Triple Olympic gold medal-winning rower Drew Ginn and longtime Justin Langer collaborator Ben Oliver have been formally commissioned as the new high performance executives for Cricket Australia, taking joint control of an area that sprawled into such vast territory under the former czar Pat Howard that the governing body deemed it too large for one person to run.
Howard was sacked by the new chief executive Kevin Roberts shortly after he replaced James Sutherland, in the wake of the damning Ethics Centre review of Australian cricket culture that was ordered after the Newlands ball tampering scandal last year. A lengthy search for Howard’s replacement has seen the role filled temporarily by the executive in charge of community cricket, Belinda Clark, as CA stopped and then redefined the recruiting process as being for two jobs rather than one. Ginn will be based in Melbourne and Olivier in Brisbane with the pair starting on July 29.
While Howard joined cricket “cold” in 2011, following a career in rugby union, pharmacy and property development, Ginn has moved across from his background in rowing and the Olympic movement via two years as the head of high performance with Tasmania. He will take control of a role primarily responsible for the running of domestic competitions, Australian youth teams, player, coach and umpire pathways including club cricket, talent ID and sports science.
“I am looking forward to joining Cricket Australia and having the opportunity to work more broadly across the National system,” Ginn said. “The past two years with Cricket Tasmania have been immensely rewarding.
“This is a chance to continue the work I have enjoyed locally and to now work closely with many great people involved in leading our domestic, national and youth competitions along with the leaders of our State programs, and those leaders in our Cricket Australia pathway programs, and our sports science and sports medicine areas.”
Peter Roach, the head of cricket operations, will report to Ginn. Roach has also taken over control of scheduling, an area of some difficulty for CA in recent times after India insisted on an ODI tour in mid-January next year. The Big Bash League, Sheffield Shield and domestic one-day tournament programs for next summer are still to be announced.
Oliver, a former first-class player for Victoria and Tasmania, held roles with CA, Cricket Victoria and the ICC before working closely with Langer as the high performance manager for Western Australia since 2012. Together, they established a program that was the envy of other states, notably by their use of a squad closely unified between the WA state team and the Perth Scorchers BBL club – a model subsequently used unashamedly by Tasmania and the Hobart Hurricanes.
“I have devoted most of my adult life to cricket, in both playing and high-performance roles, and I am extremely proud and humbled to continue that association as EGM, National Teams,” Oliver said. “I look forward to working with Justin Langer and Matthew Mott and their national men’s and women’s teams, as well as national selectors and all those involved in team operations and logistics.”
Among the first items on Oliver’s to-do list will be a look at the national selection panel, which will be shorn of the national talent manager Greg Chappell, currently with the Australian team on World Cup assignment, when he retires at the end of the Ashes series. Having already lost Mark Waugh, who was not replaced last year, that would leave only Langer and the chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns, as formal members of the panel.
Howard’s tenure featured no end of issues, as he sought to work as a change agent to pursue goals outlined in the 2011 Don Argus-led review of Australian team performance, which followed the hefty loss of the Ashes 3-1 at home to England in 2010-11. His hard-nosed and confrontational style did not always go down well across the Australian system, particularly when added to his lack of a cricket background.
Alongside numerous issues of workload management for fast bowlers in particular, Howard’s term saw the 2013 homework scandal in India that contributed to the sacking of Mickey Arthur to be replaced by Darren Lehmann in 2013, the death of Phillip Hughes in 2014 and subsequent work to change concussion protocols in the game, winning the World Cup in 2015 on home soil and then suffering a dramatic Ashes defeat in England later that same year.
Another run of losses in late 2016, including Test series defeats by Sri Lanka away and South Africa at home, led to Rod Marsh’s resignation as selection chairman and a refocus on the demands for strong performance by the Australian team – Howard and Sutherland visited the team dressing room in Hobart to push that message directly. Results did improve, including a narrow series defeat against a highly fancied India in India in 2017, and the regaining of the Ashes at home in 2017-18, before the Newlands scandal in South Africa led to many changes, including the end of Howard’s time in the job.
Clark was left to run the department while a replacement could be found, and it was her opinion that the executive general manager’s role had to be split in two. “Australian cricket owes Belinda a debt of gratitude for the exceptional job she has performed throughout a challenging time for Australian cricket,” Roberts said. “She is one of our game’s greatest trailblazers and servants at all levels and we are delighted that she will resume her role as EGM of Community Cricket in late August after handing over to Ben and Drew and having a well-earned break. It is a critical role and a job she loves.”
Marcus Trescothick to join Ashes coaching set-up
Marcus Trescothick is set to join the England coaching team for the first two Tests of the Ashes series.
Trescothick, the former England opening batsman, has recently announced his decision to retire as a player at the end of this season and is currently struggling to break into the Somerset side. He will spend the training days ahead of the Edgbaston and Lord’s Tests with the England squad at both training sessions and at the team hotel.
Jonathan Trott has fulfilled a similar role with England ahead of the Test against Ireland.
The appointment does not necessarily suggest that Trescothick – or Trott – is about to be appointed as the England team’s batting coach. The ECB have yet to identify a successor to Mark Ramprakash, who left his role a couple of months ago, but are using the likes of Trott and Trescothick to help ease the burden on Graham Thorpe – the ECB’s lead batting coach – on training days where coaches are expected to provide throw-downs for several hours at a time.
Thorpe is currently suffering from a sore shoulder and missed England training on Tuesday due to illness.
As a vastly experienced and successful player – the 2005 Ashes series was among his 76 Tests – Trescothick has the respect of all current players and understands the demands, both emotionally and technically, of playing at international level.
He will be on hand both in training sessions and at the team hotel, to support players as required. And, aged 43, the sessions may also help him to decide if he wants to pursue a career in coaching.
Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka Board President’s XI vs Bangladesh Tour Match 2019
Bangladesh 285 for 5 (Mithun 91, Mushfiqur 50, Kumara 2-26) beat Sri Lanka Board President’s XI 282 for 8 (Shanaka 86, Shehan 56, Soumya 2-29, Rubel 2-31) by five wickets
Bangladesh got their tour of Sri Lanka off to a winning start with a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in their one-off warm-up game at the P Sara Oval. The visitors added pace bowler Shafiul Islam to their squad for the three-match ODI series which begins on June 26. Shafiul is expected to join the team in Colombo on Wednesday.
Mithun’s 100-ball 91 in particular will please the Bangladesh coaching staff, after he was given a chance in the No. 3 position vacated by Shakib Al Hasan. Scoring 11 boundaries and a six, the 28-year-old right-hand batsman put on partnerships of 73 and 96 for the fourth and fifth wickets respectively, with the rest of the Bangladesh line-up batting around him.
Mithun’s calm approach also allowed Mushfiqur to take on a more attacking role on his way to a 46-ball 50, built on a threatening 37 from Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order. Mahmadullah (33) and Sabbir Rahman (31) kept the Bangladesh innings on track, as Sri Lanka’s bowlers – apart from Lahiru Kumara, who impressed with figures of 2 for 26 in six overs – struggled to gain any foothold in the game. Mithun fell with Bangladesh only 21 runs shy of the target, but some lusty hitting from Mosaddek Hossain and Sabbir made sure there were no late scares.
For the hosts, Dasun Shanaka was arguably the only Sri Lankan player to come out of the game with his reputation significantly enhanced. Having come in to bat at 127 for 5, his 63-ball 86, studded with six boundaries and as many sixes, put a significant dampener on what was an otherwise stellar bowling performance from Bangladesh. The hosts put on a respectable 282 for 8 in 50 overs.
Shanaka was aided by 21-year-old legspinning allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga, who bolstered his case for selection in the first ODI with a quickfire 28 that included three fours and a six to go with his bowling figures of 1 for 39.
Earlier, Shehan Jayasuriya’s 56 off 78 deliveries had helped the hosts recover from a top-order collapse during which Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka and Oshada Fernando fell by the eighth over of the game. Shehan put on 82 for the fourth wicket with Bhanuka Rajapakse and helped steer Board President’s XI past 100.
Of the Bangladesh bowlers, on a wicket that didn’t offer much assistance, fast bowlers Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed struck early after the hosts opted to bat. Alongside Rubel, medium-pacer Soumya Sarkar stood out, taking the two crucial middle-order wickets of Jayasuriya and Rajapakse.
Darren Stevens to leave Kent but wants to play on
Darren Stevens will leave Kent at the end of the current season after 15 years with the club but has no intention of retiring from the professional game.
Stevens, 43, joined Kent from Leicestershire in 2005 and has enjoyed an outstanding career with bat and ball, scoring 11,718 first-class runs and claiming 487 wickets for his second county.
He is currently on loan to Derbyshire for the T20 Blast, but had continued to be impressive with the ball in the County Championship with 28 wickets at 24.21 in eight matches although runs had been harder to come by with an average of 20.36.
“It’s been an amazing 15 years,” Stevens said. “So many wonderful memories both on and off the pitch and many strong friendships made along the way. This is not retirement for me as I think I still have a lot to offer on the pitch, both as a player and a coach and am excited by the next stage in my career.
“I believe I can still do it at the top level, as my recent form shows, and I am looking forward to the remainder of the T20 season with Derbyshire and finishing the season successfully with Kent. I will look back at my time with Kent with nothing but happiness and pride but must now look forward to the next challenge.”
Kent have an eye on the future and want to invest in their younger players while also hoping to bring in an overseas fast bowler next season.
“When you look at his record, it is a travesty that Darren Stevens did not receive the international call-up he so richly deserved whilst in his prime,” Paul Downton, Kent’s director of cricket, said. “It’s now time for a new chapter at Kent with a number of young bowlers, and hopefully an overseas fast bowler next year, all demanding the new ball as the club seeks to keep raising standards and compete for the Division One Championship title.”
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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka Board President’s XI vs Bangladesh Tour Match 2019
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