Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Safe & Sensible Tim Nielsen It Is

Was Greg Chappell too loud and boisterous? Was Tom Moody too quiet and reserved? Was Bennett King simply not good enough? Questions abound as we learn that the current Head Coach of the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy is to chart the course of the Australian cricket team after the upcoming World Cup.

Peter English labels it "safe and sensible". I begin to wonder if this is the start of the slow and steady death of the practice of former stars turning international cricket coaches. For we know, what Cricket Australia does, the rest of the world blindly follows. The West Indies have already ditched former superstars for a more supposedly scientific approach. The Sri Lankans were the first to start the trend with Dav Whatmore.

However, something tells me that celebrity might still win out over academic distinction when it comes to the next coach appointed by the BCCI - not that it is necessarily a negative.

By all accounts, Tom Moody was the preferred option before he withdrew his candidacy for, perhaps, the most difficult job in international cricket in the years to come. The entire world expects Australia to maintain its dominance in the both formats of the game for at least the next generation. In this context, did Moody recognise this job for what it may truly be - a poisoned chalice?

Tim Nielsen is said to be more "hand on" than Buchanan. The other reason being bandied about for his selection is that he knows the new generation of cricketers who are likely to represent Australia. Is this merely propaganda being churned out by Cricket Australia to smokescreen the fact that they were not able to attract their favoured option - Moody?

In making Tom Moody the favourite for the job, Cricket Australia undoubtedly realised that a coach, in the traditional sense of the word, who had played years of international cricket was just what the doctor ordered to guide the new generation in their formative years. Moody couldn't possibly have known the skill levels and temperaments of the up and coming players, yet he was the leading contender for the job.

A little birdy inside my head leads me to think that Cricket Australia have had to settle for second/third best. Why couldn't they contract the best in the world? What was lacking in the overall package that sent the others scurrying? Is this what Ricky Ponting's team needs while they try and cover the loss of two of the finest bowlers the world has ever seen and the men responsible for the team's dominance over the last decade?

Questions abound, but answers will be thin on the ground. I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

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