IT’S no surprise to anyone Australian cricket is in a hole.
But former national captain and now Cricket Australia’s national talent manager, Greg Chappell, has seen enough during his life to confidently suggest Australia will be back on top.
Just nobody knows how long it will take.
Chappell was the special guest at Burnbrae Wines’ sportsmans lunch on Friday in Mudgee.
One of the country’s finest batsmen and captains, the 65-year-old spoke candidly with cricket journalist Mike Coward and answered questions from the audience.
Chappell spoke about his playing days including the controversies, his period as coach of India, his family, playing backyard cricket with brothers Ian and Trevor, and the state of Australian cricket.
The country’s 35th Test captain said Australian cricket was in a transitional phase both internationally and domestically.
“It’s not as bad as it appears but it’s not good,” Chappell said to Coward at the lunch.
“It’s difficult to name chronically how we got to this point, but it is the end of an era.
“I’ve been around long enough that I’ve seen this before - at the end of Benaud’s era and the mid-80s.
“Each time we have come out of it stronger but this time we have gone into the hole a bit deeper.”
Chappell said the standards of cricket, particularly at the domestic level, has fallen.
“There are a whole range of things that don’t happen that used to happen naturally,” Chappell said.
“They were some of the things Cricket Australia failed to notice at the time we were on top of the world.
“Since World Series Cricket, the game has taken some huge leaps, it’s a professional sport. The aftermath of World Series Cricket is that we added another format to the game. One day cricket was introduced in the domestic and international scene... and in recent times Twenty20 cricket.
“Because the international schedule is filled up, the international players play state cricket less and because of [Sheffield] Shield, one-day and Twenty20 cricket at the state level, the state level cricketers play club cricket less.”
Chappell played international cricket for Australia from 1970 to 1984.
He played 87 Tests (48 as captain), scored 7110 runs at an average of 53.86 and had a highest score of 247 not out. He also claimed 47 wickets and took 122 catches - a world record at the time of his retirement.
He played 74 One-Day Internationals (49 as captain), scored 2331 runs (40.18) and took 72 wickets (29.12).
Chappell has huge respect for his older brother Ian and formed great friendships with Rod Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Doug Walters and Jeff Thompson.