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Saturday, March 17, 2007

South Australia's coach jumps

Wayne Phillips has resigned as SA coach, as Cricinfo and Cricket Australia report. Moreover, Richard Earle in Adelaide Now suggests that Darren Lehmann "is expected to decline to continue after 54 matches and 17 wins as skipper since 1996" after a review of the Redbacks' squad with SACA high performance director Rod Marsh next week:

Marsh promised change would be swift and comprehensive. "I would certainly hope we are not just patching it up," said Marsh of SA, which lost a staggering 50 per cent of games since its last Sheffield Shield/Pura Cup triumph in 1995-96. "I'd hope whatever comes of the reviews is in the long-term interest of SA cricket as opposed to a quick fix."


Marsh did not give SA's leadership team this year a glowing endorsement. "I think the results probably speak for themselves. If things had been different the results may have been different."


State selectors Paul Nobes, David Kelly and Rod Phillips are safe. Some critics believe they have been hamstrung by the three-year, $300,000 deals given to veterans Matthew Elliott and Greg Blewett.

"We have to make sure if we hand out a contract it has to be the right amount of time for the right amount of money," said former England Academy head coach Marsh, who has rejected a similar position at Adelaide Oval. "Players have to have the right amount of desire to perform at first-class level and win matches for SA.You can't go blaming the selectors if they haven't had the right group of people to select from."

Phillips, 49, honourably conceded he was not obtaining the desired results from a squad that most observers expected to challenge for Pura Cup honours this season.

This was hardly unexpected after the Redbacks' poor season, which is candidly, succinctly and IMO fairly, summed up by John Kingsmill in The Adelaide Review :

The state cricket team has delivered a series of cruel results, transforming high public expectation into serial disappointment. Many times over the summer, just when that team seemed to have reached its lowest ebb, the Redbacks dipped lower. SA cricket has gone beyond a series of technical corrections. It has crashed and crashed miserably with no end in sight. They ...[ have] much work in front of them before they have the right to once again fiddle with state expectations.

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