Legends confident of smooth transition
CURRENT and former Australian cricketing greats are confident the national team’s transition will not be like the dark age of the mid1980s.
The unexpected retirement announcements by Damien Martyn and Shane Warne mean Australia are now suddenly facing the end of an era.
Add the uncertainty over Glenn McGrath’s future and Australia have not been presented with such a turnover of talent since 1984, when Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh and Greg Chappell retired.
The rebel tour of South Africa followed soon after and Australia took years to rebuild their stocks of topflight talent.
Speaking yesterday on Sydney radio’s 2KY, McGrath said he was looking forward to hopefully playing in next year’s World Cup, but also gave no indication of what the future held beyond that tournament.
Complicating McGrath’s decision is the fact Australia’s next Test after the Ashes series is not for another 11 months.
Meanwhile, Lillee and Marsh were confident the Australian team would survive without Warne and McGrath.
Marsh, who has extensive coaching experience here and in England, said Australia should set up a spin bowling academy.
‘‘I think we’re all right for fast bowlers, there’s two or three that are ready to play now,’’ he said.
‘‘I’d like to see a bank of 10, it’s such an important part of the game.
‘‘Even with all the fast bowlers, some of the pitches today, you need some serious spinners as well.
‘‘I know Cricket Australia is looking closely at a spin program, just as it has a fast bowling program headed up by Troy Cooley.
‘‘I would totally endorse that.’’
Generally, he thinks Australia has enough depth to cope, but acknowledged Warne and McGrath would leave giant holes.
‘‘I don’t know how you can replace Shane Warne — I don’t think he’s replaceable,’’ he said.
Lillee was similarly upbeat, saying Australia had enough reserves of talent to ensure a strong team for the next Ashes series in 2009.
‘‘(In the early 1980s), they probably should have pensioned a couple of us off, bit by bit, so that there wasn’t a mass exodus,’’ Lillee said.
‘‘This time, it’s just happening and the guys who come in are very ready for it now — it’s very good timing.’’
CHAMPIONS . . . leg-spinner Shane Warne and paceman Glenn McGrath have
been the pillars of Australia’s bowling attack for well over a decade