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May 24, 2006
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However the Ashes finishes up, we're heading towards a transition phase.

36 Khawaja
36 Warner
35 Lyon
34 Smith
33 Starc
32 Hazelwood
31 Carey
31 Marsh
30 Cummins

The cupboard seems fairly bare given that a number of those on the fringes of the current test XI are old-ish themselves:
36 Henriques
34 Boland
34 Maxwell
33 Neser
33 Burns
32 Handscomb
31 Maddinson
31 Abbott
30 Harris
30 Bancroft
30 Patterson
30 Turner

There seems to be fewer 21-25 year olds pushing for national honours than in the past. For whatever reason, it seems to take players a number of years to establish themselves in Shield ranks and to perform to a consistent enough level to warrant higher selection.

Cricket Australia has been aware of this for a while.

They tried to implement some age restrictions to State 2nd XI cricket a few years ago (certain numbers of players under 25 in each team) but it went down like a lead balloon and was removed swiftly.

At a CA conference for premier grade coaches they lectured about how national level players would often play 1st Grade Cricket by 14/15 years of age so urged them to fast-track their most talented players.

You look through the leading Shield batting and bowling figures and it tends to be the older guys dominating.

Why are there fewer young players emerging?

Who are the 21-25 year olds in the state systems who have a game that will translate to international test level? Marnus Labuschagne for one was plucked from first class ranks with a mid-30s average. Nathan Lyon another who was something of a rough diamond identified.
 

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  • #4
Do you still hold hope for Hunt to be an international? Drugs Are Bad Mackay?
I don't think so

Last season when he got appointed captain he found he couldn't handle the extra responsibility.

Had to step down so he could just concentrate on his own game.

I just feel he's a bit too intense. An over-thinker. Going to a higher level the pressure goes up many more notches and I don't think he'd handle it. There are a million more things to think about - look how we've struggled with the crowds/media here.

Travis Head the opposite. Probably doesn't think enough! But just has this innate belief in his own ability. Can handle any challenge even though if you look at his technique you'd think he would struggle at higher levels.
 
The big five young batting talents (IMO) are Cam Green, Will Pucovski, Jason Sangha, Jake Fraser-McGurk and Teague Wyllie.

We all know Pucs issues, but he seems adamant he is ready for next summer. Unfortunately Sangha and JFM's careers are stalling.

Just to clarify very few play first grade cricket at 14 or 15. Maybe regional first grade competitions, but not first grade where Sheffield shield squads are picked from (largely called premier cricket now). A few will but even the most talented don't get there till 16 at the earliest. Smith was 16 when he debuted at Sutherland (and never got dropped), Warner same at Easts but was 18 before he was a permanent first grader.
 
That focus on getting young players into the Shield is part of the problem. They get in at 19-22, don't perform, get dropped and another set of 19-20 years old gets cycled through and their washed out of the system. (Much like the AFL forces with the draft, players can be career over at 22.) Gifting caps based on "potential" does not help their development unless they are getting close to earning the spot anyway.
And so to earn money they either leave the sport as a serious endeavour, or play the T20. Having very little long form cricket in high performance programs doesn't help either. If they get taught T20, and can only make half a living by playing T20, they aren't going to develop the mentality for the longer game.
 
That focus on getting young players into the Shield is part of the problem. They get in at 19-22, don't perform, get dropped and another set of 19-20 years old gets cycled through and their washed out of the system.
Some of the grade records you see of young shield players are pretty atrocious.

I cant remember the exact figures but when Mitch Starc made his test debut he had something like two five wickets hauls against adults (I'd need to fact check this and maybe it was a different bowler, but it was something along these lines).

In the case above he came good but the majority get chewed up and I think it's a selection policy that promotes mediocrity in talented juniors.

I've never believed in the policy of "if they get chewed up, they were never gonna make it anyway" because cricket is one of the worst sports for promoting someone too early. Most cricketing talent you need to nurture, not just throw it to the wolves.

If you're pushing talent through early without performances to back it up, you need to be very confident in them and prepared to pull them back if they can't make the step up.
 
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It's a case-by-case basis. Michael Clarke played for NSW having never made a 1st Grade hundred.

Who to fast track and who to hold back until they've piled on the performances...?

The art of coaching/selection
 
However the Ashes finishes up, we're heading towards a transition phase.

36 Khawaja
36 Warner
35 Lyon
34 Smith
33 Starc
32 Hazelwood
31 Carey
31 Marsh
30 Cummins

The cupboard seems fairly bare given that a number of those on the fringes of the current test XI are old-ish themselves:
36 Henriques
34 Boland
34 Maxwell
33 Neser
33 Burns
32 Handscomb
31 Maddinson
31 Abbott
30 Harris
30 Bancroft
30 Patterson
30 Turner

3-4 years is still time for someone to put their hand up or for someone to emerge on the first class scene.
3-4 years can still be a long time.

numbers 3-6 seem to be solid if firing and fit (marnus, smith, head, green) which is handy coz we have no real bats putting their hand up.

the opening positions will both be filled , more than likely in 8 tests time at the end of the nz tour in march.

cummins still has time and lyon may still play for another 3 years or so as well.

its hazlewood and starc with the odds against them as mcgrath is the only quick to play test cricket past age 35. boland and neser have limited time in the test arena.




since '79/80: list of players who have played test cricket at age 37+.

1690014930091.png

*interesting one on that list is dutchy holland who debuted at age 38.
 
3-4 years is still time for someone to put their hand up or for someone to emerge on the first class scene.
3-4 years can still be a long time.

numbers 3-6 seem to be solid if firing and fit (marnus, smith, head, green) which is handy coz we have no real bats putting their hand up.

the opening positions will both be filled , more than likely in 8 tests time at the end of the nz tour in march.

cummins still has time and lyon may still play for another 3 years or so as well.

its hazlewood and starc with the odds against them as mcgrath is the only quick to play test cricket past age 35. boland and neser have limited time in the test arena.




since '79/80: list of players who have played test cricket at age 37+.

View attachment 1748682

*interesting one on that list is dutchy holland who debuted at age 38.
That can't be Jon Holland. He's currently 36, played four test the last of which was in 2018.
 
3-4 years is still time for someone to put their hand up or for someone to emerge on the first class scene.
3-4 years can still be a long time.

numbers 3-6 seem to be solid if firing and fit (marnus, smith, head, green) which is handy coz we have no real bats putting their hand up.

the opening positions will both be filled , more than likely in 8 tests time at the end of the nz tour in march.

cummins still has time and lyon may still play for another 3 years or so as well.

its hazlewood and starc with the odds against them as mcgrath is the only quick to play test cricket past age 35. boland and neser have limited time in the test arena.




since '79/80: list of players who have played test cricket at age 37+.

View attachment 1748682

*interesting one on that list is dutchy holland who debuted at age 38.

Starc and Halzewood really need to be moved on come our home summer. I've said it numerous times, australian seamers hit the wall at 33,34....McGrath is the only one who managed to perform past that age.

There is no doubt their performance I'm flagged has been disappointing.

We have India here next summer, and England the following summer. Pakistan this summer won't be pushovers, nor will NZ early next year in NZ.

It is the perfect time to get some younger seam bowlers into the fray with a view to the Ashes in 25/26.

Will Sutherland looks a decent seamer. I'd like to see him given an opportunity in test cricket this summer.
 

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Transitioning Warner and Khawaja out is going to be an immediate challenge. Maddison, Harris and Bancroft are options at the the top of the order if their form is good and all three could play competent bridging roles. None represent genuine generational change however. Would really help if Renshaw or Pucovski could nail a spot.

M.Marsh looks ready to perform right now and is nailing this opportunity. But the retirement of Smith is going to leave a huge hole. We need Green to deliver on his potential and others to step up.

Trav as next capitan?
 
Like most, I will be keeping a close eye on Pucovski this summer. Really hope he stays in the game, was watching highlights of his debut v India in early 2021 phwoa. The other one for me having been mentioned is Jake Fraser-McGurk, I am very interested to see how his move to South Australia goes.

Fast bowling, well J Richardson, Morris, Johnson, Buckingham, Meredith, Conway (though perhaps a bit old?) are all bright prospects in my opinion. Also, Will Sutherland is in for a big summer I think, he has been maturing well, has lots of FC experience under his belt and is a real competitor. Wouldn't be surprised to see him at international level in the next few years.
 
Starc and Halzewood really need to be moved on come our home summer. I've said it numerous times, australian seamers hit the wall at 33,34....McGrath is the only one who managed to perform past that age.

There is no doubt their performance I'm flagged has been disappointing.

We have India here next summer, and England the following summer. Pakistan this summer won't be pushovers, nor will NZ early next year in NZ.

It is the perfect time to get some younger seam bowlers into the fray with a view to the Ashes in 25/26.

Will Sutherland looks a decent seamer. I'd like to see him given an opportunity in test cricket this summer.

We have the easiest next 4 years going, won't matter who we pick we'll win just about everything.
 
How good is Bryce Street? I haven't seen much of him
Poor mans Khawaja. Immense concentration but doesn't have the shots to get going like Khawaja. Usman obviously starts very slowly but once set can start moving it along, hence his career strike rate sits around 50 - it's the last component that Street doesn't have and is probably unlikely to ever develop at this age.

I think he'll get a run for Australia at some point but I don't see him averaging much more than what he does in FC cricket (mid 30's) but he does soak 100 balls per dismissal so it'd probably come down to have valuable the selectors see that. If the other options are likely to score roughly as many runs having an opener who can really see off the new ball is more valuable than one who can't.

Selectors could also see it as problematic because him scoring at such a slow rate can also be viewed as putting pressure on the rest of the team.
 
Could see something along these lines in the next 2-3 years:

1. Renshaw
2. Pucovski
3. Labuschagne
4. (?)
5. Head
6. Green
7. Carey (+)
8. Cummins (c)
9. Richardson
10. Murphy
11. Morris

People still reckon Puvocski will play cricket? How many years has he spent struggling with concussion now?

How's he gonna go against international quicks who target his helmet?
 
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  • #25
A few years ago, Cricket Australia split up the larger states for the pathway programs - national Under 17s and national Under 19s.

Now there's NSW Metro and NSW Country (includes ACT I'm pretty sure) and Vic Metro and Vic Country. Maybe Queensland as well? Can't remember

I wonder if this has been a positive change (more opportunity, extra players in the system) or if it's diluted the standard somewhat?
 

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