Talent and Adam Voges the fathers of WA's success
Two factors - talent and Adam Voges – are the simple elements that enabled WA teams to complete a triple-double of domestic titles less than a week ago.
After more than two decades of Sheffield Shield heartache, WA beat Victoria twice in the past two finals to complement the twin one-day strikes and two Perth Scorchers victories.
Whether it was Tacitus or JFK who first said it, there is little doubt that success has many fathers
while failure is an orphan.
The first father is the most important.
Talent was the foundation of WA’s success. Management, selection, preparation all played their roles but it was the critical mass of cricket quality that underpinned the six triumphs.
The current group includes two outstanding junior cohorts from the end of the first decade this century and the middle of the last.
The WACA can take some credit for helping them develop but the talent itself is separate to the environment.
The first group included Sam Whiteman, Cam Bancroft, Hilton Cartwright, Ashton Turner and Joel Paris.
They have all played 40-80 shield matches and represented Australia in various senior formats.
Their presence is a reminder of the great WA teams of late 1990s that were full of international quality (Justin Langer, Damien Martyn, Tom Moody, Adam Gilchrist, Brendon Julian and Jo Angel) who couldn’t get games for Australia.
The current group is made up of hardened, experienced, driven, steady players who provide the backbone of the team.
What would Chris Rogers give for a group like that at Victoria?
The second group includes Aaron Hardie, Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson, Josh Philippe and Corey Rocchiccioli who have played 15-30 games, are on the verge of international cricket and are starting to flourish at shield level.
Their emergence complements the senior group.
And they have been made to wait for their chances given the senior players ahead of them, meaning they have played relatively large amounts of club and second XI cricket.
No surprise they are better prepared once they get to State level.
The irony is that when Moody was WA coach, he wanted massive changes at club level because he thought it was not preparing players well enough.
He left and within a season or two all these young stars had appeared.
Add the internationals – Mitch Marsh, Cam Green and Josh Inglis - and it might be the deepest talent list in WA history.
And what does it say that 22 WA players nominated for the 100 in England this year?
That is an extraordinary number, even if it includes veterans like Andrew Tye, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff.
The second father is Voges.
If Barry Shepherd was the godfather of WA cricket, and Ken Meuleman its grandfather, what does that make Voges?
He might be WA’s best-ever coach given his smarts, empathy and consistent approach.
Part of the reason Langer had such success at WA was that Voges was a powerful counterpoint who often got the coach to temper his approach when he got too intense.
There was probably no one to fill the same role when Langer moved to Australia, leading to him becoming increasingly marginalised and out of touch.
Voges also learnt a valuable lesson in his early days in the job when he allowed the WACA to get rid of Shaun Marsh from Scorchers.
That ensured it would be the last time he allowed a player to leave who he wanted to stay.
Not that he had it all his way.
In early 2021, when Voges’ first three-year contract was up, there was an influential element within WACA circles that did not want to reappoint him.
Voges had stood his ground firmly several times on matters of significance only for his integrity to be held against him.
No matter how history is being written now, it was reasonably fraught at the time.
In January 2021, I wrote a column for The West Australian which argued that Voges was the prime and only candidate to remain WA and Scorchers coach.
Several board members told me at the time, and others have reinforced it in the afterglow of WA’s win last week, that that column played a substantial role in reminding the board of Voges’ qualities and his value at the helm.
Thank goodness it did, because he was reappointed and has since overseen a remarkable period.
Langer’s approach at WA was to pick young talent and not compromise on working it hard.
Voges has a more mature list than his predecessor, works it hard enough but is nuanced and smart enough to allow players with considerable experience to make their own way.
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