Cricket: Marsh gets stuck into county circuit 'pie-throwers'

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ENGLAND should be consigned to second-class status among Test- playing sides, especially with bowlers who are 'just pie-throwers'. At least so ran the comments yesterday from Rodney Marsh, the former Australian Test wicketkeeper.

Marsh, who, in 97 Tests, notched up a world record of 355 dismissals, is now head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport's cricket academy which has produced Shane Warne, Michael Slater, Brendon Julian and Damien Martyn. From this position of relative strength arrived yesterday's no-holds-barred indictment of the state of the English game. 'There's going to come a time when Australians start to feel sorry for England, but fortunately I've not reached that stage yet,' he said.

When England next tour Australia, 'they should be treated like Sri Lanka or Zimbabwe and given only three Tests. Their performances all stem from county cricket,' he said, warning off young Australians from signing county contracts. 'They go over there and face bowlers who are really just pie-throwers and they are not going to learn anything about the game.'

Geoff Arnold, the England bowling coach, replied: 'It's easy to knock when a side is down. I'm not really surprised the insults are flying, but it makes me laugh when I think of how many Aussies have benefited from playing in our Championship cricket.'