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Atherton: Watching ‘The Test’ changed my view on modern coaching

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Speaking on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, Michael Atherton explained how the role of a coach has taken on much more significance in the modern game than it had when he was an England player.

The former opener used an example from documentary series The Test, which followed the Australia team’s exploits from the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal up to their successful Ashes defence in 2019 to illustrate his point.

The incident occurred during Australia’s first Test against India at Adelaide Oval in 2018, when Aaron Finch was given out caught behind off Ravichandran Ashwin and didn’t review, only for replays to show he would have been reprieved. Langer’s wrath had been incurred.

“You mentioned Langer before, Rob [Key], I thought there was a beautiful moment in that doc,” said Atherton. “I was just trying to put myself in Aaron Finch’s position. There was a moment, I don’t know whether you remember it, where Finch didn’t review either a caught behind or an lbw but it was so obviously not out, and Langer, the coach, is there at him. ‘Why didn’t you review that? Why didn’t you review that?’ I was just thinking, if I’d been Aaron Finch at that moment, I’d have wrapped my bat around Langer’s head.

“That showed me the difference between when I played and the generation now, just how much more dominant the coach is. Of course, you don’t know whether it’s the absolute accurate picture, but the dominant figure in that documentary is not Tim Paine, the captain, it was Justin Langer, the coach, and that’s a massive change.”

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