John Buchanan wants rivals to poach young stars
Ben Dorries and Jon Pierik
November 14, 2007 12:00am
FORMER national coach John Buchanan has a bold plan to fix world cricket that could see rival Test nations poaching the next generation of Australian stars.
Buchanan has also called for a world cricket summit to address the growing chasm between Australia and the rest of the world.
His call follows another crushing Australian win in the first Test in Brisbane this week against Sri Lanka.
As former South African batting great Barry Richards claimed cricket had become a turn-off because of Australia's dominance, Buchanan has told rival nations to tap into Australia's talent pool.
"Countries should look to recruit young players from Australia, and places like India, to increase their depths of talent," Buchanan said.
"Those players would enhance the domestic competition and, hopefully, go on to play Test cricket for the country they move to.
"I believe the International Cricket Council should allow this and relax guidelines for qualification periods.
"This would be a short-term fix for a more level playing field for Test cricket.
"A summit is also a good idea but it would have to be devoid of politics and have the right people in the room.
"We don't want cricket to become like a horse race when the favourite wins all the time. No one will want to watch."
There are fears cricket is becoming all one-way traffic.
Ricky Ponting's team has rebounded from the 2005 Ashes loss to win 13 Tests in a row and needs another four to snatch the record for consecutive wins.
Buchanan's suggestion may seem revolutionary but there have been several successful defections of players.
Kevin Pietersen, Tony Greig, Allan Lamb and Kepler Wessels starred at Test level after switching their allegiances.
Brisbane club wicketkeeper Geraint Jones played 34 Tests for England. including the 2005 Ashes, after trading countries.
Australia has a healthy domestic structure. Its cricket academy, the envy of the world, would be a great poaching ground for rival nations.
Explosive WA keeper-batsman Luke Ronchi, NSW allrounder Moises Henriques, Victorian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, promising Tasmanian allrounder Luke Butterworth and Queensland batsman Greg Moller could all be attractive targets.
World cricket has become so lopsided and Australia is so far ahead of the pack that Richards insists results are inevitable and the game stale.
"Australia plays international cricket, the rest just play cricket," Richards said. "I have lost interest in it because I know the result before they start playing.
"Until you get strength against strength, nothing is going to happen."
Richards believes there are no easy answers.
"They keep saying they want to spread the game around the world, but what's the use of spreading the game if they are all useless," Richards said.
"In England, they have 18 counties and they call it first-class cricket and its absolutely useless.
"Half of the club teams in South Africa wouldn't beat a club side here, the same in India, they have got over 25 teams in first-class cricket."
Touring captain Mahela Jayawardene has called for a revamp of Sri Lankan domestic cricket.
"Improvement is needed. The competitiveness of our cricket is not as good as other countries," Jayawardene said.
Ponting warned rivals after Australia's crushing Test win in Brisbane that his team would not let up and was determined to extend its dominance, even without retired legends Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.