Soul-searching Australia turn to former captains

Former Australia captains Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh will join a review panel charged with finding ways to make the national team more competitive following their humbling Ashes defeat to bitter rivals England.

England retained the coveted urn after handing out three innings defeats in the five-Test series that concluded in January, stunning the national side and sparking calls by local media and pundits for an overhaul of the game’s administration.

The panel is to be chaired by prominent businessman Don Argus, a former chairperson of resources giant BHP Billiton, with former International Cricket Council and Australian Cricket Board chief Malcolm Speed as deputy chairperson, Cricket Australia (CA) officials told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

“I do want to stress that this review is not about individuals,” CA chairperson Jack Clarke said. “It’s about setting up processes, structures, systems to give Australian cricket the best chance of sustained future success. It will not be a witch-hunt.

“We normally do a review anyway, but not such a high-profile review. We haven’t done it for some time.

“Australians don’t like losing; I don’t like losing either I’ve got to say.

“There’s no point sneaking behind a bush to do this, we’d much sooner be up front and tell the public what’s going on.”

Record streak
Border, who took over from Kim Hughes in 1984/85, helped Australia turn their fortunes around after a lean patch in the early and mid-80s, before handing the reins over to Taylor, who cemented Australia’s status as the world’s top Test side throughout the 1990s.

Waugh carried on Taylor’s success from 1998/99, captaining a team many regarded as one of the best of all time, while leading Australia to a record streak of 16 Test victories before his retirement in 2004.

Although enjoying initial success under current captain Ricky Ponting, Australia have struggled to replace a golden generation of players including bowling greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, who retired in 2007.

The team has slumped to fifth in the ICC Test rankings, but are still holding on to their top ranking in one-day cricket and are in the process of trying to defend their World Cup title in the subcontinent.

Clarke denied the review was a concession that the game’s administrators had failed to manage Australia’s transition.

“I don’t think it’s an admission of anything. I think it’s just prudent corporate practice whether you’re running a cricket organisation or running BHP, to be quite frank.”

“At no time in history have we had so many great players leave at once. Australia have been in this place before, but have always got out of it.

“We want to make sure we get out of it very quickly and have a rosy future.”

The panel’s findings were expected to be passed on to the board in the second half of 2011, Clarke said, adding that separate reviews into the governance of the game and into CA’s finances would be carried out concurrently.

Australia’s struggles in the Test arena have seen pundits and former players line up to criticise the game’s custodians over issues ranging from team selection to talent development. — Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Mask rules are not meant to ‘criminalise’ the public

Shop owners and taxi drivers can now refuse entry to people who defy mandatory mask-wearing regulations

Ramaphosa asks all South Africans to help to avoid 50...

Calling this ‘the gravest crisis in the history of our democracy’, the president said level three lockdown remains, but enforcement will be strengthened

Reinstated Ingonyama Trust managers hit with retrenchment notices

The effect of Covid-19 and the land reform department’s freeze of R23-million because the ITB didn’t comply with budget submissions are cited as some of the reasons for the staff cuts

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday