PEOPLE hate change. They loathe it. Let us be honest, we even hate changing our hairdresser. But with the Australian cricket team, and the constant changes within the team, everyone has had an opinion on how it is travelling. The majority of it not complimentary.
Now I think it is time for someone to stand up for the Australian selectors and coaching staff. They don’t deserve this criticism. It is almost un-Australian the way fans and media have attacked this team.
I have been part of the team for a month or so, and I have a great understanding of how they go about things. So, before anyone else fires off some rockets, here are the facts.
This team will be on the road this year for 272 days. They will play close to 140 days of cricket with tours to India, England and back home. Let us not forget to mention the players have Indian Premier League to play as well. I know a lot of you say that IPL does not count. Well, if you are a strong enough person to say no to a $1 million contract a year, then good for you. Don’t forget you are just an injury away from being be out of this team. Being loyal is very admirable, but before you blink, you can be out of the team and lose most of your income.
Playing professional sport today is not a mug’s game. It is a dog-eat-dog world, and every player is watching their spots and purse strings. Most of the players today have made a lot of sacrifices to reach the top. If it falls over, a lot of players don’t have much to fall back on. For instance, Brad Haddin left the team for family reasons, and Matthew Wade takes over and scores hundreds. It hasn’t been fair on Haddin but that is just sport, you say. This is the very reason players of today take no chances. Being loyal to the Australian team cannot pay your bills.
Let me tell you, it is harder to play cricket today than any time in history. Today, the team and every player is scrutinised, analysed and measured. Nothing is left to chance. Players, before entering the rooms, have to log in their phones with the ICC. Then there might be drug tests, urine tests and weight measurements. Every player’s workload is analysed and discussed. The players of today are given everything to get the best out of themselves.
Now here is my point. I have heard Shane Warne’s criticisms of the selectors. I have also heard Ian Chappell’s ”boffins at work” opinions. They all don’t like the rotation of players. But most of the players who are omitted are out due to injury. Rarely are they ”cooked” and wanting a day off. They rotate players in Major League Baseball as they play more than 166 matches a year. Basketball in the US is no different. Senior players in the AFL are often getting matches off. So why is cricket any different? This is the time to blood some players against Sri Lanka and the West Indies in the next month and rest some senior players here and there.
Selectors and players are well aware of the crucial times. Obviously the Indian Test series and the Ashes are their priorities. So when are the selectors expected to blood players and give some players a rest?
I was also critical of the Australian team’s practices. But once I had been in the ”inner sanctum”, I can fully understand where the Australians are going. They didn’t lose any respect in a 1-0 loss to the world’s No.1 team, South Africa. They belted Sri Lanka 3-0 in the Test series, and have played some good cricket in the one-day series.
The heavy criticism from Warne and Chappell has been unwarranted and hurtful. This Australian team is highly respectful of their thoughts and opinions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are right. Let us not forget, India has barely moved its team around over the past 18 months and is paying the price for it. They have been getting smashed and their players look cooked.
So let’s cut this Australian team some slack. The squad is working its backside off to be entertaining and successful. They will be judged on their efforts in India and against England soon enough.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.