Shane Warne has not held back this summer along with a host for former stars.
Shane Warne has not held back this summer along with a host for former stars.

Cricket rage: ‘Hang your heads in shame’

The pitchforks are out with former Australian Test batsman Greg Ritchie joining the chorus of former players slamming Australia as "just not good enough".

The former star slammed administrators for dropping the ball over the past 15-20 years and said they should "hang their heads in shame".

It comes after India's historic Test series victory and a devastating 2018 which saw fall to fifth in the overall rankings with just three wins in the calendar year - Australia's fewest in a calendar year since 1996.

Then there was the ball tampering scandal, which exposed widespread culture issues within the Australian set up via the explosive Longstaff review.

It also exposed Australia's batting with Steve Smith and David Warner still serving bans from the ball tampering scandal - two players responsible for 32 per cent of Australia's Test runs between 2013 and the fateful South African tour.

Former Test captain Ian Chappell has been leading the crusade against the Australians, heavily criticising the side.

"It's not jitters," Chappell told Wide World of Sports after the Sydney Test, which ended in a draw due to rain after Australia was forced to follow on for the first time on Australian soil since 1988 on Australian soil.

"If we're being brutally frank, they're just not good enough."

"It's a no-win situation for the selectors because you can toss a few out but there is nothing much to replace them with."

Aussie legend Shane Warne also called for a "complete overhaul" of Australian cricket following former England captain Michael Vaughan's column earlier in the week arguing Smth and Warner's return won't be the silver bullet to save Australia.

The criticism has continued after the dumping of four batsmen from the India series for the upcoming Sri Lankan tour.

Speaking on Macquarie Sports Radio, Ritchie said Australia are "devoid of talent".

"If the stock is not there, you just can't produce good cricketers," he said.

"We don't have the stock at the moment, there are many reasons for that and you'd have to go back 20 years to see why we are in the situation we're in at the moment.

"It's a bit like a farming analogy - I'm a country boy, I come from the Darling Downs - but if farmers left their farms untouched and didn't do a lot of fertilising and weeding, or just nurturing the farm for 20 years, they're not going to be able to grow too many crops."

And what are those reasons?

"That's exactly what Australian cricket has at the moment - nothing," he said.

"There were administrative changes in the last 20 years that beggar belief but now we're reaping what we have sown.

 

"Sheffield Shield cricket is at an all-time low, that's our nursery. That's where you produce Richie Benaud's, Bob Simpson's, Bill Lawry's, Ian Chappell's, Greg Chappell's, Ricky Ponting's, Shane Warne's, that's where they all came from.

"You go and have a look at Sheffield Shield cricket now, there's no one in the ground so if you're a player you're not going to get too excited about playing it. We have allowed Indians and the ICC to dominate world cricket programming at the expense of our own nursery.

"The gentleman at the top, the administrators Cricket Australia you are responsible, you wholly and solely and those who have administered the game in the last 15-20 years should hang their heads in shame."

Ritchie also said he thought Test cricket was dying around the world, while Australian cricket was getting "third-tier athletes" with the best young sportspeople playing AFL, rugby league and soccer.

Ritchie played 30 Tests for Australia in the early 1980s with a batting average of 35.20 with three Test centuries.

But he was a prolific first class batsman, slamming 10,170 runs at an average of 44.21 in more than a decade in Queensland's state side.

Test batter Will Pucovski as an 11-year-old with his idol Ricky Ponting.
Test batter Will Pucovski as an 11-year-old with his idol Ricky Ponting.

Ritchie said he hopes the selection of 20-year-old Victorian batsman Will Pucovski will be a could be great for Australia with no one putting their hand up.

"There is no talent knocking down the door, I hope this young man Pucovski from Victoria has a fantastic debut," he said. "He sounds exciting but I just hope he comes through because goodness me Australia needs another Ricky Ponting.

"He's the last true class Test batsman we have produced in this country after spending millions, probably billions of dollars on academies, coaching staff and what have you."


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