Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Old pro ridicules Australia's pre-Ashes boot camp

AP , SYDNEY

Michael Clarke of Australia carries a jerry can of water during an outback boot camp training session in the Beerwah State Forest near Brisbane, Australia, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

A pre-Ashes boot camp at which Australia's top cricketers underwent commando training in a Queensland forest was "absolute garbage," Test great Neil Harvey said yesterday.

"Can you imagine [Don] Bradman or [Keith] Miller, or [Ray] Lindwall, or any of those blokes going on one of those?" Harvey said, referring to some of his more notable former Australian teammates. "They'd just laugh in your face and say `see you later.'"

"I think it's a lot of absolute garbage. I suppose you've got to blame the coach [John Buchanan] for that. Maybe that's all he can do, I don't know," he added.

Television footage has shown the Australian players, dressed in combat fatigues, exercising at the camp which is designed to prepare them for this season's Ashes Test series against England.

"All it can do is get someone hurt," Harvey said. "They call it a bonding exercise, but these guys have been playing together for 10 years. If they're not bonded by now, forget about it."

Former Test allrounder Alan Davidson approved of the boot camp, saying it might help to toughen some of the "city boys" in the Australian team.

"I think the boot camp could possibly give some of these young blokes, especially, a bit more inner fiber," he said. "If it's an endurance thing and you suffer a little bit and feel a bit of pain, I don't think there's anything wrong with it. When you get in a tense situation in a Test match and you've got some bloke that's been living in luxury all his life, I know I'm tougher than he is."

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