Never seen Australian team going backwards so soon: Neil Harvey

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SYDNEY - Drawing parallel with the situation when Kerry Packer robbed the Australian Test team of its top talent in the late 1970s, former captain Neil Harvey has said that he has never seen an Australian team go backwards so quickly.

Harvey chaired Australia’s selection panel during cricket’s greatest off-field upheaval when Packer’s privately contracted WSC circus split the game in two in a row over television rights.

“One minute I had a Test team and the next day I had nobody,” said Harvey as he watched the England team turn the screws on Australia at the SCG in pursuit of a 3-1 Ashes victory.

Harvey sees parallels with today’s Australian team following the retirement of a succession of greats in recent years, including spinner Shane Warne, paceman Glenn McGrath, wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist and opening bat Matthew Hayden.

“I can safely say I have never seen an Australian team go backwards so quickly,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Harvey, as saying.

“That’s the disappointing part about these past couple of years. Ever since the Lord’s Test in 2009 we have declined rather rapidly, and I’m afraid it hasn’t stopped yet. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Harvey who captained Australia once in England in 1961.

“They’ve got to bite the bullet and start afresh. I can go back to my time as chairman of selectors when Kerry Packer started this one-day stuff out here. So we are basically starting again,” he said.

Harvey believes the clean-out should include captain Ricky Ponting, who has spoken of a desire to make one final tour of England. (ANI)

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