Sun, Sep 24, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Aussies leap to defense of Buchanan

AFP , SYDNEY

Australian cricketers have gone in to bat for Test coach John Buchanan amid criticism by champion leg-spinner Shane Warne of his relevance to the team.

British tabloid the Sun quoted Warne this month as saying Buchanan deserved few plaudits for Australias world cricket domination. He also reportedly suggested the team didn't need a coach at all.

Warne claimed his comments were taken out of context, but audio of a press conference posted on the BBC Web site last week left no doubt Warne did say Buchanan "over-complicates issues" and has sometimes "lacked a little bit of commonsense."

Warne's former Victorian and Australian teammate Damien Fleming said the legendary leg-spinner valued coaches noting that Terry Jenner has been Warne's mentor for two decades.

"Warney has been saying what he thinks about coaches but he's got a very important mentor in Terry Jenner," Fleming told the Australian newspaper yesterday. "Coaches and mentors are very important, don't worry about that, whether it is for a team or individual."

Warne and Jenner, a former Australian Test leg-spinner, forged a strong bond from Warne's earliest days at the cricket academy in Adelaide during the late 1980s.

Vice-captain Adam Gilchrist, who is resting from the limited-overs tournament in Malaysia, has no doubt that Buchanan has made an enormous impact on the team during his seven-year reign.

"Some of his methods did confuse some players and I'm sure there are players over time who haven't taken well to the way he works and that's fine -- we're all different people," he told the newspaper. "I understand that some people might be uncertain about his philosophies but my overriding perception is that as a cricket coach and man manager his overall goal is to better his players as people. With that will come being better cricketers."

Test opener Justin Langer said Buchanan had laid the ground work for Australia's remarkable success as a Test and one-day team.

"His greatest strength is his vision and his courage to plant the seed of achievement in a very talented side," Langer told the Australian. "It's easy to go through the motions but one thing that inspires very good players and successful people is to keep trying to extend them all the time."

Fleming said he admires Buchanan's outstanding work ethic, both in giving players extra practice if they wanted it and in meticulous planning.

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