Former Australian assistant coach David Saker has backed some of Dean Jones’ explosive claims about Cricket Victoria but says the one-day great was off the mark with some of his criticism.
Speaking on 3AW on Wednesday night, Jones took aim at CV after The Age revealed earlier in the week that the former Victorian captain had requested his name be stripped from the state’s one-day player-of-the-year award, and handed back his CV life membership.
David Saker Credit:PA
In a wide-ranging attack, Jones expressed dismay at the fact two largely inexperienced coaches – Dave Hussey and Michael Klinger – had landed the respective head coaching jobs at the Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades over the past 12 months.
Hussey stepped down as a CV director before taking on the job at the Stars, appointed before CV took control back of the state’s two Big Bash League clubs by dissolving their respective boards and making the clubs’ chief executives redundant.
Klinger’s appointment last November was made by CV in a process driven by the state’s long-time cricket operations chief Shaun Graf.
Jones, a successful Twenty20 coach in the Pakistan Super League, said he had applied for both the Stars and Renegades jobs.
Saker, who was both Victorian men’s state coach and Renegades coach before resigning those roles to take up the Australian team gig in 2016, had also expressed interest in both the Stars and Renegades jobs last year before ultimately being overlooked for the considerably less experienced Hussey and Klinger.
While the Stars made the final in Hussey’s first season at the helm, the Renegades plummeted from champions to wooden spooners under Klinger.
Jones slammed CV for its hiring processes, saying that it was a matter of “jobs for the boys”. He also criticised CV for not producing male Australian team mainstays, and pointed to the cessation of the Stars and Renegades’ respective sponsorship deals with Optus and Mars as proof the structural revamp had been unsuccessful.
Saker said he agreed with Jones to an extent.
Dean Jones in action for Australia in 1994.Credit:Bruce Postle
“Some of [Jones’] remarks were probably off the mark, but the decisions of appointing two inexperienced coaches to run their BBL teams was a bit strange when there’s pretty good candidates out there but that’s their decisions,” Saker told The Age on Thursday.
“I’m a big fan of Deano’s. He’s got his heart in the right place, a passionate Victorian. He’s done some good coaching around the world himself.
“But I would’ve thought Cricket Victoria’s success on the field has been easily the best over the last 10 years.
“[James Pattinson] would be in the team most times when he was fit. Finchy’s obviously captain of the Australian one-day team. I think we’ve produced some really good players over the last 10 years.”
Saker also pointed to the likes of Wil Parker, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Will Sutherland and Will Pucovski as proof Victoria could still produce quality players.
The Victorian men’s team coaching role is up for grabs, with former Victorian star Brad Hodge hotly tipped by Victorian cricket sources to land the role.
Saker said he was interested in having a conversation with CV about the position but was enjoying his new role as Sri Lankan fast bowling coach.
“There’s a lack of culture, vision and strategy by Cricket Victoria administration,” Jones said in the radio interview.
“I played 20 years for my state and I was proud to have done it. They have a five-step plan from 2017 to 2022 is just so far wrong on where they’re going. They want to be the number one sport in Victoria but that’s not happening after AFL."
CV declined to respond to Jones' comments when questioned on Thursday.
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