The Teflon Era Comes to an End

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With the Tim Nielsen resignation still fresh in his mind, Daniel Gray gives a frank appraisal of the departing Australia coach’s tenure after his parting shot at Cricket Australia.

“The only thing I’m a little disappointed in is that my role as Australian cricket coach doesn’t just cover Test match cricket. We’ve maintained our No. 1 ranking in one day cricket over the last four years while I’ve been here, we’ve improved our T20 cricket and made some dramatic changes there to play in the last World Cup final. I feel as though we’re on the right track.” -Tim Nielsen

Like the proverbial dead man walking, Tim Nielsen has gone about his business in Sri Lanka with a sense of dignity and respect. He appeared to take the Argus Report’s findings in his stride, whilst surely knowing the axe had fallen and the best he could do was slow the bleeding and limp to the finish line. It is with surprise, then, that I feel compelled to bestow our not-overly-esteemed, now former coach with a new nickname. Without further adieu, stand aside Teflon Tim, and arise Tantrum Tim.

For a man to whom nothing seemed to stick for years, the stench of the past four years of often rotten performances under his leadership has hit him square in the face, and his criticism of Cricket Australia when announcing his resignation has all the hallmarks of a four year old throwing a tantrum when they realise they’re not going to get their own way this time.

After years of appearing to approach coaching with more of a big brother or older friend mentality than anything clearly resembling leadership or hard work, Nielsen has little to complain about. Under his not-always-watchful eye, the Test side has produced woefully inadequate and inconsistent performances, highlighted of course by last summer’s humiliating capitulation to England at home.

While Tantrum Tim is correct in stating Australia is the number one ODI side in the world today, performances there have also remained inconsistent, often punctuated by an apparent lack of intensity perhaps best encapsulated in the side crashing out of this year’s World Cup much earlier than expected. And while T20 remains little more than hit-and-giggle cricket with a zeroes attached, Nielsen’s coaching here has also clearly underwhelmed.

With all four selectors and the coach standing aside in the past month, the Scorpions classic ‘Winds of Change’ may well be an appropriate theme song for Channel Nine’s coverage of the game this summer. A few question marks remain after the tour of Sri Lanka, but the strong form of Shaun Marsh and Ryan Harris, combined with promising signs from Trent Copeland and Nathan Lyon bode well for a slaughter-free summer ahead. Tim Nielsen, meanwhile, should wait by the phone for a call-up to the cushy corporate arena. With his mastery of buzzwords and mediocre performance, a six figure salary and days of meetings await.

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