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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
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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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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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.

Posted by PeteB on (October 27, 2010, 12:47 GMT)

I think the problem with Australian cricket is that the power has shifted too far away from the selectors and administrators to the players, specifically the captain. Player power was important in getting better remuneration and conditions but nowadays I expect Ponting's power is just about absolute. What else is keeping Michael Hussey in the team?

Posted by popcorn on (October 27, 2010, 11:39 GMT)

Greg Chappell, Steve Waugh,Mark Taylor,Allan Border - the best selection panel. Been there, done that as captains. For whatever personal reasons Tugga,Tubby and AB are not in the selection panel,I'd say leave out Jamie Cox on Friday, and replace Andrew Hilditch after the World Cup with Tugga or Tubby.

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 11:10 GMT)

so - this is all because of greg chappell - great player but he did pick and choose which series he played which made life hell for kim hughes. then - look at his track record since - selector, coach, administrator, commentator - not good

now - the selectors - it's a bit rough to blame the selectors for australia's recent record - after their long run at the top it was always going to be hard - players like hayden langer, the waughs, warne, mcgrath - not easy to replace and selectors have no say in the development of players - that is done at sate level

sure - there have been some poor choices (haddin as keeper springs to mind) but there have always been mistakes made. it's just that at the moment, the overall cover is not there.

how to improve things - well - with chappell having a prominent role, i have my doubts that much will improve but if the basic talent isn't there, then a selector can do nothing

Posted by sirhc8 on (October 27, 2010, 9:30 GMT)

I cannot recall the last time Australia has fielded even close to their best team. Honestly, I don't know why we need 4 selectors, because I'm not sure what they are actually doing. They don't drop underperforming players until such time as they wouldn't even be selected for their state team and their only new appointments seems to be highly speculative rather than picking the proven talent - of which there is much.

Mu understanding of the point of a full-time selection panel was that they could watch all the state matches to see the up-and-coming talent. I can only assume they have been doing this in lieu of watching the international matches.

Posted by doughyinperth on (October 27, 2010, 9:22 GMT)

I have little or no interest in who picks the Australian team after Cricket Australia appointed Greg Chappell. What a disgrace to have a person on board who cheated all those years ago by getting his no talent brother to bowl under arm in a one dayer v NZ. He should never be in the establishment again if this country has any morals.The Governor has posted that Chappell has values, not in my opinion.

Posted by othello22 on (October 27, 2010, 9:03 GMT)

They should all be sacked. How a guy like Marcus North keeps getting selected while Phillip Hughes, Phil Jacques and Brad Hodge keep on getting ignored is just stupefying. Hussey has been painful to watch for nearly two years now and yet never seems in danger of losing his spot. Ditto Mitchell Johnson, who seems to bowl everywhere except at the stumps. Hauritz has been flying by the seat of his pants for ages but has now been found out big time by India. Yet he will continue to offer hitting practice to opposition teams for years to come while better bowlers watch on in bemusement. Tim Paine, after a fantastic series against the number one team in the world, will now be inexplicably dropped in favour of Brad Haddin who struggles to score runs against even the minnows. It's a dog's breakfast and it pains me to think that even though all this is apparent to an amateur like me, the so-called experts running the show are completely oblivious.

Posted by mac4d on (October 27, 2010, 8:17 GMT)

@nzcricket174: Steven Smith??? in Indian conditions??? seriously??? i think u need to watch lots of cricket. smith is a good all-rounder and is improving on his batting skills but his bowling needs a long way to go. am not saying steven smith is not worthy but honestly his spin bowling needs a lot more. he needs to prove himself and if he was added to squad against India in Indian conditions, even out-of-form yuvraj would ve hit a 100 off 40 balls!!! am sure as a bowler, his bowling doesn fit Indian conditions. in fact i would say, Australians should bowl with 4 fast bowlers and Watson being a medium. even Shane Warne had struggled in Indian conditions!!! steven smith has a long way to go and needs to prove a lot. so they have to keep him in against weaker teams and keep him in team A against bigger teams. and australia should do lot of experiments to pick young bowlers too as the current bowlers might suffer injury later, so they need to have the right replacement by playing them now.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (October 27, 2010, 7:59 GMT)

Hilditch is the only one without regular international experience, so should get the flick. Oh and Tim Nielsen, the coach, should go too. Why can't Greg Chappell be coach? Or Rod Marsh perhaps? It is fine when it works, but ordinarily having someone without international experience coach an international side is dangerous. Nielsen hasn't worked at all and should be gone as soon as possible.

Posted by powerash5000 on (October 27, 2010, 7:44 GMT)

Hilditch is the heart of the rot. He is head selector and his record speaks for itself seeing Aus go from 1-5 and losing home series. Take responsibility for poor performance and leave.

Not to mention all the erratic completely irrational decisions that just go on and on - hussey ave36 for the last three years (only significant century against Pakistan while trying to lose-dropped 3x and missed stumping), north, kreja, Hughes out of tests, Hughes not in ODI team!, Hughes not in T20I, discarding Hogg, White in tests IN INDIA, obsession with creating an allrounder out of nothing, Clarke playing T20I (SR<100) -ridiculous... on and on, choosing teams w/o watching players play and claiming its not necessary, hahaha fool.

Posted by kickittome70 on (October 27, 2010, 7:21 GMT)

Hilditch should go. They have topped up the team and other countries around the world have bitten the bullet - look at Dhoni. Look at young guns in the English side like Broad, Cook, Kieswetter - plus the fact that they are appointing competitive types with an intellect. Flower, Kirsten. Nielsen is a redneck. Never really achieved anything off the field. Everyone from Clarke to Hilditch must go. James Sutherland is no genius either. CA totally misread the public reaction to domestic 20/20. The crowds speak for themselves. The idea of Hayden and Warne getting involved looks promising. If Ponting needed to be told to step down, Warne would be the man to say "Punter, time to move on mate". the current set up is just going to perpetuate a steady decline until we're losing to NZ and West Indies. Wheatley summed it ip on TV when he said that it's too late to change the team now for the Ashes series. THis Ashes series will be for the older Aussie players not the public - real shame really

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 7:19 GMT)

The problem with the Australian cricket team isn't with how many selectors there is. The problem is that when they can't get the mix right or need to replace an injured player, they seem to think Victoria and NSW are the only teams to choose from. Doesn't seem to matter if they are up to test level, just give them a go anyway, while other states have players with far better performing players. Nathan hauritz guys is average at best. Only got into the test team because he left Qld to play for NSW. Amd in batting Lee Carsedine is averaging almost 100 at a strike rate of 138, but somehow isn't good enough to play 20/20 but players from NSW and Vivtoria who have far inferior stats are good enough. Just got to remind the selectors - don't forget to select from Tassie, Qld, South and Western Aus as well.

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 7:17 GMT)

National Talent Manger; Greg Chappell; hmmm.. Worldcup in 4 months...

Posted by silly_mid_on on (October 27, 2010, 6:21 GMT)

Hilditch has to go. A failed cricketer and selector.

Posted by Okakaboka on (October 27, 2010, 6:19 GMT)

Ahhhhh!....THERE IS ONE SELECTOR THAT MUST.....MUST....be SACKED...Geez, Hilditch.....Everybody, except maybe a few Banjo Pluckers can see HE should be sacked. He will Not admit when he is wrong; makes feeble excuses and refuses to except responsibility for poor decisions! SACK HIM!!!!...For the sake of Australian Cricketing future.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (October 27, 2010, 5:55 GMT)

Is this why Steve Smith is being overlooked? He is the best talent in Australia at the moment AND HE IS NOT BEING PICKED! I mean, what the heck?

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 5:42 GMT)

like everyone else is saying, get rid of hilditch. too many bad decisions have been made since he arrived, but wouldn't bother me if they all got sacked. brad hodge should have been a 50 test match player and they go for north and hussey instead? fair go!

Posted by indianzen on (October 27, 2010, 5:41 GMT)

Thats how Aussies have become depleted in their bowling and batting... sack them our including ponting I say...

Posted by Governor on (October 27, 2010, 5:34 GMT)

Has anyone realised that Hilditch, Cox, Boon and Hughes will go down as the worse selection panel in thie history of Australian cricket?

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 5:33 GMT)

+1 for sacking Hilditch

Although, Boon 's no2, with a bullet, on my Sack Selector list. Can forgive Hohns and Border for picking some many Queenslanders as we kept winning even carrying deadwood like Watson and Johnson, etc... And those two turned out OK. Queensland has a big talent pool and it was perhaps fair that NSWelshman + (vomit) Vics got boned for a few years, selection wise. But, Tasmanian's... Doherty's going way too far. O'Keefe's not picked why?

Posted by indianzen on (October 27, 2010, 5:19 GMT)

Thats how Aussies have become depleted in their bowling and batting... sack them our including ponting I say...

Posted by Sutty101 on (October 27, 2010, 5:01 GMT)

Axe "a" selector? The whole lot of them should have been axed after the last Ashes in England... If I was as incompetent at my job as these blokes are, I'd even go out of my way to resign; They have turned the Australian cricket side into an absolute joke.

Posted by arnabSA on (October 27, 2010, 4:54 GMT)

A difficult job has been made to look impossible by an incompetent group of selectors. While blaming them for australia;s decline is ludicrous no doubt they have made some shocking decisions... white as a front line spinner in india, no hauritz at oval, allowing clint mckay to play for australia (sorry i just dont rate him haha), retaining hussey and north for so long, the list goes on. namely their mismanagement of spinners is the most glaring deficency, why they let mcgill and hogg retire is beyond me, particularly hogg could have been effective against atleast non sub-contintal sides while the rest developed, he was treated poorly and sorely missed (particularly in the shorter formats)

Posted by David_Boon on (October 27, 2010, 4:50 GMT)

sack hilditch, he's a disgrace.

Posted by AravindZ on (October 27, 2010, 4:35 GMT)

@"he did not have pay television" @"photographed walking his dog on the beach" I haven't heard such wry sentences in a long time! No wonder Aussies are extreme in everything they do, Aus selectors have pushed the limits of 'chilling out'.. Way to go :)

Posted by katich_superstar on (October 27, 2010, 4:34 GMT)

selectors have performed well? they are one of the main reasons why we are now 5th in the world in tests! they should all be sacked, bring in a whole new panel

Posted by Governor on (October 27, 2010, 4:15 GMT)

Apart from Greg Chappell, Andrew Hilditch, Jamie Cox and Merv Hughes should make way for new talent and fresh ideas on the selection panel. Our successful winning test match dynasties were created on a youth policy when our pass selection panels picked a bunch of young batsmen; gave them as much test match exposure and allowed them to become champions of our game. Those pass winning test match winning dynasties were not created by selecting mature age batsmen who had 8 seasons of first class cricket behind their belt!!

Greg Chappell knows that youth will bring long term success and it is about time for the 4 selectors to make way for new fresh ideas and faces who believe in Greg Chappell's values and recognises that picking mature age batsmen like North, Hussey and Katich is a recipe for disaster.

Back in 1997, the selectors did not pick Jamie Cox to tour England and they did not pick Jamie Siddons in 1995. Hohns and co went for youth.

Posted by Bone101 on (October 27, 2010, 4:10 GMT)

Please, please, please get rid of Hilditch soon too. Anyone in that sort of denial is a massive liablility. Whenever I think of Hilditch, I remember his stuipidity when playing against Pakistan in Perth (?) 1980..... when he picked up the ball when batting and literally handed his wicket over which pretty much cost Australia the match. The man has never had cricketing wits - the sooner we are rid of him the better.

Posted by MinusZero on (October 27, 2010, 4:05 GMT)

Hilditch should be the one to go. He is too chummy with Ponting and because of that the team can't look to the future. They just want their mates in the side, not the best players.

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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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