Chappell hits hard at John, Giles; backs Ponting

Published: Monday, September 19, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Ian Chappell believes England can learn from Australia's mistakes of the past by making immediate changes to their Ashes-winning side.

The former Australia captain considers wicketkeeper Geraint Jones and spinner Ashley Giles the weak links in the England team and suggests both are replaced before England head Down Under for the 2006-07 Ashes.

Chappell, whose Test career spanned 16 years, urges England to look at Australia's reluctance to change a winning team, which he believes cost them this summer.

"There are some major flaws in the England team and under Australian conditions, maybe those flaws could be exploited," said Chappell.

"Australia will hit a down period but I don't think they will be down for long because the opposition is not that strong.

"You can't keep playing a wicketkeeper who can't keep.

"They've got away with Geraint Jones because they are picking him for his batting and that wasn't that impressive for me.

"He's just not good enough as a wicketkeeper. You can't keep getting away with that.

"Ashley Giles is not going to do much damage in Australia. That's a major flaw. "If the England selectors make the same mistakes the Australian selectors have made, which is not to address the flaws when you are successful, then down the track you are going to have some problems."

Chappell also launched a scathing attack on Australia's cricket administrators, and coach John Buchanan.

"If you are calling Buchanan a coach, he's a waste of time because he can't coach cricket," declared Chappell.

"The administrators don't know a lot about cricket so that's probably how he's got the job.

"If you are going to talk about appointing a cricket manager or something like that, somebody who organises the net bowlers, makes sure you don't lose the practice balls and tells you what time you are going to be on the bus, then John Buchanan could do that job fine.

"But if I'm Ricky Ponting and talking tactics, I'm going to listen to Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath - I'm not going to be listening to John Buchanan.

"The usual method for cricket administrators, is that they copy their tactics from an ostrich, they put their heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away. Nothing's changed."

Chappell believes part of Australia's problems also lie with the lack of young talent emerging in the game and he again puts the blame on the Australian administrators and selectors.

"Australia's problem is that they haven't got a lot of 21-year-olds who are ready for Test cricket yet," he explained.

"That's something you can blame on the cricket board and the selectors. A lot of people have been found out in this series in England, not just the players, but the selectors and administrators.

"They've been too complacent by winning regularly and there are flaws in the Australian side they haven't addressed.

"But because they didn't address them when the time was right, if you do it now, it's another five or six years before you get the results of addressing the flaws. "Australia have got some tough times ahead because Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath are probably not that far away from finishing and that was always going to be judgement day."

One man who gets Chappell's support is under-fire skipper Ricky Ponting. Chappell added: "Losing the Ashes could be the making of Ricky Ponting as a captain.

"He's basically inherited a very good team and if the selectors make a few changes then it will be his team. if he takes charge of that team, it could be the makings of his captaincy.

"What I saw in the Ashes was a captain who was trying to please everybody and captain by committee and that doesn't work.

"All the wins and losses will go against your name so you might as well do it your way and if it doesn't work out that's fine. At least you know you did it your way. "But if you try to please everybody as captain, later in life you will have some regrets."

Australia chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns could not confirm that Ponting would continue as captain of the side.

When asked if he would recommend Ponting's continuation as skipper to the selection board, Hohns refused to be drawn.

"That's not up to us. We make a recommendation to our board of directors and then it is up to them to appoint a captain or whatever they want to do.

"It is a decision that the group of selectors has to make and at this stage we have not discussed anything about the Test match series.

"We are going to take a deep breath without panicking. Everyone is disappointed. The players are disappointed and the selectors are disappointed because there was certainly some of players were under-performing. But England played very well and deserved to win.

"Maybe some of our players are past their peak but we'll be re-assessing that in the next couple of weeks. Australia have to come back up and get back up to the level they were at, providing we have the players to do it."

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