Australia in cricket transition, India could be next – Simpson

NEW DELHI, (Reuters) – Australia’s struggles in the   ongoing Ashes series show the team have yet to emerge from a   transition phase, and India will face similar problems when   several leading players retire, former Australia captain Bobby   Simpson said.
Languishing in fourth place in the ICC test rankings,   Australia are a shadow of the dominant side that featured   Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.

Bobby Simpson
Bobby Simpson

Ricky Ponting’s men trail England 1-0 in the Ashes series   and the pressure is mounting ahead of the third test in Perth   starting tonight.
Simpson said it was far from easy to replace key players   such as Warne and McGrath.
“If you go through the history of the game, we’ve always   had a poor period after great teams,” Simpson told reporters   after addressing a cricket seminar in memory of former Indian   cricket board president Raj Singh Dungarpur late on Tuesday.
India must also prepare for life after several of their   key players retire.
“What happens in India when Sachin (Tendulkar) goes,   (Vangipurappu) Laxman goes and Rahul (Dravid) goes? That’s not   far away,” he said.
The Indian trio have amassed more than 34,000 test runs   between them, with Tendulkar and Dravid now nearing the age of   38, while Laxman is 36.
Australia’s struggles have led selectors, led by Simpson’s   son-in-law Andrew Hilditch, to try as many as 10 spinners to   fill the void left by Warne, but none have been able to step   into his shoes.
“You are talking about a genius, aren’t you? You can never   replace a genius,” said Simpson, who also coached Australia’s   1987 World Cup winning team.
“You know there has been so much emphasis on fast bowling   at all levels in world cricket the spinners are,   unfortunately, disappearing. How many good spinners are there   in India now?”
Australia’s fast bowling department has looked listless,   particularly Mitchell Johnson, though Simpson says the   left-arm pacer can still harm England.
“I think Mitchell mainly has lost rhythm and the only way   you can get your rhythm back is by bowling and bowling and   bowling … I think he’ll still be a threat.”
Simpson has not lost his faith in Ponting either.
“I think Ricky has scored enough runs to retain the   captaincy. Look at some of the ways he got out, which was   unfortunate. When things don’t go your way, it’s very   difficult.”

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