WALTON, England and the World's most
Australians feature strongly in your lists of "best"
players above. What is it about Australia and their
success so far?
You know Sheldon I have played in every World Cup
since the first one played in England in 1995, to the
last one played in New Zealand in 2002, and the
Aussies have won all four of them. The simplistic
answer is that Australia breeds good indoor players,
but there is quite a bit more that goes on behind the
scenes that should get credited.
the Australian Indoor Cricket Federation run a
well-organized association and special credit should
go to Ross Collins (President) and Karen Denman
(National Executive Director). These guys and others
(Rob Chilcott) seem to have a good understanding of
our sport and are able to continue the enthusiasm for
perhaps the main factor for Australia's success lies
with their coaches. Australia has a knack of producing
good quality coaches, perhaps no more so than the
legendary David Lewis. Dave took coaching skills to
another level whilst all the other international teams
seemed to play catch up. I remember when the
Australians toured England, we used to try to sneak a
peek at his coaching techniques. We learnt much from
the Australian coaches and selectors have a greater
indoor cricket population to choose from. For example,
the Aussie side is chosen from the State
championships, which is made up of 6 or 7 teams. Each
individual state's team is in turn chosen from
approximately 10 Super-League teams within their
state. Contrast that with England, where the national
team is chosen from 4 Super-League teams. In other
words, the England squad is chosen from 32 players
nation wide. In comparison, the Australians have a
choice from approximately 400 top players.
I regularly wake up in the middle of the night
screaming, "why isn't indoor cricket booming in
England? Or India? Or the West Indies? Or
Mauritius?". Perhaps you could answer for England?
First thing Sheldon, I think you should get some
help--there are some wonderful medications available
nowadays. Secondly, I may as well answer for
Mauritius. I haven't a clue. That question should be
directed at the British Indoor Cricket Association. If
you were to force me to answer, I would put it down to
Soccer being the most popular sport and possibly the
fact that indoor cricket clashes with pub opening
hours. Sorry buddy, I don't really know.
Seriously then, do you think England will survive as
an indoor cricket nation?
Yes, I think it will . . . well I hope it does.
Although I think something needs to be done to promote
the game. The BICF have done their best with the
resources made available to them. If it wasn't for Bob
Manca (Chairman of the BICF), international indoor
cricket would have died ages ago in England. In the
past, the England sides either lacked coaches or
lacked ability in the coaching department. As I
understand it, Bob has taken measures to improve the
standard of the England team--as you know, England is
employing an Australian coach for this year's Ashes
tour in Australia in December. He has a sponsor for
the tour, so steps in the right direction have been
Hmmmm . . . an England vs Australia Ashes tour. Are
you tempted to come out of retirement?
Well Sheldon, I have just been selected to represent
Western Australia in the National Championships in
Melbourne in July 2003. I am really enjoying my indoor
and playing better than ever. So, I don't know…. you
will have to watch this space!!!
We will indeed. And of course you'll continue
playing for Melville A-Grade in the Western
Australian Super-League in the meantime?
I will. Like I said, I'm enjoying the sport more than
I ever have, and I feel I'm playing as well as ever
because of that.
Okay, let's really put you in the firing-line. Name
your all-time world top 10 side.
Now that's a hard one. There are quite a few great
players, past and present, to choose from. I hope I
don't offend anyone, but my top ten indoor cricketers
|1) Dion Muir (Australia)
|| 2) Greg Mathews (Australia)
|3) John Mark (Australia)
||4) Alan Wilson (Australia)
|5) Craig Berger (Australia)
||6) Jay Otto (Australia)
|7) Robbie Kerr (New Zealand)
||8) Graham Murray (New Zealand)
|9) Michael Edmonds (England)
||10) Tim van Nort (South Africa)
Finally Andy, what are your greatest memories from
all your years of playing?
Apart from the personal milestones of achieving the
most capped record and getting a few 'Man of the
Match' awards and 'Player of the series' awards, I
would have to say my fondest memories come from simply
being on tour with a group of mates. Indoor cricket
has been good to me and taken me all over the world,
playing cricket in South Africa, New Zealand,
Australia and Sri Lanka. I have made plenty of friends
in many countries, and would like to take this
opportunity to thank all my teammates, past and
present, for some of the greatest times in my life.
That sounds like a great note to end this interview
on. Andy Walton, good luck in the Nationals later
this month, and thank you for your time and effort
in sharing your thoughts with the readers of Indoor
It's been a pleasure Sheldon. Thank you.
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