Shield rules changes will spur more attack
SKIPPER Michael Clarke believes a revamp of the Sheffield Shield rules, which encourage attacking cricket, can keep Australia at the top of the world rankings for years to come.
Gone for season 2014/15 will be the two points traditionally awarded to the team that leads on the first innings.
Instead, 0.01 of a point will be awarded for every run above 200 inside the first 100 overs.
Good, attacking bowling will also be rewarded.
A team will earn 0.5 points for five wickets, and another 0.5 for the seventh and ninth wickets if they come inside the first 100 overs.
"It's worth a try - we want teams trying to win by playing attacking, aggressive cricket. That is the Australian way," said Clarke, who has won many admirers for his attacking captaincy style.
"I think anything that's going to help the game at first-class level become as similar to Test cricket as possible is great for the game."
Speaking at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane yesterday, with the ICC's No.1 Test-playing mace proudly in his hand, Clarke joked it was "time to hang my boots up".
That was because Australia's 2-1 Test series win in South Africa meant the Baggy Greens achieved Clarke's long-sought after goal of making it to the top of the global rankings.
But, after achieving that feat earlier this year, Clarke quickly set some new goals, ahead of a one-day tour of Zimbabwe starting in late August.
"Our form overseas over the past two years hasn't been anywhere near as consistent as we'd like," he said.
"We played some really good cricket in South Africa so hopefully that's the start of it. Good teams get to No.1 - great teams stay there."
After giving the new Shield rules his tick of approval, the Aussie skipper backed another change - to the selection panel.
Gifted former Test batsman Mark Waugh has come in on a part-time basis to support Rod Marsh who has taken over from John Inverarity as chairman of selectors.
"I think Mark will do a good job. Mark has always been very honest," Clarke said.
"He's had a good look at especially the shorter form of the game in the past couple of years being a commentator, so he's got a good read on a lot of the younger players."