Dean Jones want Australian batsmen to learn from Sachin Tendulkar

Dean Jones thinks Australian cricketers struggle in England because many have stopped playing County cricket © Getty Images

London: Jul 7, 2013

Former cricketer Dean Jones has advised Australia ahead of the Ashes 2013 to learn from Indian great Sachin Tendulkar as he believes that three quarter of batting lies in being defensive and the rest on being offensive.

Jones wrote in his column in The Independent: “Three quarters of the game is about your defence, and you live and die by that, not by your offensive skills. Look at Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest batsman in the world: 70 per cent of his game is defensive; on average his hundreds took 180 balls, 125 of which were defensive shots or leaving the ball alone.”

“When I look at David Warner, I think OK, he can play the backward defensive shot well, but what about the forward defensive and the “leave”? You have got to have at least two out of the three,” he added.

Jones said the bowlers will have to get their line and length correct. He wrote: “And with the bowlers, it’s about hitting your lines and lengths. Terry Alderman did it in England in 1981 and ’89, and though Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath had all the toys at their disposal, ultimately both of them could hit their lines and lengths as well, and that’s why those two were the very best.”

Jones encouraged the Australian squad saying, “Any weakness in your game and an Ashes series will find it out. You have to enjoy the battle of finding out if you’re good enough. OK, it can be frightening but if you do well in the Ashes then it’s the best feeling of all. And you’ve got 12 months’ free rein in the side, whereas if you don’t do well in the Ashes you might be out of the side for two years.”

The former cricketer believes new coach Darren Lehmann will be telling Australian cricketers to go out there and have some fun.

“If I know the new coach Darren Lehmann he’ll be telling the guys in the dressing-room before that First Test starts on Wednesday that they’ve got to back themselves, go out there and have some fun. There’s been a lot of talk in the build-up to this Ashes series about how bad this squad of Aussies are, but Lehmann and captain Michael Clarke will be trying to get the players to enjoy the situation and not get over-awed by it all,” Jones wrote.

He added, “The Ashes is a big deal for any cricketer so Boof [Darren Lehmann] and Pup [Michael Clarke] will tell them to absorb the early pressure and try to keep things simple. Boof’s mantra has been like that all the time. Not many of our players have played in the Ashes before, only half the squad really, and playing international cricket in England is different from playing elsewhere anyway. That was the problem with our bowlers last time: they didn’t know how to deal with English conditions.”

Jones said Australian cricketers struggle in England because many have stopped playing County cricket, which has many benefits.

“The worst thing that’s happened to Australian cricket is that not many young players go and play county cricket anymore because you have to play a certain number of games at home now in order to qualify to play for your country. English county cricket used to be an Aussie’s training ground, and they would get two seasons rolled into one. But for most of them, those days are gone,” he said.

Jones wants Clarke to bat at No 5 or 6 and not at No 4 because the latter scores many runs playing at that position.

“So who will bat in the top six for Australia? First of all, Michael Clarke has got to be coming in at No 5, he’s just not good enough at four. The stats back that up: in 30 innings at No 4 he averages 22, in 98 innings at five he’s averaging 64. Need I say more? Two of the great Australia captains of recent vintage, Steve Waugh and Allan Border, were great batting down at five and six. You don’t need to let your ego get in the way and want to bat higher up the order,” Jones explained.

Chris Rogers, who has been promoted to open for the Australians will be under pressure, believes Jones.

“Chris Rogers will open the innings with Shane Watson but I think there’s more pressure on Rogers than anyone else in the team. He’s made over 20,000 runs in first-class cricket but even he doesn’t know if he’s good enough for the Test arena, let alone anyone else. At No 3, I would go for Ed Cowan because his defence is sound, though it’s worrying that he has played 17 Tests and has passed fifty seven times but he has only converted one of them into a hundred,” Jones added.

“Phil Hughes will be at No 4; he hasn’t really come off in England before in Test cricket but he has played well for Middlesex and he is rejuvenated over the last 18 months. He has been working hard at his technique. And besides, how many of these guys have 21 first-class hundreds to their name?” he added.

“And at six I’d have Usman Khawaja; he works well with Boof at Queensland, he’s also played a bit at my old haunt Derbyshire, and it’s time to give the boy a run in the team. As far as I’m concerned, David Warner can come back in the Fourth or Fifth Test. He needs to play some first-class cricket, and I’m really disappointed with his off-field attitude anyway.”