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In Visakhapatnam with the under-19 team, Greg Chappell talks about Australia's changing cricketing mindset and his eventful coaching stint in India. He opens up to Jonathan Selvaraj as he revisits the dressing room that had ageing seniors, an out-of-form captain and a rookie wicket-keeper who was a natural leader.
In what capacity are you connected with the Australia under-19 team?
I've come in as National Talent Manager. I'm chairman of our youth selection panel. I've been in charge for three years now and I normally travel with the U-19s as a youth selector and manager. But when Stuart Law took up the Queensland job, then we had to do some reshuffling. And that's why I came back as the coach.
Of late a number of Australia U-19 players have been blooded into first class cricket and the senior team ...
Five years ago we came to the conclusion that it was taking on average four years for the U-19 players to get on state contracts. That was too long. So the Second XI competition was changed to a U-23 competition (Futures League). I think it has been quite successful. Twelve of the players who played the 2010 Junior World Cup went on to get state contracts as did 13 from last year's World Cup. That's considering three of our best bowlers — Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar and the wrist spinner James Muirhead — were injured. Those three boys also went on to state contracts and of course Cummins and Agar have played international cricket.
Why do you have to give them a push?
The international programme has become busier and T20 cricket has made it busier still. International players don't play domestic cricket. And after professionalisation at our domestic level, those players don't play club cricket. That's had an impact on the younger players. We have come to the understanding that our club cricket and our domestic cricket can't do the job that it once did. So we have to identify the ones we think have potential and invest in them.
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