Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia have hired Mike Young as their fielding consultant for the 2015 World Cup, which will be held in their own backyard and in New Zealand as well.
The move comes after Australia were well below par in the fielding and catching department during the third and fourth Test against India.
In his recent column for ESPNcricinfo, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting explained how the team has benefited under Young in the past.
“One thing that will be missed about Youngy is that the players loved working with him on a one-to-one basis,” Ponting wrote. “He never had to chase anyone because they looked forward to it so much.
“In addition to a good, hard fielding session, there would also be enthusiasm, encouragement – and brash American lingo. Youngy would be willing to stand there all day and work with someone until both were happy, even if it was extra work on top of the usual group drills. For that one half-chance in five days, it was worth it.”
Australia head coach Darren Lehmann is also pleased to see Young return, especially after the Baggy Greens’ “shoddy” performance while fielding during the third Test in Melbourne.
“Shoddy at best,” Lehmann said. “We’ve done a lot of work and I can’t complain about the work ethic from the lads, but the big ones that cost us were the first innings. We dropped Kohli and Rahane and they made 169 and 147. That cost us dearly in the back end of the game. Catches win matches.
“It’s not volume or practice, they’re very good at that. It’s probably more confidence to be honest, I’ve been really pleased with the work ethic. We made a conscious effort in the UAE and then after that series that we had to work harder on it and they’ve been excellent with it. They’re catching brilliantly in practice so it’s probably more confidence.”
Australia stand-in captain Steven Smith added: “Throughout the [Border-Gavaskar] series we probably let ourselves down a little bit in the field. Perhaps if we’d taken a few more chances, it might be a little bit different. And they’re not the standards we set as an Australian cricket team. We’ve got a lot of work to do on our fielding with the World Cup coming up, to get our standards up to where we want them to be.”