Sydney, Jan.23 : Australian cricket team coach Tim Nielsen has said that one his priorities is to identify and develop a world-class spinner over the next three to four years.
With Brad Hogg and Stuart MacGill turning 37 next month, Nielsen urged administrators to keep faith with the likes of Dan Cullen and Cullen Bailey, despite form troughs resulting in both losing their place in the South Australian starting XI this week.
"It is of critical importance. If you look at pitches around the world these days, spinners are crucial in deciding the outcome of games. We have been forced to use a few part-timers recently in Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke, but it's important not to lean on them too much because you want to look after them over the long haul," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Neilsen, as saying.
"Spin bowling is not necessarily something you are going to do brilliantly at the age of 21. I think our next long-term spinner will come from the ranks we already have, rather than unearthing a new one. Cullen has already had a taste of Test and one-day international cricket, and Bailey is talented despite not having his best year, and I think it's important that we give them time, rather than push them out of a sense of urgency," he added.
Australia have moved to bolster their spin coaching ranks this year, with Shane Warne to join Terry Jenner on Cricket Australia's books.
Warne will work for about 30 days a year with the state and national team, and will also provide guidance for state captains as to how best to utilise the talents of their slow bowlers.
Jenner remains a part-time coach with the Centre of Excellence, but has no role to play with the national team and, hence, will not work with Hogg ahead of the Adelaide Test.
Hogg, at present, appears to be a stop-gap measure while MacGill recuperates from carpal tunnel syndrome, although the left-armer's flipper and wrong 'un have proven troublesome for the Indian batsmen at various stages this series.
The importance of fielding a specialist spinner was brutally shown up during the Perth Test, with Australia's all-pace attack lacking variation and eventually incurring a fine for its slow over-rate.
"This has to be about long-term planning. Just because there might be a need in the short term, it doesn't mean you should rush your decision -making at the expense of the future. This is something we have to be smart about," Neilsen said.