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Wanted: Coach with Test experience

india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 17:27 IST
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Shane Warne wants Australia's next cricket coach to have international playing experience, saying the next generation needs a commonsense approach to the game. John Buchanan has presided over the most successful era in Australian cricket, guiding the national lineup to world record winning streaks in Test and limited-overs.

The 53-year-old former school teacher, renowned for his boffin-like approach to the game, will retire after the World Cup in the Caribbean next April.

Warne, who will be 37 next and is Australia's most experienced current international cricketer, says the next generation of players needs an old-school approach.

Buchanan, who played seven first-class matches for Queensland in Australia's domestic competition, took over from former Test opener Geoff Marsh in 1999.

Marsh had succeeded former Test captain Bob Simpson _ Australia's first full-time coach.

Unlike his predecessors, Buchanan had not played Test cricket, but used some revolutionary methods to keep Australia atop the cricket rankings.

Warne, who has played under all three coaches, said with so many aging players, there needed to be a back-to-basics approach from the coaching staff to help mould a new team.

"We've gone through the experience of John Buchanan, who is very much a 'think outside the box' sort of coach," he said. "One of the prerequisites should be part of the coach is to have that cricket common sense, that cricket background where he can actually help."

Warne said he could play for up to another five years, fitness pending, but realistically Australia had to start looking to the future.

Warne, with 140 Test matches and a world record 685 Test wickets, is one of several Australian players in their mid-30s expected to retire over the next few seasons.

"We're going to go through a transition stage where a lot of the senior guys are going to leave ... there'll be a lot of younger players," he said. "It would be nice to have a (coach) to come on who has played at international level who can teach them what international cricket is all about."

Greg Chappell and Tom Moody, coaching at India and Sri Lanka, have been mentioned as candidates, while former New Zealand and New South Wales coach Steve Rixon has shown interest. Warne said he had no preference, adding: "Someone with cricket commonsense; someone with cricket experience at the international level; someone that's pretty respected in Australian cricket would be pretty good."

Warne said Buchanan's replacement would be more like a "facilitator or manager" because there was only so much coaching elite cricketers needed.

"Cricket is basic. You can think outside the box, you can do a number of things, but at the end of the day, cricket is a repetition sport," he said. "You can't reinvent the wheel with cricket. You've got to bat as well as you can, you've got to bowl and field. It's a muscle memory thing."

Buchanan has won 24 Test series, drawn one and lost two _ the 2001 series in India that ended the record 16-Test winning stretch and last year's Ashes series in England.

The Ashes series starting in November will be his last in charge of Australia in the five-day format.

He started preparations with a high-intensity camp in the Australian countryside, which forced players to sleep outside, carry each other and heavy buckets of water up hills and push cars. Toward the end of that, Buchanan announced his plans to stand down as coach.

On Tuesday, allrounder Andrew Symonds said most of the players had not had much time to reflect on Buchanan's decision. "It's a big job, very important and prestigious," he said. "There is that subconscious thing of sending him out on something that he can't forget.

"Not everyone gets a fairytale ending but I hope he does because that means the team would have achieved highly."

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