James Sutherland

Sutherland: Don't question Ashes prep

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has defended Australia's preparation ahead of the opening Commonwealth Bank Ashes Test in Brisbane, claiming the home side is better prepared than England.

Sutherland took part in a panel chat alongside journalist Greg Baum and former Australian Test Captain Greg Chappell at a Melbourne Press Club lunch at the MCG on Wednesday, and hit back at criticism of the timing of Australia's recent One-Day International series in India.

"There weren’t actually a lot of players who are playing in the test team in Brisbane who were actually in India, and at the same time there were a lot of players who were back here playing RYOBI Cup who have been able to play in the first couple of rounds of (Sheffield) Shield cricket and had a really good preparation," said Sutherland.

"We’ve had a lot more cricket than England have over the last couple of months, so don’t tell me we haven’t had a good preparation because England have hardly played."

Sutherland was also vocal in his defence of the KFC Big Bash League, claiming the shortest format of the game is vital to the overall health of the sport, including Test cricket.

"It’s about optimisation because there’s no perfection here," he said. "We agonise over these things all the time."

"I read a lot of comment about how we’ve got it wrong but I don’t read a lot of comment about what the solutions are to the problem or the challenge and that perhaps summarises the point here – that there isn’t a perfect solution.

"But what we’re trying to do is to create a balance and an opportunity."

Chappell, who is the Cricket Australia National Talent Manager, admitted the shortest form of the game can make coaching difficult but believes there's no point looking back.

“I just think we’ve got to suck it up and get on with it. I mean this is what we’ve got, we’ve got to find a way," said Chappell.

"As a coach it’s challenging to come up with ways of trying to develop them to be able to cope with the most demanding time that has ever been for young athletes in cricket.

"They’ve got to be more adaptable physically, mentally, emotionally than ever before.

"I think it’s exciting. The kids that are coming up, they don’t know what it was like fifty years ago, they don’t give a s*** really what it was like fifty years ago.

"This is what they’ve got.

"We’ve got to think about ways that we can make it better for them and help them to survive and prosper in that environment."

In a major boost for Australia's female cricketers, Sutherland also indicated a women's BBL was "on the drawing board", but was unwilling to give a specific timeframe for its implementation.

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