16 June 2012
The return of Australian cricket is just around the corner and it's going to be great to see the boys back in action. The catch is that this wait has been slightly messy after what had been a positive period for Australian cricket. It seems as if there is light at the end of tunnel though, so don't fret fanatics!
The talks between Cricket Australia and the ACA (Australian Cricketers Association) seem to have made progress to resolving the issues with regards to the payment structure for the players that Cricket Australia's adamant to implement. The threat of a mid-tour boycott seems to be unlikely now and I will maintain a sense confidence that we won't see our cricket in such a state over financial complications.
The players are awaiting a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for their contracts and relative payment structures. According to Cricket Australia Chairman, Wally Edwards, the major issues have been dealt with and the finer details are being finalised for both parties to have an amicable agreement. This is good news.
"From a Cricket Australia perspective we're confident there will be a successful outcome before the end of June." - Wally Edwards.
The situation is particularly messy for the State players who are not on the fringes of consideration for National duty. This impact has left a few players (allegedly) in a really unfair situation where they have no set indication as to whether they will be getting a contract with their state and players considering a move to another State will be unable to make any immediate plans until a new MoU has been agreed upon.
Basically you'd be left contemplating moving into a full-time job and passing up on cricket or simply just carrying on as is. It would be mighty embarrassing if an agreement wasn't reached and a strike occurred but I am certain both parties will realise how these issues affect all with interest invested in the game.
I do think the relationship between the ACA and CA will be affected by this even if it is the positive outcome we all hope for. This is one implication with Cricket Australia controlling the state system. It has positives but this shows us how one party not being happy can have serious knock of problems for the rest.
All in all, I am confident it will be resolved. Lets just hope it's a positive move forward.
If you need a refresher on the upcoming ODI tour schedule, check out the fixtures page.
The bowling coach situation:
A while back a bomb was dropped when Craig McDermott announced his departure as bowling coach. There was a possibility the great Pakistani bower Waqar Younis could have taken the job but Ali de Winter, Tasmanian assistant coach, is inline to take the job.
He will be the bowling coach for the upcoming tour and this is very exciting as he's done a remarkable job with Tasmanian cricket and a prime example of his work is to simply look at Ben Hilfenhaus.
Hilfy's game has done a full three-sixty and both de Winter and McDermott were key players in this turnaround. You can also look at the improvement of Tasmanian cricket. Take a look at Luke Butterworth and Jackson Bird as examples of the bowling front!
He is with the team for the UK ODI tour and this will be an important stepping stone for him for what's to come. Wishing him all the best.
Talking about State cricket, the Sheffield Shield will most likely start in September this year.
A bit earlier than usual but with due to the schedules of the ICC World T20 and the Champions League.
The implication is that this is not quite summer so Tasmania, for example, will not be able to host any Sheffield games due to the spectacular outdoor weather in that part of Australia around that time. So other venues could be considered for hosting matches.
What this does mean is that the cricket season will be starting off a bit sooner than usual. Can't complain about that!
Simon Katich retires from Australian First-class cricket:
The other news is that Simon Katich has retired from Australian First-class cricket.
The decision is due to family reasons and the obvious fact that he has done all that he can for Australian cricket and has done a mighty fine job as well.
He will continue to play for Hampshire (Shane Warne and Michael Clarke's former county team) but you can still catch Katto in Twenty20 cricket so he's not done yet, but it's all over in Australia for the form of the game he was most accustomed to.
As such a young batsman during a dominant era of Australian cricket, the fact Katto got himself on the radar by debuting for Australia in the 2001 Ashes series as such a young man spoke of his value and it was hard to ignore the possibility of him making a return to the Australian team somewhere down the line, despite being dropped during different stages of his playing career.
He fought back like a dog to get his recall for the West Indies tour and he was easily our most consistent batsman from that very return. He was our anchor at the top of the order and he had a great run with the Baggy Green cap back on his head.
The saddest part of all of this would be that Katto didn't get to win an Ashes series upon his recall and his final treatment from the former selection panel was poor, really poor!
When the last Cricket Australia contract list was released, the simple fact that Simon Katich wasn't on that list was shocking. It's is the nature of International sport but the fact he'd been scoring runs for Australia and was so consistent as well made the matter really bizarre. The reasoning given by Andrew Hilditch (former Chairman of selectors) was due to Katto's age and the importance of getting a settled opening duo in place.
It was a bit of a kick of teeth considering Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Brett Lee were still on the list and not exactly a bunch of spring chickens but I think it was the manner in which the decision was handled that angered Katto.
Having been performing and been one of very few players who stood out during a very difficult period for Australian cricket, it was definitely a shock that he didn't get his contract renewed. Mixed emotions led to him giving a transparent opinion of the selectors and the feelings within the Australian camp.
It was brilliant in my opinion and I admired Katto's courage and confidence to tell it exactly as he felt it all. Sometimes I do believe that in life we shouldn't have to follow the rules when it comes to voicing our opinions and despite certain critics saying he didn't do it the right way, that was how he did it and I don't think any method of tactic would have given him a chance to put the Baggy Green cap back on.
He still has my respect as unfortunate as the end was for his international career.
I wish him all the best with his family and hope his future holds plenty of positives both cricket and non-cricket related. Well done mate.
Upon reflection of the comment Stuart Clark made a year ago, it's what he had to say when Katto didn't get a renewed contract having been one of best batsman during a tough period of cricket:
"He's arguably Australia's best batsman over the past three years, so for him not to be selected can only mean that they've just said 'you're too old and we want to go down a youth path' and any other job in the country that'd probably end up in court somewhere.
"A four-minute conversation is probably not enough for someone that's been part of the organisation for 12 years. How long is right I don't know, but surely Simon deserves something more than that."
Looking at the statistics we see the positives! Katto was a highly accomplished batsman for Australia and I hope he can add a few more centuries to these stats for his time with Hampshire in the county circuit.
Simon Katich statistics overview:
Test debut: England v Australia at Leeds, Aug 16-20, 2001
ODI debut: Australia v Zimbabwe at Melbourne, Jan 21, 2001
Batting - 56 matches/ 99 innings/ 4,188 runs/ HS 157/ Avg 45.03/ 100s (10)/ 50s (25).
Bowling - 56 matches/ 25 innings/ 21 wickets/ 635 runs/ 30.23 avg/ BBI 6/65/ BBM 6/90
Batting - 45 matches/ 42 innings/ 1,324 runs/ HS 107*/ Avg 35.78/ 100s (1)/ 50s (9)
Batting: 247 matches/ 422 innings/ 119,667 runs/ HS 306/ Avg 52.86/ 100s (54)/ 50s (104)
Bowling: 247 matches/ 105 wickets/ 6,231 runs/ 35.09 avg/ BBI 7-130
Can't wait for some ODI cricket again. Hope it will be a distraction amongst all the drama. Main thing is hoping that the players will have the complete motivation when taking to the field.
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