Dec. 5th, 2006

chickenfeet: (spin)
Another abject performance from England and another series of nonsensical excuses from Fletcher. I can't imagine any coach/manager in such a high profile position surviving the run of disasters he has presided over. That said, I'm not sure there are any easy answers. Some improvements are so obvious that only someone with a serious ego problem would ignore them. Read and Panesar would be improvements. Flintoff should not be captain. So far, so good but it's not nearly enough. The English team is always going to underperform for the same sort of structural reasons that cripple English rugby; too big a step from domestic to international competition, too many imports occupying key slots in the domestic game, lack of a coherent player development model etc.

The current English model is awful. A dozen or so central contracts are worse than none at all because they create a sense of entitlement and also tend to force the selectors' hand. If one gives someone a central contract and then don't play him one is, in effect, admitting a mistake. Given the egos that always come into play in pro sports that's a problem. The disconnect between first class cricket and the international game is troublesome too. How can one realistically assess the claims of an apparently out of form test player versus someone doing well on the county circuit? The gap in standards is too wide. That serves as a perfect excuse for perpetuating the croneyism that pervades the england set up.

So what's the answer? I don't know in detail but I'd do what I'd do in any business redesign exercise I'd look for successful models in other 'businesses' and adaptively clone. My starting point would be the All Blacks. They consistently perform at a higher level than anyone could reasonably expect and they develop strength in depth that is extraordinary. How do they do it? First up, they have a much larger squad centrally contracted; maybe 60-70 players or roughly three teams worth when subs are included in the count. Three teams seems about right (so maybe 35 central contacts in cricket). It's not unmanageable but it means there is real competition for places. Second, they have a viable second/development team program in the Maori. Cricket desperately needs a good international second team program to bridge the gap from domestic to top flight competition. Third, with the other SANZAR countries, they have the S14; an uterly brilliant development vehicle. I'm not sure how to clone that but i do know that to have potential England players playing second division county cricket is reminiscent of here rugby was in the 1970s. it's daft. If the larger group of centrally contracted players were, at least, playing first division when not on international duty it would be a start.
chickenfeet: (fart)
You're Totally Sarcastic

You sarcastic? Never! You're as sweet as a baby bunny.
Seriously, though, you have a sharp tongue - and you aren't afraid to use it.
And if people are too wimpy to deal with your attitutde, then too bad. So sad.

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