With Australia being so dominant in the ashes series I also had a look at the world stage and how well England and Australia have done in the world cup. The ICC world cup has been held on 8 occasions since it was set up in 1975. Australia has won the tournament 3 times and has been runner up twice. England have been Finalist three times, semi-finalists twice and quarter finalist once and eliminated twice. This is impressive as they have made it far in the tournament on many occasions but have not won it, in the 2003 tournament there was a lot of controversy with matches being held in Zimbabwe for political reasons so they failed to qualify as they did not play all of their games, they lost to Australia in a very close game where Australia won. The final was a walk over for Australia who are yet again world champions.
I thought that I would try to find out how the two cricket boards of these countries view cricket, I found the Mission statement: “To advance cricket as Australia’s national sport by: growing participation and interest in the game; fostering the success of Australian teams; and striving for commercial excellence, in a manner that upholds the tradition, integrity and spirit of cricket.” I could not find a mission statement on the ECB website, Lords website or MCC web site, I sent emails to representatives to each of the organisations and I failed to get a response from any of them. However I found a reference to a mission statement in an article on the sky sports web site.
“The England and Wales Cricket Board’s Mission Statement was to make England the best Test and one-day side in the world by 2007” This is very one way minded they are focused on being the best in the world, compared to the Australian mission statement which is very focused on the spirit of the game alongside with being focused on doing well on the world stage. Australia are the best ODI (One Day International) team and by performance they are the best test team but on paper in the ICC test Championship table south Africa are top with Australia second.
Australia are a very dominant force in international cricket. The cricket set up in Australia is pretty similar than the one in England, the country is split into states and these play each other, similar to the county set up. Players work their way up from the grassroots in the Australia system, which is more efficient, and effective at finding and encouraging youngsters into the game, this is part of their mission statement. The Australian set up has a very good academy where lots of the national players emerge from for example Shane Warne and Brett Lee are bar a few. The academy is full of experts in different areas of the game, the facilities are top of the range and the participation is at a constant increase.
The national academy is ever growing to cater for the young talented players that their system has filtered out. England have now started up a cricket academy based on the Australian set up, due to the lack of money in cricket compared to other sports in England the academy is no where near up with the Australian one, the Australian government allocate money to sport unlike the British government which is cutting down the money it spend on sport, the ECB who fund the academy have to raise the money through many ways which include ticket prices, if ticket prices go up then this may deter customers from purchasing and watching the matches which would decrease sales, the ECB has come up with a league of evening matches which are 20 overs each this game is quick and will be more entertaining to watch than test or a 50 over one day game.
With the ECB being behind with setting up the academy many people believe that in a couple of years time when the academy becomes mature then the strength of the English national team should increase as younger natural talent will be bought into the game. As cricket is bigger in Australia than in England there is more money involved so more money is put back into the game to encourage players to play and turn professional, again this can be seen in the mission statement as they want to increase the “commercial excellence” in the game which will increase the value of the sport. Within each state there are a number of leagues set up suiting all levels of the sport from top leagues down to grass roots.
The state teams have a number of teams of ranging abilities from their first teams down through their second, third and fourth teams through to their colts and juniors, most states also have a women’s set up as well and a disabled team. This is similar to the county set up in England. The level of performance of each state in Australia is higher of that of first class counties in England, this could be down to the size of the states as they are bigger there will be more talent (in theory). Also each state will have its own facilities and as there are only 8 states in Australia. These are very large and will contain a large number of inhabitants. Some of these states will be more populated than others.
The performance level of cricket in each of the states is very high, slightly higher than that at county level in England. Some players from Australia have moved to England to play in the county series in England on contracts through the first class counties such as Steve Waugh. Many other players play or have played in the English county set up. This is due to well paid contracts to them which is having a bad knock on effect to the game as then the clubs have less mo0ney to offer other players in their academy’s so the money is not right so players are reluctant to turn professional and less money is available to put into grass roots development.
Australia’s national team is a mixture of young and old talented cricketers. Their three top batsmen are in the 10 top in the world. They also have one of the best bowling lineups in the world with tremendous pace from Brett Lee to the master of leg spin Shane Warne. The English team was renowned for being old and wise but in recent years younger players have been emerging through the system and are replacing the aging players, what the younger players are lacking in experience they make up in their ability.
The batting line up has been reinforced with Michael Vaughn and Marcus Trescothick, the bowling line up has seen Harmison, Flintoff and Anderson. I believe that the young blood in the old team has done well. English cricket has picket up and is ever getting better; I believe that the national academy is doing wonders for English cricket. They have a long way to go before they catch up with the best on the world stage but they are headed in the right direction.
All in all I believe that the Australian system was based upon the English system, and was set up in a similar way but the view that the Australian have when it comes to cricket is so much more popular in Australia than it is in England and is played by a larger % of the population. The Australian government backs sport positively and grant them money. There is also a lot of money in the game in Australia cricket is one of their top sports.
More people are encouraged into the sport as there is a lot of money involved compared to English cricket where players often refuse to turn professional. I have considered this point too late in my project but believe that if I could redo it I would look into wages of the players and compare them. The Australian system long ago overtook the English one and they are now. There is one big reason that many people believe to be the case that Australia are better than England that I have over looked. This is talent. Could the Australian success simply be that they have more talent than the English players.