Melbourne: As Australia gear up to take on India in a gruelling four-Test battle, South African batting great Barry Richards said fans Down Under should “lower their expectations" from the home team which is in transition.
“Australia’s come right back to the pack. Fans are just going to have to lower their expectations of what their team is capable of. That’s taking a bit of time, isn’t it?" Richards was quoted as saying by The Age.
India and Australia will play a four-Test series starting December 26 and given the home team’s struggles, the visitors have got a good chance of upstaging them.
Asked to comment on the future of out-of-form senior batsmen Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, Richards said, “If someone is there to take their place, they should go. And therein lies the problem."
Speaking on the overall state of the game, Richards criticised the Twenty20 format, saying it is too commercial a format.
“The size of the fields, the pitches and the power of the bats are so different from what we know as cricket that they should actually invent another name for it," Richards said. “It’s so commercially driven in batsmen’s favour that Stevie Wonder could go out and hit 50."
“It’s not just Australia, it’s everywhere in the world, where you have cricket people wanting to defend the interests of the national team against commercial and marketing people who may not be very familiar with cricket but have a job to bring it to the people and maximise its commercial potential," Richards added.
The South African said Twenty20 is good for an “independent contractor."
“Someone like Chris Gayle is not wanting to be tied to the West Indies for 12 months. He’ll play for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash, then go to play for the Dolphins in South Africa, the IPL and somewhere in the UK too, and he’ll virtually negotiate match by match who he’s playing for."
“Because the money’s so good - who can knock back USD 700,000-USD 800,000 for sitting on the bench in the IPL and not having to hit or bowl a ball? - we’re going to see a lot more of these players. If we eventually see two IPL competitions a year, for the guys playing in that, why would they bother with representing their country?" he asked.