Saturday 14 May 2011

Has the postman mised his delivery?

Gavin Larsen has just pulled off what looks like a fantastic coup. He has secured Muttiah Muralitharan for the Wellington team. However it may have come at a cost too high.

Wellington are also chasing someone far more valuable, and someone who is not very impressed by this move.

For the majority of the past 20 years Wellington has been captained by a non-Wellingtonian. During that time they have won the championship only twice. They have imported their players from hither and thither, and have lacked a cohesiveness that could have led to them being a good team. As an example their team that played in the last Plunket Shield match had only 4 players born in Wellington. There is one other player who was born elsewhere, and moved to Wellington when he was young. The rest of the players are imports.

If Wellington is to become strong they need to get someone who can develop younger players, and bring out the best in the players that they have. Currently they have a mercenary culture, which might avoid getting the wooden spoon, but it hardly lends itself to establishing a legacy.

Gavin Larsen, the CEO of Wellington Cricket has an opportunity to bring in someone who might be able to help do something about this. Jamie Siddons has applied for the job of coach.

In my opinion Jamie Siddons is one of the greatest coaches in world cricket. In the time that he has had Bangladesh he has taken them from whipping boys to a side that other teams take seriously. Before Siddons the Bangladesh team had an average test innings score of below 200. Under him it rose to 240. This is despite having to play full sides now, rather than before when teams would regularly rest their best players against Bangladesh.

But the numbers don't tell the full story. Bangladesh have turned from a team that played poorly generally and occasionally put in a good performance into one that generally competed and occasionally played poorly. They were still not world beaters, but they had got to the point where they deserved to be talked about.

Siddons agressive personality had managed to bring out the best in some of his players. If he could come in and develop talent inside Wellington like that then he could have a real impact.

Unfortunately Wellington have not secured his signature yet. They have instead spent their time focusing on getting another import to add to their mercenary army. And it might have come at a cost. Siddons is not particularly impressed with the decision being foisted on him.

It's not that there is anything wrong with getting one of the greatest wicket takers ever to play for your team. Far from it. but if you are wanting to build long term for continued success you need to develop players. Not just poach them from Northland and Central Districts.

Murali will help the team for one season, but Siddons will help develop the whole generation of players. If Larsen wants to make his reign one that sets up Wellington, then he needs to look at the future. Siddons should be his next step.


  1. Very poor article.
    The game is professional and I kind of wonder how many home grown players come from Chelsea or Manchester united??
    When teams are playing for US$200k and a purse of US$2 million for the champions league, should you just wait for development cricket in your region to have a golden year?
    Development is important, but trophies in the cabinet is he most important. Wake up and realise it is not club cricket, it is professional cricket where fans are hooked in by a team that wins.

  2. What I'm saying is that Wellington have chosen more of a Manchester City approach (getting some star players) rather than a Manchester United or Arsenal approach, getting in a great coach and developing talent. To answer your question about home grown players for Manchester United: John O'Shea, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Darron Gibson, Wes Brown, Johny Evans and Darren Fletchern (as well as a few players I haven't heard of) from the current squad all came through their development program.

    I'm not saying that they should not have taken Murali, but instead that they should have got their coach first, especially with such a good option available.