Australia’s horrific collapse in the first Test against Pakistan reflects a greater batting issue that has developed at grassroots level, according to a former Test spinner.
Australia’s horrific collapse in the first Test against Pakistan reflects a greater batting issue that has developed at grassroots level, according to a former Test spinner.

The festering issue behind Australia’s batting horrors

AUSTRALIA'S horrific collapse in the first Test against Pakistan reflects a greater batting issue festering at grassroots level, according to Gavin Robertson.

The former Test spinner believes junior cricketers are too focused on winning games of cricket and have grown accustomed to taking too many risks with the bat.

Instead, batsmen should be learning to value their wickets and focusing on occupying the crease to become "hardened cricketers", Robertson said.

Robertson added that the approach of T20 cricket has crept into the Test game, leading to an Australian side that is "playing with risk and hope" against Pakistan in the UAE.

He recalled a time bowling to former Test batsmen Mark Taylor and Andrew Hilditch, who he said demoralised their opponents with their unwavering discipline.

"I remember bowling to Mark Taylor in a grade game and thinking 'when is he going to make a dumb mistake, when is he going to do something wrong?' he said.

"Those players got in and you didn't get them out. You had to be right on it, that's why you can't drop a catch.

"I think when we've taken the importance out of grade cricket ... I spoke to grade cricketers once and asked them if they could stand up if they averaged 40. Nobody stood up until they averaged 27."

Australia was 0-142 against Pakistan on Tuesday night, before being dismissed for 202.
Australia was 0-142 against Pakistan on Tuesday night, before being dismissed for 202.

Robertson said the next generation of cricketers should work with mentors who played during an era without T20 cricket.

"My bigger point is I think you can get 15 players from around the country, and they're going to be somewhere between the age of 40 and 70, and they can rebuild your cricketing nation," he said.

"For young cricketers; don't worry about winning, go out and bat all day. I want to see you average 45 at fourth grade until one day you're averaging 45 in first grade.

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"I need [to see] hardened cricket to make hardened cricketers, as we watch a Test match with a team that are playing with risk and hope."

Australia was 0-142 against Pakistan on Tuesday night, before being dismissed for 202.

Only three sides have ever lost 10 wickets for 60 runs or less after a century opening stand.


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