Simon Katich has highlighted the importance of a strong Sheffield Shield competition for preparing Australian players for the international stage.
The comments come in the midst of Cricket Australia’s review of the Australian High Performance system, following recent overseas performances.
Speaking Wednesday at the SCG, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland ensured that CA would be asking questions of the current environment at the elite level.
“Are some of the fundamental things that we are doing to prepare our players to perform well and be highly competitive in subcontinental conditions passing the test?” Sutherland posed to Fairfax Media.
ACA Player Relations Manager Katich today underlined the players view; that Sheffield Shield cricket is the best High Performance environment to prepare players to play for Australia.
“Sheffield Shield Cricket for as long as I can remember has been a tough competition, for not only young players, but also for experienced players,” Katich said.
Katich applauded the review of Australia’s overseas form, outlining the need for even conditions at Shield level to prepare players adequately for the rigours of international cricket.
“From experience, there is a number of factors that help prepare and develop players for overseas conditions.”
“Historically as long as there is a balance between bat and ball, that helps in the development of all players.”
The former Australian and Western Australian batsmen strongly supported the notion that the best players in Australia should be playing Shield cricket.
“I know from experience that there were only a couple of young players who were able to force their way into the teams, given the level of maturity in the rest of the squad.”
“That in itself created a tough pathway for young players and they had to earn their stripes perhaps a bit longer in 2nd XI cricket and club cricket.”
“I think it’s crucial at Shield level that guys can be late 20’s or early 30’s, who may not go on to play for Australia, but are enabling that competition to remain strong.”
For the full audio of the press conference with Sutherland, please click here.