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Thatscricket - News - Cricket: Buchanan slams poor standard of English county

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2001, 16:33 [IST]
 
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London: Australia coach John Buchanan has hit out at the poor standard in the English County Championship and believes about 50 players should not be playing at that level, the Sunday Times reported.[an error occurred while processing this directive]The former coach at Middlesex also slammed the rivalry between England bowlers Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick who he claimed should behave more like team mates.Buchanan has applauded the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) however for operating central contracts for England players and also the two-tier divisional system for county cricket.But the man who led Australia to a 4-1 Ashes Test series win over England has warned against the increasing number of fixtures that are being played in an attempt to balance revenues against costs in the county game.Buchanan has also welcomed England's new coaching structure, the system of county academies and cricket's national development programme. "Undermining these initiatives, though, is an archaic playing system, a true servant of mediocrity," Buchanan said."The ECB must take the path that promotes less cricket, rather than allowing the schedule to be squeezed by more cricket in an attempt to meet the cost/revenue equation."Buchanan claims that reducing the number of fixtures will allow players more time to recover from matches and spend time analysing the game, with the knock-on effect that the standard will improve."Skills will increase, weeding out the three or four 'imposters' who exist in every first-class county. I don't want to deny these players an opportunity to play, but it should be at a level comparable to their standard and not be a continual drain on county coffers."Buchanan has also hit out at England's fast-bowling duo for their rivalry over who takes the most wickets during international games. "There was a rivalry between Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick which seemed to be on show in each Test. It was Gough versus Caddick, rather than Gough and Caddick versus Australia."

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

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