Desire to win 5-0 burns in Aussies: Clarke
Skipper Michael Clarke said the SCG was the pitch perfect for fast bowlers and desire for a white-wash burns in the hearts of players.PT3M18S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-307jh 620 349 January 2, 2014
Don Argus will not be prepared to call his review a success until Australia is ranked No.1 in all three formats, and has singled out succession planning as ''the big issue'' confronting the triumphant Ashes team.
Argus will be at the SCG in the coming days barracking as hard as any Australian for a 5-0 whitewash. But the man who penned the landmark review into Australian cricket in 2011 has cautioned the architects of the revival that they must not be fooled into thinking the job is done.
Argus, the former NAB chief executive and BHP Billiton chairman hired to chair Cricket Australia's Team Performance Review after the home Ashes debacle three summers ago, says there is no getting away from the goals written in black and white in his report.
One to go: Brad Haddin and coach Darren Lehmann in the nets at the SCG. Photo: AFP
These included restoring Australia as the No.1 team in Test cricket within four years (2015), regaining the Ashes in 2013 (tick), and winning the 2015 World Cup and 2014 World Twenty20 titles.
Argus has been impressed by the ''solid and predictable leadership'' around Michael Clarke's Test team, even when it was losing in England last winter. After an incredible turnaround, Australia will replace England in third place in the International Cricket Council Test rankings regardless of what happens in Sydney.
''It's great that we won the Ashes. It will be even better if we win it 5-0 because I sat and watched the indignity over in London and read the London press,'' he said.
Work to do: Mitchell Johnson is a key to Australia's push for a 5-0 series win over England. Photo: AFP
''That hurt the guys too and the link between pride and performance is strong. But the overall objective, it would be great if we can get to No.1.
''… I think the big issue will be succession planning, how they do that. Sporting teams no matter who they are, aren't real good at that. Nor are corporations I might add.''
The Test team that has carried Australia to a 4-0 Ashes lead includes seven players over 30.
High expectations: Don Argus. Photo: Nic Walker
''I think there has been good leadership shown and I'm glad they have got the outcomes they have got because we're all five-second experts and we want results in five seconds, no different from shareholders,'' he said.
''They have delivered and that is good, but to me it's only half of the journey. The bigger part of the journey is whether they reach No.1 in all forms of the game.''
For Australia to climb the rankings, he believes state associations have to keep pulling in the same direction to create a national high-performance culture, with Pat Howard in charge. He admitted this process was rocky to begin with but believes progress has been made.
Argus also praised the selectors for having ''adult conversations'' with players about their futures, and believes everyone from the players to Howard now understands what is expected of them.
''He knows what his key performance indicators are, that if he doesn't get us to No.1 in all forms of the game in a period of time then he could expect he would probably be replaced, that is what accountability is. I think the players understand that too.''
He said it was obvious when he and the other members of the review panel revisited their original report in September, 2013, that players were thriving under coach Darren Lehmann after the sacking of Mickey Arthur, even though they lost 3-0 in England.
''Whilst the court of public opinion was becoming impatient with the progress being made in performance and rankings, those of us who were engaged to undertake the reviews were encouraged by the demeanour which was emerging in the 'dressing shed','' Argus said.
''The players seemed to have begun the process of working together; respect was evident, they seemed to be prepared to take calculated risks with their cricket, there was obvious enjoyment in what they were endeavouring to achieve.''
Argus had no objection to Clarke resigning as a selector, despite the captain having a vote being a key Argus recommendation.
''Whatever you can do to make things work around people, sometimes that is a decision you make,'' he said.
''If Michael believes he can get more out of his team from standing aside from selection that is his choice. He has to captain them on the field and he has to help keep them together, and if that works, I'm all for it.''
Before the summer, the Australian Cricketers' Association listed players' concerns in their own 'state of the game report', and asked what difference the Argus report had made. Argus says it is too soon to declare it a success.
''If the players achieve the objective of becoming No.1 in all forms of the game, something the women cricketers have already achieved, we might reflect for a moment and conclude the exercise was worthwhile. One thing we are comfortable with, the report is not gathering dust in a cupboard.''