Cricket Australia Accused Of Giving England 'Red Carpet' Treatment Ahead Of Ashes
Cricket Australia "has been accused of giving England a big free kick before the Ashes by plundering state squads to the detriment of the Sheffield Shield," according to Chloe Saltau of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. States "are up in arms at having to release star batsmen for a new-look invitational XI to play against the English in a four-day match" at the Sydney Cricket Ground starting Nov. 13. And many within Australian cricket are mystified as to why CA "has agreed to the old enemy's requests for stronger opposition, rolling out the red carpet for the tourists in their final tour game." Cricket Victoria Operations Manager Shaun Graf said, "Rightly or wrongly they want to look after the English. But they don't do us too many favors when we go over there, so I'm quite surprised that we want to accommodate them" (SMH, 11/1). In Brisbane, Malcolm Conn wrote English counties routinely put out "dud sides against Australia in tour matches, which included during the last Ashes series earlier this year." Many state officials are furious but have been told by CA to "publicly and privately" support the move. One official they would not be "going to war" with CA over the issue for fear of a "vindictive" reaction. Another described it as "an absolute disgrace" and said the states were "filthy" (COURIER-MAIL, 11/1).