Recently Mark Cosgrove learned he missed out on a contract with South Australia. A week later talented off spinner Dan Cullen learned he was to receive the same fate. So, has Jamie Cox done the correct thing or is he consigning South Australia to the foot of the Sheffield Shield table?
On the surface it looks like South Australia is releasing their most talented players. Both have represented Australia, both are young and both have the ability to cement a spot in a talent-short South Australian squad. Looking a bit further into the stats and you will find that Cosgrove hasn’t had a season where he has scored 800+ runs and Cullen averages 44 with the ball. Cosgrove possibly could have been held on to but with all the opportunity given to Cullen should have been averaging more than 44.
Cosgrove will most likely move to Queensland into a side that requires a talented batsman. But where to for Cullen? Queensland would again be the most likely but what of the other states? Is he good enough to push Jon Holland out of his spot in the Victorian side or Xavier Doherty out of Tasmania? I wouldn’t think so. Western Australia isn’t conducive of spin and New South Wales has an abundance of spinning talent. Cullen may be lucky enough to get a second round contract from SA but can he push ahead of Cullen Bailey or Aaron O’Brien?
While these two players were the highest profile South Australia also released left arm seamer Allan Wise, Matthew Weeks and a group of rookies – the most interesting Alex Carey who decided to persue a cricket career after withdrawing from the 2009 Australian Football League national draft. Carey is a young spinner as well.
So, has Cox done the right thing? Did he release the right players and of the players left are any capable of stepping up for Australia? Unfortunately, in my opinion the answer is ‘no’. Cullen Bailey may have had the talent but he has also waned in the South Australian system. So, the talent pool is still available in SA but why have previous administrators failed to lift the state? Former ECB and Australian Cricket Academy coach Rod Marsh had a short stint in SA. So, how could a brilliant man like Marsh fail with so much talent when he made so many English and Australian players into test cricketers and will Cox succeed?
Rob Cassell and Aiden Blizzard have joined the squad from Victoria so South Australia have still managed to release South Aussies and recruit players from interstate while forgetting their own state’s products. (see http://www.planetcricket.org/wordpress/2010/04/117/changing-states-of-australian-domestic-cricket/)