Ali Bacher: T20 a bad influence on Test cricket

Ali Bacher. (Gallo)

Ali Bacher. (Gallo)

"There is a place for T20 cricket but it should not be allowed to overrun our first-class game," Bacher said on Wednesday.

His observation was made after the recent Ashes Test at Lords, where Australia went down by 347 runs to England, and trail 2-0 in the five-match series.

Bacher, invited to Lords to watch the Test, was full of praise for the host side but felt Australia's batting was found wanting.

"England are a very, very good side – they don't seem to have any weaknesses," Bacher said.

"They have a good pace attack, a world-class spinner in Graeme Swann, a good batting line-up and a good wicketkeeper/batsman. It's a good all-round side."

With Swann and right-arm swing bowler James Anderson, Bacher said England had what it takes to bowl out a side twice.

"The two best opening bowlers in the game today are Dale Steyn and James Anderson, although they are quite different.

"Anderson bowls just above medium pace, and is a superb swinger of the ball. He also deviates the ball both ways off the track and is very accurate.

"Steyn is much faster and has that late-away swing. He is also fiercely competitive."

The new coach
Australia, meanwhile, had big problems, particularly with their batting, he said.

"Australia's batting technique is flawed. They are loose and allowed a youngster like Joe Root to show them up."

Root, aged 22, and playing in only his eighth Test for England, scored 180 in the second innings at Lords.

"This young man from Yorkshire was compact, his defence was solid and he put away anything loose."

Bacher, who had not visited Lords since 2003, when Graeme Smith's double century paved the way for an innings and 92-run victory over England, could not see a way back for Australia in the current Ashes series.

"The hot weather is said to continue so the wickets will still turn even more. I don't know how the new coach Darren Lehmann is going to improve their technique in such a short time.

"There is no way you can survive in Test cricket batting like that – there is even talk of a 5-0 whitewash."

'Success of the national team'
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, second on the all-time list of run-makers, reportedly attributed some of the blame to Cricket Australia's focus on Twenty20 cricket.

"I was flabbergasted when Cricket Australia put out a statement on Sunday night promoting the success of the Big Bash Twenty20 league because the timing, coming so soon after that heavy defeat at Lords, was not ideal,'' Ponting wrote in his column in the Daily Mail on Monday.

"Cricket Australia is a business and they have invested a lot of time in the Big Bash while cuts have been made in first-class cricket.

"We must remember that the strength of this business will be measured by the success of the national team." – Sapa



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