Sport

Cricket 'muppets' respond to Warne's attack

Sapa-AFP

Australian cricket chiefs have backed chief selector John Inverarity after criticism from Test great Shane Warne over a controversial rotation policy.

Shane Warne. (AFP)

Warne on Monday used his website to speak out against resting players – particularly fast bowlers – to guard them from breaking down as a result of the relentless demands of international cricket.

But Cricket Australia chairperson Wally Edwards insisted Australia were on the right track after meeting under-fire Inverarity and general manager of team performance Pat Howard.

The Cricket Australia board gave its "unequivocal support" for the methods being used after Howard and Inverarity addressed the board of directors in Melbourne on Monday against a backdrop of criticism from former players and the media.

Edwards said Australia, who dominated the international game for more than a decade, were bidding to become the world's top side by putting into place policies formulated after the release of a wide-ranging report 18 months ago.

'Mission statements flying around'
"To build a new cricket side is a long-term thing ... I'm confident we're on the right track," Edwards said.

"They [Howard and Inverarity] noted that since the appointment of the current team performance leadership group Australia has played 15 Tests of which we've won 10. We've lost two and had three very credible draws.

"In that time Australia has moved from fifth to third on the world Test rankings."

Warne (43) earlier on Monday called for the best 11 to be selected at all times in each form of the game on his website.

"When we were number one there weren't mission statements flying around, but we got the selection process right and the best 11 were selected for every game," he said.

"Example: Glenn McGrath didn't want to be rotated or rested, he wanted to play every game, and we all did." The comments from the spin legend came in part two of his manifesto entitled Where is Australian cricket at?, a week after he labelled cricket chiefs "muppets".

Improving communication with fans
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he had a "robust discussion" at the weekend with Warne, second on the all-time list of Test wicket-takers, and invited him to work with Australia's spinners.

"There's no doubt about his passion and enthusiasm for the Australian cricket team to be successful," said Sutherland, who admitted the board could improve communication with fans and the media over selection.

"Hopefully there are opportunities for him down the track to be closer to us and have an even greater involvement," he added.

Australia, third in the Test and one-day rankings, lost their recent Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka after drawing the one-day series and beating the visitors in the Test series.

The home side lead the West Indies 2-0 in their five-match ODI series before heading off on a four-Test tour to India later this month. – AFP

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