GK: So, the question I was asking you was, why has there been this decay in batting that seems to be the one area where Australia has really fallen down. There were no hundreds in the series against India, there were a few in the series against Sri Lanka but there just seems to be this inability to play the long form Test match innings?
SW: I think in the 90s if we had a young Ricky Ponting, a young Shane Warne or a young Glenn McGrath, we'd pick them...'this guy looks good, let’s throw him in the deep end and see how it goes', so there were brave selections. Now guys like Will Pucovski, he is 20 years old who is an absolute gun, young player and 20 years old. They didn't pick him when they had the opportunity. So I think there's 'let's wait and see how they go' and they wait too long and the form goes because you can't be good all the time. So, I think the art of picking someone when they are in form and throwing young kids into the deep end is the best way. Pakistan used to do that all the time as well, Australia we used to do it and I think they have lost that art. I also think there are too many younger players now looking at IPL, Big Bash, CPL, all the different T20 leagues and they have lost the art of defence because the art of batting is still defence. You have to be out to defend a ball or you are going to get bowled or lbw, you have to be able to defend. So, they are focusing on ramp shots, reverse sweeps and all this innovation rather than what ball to leave and how to defend. You defending a good ball makes the bowlers bowl something different which means you have extra deliveries to hit.
It's just like a young spinner, why are no young spinners coming around at the moment? When we were growing up we were taught to be patient, to bowl ball after ball after ball in the same spot and wear the batsman down. Now you cannot bowl the same ball twice, you bowl six different balls playing 20-20. So, it’s a real mindset shift of change of the younger generation coming through and I also think that the younger generation is relying on coaching. They come off the ground, even in first-class cricket, a young 18-19 year old would come off the ground and say what happened coach? What did I do wrong?
When we were playing, we knew what we did wrong because we understood the game and we didn't have so many people that you have to justify yourself to. Now there's assistant coaches, bowling coach, batting coach, coach to coach the coaches, there are so many different coaches and they are all getting different information, they are all justifying their position. To me, I'd like the player to be a judge. Bowlers, for instance, the captain now sets the field for the bowlers, not all the time but a lot of instances. As a bowler, you should know your field and say skip this is...the captain should come to you and say what field do you want and then you say. You might say to the captain, 'what do you think, yep great, let’s go.' Now the bowler goes, 'what's my field?' The bottom-line is the players are not thinking for themselves, they are being told a lot so they are not learning by their mistakes and not learning themselves, they are actually being told all the time what to do.