Infotainment Factory: Bill slams mistake that triggered India loss

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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Bill slams mistake that triggered India loss


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It’s the 10-week break that has cricket supporters up in arms, and now former captain Bill Lawry has called for an overhaul of the summer’s schedule in the wake of Australia’s historic Test series loss to India.

The tourists’ 2-1 victory was their first ever in this country, and with the Australian batting line-up in a state of flux, questions have been raised over a summer program that sees the Sheffield Shield competition on hiatus for more than 10 weeks to accommodate the Big Bash League.

No Australian batsman made a century during the series against India and despite the struggles, there is no red-ball cricket scheduled prior to the first Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane later this month.

While Lawry was full of praise for the Indians, he said we only have ourselves to blame.

“They made history and I think it’s tremendous for the game, but it’s a reason for us to have a good look at ourselves,” Lawry told Wide World of Sports.

“Why are we playing Big Bash when we should be playing Sheffield Shield cricket if we want to win Test matches?

“I think our scheduling, which is done with money in mind, is a problem. You should be playing Shield matches through December so if you need to pick somebody when we’re in trouble, you can pick someone who’s just made a century in Shield cricket.

“Peter Handscomb struggled and was dropped, then came back into the Test team after making 70 in the Big Bash. That’s not the grounding to make centuries against quality Test match bowling attacks.”

While crowds and TV audiences flock to the BBL through December and January, this year has seen an expanded competition that will run into mid-February, delaying the return of the Sheffield Shield competition even further.

It also causes issues for players on the verge of national selection, who are unable to put up runs in first class cricket to challenge the incumbents. When the first Test against Sri Lanka rolls around on January 24, the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade could be picked despite not playing a red-ball match since early December.

“They’ve gone for the dollar, rather than worrying about the future of Test cricket in this country,” Lawry said.

“You’ve just got to be playing first-class cricket when the Tests are on, if you want to beat quality sides.

“The Big Bash is fantastic, it’s drawing new crowds to the game, young kids are going, families are going, that’s fantastic. But at what cost?

“If it’s OK to keep losing Test matches to quality sides, well so be it. But if you want to be number one in the world you’ve got to be playing competitive, first class cricket.”

It’s the 10-week break that has cricket supporters up in arms, and now former captain Bill Lawry has called for an overhaul of the summer’s schedule in the wake of Australia’s historic Test series loss to India.

The tourists’ 2-1 victory was their first ever in this country, and with the Australian batting line-up in a state of flux, questions have been raised over a summer program that sees the Sheffield Shield competition on hiatus for more than 10 weeks to accommodate the Big Bash League.

No Australian batsman made a century during the series against India and despite the struggles, there is no red-ball cricket scheduled prior to the first Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane later this month.

While Lawry was full of praise for the Indians, he said we only have ourselves to blame.

“They made history and I think it’s tremendous for the game, but it’s a reason for us to have a good look at ourselves,” Lawry told Wide World of Sports.

“Why are we playing Big Bash when we should be playing Sheffield Shield cricket if we want to win Test matches?

“I think our scheduling, which is done with money in mind, is a problem. You should be playing Shield matches through December so if you need to pick somebody when we’re in trouble, you can pick someone who’s just made a century in Shield cricket.

“Peter Handscomb struggled and was dropped, then came back into the Test team after making 70 in the Big Bash. That’s not the grounding to make centuries against quality Test match bowling attacks.”

While crowds and TV audiences flock to the BBL through December and January, this year has seen an expanded competition that will run into mid-February, delaying the return of the Sheffield Shield competition even further.

It also causes issues for players on the verge of national selection, who are unable to put up runs in first class cricket to challenge the incumbents. When the first Test against Sri Lanka rolls around on January 24, the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade could be picked despite not playing a red-ball match since early December.

“They’ve gone for the dollar, rather than worrying about the future of Test cricket in this country,” Lawry said.

“You’ve just got to be playing first-class cricket when the Tests are on, if you want to beat quality sides.

“The Big Bash is fantastic, it’s drawing new crowds to the game, young kids are going, families are going, that’s fantastic. But at what cost?

“If it’s OK to keep losing Test matches to quality sides, well so be it. But if you want to be number one in the world you’ve got to be playing competitive, first class cricket.”

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