Cricket Australia chief hits back over Shane Warne

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard makes the toss at Manuka Oval in Canberra. Picture: AFP/Getty
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard makes the toss at Manuka Oval in Canberra. Picture: AFP/Getty
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CRICKET Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has defended his organisation following a scathing attack by spin bowling legend Shane Warne, who panned the board in a series of Twitter rants.

Sutherland added that he was prepared to meet Warne to discuss the 43-year-old’s criticism of CA’s player rotation policy and his claim that “rubbish” decisions were turning Australian cricket into a “big joke”.

After venting his initial anger on Monday, Warne reiterated his views a day later. “As I said last night we need cricket people running the team & who understand cricket & what’s required at the top level, not muppets,” he tweeted.

Warne questioned the logic of having former rugby union international Pat Howard as the board’s high performance manager but Sutherland threw his weight behind the former Wallaby back.

“I have every confidence in Pat Howard and his team, and what they’re doing,” said Sutherland. “Personally I find it a little bit disappointing to read about that [Warne’s criticisms] in the fashion that I have.

“Ideally you’d like to be able to sit down with Shane and understand a little bit more deeply his opinions.”

Australia won all three Tests in a recent series against Sri Lanka but were held 2-2 in the subsequent one-day internationals after resting skipper Michael Clarke for the first two matches The hosts, however, lost both Twenty20 internationals and were left debating the merits of a rotation policy CA has introduced to manage injuries and the workload of top players.

Fast bowling great Dennis Lillee has backed CA’s approach. “He’s 100 per cent in agreement with the selection panel with managing the load and development of players,” Sutherland said of Lillee. “Who’s right here?

“You’ve got Shane Warne saying one thing, Dennis Lillee saying another. It’s not a black and white issue.”

Meanwhile, a Prime Minister’s XI captained by Ricky Ponting beat the West Indies in a 50-over match at Manuka Oval in Canberra yesterday.

Half centuries for Keiran Powell, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Andre Russell weren’t enough to prevent the tourists coming up short in a massive run chase after the home side had made 333-6. Alex Doolan made 87, Usman Khawaja 69 and Jono Dean 51 for the Prime Minister’s XI. Powell made 92 before retiring hurt, Sarwan 63 and Russell 54 from 24 balls before West Indies was all out to the last ball of the 49th over.

The West Indies meets Australia in the first of five one-day internationals at Perth on Friday.