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Taylor has challenged the Australian batsmen to showcase everything they’ve got
Former Australia captain Mark Taylor has attributed the national team’s lacklustre batting displays over the past few series to Twenty20 cricket, stating that the large contracts and action-packed format has corrupted the gentlemanly and classic version of the sport.
Taylor also noted that the fast and furious Twenty20 format has sapped the hunger and passion from Australia’s Test cricketers due to the huge riches to be made by playing in tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Furthermore, Taylor also noted that the huge amounts of cash being given out in the IPL have diverted the attention of Australian cricketers from wanting to be given the honour of being handed a baggy green cap, which signifies that they are truly at the top of their game.
“If you look at the IPL and the money that’s going around there, that’s got to be a big influence I think,” Taylor told ESPNcricinfo. “As much as they all say ‘Test cricket’s the No. 1’, a million dollars is very distracting.
“You look at Glenn Maxwell getting US$1 million to go play in the IPL and he’s not even playing. How do you compete with that? How do you tell a young player making the next Australian Test team is more important? Knock back an IPL contract and spend two years working on your batting technique to get in for a Test match, and throw away $2 million? It’s easier said than done.”
Taylor pointed out that he was a big fan of Cricket Australia’s contract system, but added that he still remains unconvinced whether these contracts will be able to deter young cricketers from participating in the growing number of domestic Twenty20 competitions.
“The idea of the contracts system going back to my time was to give players security, and they’ve now got that,” he said. “I think the CA contracts and even the state contracts give players good security, much more than there was back in the 1990s, and that’s what should happen.
“But I’m not sure any of these contracts can ever make up for an IPL contract. There’s probably no security in the IPL, but if you get a $2 million contract you don’t need a lot of security. And that’s impossible to compete with.”
With the back-to-back Ashes series looming over the horizon, Taylor has issued a challenge to all the batsmen, except captain Michael Clarke, to step up and show why they deserve to represent their country and be called the best of the best.
“Trent Bridge and Lord’s, the first two Tests, are very important,” Taylor added. “If you go back to ’89 we won at Headingley where no one gave us a chance, then we won at Lord’s. All of a sudden you’re 2-0 up. If Australia can start something like that, it will start with someone like David Warner or Phil Hughes, or Cowan, or Watson, making 150, a big score.
“At Headingley I made 136, Steve made 177 and AB [Allan Border] made a quickfire 66. It’ll start with someone almost out of the blue making a big score and saying ‘we’re here to compete’. That’s what this side needs to do. Look at Warner, Watson, Cowan, Hughes. Four opening batsmen really, they’re all averaging in the 30s. That won’t get it done. One or two of them over there have got to average 70 in this series or more.”