Cricket

Watson asks for Australian cricket first

Watson asks for Australian cricket first

Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson believes the time has come for the Australian national team to move away from the traditional setup of having one coach in charge of all three formats – and has strongly backed two prime candidates.

Following the resignation of longtime mentor Justin Langer earlier this month, Cricket Australia have appointed Andrew McDonald as interim manager as they search for a new successor.

But Watson, who has represented his country in all three formats more than 300 times, believes Australia should introduce a new coaching set-up that allows the top job to be shared.

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“I think we’re going to have to break formats with their (Australian) coaches,” Watson said in the latest episode of The ICC Review.

“I think there’s a good chance they’ll split the roles because I don’t think it’s sustainable for everyone to do each format for a long time.

“There will always be burnout and fatigue in a team environment, especially now with Covid and the bubbles and similar situations that exist.

“The sooner Cricket Australia will break formats with the coaches, I think everyone will benefit.”

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While Watson expects McDonald to be part of any new coaching setup, the 40-year-old has praised former England manager Trevor Bayliss as someone Cricket Australia must watch.

Bayliss has a wealth of experience at international level having managed Sri Lanka (2007-2011) and England (2015-2019), while succeeding domestically in Australia and the Indian Premier League.

“I love the Trevor Bayliss experience,” said Watson, who played under Bayliss during the early years of Australia’s domestic Big Bash League competition.

“He’s probably seen everything possible in cricket and I’d like to see him get a great opportunity.

“Andrew McDonald is an excellent coach and is at the start of his career, but I would prefer the experience just for this interim period for the next stage of Australian cricket.”

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Regardless of the new coaching set-up, Watson predicts a fruitful near-term future for Australian cricket thanks to a successful recent spell which was highlighted by an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup triumph and victory in the Ashes series against England under Langer.

“He (Langer) has done a tremendous job of getting the success he had as a coach to be able to be part of a team and his resurrection by winning the T20 World Cup for the first time,” said Watson.

“There’s been a lot of tries before and the team hasn’t been able to cross the line and to be able to win the Ashes’ last series 4-0 here at home is an incredible achievement as a coach.

“He did a brilliant job at a time when Australian cricket really needed someone to pull everyone around the team back at that time and instill the fabric of baggy green, that’s exactly what which Justin Langer has done incredibly well.”

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And Watson is impressed with new Test captain Pat Cummins, after the New South Welshman was handed the lead role following the departure of Tim Paine on the eve of the Ashes series.

“To me, he’s the ultimate,” Watson said of Cummins.

“He was in a no-win situation before Justin Langer tendered his resignation because if he commented one way or the other, it wasn’t going to look good.

“The way he handled it after everything calmed down and Justin Langer quit, he handled it all so well because he’s so friendly, very honest and very endearing to the public and his teammates.

“I’m super excited for the Australian team with Pat leading the charge and the next phase of Australian cricket because they certainly have the talent and the leadership to be able to move forward.”