Sri Lanka in Australia, 2012-13

Broadcasters briefed on controversial ODI squad

Daniel Brettig

January 22, 2013

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Michael Hussey walks in for his final Test innings, Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 4th day, January 6, 2013
Channel Nine was told in advance why Michael Hussey had been dropped for the ODI matches against Sri Lanka © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Michael Hussey
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Australia

Australia's squad for the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka was deemed so sensitive that Cricket Australia met with the host broadcaster Channel Nine ahead of its announcement to explain why Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matthew Wade were to be rested and Michael Hussey dropped.

ESPNcricinfo understands CA's team performance manager Pat Howard sat down for two meetings with members of the Nine commentary team and the network's director of sport Steve Crawley during the Sydney Test, in an effort to convince the broadcasters of the need for squad rotation and the introduction of younger players during the ODI phase of the summer.

While CA and Nine meet frequently for discussions of the schedule and other related matters, it is believed to be exceedingly rare for a squad's selection and the reasons for its composition to be relayed in advance, underlining the controversial nature of the team chosen.

After the national selector John Inverarity unveiled the squad on the fourth and final morning of the Test, Nine was critical of the absence of Warner and the retiring Hussey in particular from the first two matches. Crawley weighed in with the following words.

"From an entertainment point of view, and as a fan, I struggle to understand how those two are not in the side," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "There is no doubt we've got to bring in new players. I think that's a good thing. But I don't get leaving out Warner and Hussey. When my kids play in the yard, they're David Warner and Michael Hussey."

Australia's stand-in captain George Bailey subsequently made a reference to the concurrent television rights discussions as a possible reason for Nine talking down his team, eliciting a sharp rebuke from the network's cricket executive producer - and former New South Wales allrounder - Brad McNamara.

"It's rubbish and George should stick to playing cricket and leave rights to the people who know what they're talking about," McNamara said. "I reckon he's got his hands full as it is. He needs to concentrate on staying in the side. And he needs to understand where his money's coming from.

"Without the TV rights deal, George is probably working in a coal mine or flipping burgers at McDonald's. All this talk about the death of one-day cricket, it's not coming from us. Given we were lacking star quality, we were very happy [with the ratings]."

While hardly an innovation, Australia's rotation of players at appropriate times in an increasingly packed calendar has caused plenty of angst around the country, and in some cases among the state associations. The former Australian captain Ricky Ponting is a supporter of the policy, but has said that CA may need to explain the rationale a little more clearly in order to avoid the sort of coverage it has since received.

"I think an educational process should be put in place," Ponting said, "to let the sponsors, the people who are covering the game and the fans understand what's actually going to happen before the day the team is announced."

Though declining to speak specifically about the meeting, a CA spokesman said the governing body maintained a healthy relationship with Nine. "The closest of families occasionally disagree," he said. "But we and Nine enjoy a remarkable chemistry which has always transcended the black ink of some 30 years of contracts."

Crawley was not available for comment.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Ayush_Chauhan on (January 24, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

I am suprised McNamara said what he did. If Bailey can't say what he thought, shouldn't McNamara not argue about what team is gonna play, since he is obviously not qualified to select a team. and in his words "stick to rights, and let cricket be handled by people who know it"

Posted by c_Marsh_b_Lillee on (January 24, 2013, 4:47 GMT)

I think the Cricketainment Australia Corporation would be reasonably satisfied with the summer so far. The Unlikeables have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the tests, and then snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat in the first ODI series. Twitter followers have multiplied. Desired outcomes have been achieved and all the necessary people have been paid. No one suspects. Vain, bald men have been reminded where to advance their payments and the nation's young cricketers are fuelled with buckets of fried chicken. So far, so good.

Posted by WalkingWicket11 on (January 24, 2013, 4:44 GMT)

Team selection based on TRP? Ridiculous! What's next? TRP ratings will decide whether the team bats or fields first? Batting order, field settings, bowling changes would all be decided by TRP. I would not even be surprised if Channel 9 decides what shot the batsman should play or what kind of ball the bowler should bowl, because players should know where their money comes from!

Posted by docbob on (January 24, 2013, 0:06 GMT)

Something rotten at CA, and it's been like that all summer. Rotation, the Mike Hussey decision, the abandonment of the Sydney ODI when Sri Lanka were clearly in the better position and now this revelation. Someone needs to put a broom through the place and this time do it properly. How we Australians can have the gall to complain about "hometown decisions" when touring the sub-continent mystifies me.

Posted by whoster on (January 23, 2013, 23:48 GMT)

How on earth Hussey was dropped, I'll never know. Yes, he's retiring, and the Aussies have to bring in new blood, but is it good for them to deliberately weaken the side? Particularly so their batting - which is dodgy anyway. If Australia had lost the ODI series to Sri Lanka - which they almost did, it would've been poetic justice toward the selectors. It's two years until the next World Cup, so rebuilding to the extent of dropping their best ODI batsman is plain daft. No wonder the selectors were embarrassed into trying to do this on the quiet. Life without Hussey is going to be tough enough for the Aussies, and they've just had a taste of what it'll be like.

Posted by HOMEBREW on (January 23, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

I think this rotation policy lets some of our players loose a bit of form. What ever happened to the Australia A team v touring team for a couple of ODI? This would give our main players who play tests & ODI players a bit of a rest. This would also give the selectors an opportunity to blood new players againest international sides. I think CA did the talks with 9 as they new they would cop a fair bit of backlash. I've said ages ago maybe it's time to have seperate teams for the three formats. At least more players would get a go & a share of the pie.

Posted by pengo on (January 23, 2013, 22:22 GMT)

So CA felt the need to issue a press release hosing down tensions between Hussey and Clarke to clear the air. From a fiscal point of view Hussey playnig in both the Sri Lankan and West Indies series makes perfect sense. Not selecting him because of a world cup two years away is balderdash. How much could the current young crop learn from 10 extra games with Mike Hussey. It seems that the Australian public have been robbed of the opportunity to farewell a champion as well as the best role model we have seen in recent times. Clarke we have just forgiven you for the Bingle years and now this....

Posted by perl57 on (January 23, 2013, 15:37 GMT)

I guess Channel 9 would have invested in Cricket Australia and hence they would have to explain why the team was what it selected. When near perfect 10 like Sachin and a 8/10 like Ponting was asked to retire and were facing the axe Hussey cannot be an exception. Let them look ahead. As per money options, Hussey is more than welcome to IPL to play full season. He will be worth more in the coming seasons.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

Ridiculous. What's next CA? Allowing a Nine executive on the selection panel to ensure that they are happy with the team? Nine need to be put in their place and that is as a broadcaster who pays for the rights to broadcast the cricket and nothing else. CA should break this cushy relationship that Nine think they have and they can start doing that by shopping the TV rights around.

Posted by usernames on (January 23, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

roflol australia cricket is awesome

Posted by MAmphlett on (January 23, 2013, 2:39 GMT)

really, so noone sees the irony on Mcnamara telling Bailey to stick to what he does, cricket, while nine is sticking their nose into team selection and the merits of rotation policies. Maybe nine should stick to what it does best, reruns of american sitcoms

Posted by here2rock on (January 23, 2013, 2:11 GMT)

Why would the selectors deny Hussey a well deserved final farewell and than you to the Australian public? It is an insult to Mike Hussey and his fans and we are not happy.

Posted by SlowYorker on (January 23, 2013, 1:14 GMT)

It's good if nine given up broadcasting rights. These bunch of nine cricket commentators are very biased. When Sri Lankan batsman (I think Rangana Herath) was given out LBW for bat pad these guys blame Mahela for using their review earlier. But when Warner and Henriques given out same way, these guys were very soft on Clark and blamed DRS system. What a joke???? I can remember similar thing happened when Aussies play against India. When MS Dhoni placed 8 fielders on off side, Mark Nicholas described it as a very negative fielding set up and criticised. But on next innings when Ponting placed same fielding set up same commentator praised him as it was a very good tactical move. Disgraceful !!!!!!!!!. Lot of people learning from listening to commentaries. But not from these guys. As far as I am concern not only umpires, but commentators also need to be fair and neutral. If you don't agree please get a tape and listen.

Posted by ShaneHes on (January 23, 2013, 0:36 GMT)

I am Australia & I know this is Un-Australian to say this especially a few days before Australia Day. I hope Australia lose today against Sri Lanka & lose the one day series against the West Indies. The reason; Not picking Michael Hussey. That's the reason. And because of that I hope they continue to lose. Your best player is available to play, wants to play, a player that has given his heart & soul to the team for many years & you don't pick him. Sorry, but you get what you deserve Aussies.

Posted by Nerk on (January 23, 2013, 0:29 GMT)

I think rotating players (especially bowlers) is fine for ODIs. After all, ODIs is more of a squad thing, and you need good depth in your squad. The only way to getting such depth is by rotating players. However, some rules need to be set down. Jayzuz put forward an excellent idea, namely that there should be a group of core players available for every game. Secondly,

Posted by daBro on (January 23, 2013, 0:29 GMT)

CA could learn from other codes. The All Black's rotation policies which came to a head back in 2007, where star players were rested before the world cup (that year). Similarly, broadcasters, fans and sponsors were not happy. After much consultation and debate, it has somehow been remedied, and now most fans have accepted it. It was quite a chestnut at the time.

Posted by Gizza on (January 23, 2013, 0:05 GMT)

If Mike Hussey was selected, there would have been bigger crowds at ever game. He announced his retirement near the end of the Test series so this was the cricket fan's last chance to see him playing cricket in the flesh. And you'd think the larger crowds which also makes it better to watch on TV would give both Cricket Australia and Channel Nine more revenue from the series. Cricket boards just aren't good at business let alone administering for the good of the game. Also in the news today is the BCCI hosting a One-Day game in the Himalayas in January where it might snow and when for once the south of the country has not so warm weather.

Posted by zenboomerang on (January 23, 2013, 0:00 GMT)

The biggest insult that CA has done to cricket fans in Oz is drop Michael Hussey from the ODI/T20 summer - for probably the most loved & respected cricketer since AB (& still in good form) this was a marketing disaster as well as not letting us get a last chance to say goodbye to a true hero of the sport...

I imagine that Huss will continue playing IPL so its a pity that we have lost him for the shorter formats - he could easily play for Oz in T20 for the next 2-3 years...

Posted by Beef_ on (January 22, 2013, 23:52 GMT)

OMG!!! So broadcasters will decide the teams going forward??? And people blame the IPL when a top international team like Aus has to involve the broadcasters over team selections.... and the comments like "Bailey would have been in a coal mine or tossing burgers" is highly deplorable....and i am surprised that not much of noise has come out from other media and players despite such objectionable comments from the nine network....

Posted by Mitcher on (January 22, 2013, 23:25 GMT)

Brad McNamara has some nerve with those comments. What did he ever really achieve to call out a guy who is captain of his country. Not to mention the fact it shows he has little idea about Bailey's ODI performance? Why should a guy who has been backed in as stand-in captain, and one of our best performers in the past 12 months, be so worried about his performance? Brad should have stuck to playing rubbish music with that 1990s embarrassment Six and Out.

Posted by vimal03 on (January 22, 2013, 18:01 GMT)

I am a Srilankan supporter. But to be honest Michael Hussey would have change the whole complexion of this series. It is a big mistake made by AUS cricket board to leave him alone. I would suggest to keep the talented and experienced players for test and one day cricket and pick a separate team for T20. I also think SL in this series is way better team than AUS and AUS commentator should also stop protected their own players even if they fail.

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 17:52 GMT)

I don't know why Aussie fans criticize the rotation policy so badly. Thanks to the same policy an obvious match winner was found and a comprehensive victory was tasted in the 1 st ODI. Aussie A was beaten so comprehensively in the 3 rd ODI and just 45 minutes of rain deprived Sri Lanka of another victory in the 4 th ODI. The real problem is not the rotation policy,but the genuine weakness against quality swing bowling.

Posted by geminianrahul on (January 22, 2013, 15:55 GMT) hold on. so the day has finally come for the selection process to go public. really pathetic. teams are being selected based on discussions with broadcasters? really low. Do we still need the selection panels then? Leave it to the broadcasting folks to choose the teams to represent their countries. I am totally fine with broadcasters choosing the commentary panel to make the game more interesting with their thoughtful insights but choosing teams?

Posted by DylanBrah on (January 22, 2013, 15:45 GMT)

The 'rotation policy' is downright ridiculous -- anyone with half a clue about team sports knows that there are two basic fundamentals for success -- Performing players, and team stability. I don't understand how rotating players in and out, giving players a game based on talent alone then dropping them = recipe for success. How can such instability in the side form that mateship... that feeling of being part of a team going in to battle, when you don't know who will be playing beside you from one game to the next? Why change the simple recipe, that is, picking the best team available? This has worked since the dawn of cricket or any team sport, for that matter.

Posted by simonviller on (January 22, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

Mcnamara's insulting of Mr Bailey says more about himself than it does about Mr bailey !! I have to wonder ; was that his own fait being visited upon another one ??

Posted by WalkingWicket11 on (January 22, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

LOL, looks like Australia's team selection now needs approval of some sort from Channel 9. This is so pathetic. I suppose next the captain would need Channel 9's approval to decide the batting order, bowling changes and field settings, and maybe also the decision to bat or field on winning the toss?

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

Let me see ..... in the last 3-games

Australia was 6/83 before making 170. Lost with 10 overs remaining. Australia was 9/40 before making 74. Lost with 30 overs remaining. Australia was 6/130 before making 222. Saved by the ..... well it wasn't the rain!!!

Now can somebody please tell me again why Michael Hussey isn't in the team??? And how these brilliant selectors could have got it so wrong!!!

Posted by rohanbala on (January 22, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

If Srilanka wins tomorrow's match and takes the series, the Australian selectors need to take the blame entirely for their selection follies. The non selection of Mike Hussey has been the main reason for the mess the team is in.

Posted by Jayzuz on (January 22, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

Since the schedule is so full, they should pick a core side and stick with it. If they rest Warner, Clarke and co, rest them for the whole series. Bringing these young guys in for one or two games has been a total failure. It couldn't have been any worse if they'd been paid to fail miserably. And not only have they failed as individuals, the team has just gone to crap with all the disruption. I'm tired of seeing our team playing musical chairs and getting worse with every game, while our opposition plays a steady team and gets better and better. They should have stuck with Finch, Cutting, Smith, Khuwaja and co. If you want them to have international experience, make them part of the side for a series, not a ball boy for one game. Give them a sense of belonging, respect their ability, and show faith in them when they fail once or twice. It really isn't that hard to work out! Just infuriating!

Posted by mattboosa on (January 22, 2013, 11:04 GMT)

I am still bemused as to why our second best ODI player is not being picked. Hussey deserves his spot on merit but as well as this, the fans want to see him play one last time! A joke, and Channel Nine were right to question that decision.

Posted by LordSmasher on (January 22, 2013, 10:43 GMT)

I remember paying to see a world cup qualifier for soccer well in advance. By the time the match was on it turned out Australia already qualified, China had no chance and subsequently Australia set out a B-Grade side and was beaten 1-0. I thought to myself - "What other sport would have complete disdain for the paying public". Cricket now is in that category. When I pay to see a cricket match I expect to see the best side Australia and the opposition can put on the field. If not it should be advertised as such and maybe the ticket price can be reduced to a more appropriate level.

Posted by Herath-UK on (January 22, 2013, 10:42 GMT)

Aussies are trying to save the face now;this argument does not hold water now as the Aussie A team was beaten too fairly & squarely.Talking on first two ODI irrevelant when they failed with the Full team in the next two games too. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

OMG, this is ridiculous! I am not from Australia, but I regard Australia one of the best cricket playing nation along with SA. Now! McNamara's diatribe against Bailey. Seriously, he had the guts to come out and insult a player like that.

Play players based on TRP??? Why do we need selectors then? I guess that's why SRT, Virendra Sehwag, GG can continue playing for so long after their non-performance.

Posted by Chetan007 on (January 22, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

It's good to rotate the players to keep each and every players fit for important series. This will also give opportunity for talented younger lot.

Posted by CricketMaan on (January 22, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

So players will be rotated, fans might end up seeing inferior cricket but still the gaurdians and sponsors won't cut down on number of games. That is what commercialisation has done. Its good for cricketers there is so much money but very soon people will stop watching and following every game. I dont do that already. Cut down meaningless ODIs such as the one windies will play in Aus or the one Pak played in India. just take out these 7 ODI series that Ind, Aus and Eng are so happy to play. Cricket as a game is at crossroads, it will die if aint protected from vicious commercialisation.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (January 22, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

I notice there has been still no response from CA defending George Bailey from the frankly scandalous attack by former NSW never-was McNamara. And now we hear they are giving them selection information. Ridiculous. Australian Cricket would be better with less money, less matches and more dignity. And a broadcaster who broadcasts and nothing else.

Posted by RameshSubramaniam on (January 22, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

Warner become star player under Clarke. This tells the status of current Aus team. But none cares about Watson (may be because he is injures) and Clarke was always making sure no good material around the team to challenge him. may look crazy to tell this but I was forced to think like that with current Aus squad. May be a laughing stock than Indian team selection

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 22, 2013, 8:09 GMT)

Well the day had to come. Team selections based on TRP ratings, they should rename the sport to World Cricket Entertainment (WCE)

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

Not surprised to hear this - why even bother with the ACB ? Just let Nine run cricket.............heaven help the game !

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (January 22, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

team performance manager should be sacked, based on all the injuries and breakdowns that have occured on his watch

Posted by hotcric01 on (January 22, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

Now clarke is injured.At least give great Mike hussey a farewell match.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (January 22, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

The only game we won was with the supposed B team so not sure why you would call it that.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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