled.

Yes have fun and enjoy the game... it is great for keeping the numbers up so the marketing arm of the game can promote "more people are playing cricket than ever before". Let us get them on the “SCG or MCG” during the lunch break of a Test, never mind that they can’t hold a bat, bowl a ball or catch it!

We can tell everyone that there having fun and look how well cricket is doing… can we have more funding please?



No Response from Tony Dodemaide or his Board


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:25 


10 years ago at a Footscray Edgewater Season Launch Tony Dodemaide had just been appointed the Cricket Victoria CEO and he told the audenience that “1/3 of all cricket played in Australia is being played in Victoria”.

On the back of that statement, there can be no excuse for those in charge of the game in Victoria, because had they been successful Victorian cricketers would be knocking the Test Selectors doors down and a stream of highly talented cricketers would be flowing interstate where the game is not so strong.

Cricket Victoria (CV) is failing our game at the “Milo grass roots level” and in every other development area associated with it and it is for this reason alone Victorian Cricket needs needs fresh blood at the top, we need to remove the dead wood and replace them those who can anticipate change and for this you need vision, expertise, energy and be prepared to listen to cricketers with coaching experience and ideas. Otherwise our young players will continue to be discouraged and this is not what the game is about in Victoria.

We must instruct technique to execute the disciplines of the game starting from Milo, provide opportunity not denying it, educate our cricketers about traditions and the responsibility they have to those who will follow us. We require selection criteria to encourage youthful aspiration, invigorate cricket clubs to pursue junior development through the concept of participation.

This might sound very harsh since during Tony's his reign the Bushrangers have won 3 Sheffield Shields... but not as Victoria!

“Smoke and mirrors” is what Victorian Cricket has got and a CEO who boasts to Jon Pierik of the Melbourne Age that “Victorian Cricket” is in a great space.

The truth is that the CEO and his Board are under great pressure from the CV shareholders (Premier Clubs & Associates).

This doesn't deter Tony Dodemaide he claims he knows nothing of the unrest, even though I sent the following via the CV website contact page and copied all Premier Clubs, VCCL and others:

Tony Dodemaide and the Cricket Victoria Board

Cricket House Jolimont

Re: CRICKET VICTORIA (CV)

As a former player, long time stakeholder in the game and contributor to Victorian Cricket I feel I have earned the right to ask you to provide me with an explanation as to why you have not resigned from office given the following:

Collectively you all have been engaged to represent the game of cricket in Victoria and yet you secretly initiated an agenda Report called "Breaking New Ground". This report was released under the pretence of it being in Victorian Cricket's best interests and yet was designed to effectively replace the voting rights of the owners of the game in this state, "the Premier Cricket Clubs", who established the Victorian Cricket Association now CV.

This was a conscious decision by you collectively (some of you may say you weren’t part of it… no excuse) and it was an attempt to remove and greatly disadvantage those who engaged you, it was not a mistake... it was a planned effort using "money” that did not belong to you. Again, it belonged to those who engaged you and in all circumstances this is unconscionable.

Further to this, it seems you have been secretly "giving and forgiving" loans, offering extra delegate votes to secure favour and have been caught lying to associates which again, is in all circumstance unconscionable.

This behaviour is not acceptable in business and certainly is not the type of behaviour expected from our cricket representatives and now with the majority of Premier clubs against you... you steadfastly refuse to do the honourable thing and resign.

Forget about how well you think you have done, because the fact is... So bad is Victorian Cricket under your reign that on most occasions only 5 of our home grown players are good enough to represent our cricket team, “the Victoria Bushrangers”. This has been the way for far too long and it is demoralizing for our Cricket in this State. Nothing has improved under your reign and when you consider this fact: Since the year 2000 Victorian Cricket has contributed only 3 Test Match (at the time of writing Glen Maxwell had not scored his century in India) Centuries to Australian Cricket... for the CV Board and its CEO it is your "Job performance indicator".

If you have any respect for Victorian Cricket you need to relinquish your positions in a manner that will allow easy transition for those who expect much more from the investment that has been and is put in all over our State each and every summer since the 1860's.

We are Victoria, the style of game here was a proven success, it should not have altered, and it was handed down to us.

It is our game as are the traditions and philosophies that go with it. Obviously you have all lost sight of this and given all the above your positions are untenable.

Please don't write my letter off as a former player not in touch with the modern game as I have been involved constantly in the sport, firstly as a player, as a Playing coach, administrator, Coach, specialist coach and mentor from First Class to grass roots community club level and all over the world.

My involvement in the game also extends from my business activities since 1985 and I am in regular contact with club cricketers throughout the state who constantly express their concerns to me… about the future of cricket in Victoria and what can be done about it?

I would also appreciate a response to my email.

Yours faithfully

Ian Callen


So let us repair the pathway System and take control of Victoria Cricket... perhaps we can start by doing the following:

No 1. If the Cricket Victoria CEO and Chairman Russell Thomas wont resign sack them.

No 2. Fill the remaining Board positions with Victorian Cricket patriots who can stay alert, remove the voting rights of the Board, take 2 votes away from Womans Cricket they only need one, give 2 votes to Country Cricket.

No 3. Evaluate all departments within Cricket Victoria and remove the non productive or fruitless.

No 4. A priority will be to evaluate and over haul the Cricket operations, Bushrangers Coaching and Selection policies.

No 5. Re appoint Peter Binns and religate any Premier Clubs who have failed to produce an International player since 1980 back to Sub Districts ranks.

No 6. Allocate regions/Zones to Premier Club and provide funding for each club to developement their regions and retrench all regional development managers. Clubs must adhere to guidelines to qualify for development funding.

No 7. Premier Clubs & associates qualify for dividends on a year basis

No 8. VCCL Combined Country Team to play 3 day 1st Class fixture v Combined Metro Team choosen from Premier Cricket.

Our young talented Cricketers should be representing the State above everyone else and we should be feeding them into higher honours.

Every effort should be made to develop, encourage, invigorated or reinvigorate and reward them. It is the taxes or rates Victorians have paid for the infrustrucure and the District Clubs have invested 150 years into the game and facilities for young Victorians to benefit from.

If we lose matches… because our boys are not good enough on the field of play, then our development programs are failing and those involved should be replaced until we find success. That is when we'll know "Victorian Cricket is in a good place".

Any CEO, Chairman or Director of Cricket Victoria would know the corporate responsibility they had to those who set up the organisation that had engaged them. In this case they knew very well that it was the Districts Clubs (now Premier Clubs) and Associates had engaged them and as such they were to be treated as Shareholder of the game of cricket in Victoria.

Those who were employed to prepare the “Breaking New Ground Strategy” and those who endeavoured to push it’s outcome under the pretence of it being in the games best interest will have a hard time convincing me that they were not attempting a “Sting”.

At this stage most Premier Clubs and Associates are attempting to have this Board removed in order to reclaim the “game of cricket” for the state of Victoria.


Cricket Bat Law Change - What it means?


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:25 


The MCC's new code regulating the maximum size of a cricket bat arrives October 2017.

The Maximum width of the bat will remain 108mm or 4 1/4 inches, however the apex will be limited to 67mm or 2 41/64 inches and the edges 40mm or 1 37/64 inches.

The law is being introduced to address the imbalance between bat and ball. However, it really gets down to the density of "timber" when looking for greater rebound... so in real terms, size will not matter other than it may reduce the "psychological' goings on, in the mind of some with, ball in hand.


TO GET THE FACTS RIGHT


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:20 


Over the past months I have been hearing complaints about a Cricket Victoria (CV) Pathway Coordinator. The final straw came when I heard he was hogging the New Ball at his club and so I tweeted about it as follows;

"Neil Gray @cricketvictoria "Pathway Coordinator" takes new ball in front of those on the Pathway to higher levels".

Neil responded immediately claiming all Pathway players at his club were playing in higher grades and so he wasn’t taking the new ball in front of anyone as I had claimed. Later that day the Camberwell Magpies Cricket Club (CMCC) Treasurer tweeted that I had taken a “Cheap Shot” at Neil and later Barry Ross the club Secretary Tweeted that I was “Weak as Piss” and I should get my facts in line.

Ok ! So here are the facts and I can tell you I think I am right…….

CMCC Contact and Secretary Barry Ross commented that my beef is with CV and not Neil, Wrong Barry... my beef is with anyone failing the game of cricket in Victoria and that includes Premier Cricket Clubs. In my opinion Premier Club have lost sight of their role in developing cricket across the state, they lack urgency, lack transparency and still support a CV Board who in my opinion and from the information I have should be under investigation by ASIC... but that another story.

So let me finish with Neil Gray who is responsible for the following at CV:

1/. Develop a comprehensive Cricket Victoria Pathway Program that promotes both playing and personal development.

2/. To oversee the Victorian Bushrangers and Vic Spirit Pathway Championships operations.

3/. Embed the National Player Pathway philosophy into the Cricket Victoria Pathway program and the competitions that connect directly to the program.

4/. Support the connection between Victorian Premier Cricket and the Cricket Victoria Pathway program.

5/. Responsible for budget process including expenditure, reforecasting and administration.

6/. Explore partnership opportunities with appropriate Commercial and Community partners.

7/. Oversee the appointment and payment of Coaches, Managers and support staff in all Cricket Victoria regions.

Under point 3, 4 and 7 of his responsibilities proves he does have an obligation that comes with coaching" and captaining the 4th XI because all Premier Clubs fall in under the "Pathways System".

The 4th XI in any Premier Club is the first stepping stone to higher levels. It is not a "GRAVE YARD" for cricketers and how dare Neil Gray infer to me that they are less important than any other in cricket...

Taking the New Ball, rather than giving it to someone endeavouring to climb the ladder, is hogging the ball. An ego show and a dereliction of duty. And if any member of your club or any other club cannot see that then get out of the game.

Neil has taken the "New Ball" in all but 2 games this season and in the 2 day games his over tally reads as follows 21, 30 19, 23, 25, and 22.

Some might try to say that there is no one else to bowl mediums so Neil has to take the New Ball... well wouldn't that be an indictment on the clubs recruitment officer or perhaps it’s because opportunities just don’t exist for anyone wanting to come to the club.

I make no apologies and will continue to call out those who are not doing the right thing.

OUR OBLIGATIONS TO CRICKET?

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:15 Delete delete Overlays edit

I had received a number of comments about a Cricket Victoria Pathway Coordinator and coach who was hogging the New Ball at his club.

So I tweeted about it and got a response.

I have never met Neil Gray, but I know he is engaged as a coach at Camberwell Magpies Cricket Club in Melbourne and plays in the 4th XI.

I understand you love your cricket Neil but if you are the coach your position in the team comes behind the other 10 players. So if I were you... I would hand over the New Ball and allow others first use of it.

It’s an obligation that comes with coaching.

***************************************************

On a more serious note:

Over the past few weeks I have been handed some very disturbing information relating to the behaviour of the Cricket Victoria Board and CEO Tony Dodemaide.

It all started with the Boards agenda to re distribute votes belonging to Premier Clubs, the owners, of the game in Victoria.

In my opinion that is a bit like those employed by a business plotting against its shareholders… and this is in all circumstance unconscionable conduct.

So I wrote to Tony Dodemaide and the Cricket Victoria Board asking them why they have not resigned given the fact that the majority of games representatives had asked them the same?

Had I turned a blind eye to the behaviour I'd become an accessory. Certainly any club official offering or providing support to this behaviour in my opinion, became exactly that.

No I have an obligation to the game as someone with almost a lifetime involvement and I think I did the right thing.

I have been a victim of this kind of behaviour in a previous life and a witness to the devastation that followed. Not good!


The Idea of Test Championships


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:15 


The idea of "Test championships and wealth distribution has been floated by Greg Chappell... to save the game.

Greg believes that of the 10 countries playing Test cricket, Zimbabwe, Banglasdesh and the West Indies rarely trouble the top cricket playing nations which means Test cricket, "the purest form of the game" is under threat from the limited over format.

Chappell believes that by sharing the wealth more evenly among the 10 Test playing nations will increase the number of competitive teams and this action should be a priority because... a lot of countries don't have the population or money to develop a competitive team.

"Somehow we've got to equalise the payments around the world because what we're seeing – take the West Indies for instance – top players electing not to play Test cricket because they're not getting paid as much as they get to play 20-over cricket around the world. If we can't balance that out a little bit then there's going to be no incentive for people to play Test cricket." Chappell said.

The Test match championship proposal, I agree woud need to be an ongoing competition, culminating in a series every two years between the top two nations but it is one that needs to be expanded in my opinion upon.

But I would like to see more Countries involved... why not sell a franchises into America, Asia and Europe by creating a player pool from well populated cricket nations? A freelance qualification would provide incentive and opportunity for players. It would generate interest and with it exciting prospects... in particular for the developing junior cricketers we encourage and nurture each weekend at grass roots level.

The incentive of a Test series played around the globe for points to determine the world's best team on a biennial basis would in my opinion capture the imagination of world cricket on a continuous basis. Once a series final decides a champion the competition would start again and so on.



VICTORIAN HOME GROWN TEST CENTURY MAKERS


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:15 


I have created this list of Victorian Home Grown Century Makers to show how poor Victorian Cricket has become. How has Tony Dodemaide and his CV Board been able to keep their positions?


1/. 06/09/1880 W. Murdoch v Eng Oval 153*

2/. 31/12/1881 T. Horan v Eng MCG 124

3/. 3/3/1882 P. McDonnell v Eng SCG 147

4/. 11/8/1884 W. Murdoch v Eng Oval 211

5/. P. McDonnell v Eng Oval 147

6/. H. Scott v Eng Oval 102

7/. 12/12/1884 P. McDonnell v Eng Adel 124

8/. 17/7/1893 H. Graham v Eng Lords 107

9/. 1/2/1895 H Graham v Eng SCG 105

10/. 22/6/1896 G. Trott v Eng Lords 141

11/. 1/1/1898 C. McLeod v Eng MCG 112

12/. 18/10/1902 W. Armstrong v SA Jbg 153*

13/. 7/2/1908 W. Armstrong v Eng MCG 133*

14/. 14/6/1909 V. Ransford v Eng Lords 143*

15/. 17/2/1911 W. Armstrong v SA MCG 132

16/. 17/12/1920 W. Armstrong v Eng SCG 158

17/. 14/1/1921 W. Armstrong v Eng Adel 121

18/. 11/2/1921 W. Armstrong v Eng MCG 123*

19/. 26/11/1921 J. Ryder v SA N'lands 142

20/. 19/12/1924 B. Ponsford v Eng SCG 110

21/. 1/1/1925 B. Ponsford v Eng MCG 128

22/. 16/1/1925 J. Ryder v Eng Adel 121

23/. 16/7/1926 W. Woodfull v Eng Hed 123

24/. 24/7/1926 W. Woodfull v Eng O'Tr 117

25/. 14/12/1928 W. Woodfull v Eng SCG 111

26/. 29/12/1928 W. Woodfull v Eng MCG 107

27/. 29/12/1928 J. Ryder v Eng MCG 122

28/. 8/4/1929 W. Woodfull v Eng MCG 102

29/. 27/6/1930 W. Woodfull v Eng Lords 155

30/. 18/8/1930 B. Ponsford v Eng Oval 110

31/. 1/1/1931 B. Ponsford v WI SCG 183

32/. 16/1/1931 B. Ponsford v WI MCG 109

33/. 18/12/1931 K. Rigg v SA SCG 127

34/. 31/12/1931 W. Woodfull v Eng 101

35/. 20/7/1934 B. Ponsford v Eng Hed 181

36/. 18/8/1934 B. Ponsford v Eng Oval 266

37/. 29/11/1946 L. Hassett v Eng Bris 128

38/. 31/1/1947 K. Miller v Eng Adel 141

39. 23/1/1948 L. Hassett v Ind Adel 118*

40/. 6/2/1948 N. Harvey v Ind MCG 153

41/. 10/6/1948 L. Hassett v Eng T Brig 137

42/. 22/7/1948 N. Harvey v Eng Hed 112

43/. 24/12/1948 L. Hassett v SA E'Park 112

44/. 24/12/1949 S. Loxton v SA E' Park 101

45/. 31/12/1949 N. Harvey v SA N'lands 178

46/. 20/1/1950 N. Harvey v SA K'mead 151*

47/. 10/2/1950 N. Harvey v SA E'Park 100

48/. 3/3/1950 N. Harvey v SA Stg'park 116

49/. 3/3/1950 L. Hassett v SA " 167

50/. 5/1/1951 K. Miller v Eng SCG 145*

51/. 30/11/1951 L. Hassett v WI SCG 129

52/. 30/11/1951 K. Miller v WI SCG 132

53/. 31/12/1951 L. Hassett v WI MCG 102

54/. 5/12/1952 N. Harvey v SA Bris 109

55/. 9/1/1953 N. Harvey SA SCG 190

56/. 24/1/1953 C. McDonald v SA Adel 154

57/. 24/1/1953 N. Harvey v SA Adel 163

58/. 24/1/1953 L. Hassett v SA Adel 116

59/. 6/2/1953 N. Harvey v SA MCG 205

60/. 11/6/1953 L. Hassett v Eng Trent 115

61/. 25/6/1953 L. Hassett v Eng Lords 104

62/. 25/6/1953 K. Miller v Eng Lords 109

63/. 9/7/1953 B. Harvey v Eng Old T 122

64/. 26/11/1954 N. Harvey Eng Bris 162

65/. 26/3/1955 N. Harvey v WI S.Park 133

66/. 26/3/1955 K. Miller v WI S. Park 147

67/. 11/4/1955 C. McDonald v WI Q. Park 110

68/. 11/4/1955 N. Harvey v WI Q. Park 133

69/. 14/5/1955 K. Miller v WI Ken 137

70/. 11/6/1955 C. McDonald v WI S.Park 127

71/. 11/6/1955 N. Harvey v WI S.Park 204

72/. 11/6/1955 K. Miller v WI S. Park 109

73/. 26/10/1956 N. Harvey India Bra S 140

74/. 31/12/1958 N. Harvey v Eng MCG 124

75/. 30/1/1959 C. McDonald v Eng Adel 170

76/. 13/2/1959 C. McDonald v Eng MCG 133

77/. 12/12/1959 N. Harvey v India FSK 114

78/. 1/1/1960 N. Harvey v India Bra S 102

79/. 11/2/1960 W. Lawry v Eng MCG 108

80/. 8/6/1962 N. Harvey v Eng Edg 114

81/. 22/6/1961 W. Lawry v Eng Lords 130

82/. 27/7/1961 W. Lawry v Eng Old T 102

83/. 30/2/1962 W. Lawry v India MCG 100

84/. 25/1/1963 N. Harvey v Eng Adel 154

85/. 1/1/1964 W. Lawry vSA MCG 157

86/. 23/7/1964 W. Lawry v Eng Old T 106

87/. 26/3/1965 R. Cowper v WI Q. Park 143

88/. 5/5/1965 W. Lawry v WI Ken 210

89/. 5/5/1965 R. Cowper v WI Ken 102

90/. 10/12/1965 W. Lawry v Eng Bris 166

91/. 28/1/1966 W. Lawry v Eng Adel 119

92/. 11/2/1966 R. Cowper v Eng MCG 307

93/. 13/12/1966 K. Stackpole v SA New 134

94/. 23/12/1967 R. Cowper India Adel 108

95/. 26/1/1968 R. Cowper v India SCG 165

96/. 22/8/1968 W. Lawry v Eng Oval 135

97/. 6/12/1968 W. Lawry v WI Bris 105

98/. 26/12/1968 W. Lawry v WI MCG 205

99/. 4/11/1969 K. Stackpole v India Bra S 103

100/. 15/11/1969 A. Sheahan v Ind GPark 114

101/. 14/2/1969 W. Lawry v WI SCG 151

102/. 14/2/1969 I. Redpath v WI SCG 132

103/. 27/11/1970 K. Stackpole v Eng Bris 207

104/. 11/12/1970 I. Redpath v Eng WACA 171

105/. 29/1/1971 K. Stackpole v Eng Adel 136

106/.. 13/7/1972 K. Stackpole v Eng T.Bri 114

107/. 29/12/1972 I. Redpath v Pak MCG 135

108/. 29/22/1972 P Sheahan v Pak MCG 127

109/. 16/2/1973 K. Stackpole v WI S.Park 142

110/. 29/12/1973 K. Stackpole v NZ MCG 122

111/. 22/3/1974 I. Redpath v NZ E.Park 159*

112/. 4/1/1975 I. Redpath v Eng SCG 105

113/. 23/1/1976 I. Redpath v WI Adel 103

114/. 31/1/1976 I. Redpath v WI SCG 101

115/.. 26/12/1976 I. Redpath v WI MCG 102

116/. 26/12/1976 G. Cosier v WI MCG 109

117/. 1/1/1977 G. Cosier v Pak MCG 168

118/. 28/1/1978 G. Yallop v India Adel 121

119/. 1/12/1978 G. Yallop v Eng Bris 102

120/. 10/2/1979 G. Yallop v Eng SCG 121

121/. 26/10/1979 G. Yallop v Ind E. Gar 167

122/. 6/3/1980 G. Yallop v Pak Iqbal S 172

123/. 13/8/1981 G. Yallop v Eng Old.T 114

124/. 11/11/1983 G. Yallop v Pak WACA 141

125/. 26/12/1983 G. Yallop v Pak MCG 268

125/. 18/9/1986 D. Jones v Ind Chen 210

126/. 10/1/1987 D. Jones v Eng SCG 184*

127/. 12/2/1987 D. Jones v S. L. WACA 102

128/. 3/2/1988 D. Jones v WI Adel 216

129/. 6/7/1989 D. Jones v Eng Edg 157

130/. 24/8/1989 D. Jones v Eng Oval 122

131/. 16/12/1989 D. Jones v S.L. Hobart 118*

132/. 19/1/1990 D. Jones v Pak Adel 121*

133/. 19/1/1990 D. Jones v Pak Adel 116

134/. 1/2/1992 D. Jones v India WACA 150*

135/. 28/8/1992 D. Jones v S. L. 100*

136/. 19/6/1997 M. Elliott v Eng Lords 112

137/. 24/7/1997 M. Elliott v Eng Hed 199

138/. 24/11/1997 M. Elliott v NZ Hobart 114

139/. 16/12/005 B. Hodge v SA WACA 203*

140/. 15/12/016 P. Handscomb v PAK Bris 105

141/. 4/1/2017 P. Handscomb v Pak Syd 110


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:10 


My Cricket Program is constantly in pursuit of three major outcomes

 To give all players who wish to play the game “the most positive cricketing experience possible”.

 To produce cricketers and teams who are striving to be the best team and players they can be.

 To promote cricket as a game that can be participated in as player, administrator, umpire, manager, scorer, coach, writer or commentator.

My Cricket Philosophy can be achieved as follows:

 Providing absolute positive encouragement and enjoyment of the game by all.

 Providing an introduction to the Clubs generic style of play (game plan or the way we want to play) for all standards.

 Providing selection criteria designed to advance players to higher levels of the game based on performance, endeavour, respect, attitude commitment to training and the game plan.

 As player abilities are identified they will be given opportunities and this will be communicated.

 On match days we want our players to look good. This will be reflected in their clothing, equipment and equipment care, hats and for parents and opposition to take note and make comment on our sportsmanship, spirit, support of each other and organization whether it be sitting together or warming up.

 The Club is making a huge effort to educate, train, coach and advance its players through their endeavours to pursue improvement and this will be communicated.

 The coaches aim to provide positive feedback to the team and individuals at all times during the game and training sessions.

 Each game will be reviewed on its completion for a few minutes after the match so that the most powerful and constructive messages are reinforced in constructive and educative comments.

 Talent identification is paramount to the philosophy and it is recognised that we are training to playing, learn and improve in order to develop as cricketers… not training to train.

 The philosophy encourages and identifies those who are able to interact within the social and cultural environment of the club community as part of cricket’s spirit of the game. The coach’s role in this area is enormous and cannot be understated and must be supported within the club community and team leadership groups.

 There will be no limitation on what level a player is capable of playing and he will be given every opportunity to succeed.

 A higher emphasis will be placed on team and individual success the higher the standard although enjoyment of the game and maximum positive encouragement is paramount.

 Complete education and understanding of the generic game plan and team process combined with ability appraisals to play the Victorian style of play are to be introduced along with discussion point, Tradition and historical education extension.

 The coach may adjust the role of players, coaches and team leaders to create opportunity in order to facilitate the Cricket Philosophy.

My idea of a Team Process is;

 A BALL BY BALL FOCUS…THE NEXT BALL NOTHING ELSE

 CONSISTENCY OVER THE WHOLE DAY…CONCENTRATION IS THE KEY

 ENERGY, ENTHUSIASM & ENCOURAGEMENT

 (No skill required here, just effort to keep you in the game)

***********************************

 ENJOYING OTHERS SUCCESS

 SUPPORT AND CARE FOR EACH OTHER

 LOUD SUPPORT & ENCOURAGEMENT ON AND OFF THE FIELD FOR ALL THE “GAME PLAN ACHIEVEMENTS…SINGLES, MAIDENS, PARTNERSHIPS, RUNS SAVED OR STOLEN ETC!!”

 A WICKET IS TO BE CELEBRATED TOGETHER AND STRONGLY

***********************************

 SIT TOGETHER AS A TEAM WHEN BATTING

 UNDERSTAND THE TEAM PROCESS AND GAME PLAN

 WARM UP TOGETHER… BE PREPARED & ORGANISED… LOOK GOOD

 DON’T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED…APPROACH THE GAME AS A CONTEST THAT HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS AND IS SOMETHING TO RESPECT

 ENJOY AND TAKE PLEASURE IN THE CONTEST… ENJOY YOUR TEAM MATES AND ABOVE ALL ENJOY THE GAME

My Style of Play Batting:

 Singles, the side with the most singles is usually the winner… turn the strike over at every opportunity with loud calls

 Put away the bad ball…be positive

 Be patient, fight and place value on your wicket (respect the good over or spell)

 Most partnerships will win the game

 Bad runs are great runs…if not batting well just hang in there…you never know

 Runs stolen / turn 2’s into 3 creates pressure on the opposition and match winning momentum that will win the game

My Style of Play Bowling:

 Dot balls build pressure…maidens even more so…batsmen hate not scoring…be the team with the most dot balls

 Bowling short creates the opportunity for power shots… bowling length even full makes batsmen play with a vertical bat and to your field

 Be the side with the least extras (No no balls or wides or free hits)

 After each delivery remember you are a fieldsman

 Attack an off stump line… at it…or just out side (not short and wide)

 Concentrate on each ball, think, enjoy the challenge… if you do not have the ball in your hand…you have no chance of taking wickets

 Take care of the ball…you have a partner at the other end… hit the seam and shine one side, rub in plenty of moisture… the more chance you will have to gain movement through the air.

The Style of Play Fielding:

 Want the ball to come to you…make an impact… Remember …stay in the contest no matter what…as one diving save, one special effort, one wicket can change the entire game.

 Aim for a run out per game…why not more?

 Be the side with most team assists…back up others, congratulate others, use your voice, run the distance to be there for the relay throw…for back ups and support…each play every fielder is to be in the play

 Attack the ball…be aggressive…always look for run out opportunity

 Be the one who saves the most runs in field and out field… be desperate cut off the singles, chase down the ball, throw accurately…it may be another run that you do not need to chase.

 Be an overall positive player…a dropped catch a miss field will reduce your overall contribution or value to the team


IMPORTS TURN BAT INDUSTRY TO ASHES


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:05 


The Herald Sun published an article Thursday 4th of August called "IMPORTS TURN BAT INDUSTRY TO ASHES". The article written by Andrew Jefferson (Jefferson) a Journalist from England. He tells a sorry tale about a Bat Maker in Footscray who can no longer cut it, blaming India for his demise.

Whilst I understand what the Bat Maker is personally going through, he has for a very long time, refused to accept there are others in this country who can make bats as well if not better than himself. Had Jefferson not been so lazy and researched the topic he would have been in a far better position to write a story that reflects the true state of the Cricket Bat Willow and Bat Making industry in Australia.

Jefferson would also have learned that Willow Blue Australia has built the Australian Cricket Industry from the ashes and to read such comments from this bat maker really disappoints me because it denigrates the industry and all the hard work that has gone into rebuilding it.

There are far more bat makers in Australia and N.Z. than ever before and they can make bats that India cannot possibly compete with and they are still able to make good money because the valuable raw material does not have to be imported. This timber is proving to have exceptional rebound and lasting qualities and having more qualifications in this industry than many... I know what I am talking about.



A HISTORICAL MACLAREN INTERVIEW


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:00


Mr. A.C. MacLaren was born on Whalley Range Manchester December 1ST 1871

By the age of 19 and straight from the playing fields of Harrow he found himself repre¬senting Lancashire in her county fixtures. At Brighton against Sussex he scored a faultless 108 on debut.

Described as dashing at the wicket and even smarter in the field at slip or at cover-slip, MacLaren judged the flight of the ball unerringly, while boundary after boundary was saved by the manner in which he picked up the fastest cut, snick, or drive with either hand.

By the year 1895 Mr. MacLaren had wooed his bride Maud and was playing the best cricket of his life. He had scored his maiden Test century at Melbourne; had been named captain of Lancashire; scored a world record 424 runs and was voted Wisden Cricketer of the Year.

Prior to his third tour of Australia the England Captain went on the record as saying.

“They (Australia) will, of course, be without poor Harry Trott, the finest captain and one of the best fellows I have ever met but they have some bowlers and it will take our very best All England side to beat them this coming summer”.

“Bowlers are of two classes: head bowlers, men who bowl with their heads; and mechanical bowlers. Which is best? The former, without a doubt and this is where the Australians are so much ahead of us in their own country. Their wickets are dry and hard, and it is useless for a man to keep on bowling dead on the wicket. He must of course use his judgment, and as a natural consequence the bowler at Sydney, or Adelaide, or any other of the Austra¬lian grounds, is obliged to try experi¬ments in the attempt to secure a wicket. They try far more of these experiments and dodges than our bowlers. Here they must do so in order to justify their reputation”.

“When a batsman goes in, the bowler is continually trying some device in order to get him out, or to tempt him in some fashion. This style of play is strange to a new-comer, and he falls into the trap laid for him. Then he wonders why he could not have seen what was likely to happen. But a new man possesses very little chance of be¬coming a success upon Australian wickets: he has too much to learn to be able to crowd all his experience into the beginning of one tour”.

“Their best performer with the ball is Hugh Trumble, without a doubt; he knows our wickets well; is remarkably good upon his own wickets, and he uses his judgment to the best advantage. Upon a wicket that suits him he is practically un¬playable, while he is a man who can always be relied upon”.

“Last tour we were beaten, fairly and squarely," he admitted; "but after all, we had a far more formidable task than faced by any of the earlier elevens. On the former occasions cricket had not secured such a hold upon the Australian public. The game was in a transi¬tory stage, so to speak”.

“Now the case is vastly different. Cricket has been improved all round in Australia, while, as I have said before, a new man must almost entirely alter his style of play if he wishes to be a success. And some men can¬not do that, consequently they fail”.

“Even when he does make this alteration, it takes a very long time before he can feel at all at home under the different conditions. It is always the same, and it by no means follows that because a man is a great player here in England he will prove an equal success in Australia”.

“In speaking of Australian cricket it is a fearful drawback to any visiting team, this playing first on turf and then on mat¬ting. Upon the aver¬age, during our last tour, we played three of these matches in a fort¬night. We found the ball came in at a lightning pace, and regulated our style accordingly”.

“The Australians may smile when they read this, but I am absolutely certain several of our batsmen's failures were caused by the exchange of surface”.

“These matches, played far away from the usual grounds, of course do a great deal of good from a cricket point of view: that is to say, locally. The curious thing, though, is that we met many good bowlers in these matches whom I should like to see playing for Lancashire".

A.C. MacLaren

“There was a great deal too much of the 'barracking' humour especially at Sydney, on the occasion of our last test match there. At Melbourne, however, the crowd behaved much fairer to us. There is a great difference between an Australian and an English crowd. The former are not nearly so generous: they do not like to see you winning. As long as they are on top they are satisfied; but if there is a prospect of their being beaten, then they commence to ‘boo and yell’ at the visiting players”.

“It was not the paucity of our numbers that upsets us in Australia. It was the heat. During the day we would be beneath a broiling sun; then at night, up would come the hot wind, and we could not sleep. That in itself was enough to put a man off his form”.

At the Melbourne Test of 1902 Mr. MacLaren the Captain of England turned to Bob Crockett, the International umpire and bat repairer and said: "One thing that surprises me Bob is that you do not grow the bat willow in this country. I have seen a score of suitable localities but I have not seen a single tree of the very ornamental bat willow."

Some six months later Crockett received six cricket bat willow cuttings sealed in a steel tube.

Indeed it is a quirk of fate that at the very location Mr. and Mrs. MacLaren honeymooned in Healesville, more than 100 years later you will find from this very progeny, a cricket bat willow plantation.

Mr. MacLaren died November 17th 1944 aged 73; he had played 424 first class matches for Lancashire scoring 47 hundreds and had played 35 Test matches scoring 5 centuries.

It is therefore extremely interesting to reflect on a man Neville Cardus wrote so colourfully; “MacLaren didn’t merely hook the ball he dismissed it from his presence”. And for those who would rather portray him poorly it is perhaps appropriate to allow Mr. MacLaren one final quote.

“There are too many critics, and, as is generally the case, those who know least have the most to say”.



Lloyd Noel Callen 1928 - 2015


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 19:00 


Callen Cricket and Willow Blue Cricket Forestry lost a remarkable man recently.

He was my best friend, my coach and for all who knew my father, he was a true gentleman.

I only ever heard one person say anything bad about Dad and he choked on his words very quickly. We were on a job at Brick & Pipe Scoresby about 25 years ago. This so called tradesman had been unable to cut through a thick steel plate using a laser cutter and work had come to a stand still at the factory.

All were standing around scratching there heads wondering how they’d get the job done when I interrupted and said, “Go and get the old man he’ll cut it for you”. And after much deliberation, they did.

I remember Dad wheeling his oxy equipment around while everyone looked on with great anticipation.

Dad calmly and methodically adjusted the oxy and acetylene gauges, chose a tip, set his pressure and cut through the plate as if it where butter. I couldn’t have been prouder.

Dad was a boilermaker from the old school. He did his apprenticeship at Williamstown Dock yard and he tells some great stories of that time. It was war time and he would ride from Brunswick to work each day. He wasn’t a big fan of the Newport Railway gates either, he often laughed that they might be the only thing that could stop the Japanese invading army.

Another great story was when he was riveting up a ships hull. I remember it as if I where there. Dad was to place the rivets into a hole so that they could be flattened by a heavy hammer. Over the time of building the ship Dad said they’d perfected the process to the point where he’d be catching the sizzling rivet with steel tongs as if fielding in slips, shoving it into place and moving on to the next without breaking stride.

He was a remarkable tradesman the best I’d ever seen and I had the pleasure of working closely with him for over 30 years.

Dad was such a huge influence on my life and obviously my cricket going back as far as I can remember, to a time where I dragged his cricket bat all around the Yarck Cricket Club. Even today, when driving through the township I will stop and walk out to the middle of the ground where you'll find a malthoid pitch. I can still visualize his flowing leg spin action and flow through, the loop of the ball as it drew batsman out of their crease only to be beaten by the spin and bounce or another trying to cut fiercely to find the bails removed from a well disguised wrongun.

Dad learned his cricket at the Carlton Cricket Club and was on the verge of 1st XI cricket when he married and moved to Gobur to help his father Ron on his 1000 acre farm high in the Strathbogie Ranges. The Callen's were pioneers of the region, John Callen arrived in Australia in 1858 to become a pastoralist along the Goulburn River flats of Tallarook and he was followed by his son Andrew , also a cricketer where he played for Tallarook. Andrew established his farm "Falcon Vale" on what is known as Callen Range not far from Seymour.

When Dad joined his father Ron at Gobur he was immediately asked to join the Yarck Football Club. His old blazer is framed and hangs proudly in my office. But it was cricket that Dad excelled at. He took a remarkable 39 wickets in Country Week for Alexandra Mansfield District Cricket Association and I am told that this is a record for most wickets ever taken in a week of that competition.

In those years he also worked for Proctor Aviation in Alexandra rebuilding crop dusting planes and driving the superphosphate loaders. He loved that job and would drive the truck carrying the loader all over the state. We would wait for a plane to buzz the house and Mum would get in the car and drive us kids up Maroondah Hwy to a long stretch of straight road between Yarck and Kanumbra and the plane would come in over the top of the car and land on the road in front of us. Dad would jump out, hop in the car and we’d drive behind the plane as it took off back to Alexandra.

I remember Dad forgot to leave Mum the car keys on one occasion and she was searching everywhere for them, when we heard a plane come over the house. I ran into the back yard as a small parachute floated to earth carrying the keys. I can remember looking into the sky as the plane banked from side to side as if waving good bye.

Yes I was very fortunate to have such a great father and was thrilled to be selected to play along side of him in the RDCA’S Chandler Shield. In those days he was playing for Heathmont, where he was chosen for the clubs team of century. I remember him taking a blinder in the gully to give me my first wicket in that grade.

Not long after that Dad rang a former team mate at Carlton a selector, the late Leo Finch. I was invited down to Carlton not long after and started in the third XI with Peter Bedford as coach of the club.

I was extremely luck to have such wonderful support from my parents and their encouragement throughout my career.

I think the highlight for Dad was when I played for Australia in Adelaide. He witnessed a winning Test which won the series for us against India and I was able to get him into the rooms after the match. We sat together soaking up the atmosphere when Sir Donald Bradman joined us and we talked cricket. What a highleight and Dad has never stopped talking about it... and I agree it was truly a moment we always cherished between us.

After I retired from first class cricket Dad was the first person I discussed my idea of re-establishing the cricket bat willow industry here in Australia. I had spent time in the UK learning how to make Bats and Dad visited me in Huntingdon for a pint of two. He and Mum were touring Europe.

In trying to establish this venture I made a tremendous mistake by getting us involved with some very ordinary people who under the disguise of friendship worked against us. But Dad and I didn't give up and our hard work was not in vain, my wife Susan and I have carried it on and Australia has its cricket bat willow industry.


R.I.P. Dad, I know you’re with me.


Cricket Bat Willow


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 18:55 


I am asked everyday for advice on what makes a good cricket bat.

From experience I can tell at the time of splitting a round if it will make a good bat and as a Willow Blue Cricket Forester, Bat Maker with more than 30 years experience, having played at the highest level and as a Professional Cricketer having played all over the world... I certainly feel I am as qualified as anyone when it comes offering an opinion.

I have 5 Plantations throughout Victoria and each is producing a slightly different timber aesthetically but I have found all the timber grown in Australia performs as consistently as any grown in the UK, in fact its rebound and resilient qualities are better.

For example our Healesville Plantation produces timber that I like to call "Rebound Red", because it has colour.

Recently I had one self appointed expert try to tell me that colour means "heart wood" and that it is no good for cricket bats. Try telling that to a couple of the modern time best strikers of the ball (Matthew Hayden & Brad Haddin). They believe colour in the timber was an indicator of rebound which gave them better value for their stroke play and I certainly agree.

Heart wood is the dead wood found in the middle of the tree and it along with the sapwood (new growth) that forms just under the bark is cut out during processing.

The cleft is then stacked for air drying and this enhances natural colour or characteristics associated with the tree such as Butterfly or Tiger stain.

This process reflects natural events or happening during the trees lifetime. This is nature displaying the various shades of colour and if you find a bat that dispays such colour running into the grain it will only mean... rebound qualities.

I personally love the look it gives and in no way will it be detrimental to the performance of your bat.

The Cricket Bat

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 18:50 Delete delete Overlays edit

The history of the cricket bat began with a game called Stool Ball, the first form of cricket and it was played by the ladies.

Since then the cricket bat has taken its shape from various sticks or limbs until the 18th century when there became a need to combat the underarm grubber.

Then along came "Brick Bat" Lumpy Stephens and like most batsman he hated being dismissed and to this end he designed a bat wider than the stumps.

The width of the bat was then limited to 4 1/4 inches.

As stroke play improved the laminated handle was introduced to prevent jarring of the hands and from this point the bat remained pretty much the same shape.

In 1890's Stuart Surridge perfected the very successful reinforced toe. These were great bats and it is a shame they are not around today. Cricket bat makers have tried just about everthing to enhance their product even to the point of bleaching the bats white to improve aesthetic's.

But it wasn't until the early 1970's that real changes to bats began.

The flat back used by Tony Greig, the scoop by Ian Chappell, the Stuart Surridge Jumbo made famous by Viv Richards, the Duncan Fearnley Run Reaper made famous by Bob Willis, the Dennis Lillee Alumimum "Combat", the Newberry Excalibar, a shoulder less bat used one handed by Lance Cairns to put Dennis Lillee out of the ground and the Slazenger V12... even the angle of handle or the pieces of cane or compounds used.

All these designs to enlarge the sweet spot or to give the user an advantage over the bowler.

In 1980's Hunts County began making hollowed centre bats and in 1985 Callen introduced the cork centre bats and by 2000 experimentation began with the laminated bats which forced the latest rule change.

Today all blades of a bat must be made of one piece of timber.

Willow clefts are processed to a standard size 3" in the apex, 5" in width & about 2' 7" in length with an edge 2 3/4". The only way to make bigger bats is to laminate or produce large clefts which reduces the number of bats from a tree which will ultimately increase costs.

Today the fixation is to produce bigger lighter bats for bigger hitting... but I am not convinced it does. It will assist the performance of a poorly timed shot and will increase the sweet spot area but when it comes down to sweetly timed majestic stroke from the middle of the bat... I have not seen or felt any difference.

Test player George Bonnor was once caught out having completed 3 runs.

Keith Miller landed two consecutive balls next to the old MCG member Pavillon clock (huge hits)

Simon O'Donnell hit a flat six straight into the second deck of the southern stand.

Recently a batmaker in India wanted me to supply willow dried to 8% moisture content because he is wanting lightweight big edged bats.

Willow Blue timber is 12%.

It seem every batsman wants to hit the ball like West Indian superstar Chris Gayle.

That's ok for the players who don't have to pay for their bats. But for average cricketer, bats that have been dried below the levels that occur in its natural evironment will only regain moisture and this will weaken the timber and we all know what that means... splitting or facial disintegration.

All natural timber products depending on atmospheric condition will gain or lose moisture... perhaps that why cricketers of yester year would oil and care for their bats, after all, a top grade new bat has nearly always cost a customer his weekly wage.

Have things change??



Swing, Leg Cut, Slide or Reverse?


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 18:50 


There was a lot of talk during the 1ST Ashes Test of 2013 in England about reverse swing, so I asked former Australian Fast Bowler and Specialist Pace Bowling coach Ian Callen for his thoughts.

Ian Callen said, "If the ball is delivered perfectly, the seam has what coaches call shape, it (the seam position) may be upright (with backspin) and angled toward slip, straight or to leg slip and if the ball moves in the air to slip (RH Batter at the crease) it is out swing. Off the wicket leg cut. If the seam faces leg side and it swings into the pad through the air it is in swing. Off the wicket off cut. In this regard the shine on the ball determines the swing. Shine to the leg side for away and off side for in and it is opposite for reverse swing."

Ian Callen said, "Anderson uses his hand to disguise reverse swing magnificently.

Ok, got that.

Ian Callen said, "He watched with great interest, when Anderson took the new ball for Australia's second innings at Trent Bridge. Watson was the Batsman and the ball brand new and the super slomo showed, Anderson delivering it with perfect shape & backspin but the ball slid to leg, why? Anderson is the best bowler in the world at the discipline but, what we can't tell from the comfort of our lounge was wind direction", Callen said

"Is the wind working against Anderson? or is it the weight of the ball? It looked as if the ball was fighting something to determine its direction" Callen explained.

"This is not reverse swing... it is a slide, an indication that the wind may be hindering execution efforts and that perhaps Cook has misjudged the end Anderson should bowl or that a manufacturing fault is affecting the ball?"

Is the ball out of balance from the start of the innings and does this contribute to the way the ball behaviours as the game develops influencing reverse swing? All these questions should be put to David Saker" said Callen with a grin.

The Important Years for Coaching

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 18:45 Delete delete Overlays edit

How many of us have seen this situation… a young cricketer enters the practice net with a helmet that doesn’t fit, over size bat, pads and gloves?

When he/she finds a stance the bowler delivers the ball… it hits the side of the pitch and the young batsman walks around the stumps, picks the ball up and throws it back to the bowler. By the time he/she has finished the net, he/she has swung at a couple, missed most and has spent most of his/her time throwing the ball back... this could be JUNIOR practice anywhere in the world.

Most likely the coach is a Dad with a bit of playing experience and if the child is lucky… the coach may have participated in a coaching course.

A cricketer has to start somewhere and it is the responsibility of the coach to develop the child along with the others in the team. We are asking a lot of our coach for you need more than just skill and technique to play this game and cricket is the most skilful of all the sports, so if we are to produce competent players it is paramount we provide a basic understanding of the disciplines involved and the required technical skill to execute each discipline… well before net sessions or game situations are introduced.

This responsibility must be accepted by the Club for each and every junior in its ranks and most importantly for the very future of the club and our great game.

The most important years for a cricketer are at home with Mum and Dad. Having coached cricket for most of my life I began analysing my development as a cricketer compared to those I am asked to coach.

By the time a young cricketer comes to me or has been introduced to me they have developed their own style.

I think I was very similar to my daughter who began showing her own sporting talent from the age of 3 years. In particular Swimming, Tennis and Golf and I was only too pleased to encourage her. I became her coach and I learned a great deal from watching her master the skills.

It became very obvious to me the earliest years are the most critical. It just takes patience. Demonstrate, Demonstrate Demonstrate, encourage and reinforce. They have fun and the encouragement motivates them. I was amazed at just how quickly they pick it up. My daughter in particular would go away to her room, play with some friends and the next time she would have it. I would sometimes catch her playing imaginary stokes.

I hope my Producing Cricketers can help you teach your child the most specific techniques involved in our great game. Particularly the bowling action for once they have mastered it... they will have it forever.



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