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Cricket Australia prepares to axe a selector

Brydon Coverdale

October 27, 2010

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

On-duty selector Jamie Cox keeps an eye on Stuart Clark at training, The Oval, August 18, 2009
Jamie Cox was on duty during Australia's loss at The Oval last year © Getty Images

Cricket Australia will decide which of Merv Hughes, Jamie Cox or David Boon will be sacked as a national selector at a board meeting on Friday. Greg Chappell has recently joined the group in his new role as Cricket Australia's national talent manager, and he has become the first full-time selector on the panel headed by Andrew Hilditch.

The board is keen to keep the national selection panel to four members and as chairman, Hilditch is contracted until the end of the World Cup and will retain his job. He said while it was a shame one of his colleagues would miss out, he understood that a five-man group was not ideal.

"That will be a pity," Hilditch told reporters in Adelaide. "I think all the selectors have performed really well. I have been a selector with a panel of three, and a panel of four, and a panel of five - four seems, I'd have to accept, it's the right number."

The selectors have not had an easy time over the past few seasons, as retirements and injuries have forced them to try out plenty of new faces. Since the start of 2008, they have handed baggy greens to 18 new players, compared to the eight Test debutants who were picked in the previous three years, and Australia have slipped to fifth on the ICC Test rankings.

If a "last-in first-out" policy is used, it will mean trouble for Cox, the former Tasmanian batsman who replaced Allan Border on the selection panel in 2006. Cox was the selector on duty when Australia lost the Ashes at The Oval last year, and he later took responsibility for not picking Nathan Hauritz on the spin-friendly pitch.

There have also been concerns over a potential conflict of interest for Cox, who is employed as South Australia's director of cricket, and a similar issue surrounds Boon, who works for Cricket Tasmania. Questions were raised over Hughes when it emerged he did not have pay television connected at his home, which meant he could not watch overseas tours or domestic games unless he was at the ground.

Hughes has also been in the firing line for juggling his job as a selector with his role in leading supporter tours to watch the Australians play. Hilditch has not escaped criticism either, and in early 2009 he was photographed walking his dog on the beach instead of watching the Test team, which was struggling against India at the SCG.

Hilditch will address the board before it makes its decision, but he insisted the call would be solely in the hands of the directors. The other major discussion expected at Friday's board meeting concerns the potential for privately owned teams in the new domestic Twenty20 tournament Australia are hoping to launch next summer.

It is likely that eight city-based teams will replace the existing state sides for the Twenty20 competition, and the locations for the new teams should be decided early next year. There has been interest from private investors keen to own a side, but the board is yet to decide whether such franchising will be introduced.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by Scoffy on (October 28, 2010, 21:05 GMT)

I agree with SpNca sack them all. What happened to picking people on performance? I do not like Brad Hodge as a person (up himself), and he doesn't play for QLD but he should have been in the Test, One Day and T20 sides for the last four years on performance alone. He obviously is not a preaty boy, yes sir no sir man like Michael Clarke. How did we get a chief of selectors like Hilditch anyway. His performances as a Test batsman were preaty poor and his performance as a selector is worse. He should be the one to go. Maybe thats why Greg Chappel has been employed now, so Hilditch still has time on his contract so won't be considered as the selector to drop. Don't be so smug Mr Hilditch, there are a lot of private company CEO's that have been asked to move on even though they haven't finished their contracted term.

Posted by stuartk319 on (October 28, 2010, 10:12 GMT)

The selectors aren't the reason Australia are very beatable - many of the 00's players were going to be impossible to replace. The current pace attack all deserve their spots and have potential. However; these selectors treatment of spinners has been disgraceful. How can anyone be confident when one bad spell means they'll never be considered again? Meanwhile; underperforming middle order batsmen are treated almost like protected species because they can bowl usefully. Please, just pick the best spinner and the 5 best batsmen!

Posted by David47 on (October 28, 2010, 9:09 GMT)

Hmm - which one should go?? I know, line them up (including Hilditch, but not Chappell) and see which one has the most gravy coming out of every orifice - that's the one, he's full.

Posted by chappelis_last_blast on (October 28, 2010, 9:09 GMT)

Simple! Jamie Cox, goodnight. Soon enough the SACA will get rid of him also. Getting rid of Match winners like Mark Cosgrove and Dan Cullen will hurt and it is already showing. My team for the 1st test would be - Hughes,Katich,Ponting,Watson,Clarke,Khalwja,Haddin,Doherty,Johnson,Hilfenhaus,Bollinger,Smith (12th). Unlikely in CA eyes!

Posted by   on (October 28, 2010, 5:56 GMT)

@gilly4eva can't agree with your team. Bowling stakes - Doherty is a one day bowler, McKay is useless, and Johnson is bowling rubbish. A fit Siddle is one of our best in my opinion, but agree with Bollinger and Harris. Hilfy is pretty good too. Paine over Wade for the keeper. And Smith I don't think should be in the team yet. I don't know what Katich has done in wrong in your book for him to not be there somewhere, he's been our most consistent and best the last few years. On the selector front, sack them all. Sure they can only work with the talent available, but clearly they have shown they don't know the talent available by constantly keeping underperforming and aging players (North, Hussey) in the team and not giving in form and/or younger players a chance (Khawaja, Hughes, Klinger etc)

Posted by   on (October 28, 2010, 3:36 GMT)

As a South African I was always under the impression that Australian selectors had to have been captains of Australia. It seems I might have been wrong. If however that was the case, why did it change? Is that not then part of the problem? From the outside it seems like all those selectors should be dropped. Also in the Champions league recently in SA a few players from SA Redbacks performed very well and seem to be quality batsmen especially. Why do we not hear more about those guys in the Australian setup? Stuart Clarke also seemed to be a top notch replacement for McGrath. What happened to him in the setup?

Posted by JAH123 on (October 28, 2010, 0:33 GMT)

@ Gilly4ever - Why would anyone drop Hilfenhaus? Or Paine for Wade? And I hope you're assuming Katich will still be injured, otherwise there's no way he should miss out. Had a lean run in India but he's been a rock over the last 24 months. Khawaja or Klinger in for North, Doherty or Siddle in for Hauritz (depending on the conditions), Bollinger back in for George.

Posted by SpNcA on (October 27, 2010, 19:58 GMT)

Sack them all! They didn't keep Stuart Clark in the side, should have played him the whole series last ashes, not simply put him on the field in the last test on a spin firendly wicket. The fact that Stuart has missed out when he was bowling so well speaks volumes about the Australian selectors internal STATE politics

Posted by Biggus on (October 27, 2010, 15:37 GMT)

Life's tough for a selector especially when the cupboard's a little bare. If the team is winning the players get the credit and when they lose it's all the selector's fault.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (October 27, 2010, 14:34 GMT)

Best XI for Ashes 1st test in Brisbane = Watson, Jaques, Ponting, Clarke, M Hussey, S Smith, Wade (wk), Johnson, R Harris, McKay/Doherty, Bollinger.

Whichever selectors get us that team, they are the ones we want.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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