Bowlers urged to embrace Twenty20
Treasured by Australia's bowlers for his spiritual support as well as his technical expertise, Troy Cooley's latest advice to the country's leather-flingers is simple: Twenty20 can be your friend.
When Cricket Australia's 25 contracted players gather on Queensland's Sunshine Coast ahead of next month's first Twenty20 world championship, the renowned bowling coach will encourage his bowlers not to think of themselves as cannon-fodder, which must be tempting when a game is geared entirely around hard-hitting batsmen, but to embrace it.
"Otherwise it will gobble you up," Cooley said.
Critics of Twenty20 have said bowlers may as well be replaced with bowling machines, and that it can be particularly damaging to the mental health of young spinners.
Former Australian paceman Michael Kasprowicz once joked, having played the game when it was first introduced by the English counties, that bowlers should leave their egos in the dressing room.
Cooley, the former Tasmanian paceman recruited from England to guide Australia's quicks, promotes a different point of view.
"The attitude has got to be that you can have an impact on this game. Nowadays Twenty20, just like one-day cricket in the past, is an avenue that you will see people making their debuts in," he said.
"It's really going to highlight all the little deficiencies and you are going to have to be ready to go in Twenty20 cricket, because otherwise it will gobble you up.
"As a bowler, you know the promotion of the game is all about bash and runs. I see it as another challenge and another way to improve."
Cricket Australia will send its triumphant World Cup squad, with the exception of retired Glenn McGrath, replaced by the previously injured Brett Lee, to South Africa.
Australia, which has won three of the five Twenty20 internationals it has played, wants to add the trophy to its cabinet.
"Nobody wants to be embarrassed. I know you can leave your ego at the door, but that's pretty hard when you are on centre stage. You have got to have an ego that will accept the game and you've got to survive in it," Cooley said.
"It means you have to be more precise in the way you train because your execution is going to be under the spotlight, so be it. There's nothing better than practising perfectly."
While the South African tournament is the immediate focus, Australia is also preparing for a limited-overs tour of India and the Australian Test summer against Sri Lanka and India.
Cooley recently accompanied left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson to the pace foundation in Chennai to work with Test legend Dennis Lillee in order to acclimatise to conditions in India.