Siddle outs ugly Australian truth
PETER Siddle agrees one thing has to change within the Australian cricket team - and it's something that's been embedded in the baggy green for a long, long time.
The Australian seamer, who has spent a decade in and out of the international dressing room across 64 Tests, urged the nation's top XI to be more transparent with the media after the damning Cricket Australia review sent trust levels to an all-time low.
Siddle said the distinct lack of post-loss interviews given by Aussie players was a phenomenon which had embedded itself in the upper echelon of cricketers.
"I don't really know why that is. That's just how it's been for so long so it's a hard one as a player not to understand," Siddle said.
"That's something obviously that's discussed a bit. It's something we probably do need to change because you do look at other sports and see the access they do get.
"On game day, we give really good access and everything, you don't want to turn up for those (post-loss) interviews, but sometimes they're the best ones to do so I think it's something we do have to improve on in all formats."
Incumbent ODI skipper Aaron Finch made moves in the right direction on Sunday, giving an interview to FOX Sports as his batting order collapsed to a new low.
But former AFL star and media veteran Garry Lyon agreed with Siddle, declaring Aussie cricketers weren't exactly "the people's champions".
"There's a bit of a PR exercise to be won in the Australian cricket team and for whatever reason, for a long time, while they were winning and successful, they were never really the people's champions," Lyon said.
"I've been doing this job in the media for 25 years and the Victorians are usually good, but to try and get an interview with an Australian cricketer is one of the hardest things to do in this game and I say that sincerely.
"Now they've lost on the weekend, it was a really, really poor performance. I would've loved to have spoken to one of those boys, to put them on the spot, to find out why it was so bad, but it remains so difficult to get access to them.
"The Matthew Scarlett example is the best of all time. Scarlett would never put himself up for interview when Geelong won - and Geelong won consistently - but whenever they lost, he would go to the media manager and say put me up."
Lyon said the circumstances would be very different had the Aussie cricket team lost in another sporting field.
"If that's an AFL game of footy and your team loses by 25 goals like Australia did on the weekend against South Africa, we expect players to front up and have to face the media, but we just can't get access," he said.
Australia has a chance to write Sunday's wrongs on Friday night's day-night clash at the Adelaide Oval.
Meanwhile, former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting has scolded the Sheffield Shield in the latest attack on Australia's domestic competition's poor display.
The discussion over whether Shield cricket has been able to produce international-level cricketers of late has circulated around the game's biggest talkers.
"I'm not sure Shield matches are doing that well to be honest," Ponting said.
"We don't seem to be producing the level of players that we produced for the past 30-40 years.
"You look at some of the stats of what our Shield players are doing and it's probably nowhere near where they need to be to have success at Test level.
"You have to question whether the grassroots system is actually working in Australia or not.
"I think a board and strong leadership around all of Australian cricket needs to address these issues and then hopefully things start to turn around."
However, there was some hope shown in the recent round of Shield with teenagers Jason Sangha and Jack Edwards combining for one of the biggest stands seen by players under 20 in the history of the domestic competition.
Sangha in particular impressed cricket great Kerry O'Keeffe, who declared he possessed the best technique Australia had seen since Ponting.
"(The problem is) the batting and the technique. But there is a saviour, there was one at the SCG today," O'Keeffe said on Tuesday.
"Jason Sangha. If he was a thoroughbred, his breeding would be Joe Root out of Virat Kohli.
"He is 19 years of age, he got a 100 today, admittedly against that attack that included Matthew Wade. I don't know about that one.
"But this is the guy who can save the Centre of Excellence, who can save the development programs. This is a player of the ages. He is the best, technically, we've had since (Ricky) Ponting."