Aussies need young batting talent
AS Australia heads out for its third test against India today in Perth, former Australian test batsman Doug Walters said the side was on the verge of "rounding a corner" in terms of consistent match-winning form.
Walters stopped by in the small Central Queensland town of Aramac on Sunday, as the surprise guest for a local couple's 50th wedding anniversary.
The knockabout cricketer who was legendary for hitting 100 runs in a single session on three separate occasions, said what the current Australian side needed was a fresh injection of batting talent.
"We've been a struggling side for the last few years," Walters said. "It was good to see our batsmen score a few runs in Sydney.
"Our problem has not necessarily been our bowling. We've got plenty of young bowling talent but not much young batting talent coming on unfortunately.
"It was our older brigade that scored the runs in Sydney, not our younger guys.
"We've got to find one or two young batsmen and then I think we can say we've rounded a corner."
He named the current Australian captain Michael Clarke, who set a SCG ground record of 329 runs against India earlier this month, as having reached a career milestone - not only in leadership but also in his on-going battle for public recognition.
"Michael's done a fantastic job since taking over and he has been on form with the bat as well, so he's been about the only one who has been fairly consistent,' Walters said.
"I guess Clarke's declaration (in Sydney) was a very unselfish thing.
"I'm sure he could have gone on and set some more records but I guess winning the game was the most important thing to him and that's what they did.
"I think that would have went a long way to convincing the public he's not that bad sort of a guy.
"He didn't have to convince me but he's convinced a lot of the sceptics I'm sure."
Over the course of his test career, Walters tallied his fair share of triple figure scores, a number pushing past 200 runs and beyond. And given the right frame of mind, it's a target he said which can quite easily be achieved.
"As batsmen we set our goals at 100 and that's one of our problems," Walters said. "We tend to relax after we reach our 100 goal.
"Bradman I'm sure didn't set himself a 100-run goal or if he did, he automatically set another one straight after he achieved it. I guess it's easy enough to score, it's not a physical thing because if you reckon you're getting tired when you score 200, the bowlers must be getting a lot more tired than what you are.
"So it should be getting easier really."
The game may have shifted remarkably since Doug's playing hey-day, with new rules, formats and technology now a common part of proceedings. But match consistency is still as big a sticking point today as it was in his time and a must, Doug said, if Australia hss any chance of making it back to the top in world cricket.
"We just need to be more consistent in our batting," he said.
"It's all right to get six or seven hundred in one test but we've got to do that in the next test and the one after that, not get out for 47."
This is the second instalment of a three-part series on Doug Walters. In next Wednesday's CQ News, Doug talks form slumps, Twenty20 cricket and career highlights.