By Maxie Allen
In the wake of their Ashes drubbing, the Australian cricket establishment has launched a soul-searching post mortem to identify the precise causes of the failure. It’s believed that topping the agenda will be a close examination of England’s domestic set-up to see what lessons can be learned from their victorious rivals.
Attention will first focus on the superior structure of the English domestic game. “Our guys only play 10 first-class Shield games a season,” a Cricket Australia source told us. “While the Poms play 16 county fixtures. It gives them a head start. For years everyone said we had the better approach but they were right all along.”
The root and branch shake-up of Aussie cricket won’t be limited to the Shield format.
“Our cricket season is pretty simple and straight-forward, which maybe isn’t preparing the guys well enough for the subtleties of an Ashes series. We need to make things much more complicated, just like in England. We’re considering having two rounds of matches starting on Tuesdays, four on Thursdays, two on Fridays, and the rest at the weekend depending on whether there’s a ‘r’ in the month.
“And clearly we need more competitions, not just the three we have now. Perhaps some kind of 34-over-a-side league, with 368 matches played across nine regional divisions. Plus a ginger-haired tournament – and one played with a tennis ball. England have really showed the way forward here.
“It’s obvious now that we press our youngsters too hard and too early by giving them tough cricket and expecting results. We can learn a lot from the English in this regard. We’re already looking at ways of getting all 18 year-old rookies a sponsored courtesy car and then straight into nine years of mediocrity on the fringes of the 1st XI, waiting for some old codger to have his benefit.”
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia must urgently address public anger at the way England have stolen a march on core tactics. “We pioneered playing with our kids on the outfield after the match. And now England are all over us in that department. Just look at Jonathan Trott pushing that pram around.
“We’re also under the pump when it comes to emotive team-bonding visits to nation-forging historical sites. The Poms’ trip to Flanders really upped the ante. To raise our game for 2013, we’re thinking of a behind-the-scenes tour of The Flying Doctors followed by hearing Germaine Greer at a literary festival.”
Finally, team selection. “We have to hold our hands up and admit that all our players were born in Australia. I’m fed up with people asking us – where the hell are our South Africans? No stone will be left unturned in our determination to put this right. Anyone got Kepler’s phone number?”
Maxie Allen blogs at thefulltoss.com
Read more on the Ashes:
Paul Collingwood just good: Alex Bowden
A day in the night of the The Ashes: how you watched it from the UK
The final Test, the final day in the Aussie press: columns of conviction
Alan Tyers on the Australian TV shows that never made it on air
Edward Craig misses Paul Collingwood already
Lawrence Booth, new editor of Wisden, writes on Alastair Cook
Patrick Eagar’s genius photo gallery from the entire series
Alan Tyers predicts 2011
Lawrence Booth says Ponting is still great
The series in TWC‘s stunning photo Gallery