Australia news October 29, 2010

Merv Hughes dumped as Australia selector

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Australia's selection panel will have no specialist bowling input after Merv Hughes was cut from the group. Hughes joined as Allan Border's replacement in 2005, but Cricket Australia's board was unanimous in letting him go as a result of Greg Chappell's full-time appointment in August

Andrew Hilditch, the chairman, is contracted until the end of the 2011 World Cup on a part-time basis while David Boon and Jamie Cox were also retained. All four selectors were top-order batsmen during their careers and while that doesn't mean they can't spot bowling potential, it does leave a lopsided group. James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said the board was comfortable with the line-up because "the balance of the panel is not like a cricket team".

The board made the decision after a presentation from Hilditch in Melbourne on Friday. Sutherland said Hughes, who was disappointed with the decision, had provided valuable input and expertise during the past five years.

"Andrew was clear in his assessment that Merv had been a good selector and a strong contributor around the selection table, but that Cox, Boon and Chappell were the better options to continue on the panel," Sutherland said. "Unfortunately this means that Merv is no longer a member."

The departure of Hughes, who took 212 wickets in 53 Tests, is not a surprise, although Cox's spot was thought to be in danger due to his role as South Australia's high-performance manager. Boon also has a fulltime job with Tasmania, but Sutherland said the conflicts of interest had been discussed.

"The board has taken the decision that finding people who are skilled and qualified enough, and are available to fulfil the role of selectors, is very important," he said. "[Selectors] don't grow on trees, it's very difficult, and the level of commitment is quite considerable. The board has taken a view, in spite of potential conflict, that they can be managed."

Under Hughes' watch the bowlers Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus have developed, while the Test careers of Stuart Clark and Brett Lee ended. Hughes was criticised for mixing the selection role with his hosting of travel groups on overseas tours, and also had to battle to combine corporate duties with his larrikin nature. Hilditch's panel has received regular criticism for its confusing decisions and Hughes leaves with Australia's Test ranking at an all-time low of No.5.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • smudgeon on October 31, 2010, 3:14 GMT

    I'm surprised no-one has said what we're all thinking: obviously the best Australian selector would be Sachin!

  • dummy4fb on October 31, 2010, 1:07 GMT

    bring in taylor waugh and healy. tim may if possible.

  • UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on October 30, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    GOOD LUCK AUSTRALIA......BEWARE..SUPER EGO GREG CHAPPEL IS COMING.............FOR HIM HIS INFLATED EGO IS THE ULTIMATE SUPERIOR BEING.....THE JOB FOR WHICH HE IS CALLED IS ALWAYS SECONDARY TO HIS FALSE EGO....LOOK AT GARY KIRSTEN...HE IS HARDLY IN LIMELIGHT....BUT READ WHAT SACHIN, GAMBHIR, DHONI, SEHWAG, HARBHAJAN, ZAHIR ETC. HAVE TO SAY ABOUT HIM....THEY WANT HIS CONTRACT EXTENDED....& SOUTH AFRICA WANTS HIM.....& LOOK WHAT GREAT EGO GREG CHAPPEL DID TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA & INDIA AS COACH........HAVE THE AUSTRALIANS FORGOTTEN IAN CHAPPEL, MARK TAYLOR, SHANE WARNE, STEVE WAUGH.....THEY HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TO BECOME SELECTOR/ COACH.........

  • Rocketman1 on October 30, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    Chappelle's Resume: 1.1981 ashes and the 1982/83 tour to pakistan Chappell didnt go to either coz he was too good. 2. Revolutionised underarm bowling technique. 3. Excelled as a commentator....(not boring at all) 4. Indian Coach - formed great friendship with Ganguly and Pioneered the development of Indian Cricket. 5. Ashe's Consultant... 6. Australia A Coach engineered a tactical defeat in the One Dayers Vs Sri Lanka A to gain a psychological edge for the upcoming Sri Lanka One Dayers and the Ashes tour coming up.

    The man is a genius.

  • dummy4fb on October 30, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    big big mistake - all caused by the appointment of Mr Big Ego - greg chappell - failure in everything since he stopped playing and had totally the wrong attitude as captain

    Merv is a cricket brain - idiotic cutting him - cox and hilditch should go - they have had very little impact on australian cricket

    shane warne - certainly - as soon as possible (can they afford him?)

    sutherland also should go - he is as weak as water

  • saprak on October 30, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    Hilditch should be axed and Chappel should n't be there. Remove Punter as well from XI. Then one can expect some improvement in TEST RANKING in next 2-3 years.

  • Okakaboka on October 30, 2010, 0:22 GMT

    Stuart Clark is gone because he has lost about 10 kms off his bowling. It doesn't matter how accurate he is, the batsman has too much time to react to any amount of swing or seam he gets. Clark is now a very similar bowler to Andrew MacDonald...both deadly accurate but unless they can swing the ball like a Damien Fleming, they are going to struggle at test level. MacDonald is a genuine batsman however. That said...what the hell is cricket Australia doing keeping a proven failure such as Hilditch. For crying out loud...Hughes is not the problem...it is Hilditch and Cox!!! Geez, we all remember Hughes as being a very smart bowler who could think a batsman out, despite his yobbo profile. Australia is not going to move up the rankings until we at least get our selection panel right...not a panel that is clearly a few cogs short of a gearbox. Having listened to Damien Fleming on the radio...He makes a lot of sense...I think he could be the one to get Australia back to number one - as Coach!

  • eminem on October 29, 2010, 23:32 GMT

    should have got terry alderman for the job.

  • jigish.patel on October 29, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    I still don't understand why the Australian selectors decided to do away with Stuart Clark. I thought he was really really good and very consistent - he should've been the mainstay of Aussie bowling line up after McGrath's retirement.

  • Vindaliew on October 29, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    I hope Brett Lee makes a comeback - maybe it's too early to write both him and Stuart Clark off?

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