Shield tinkering 'absolutely ridiculous' – Christian

Daniel Christian has concerns about the tinkering taking place with Australia’s domestic competitions © Getty Images

Victoria allrounder Daniel Christian has questioned the wisdom of Cricket Australia’s tinkering with domestic cricket, declaring that Sheffield Shield cricketers are being treated as “guinea pigs”.

This season, ex-players and commentators have expressed concern at a perceived “devaluing” of the Shield competition through measures such as Test players being substituted out mid-match, and the use of multiple types of balls. The 10 Shield rounds this summer include two played with pink Kookaburra balls, three with red Kookaburras, and five with Dukes balls later in the season.

“We’re guinea pigs,” Christian said in an interview with Gideon Haigh in the Australian. “It’s first-class cricket. Last season we had a game where Chris Tremain bowled like the wind in the first innings, then we subbed in James Pattinson in the second innings who did the same.

“This season we’re using four different kinds of balls. When they’re trying to get blokes ready for Test cricket and talking about them banging out 1000-run years, it’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.”

The first-class competition is not the only part of Australia’s domestic cricket scene that has been altered in recent years. This summer was the second in which the Matador Cup featured the Cricket Australia XI as a seventh side, made up of young players who had not managed to squeeze into any of the six state squads.

“They’re not trying to win the Matador Cup. They’re trying to do well for themselves,” Christian said. “I don’t think it’s a good concept at all. If players are good enough they’re going to be in the state teams anyway. They might win one every so often if someone has a day out. Otherwise they’ll get flogged every game.”

The Cricket Australia XI have won only one of their 12 Matador Cup matches from the past two seasons, a three-run victory over Tasmania last year. Allrounder Hilton Cartwright, who played for the CA XI last summer and for Western Australia this season, is the first player to emerge from the CA XI and gain an international call-up, having been named in Australia’s ODI squad this month.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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