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Australian cricket can't afford to lose Katich - Marsh

Daniel Brettig

June 8, 2011

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Simon Katich drives through the off side, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 4th day, December 6, 2010
Simon Katich plays his last Test innings, against England in Adelaide © Getty Images
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Australian cricket cannot afford to lose Simon Katich from Sheffield Shield ranks already thin on experience, the players union chief Paul Marsh has said.

Katich is yet to decide whether to play on or retire after being told he had no recourse against the contentious decision of the national selectors to jettison him from the list of Cricket Australia-contracted players. Despite the divergence of views, the former captain Ricky Ponting has said he can understand the selectors' reasons for pushing Katich aside.

A vocal critic of Cricket Australia's unbridled push towards youth over the past handful of summers, Marsh said that Katich's years of knowledge, and hard knocks, could not be replaced.

"I'm sure he'll take a few days to decide which way he goes. Certainly from my perspective I'd love to see him stay involved in Australian cricket," Marsh told ESPNcricinfo. "He's one of the finest quality players, both as a player and a human being, that we have in our system, so to lose him from our system would be a bad outcome for Australian cricket.

"Australian cricket doesn't have enough experienced players around the state system at the moment … it's really important we have really quality experienced players around our state and around the national team if we're going to re-claim the No.1 spot in the world."

Ponting said he understood why Katich was no longer part of the selectors' plans, but was also sympathetic towards his now former teammate.

"He'd be devastated. Reading the paper today he didn't even want to talk to anyone yesterday being as disappointed as he was. So you can understand that," Ponting told the radio station Triple M. "He's been our most consistent batsman since he's been back in the Test team over the last four or five years, so that would've come as a huge shock to him yesterday.

"But it sounds like what the selectors have had to say about it is they want to give Hughes and Watson a couple of years' run at it leading into the next Ashes, so you can understand that thinking as well."

Marsh fielded a call from Katich's manager, Robert Joske, about whether there was any avenue of appeal, but informed him that the finality of selection decisions was not something the Australian Cricketers Association could challenge.

"We have got a dispute resolution mechanism within our MOU but it specifically excludes selection," Marsh said. "It's one of those areas where we all put our faith in the selection panel to make these decisions and the ACA has never and would never initiate a dispute around a selection issue. I think that sits outside of our remit.

"I think if we took issue with the role being performed by the national selection panel, we would look at the panel themselves and we'd discuss that with CA. But in terms of actual selections made by the panel its not something we've ever challenged.

"I feel very sorry for Simon, I think he's probably a victim of circumstances, rather than anything he's done wrong, he's been our best performed batsman over the last few years, there's no question about that, and it appears as though he's not received a contract primarily because of his age and the fact there are a couple of other players in similar age groups.

"So it's a difficult time there's no question about that, and I feel for Simon, I don't think he deserved to be in this situation, but unfortunately there's not a lot he can do I don't think."

Mark Waugh, the former Australian batsman, was cut at the age of 37 in 2002, and said Katich had done far less to deserve being dropped than he did.

"Simon Katich is unlucky because compared to me he was scoring a lot more runs than me. It's not like he's been dropped because he's been out of form," Waugh told foxsports.com.au. "Are there better players? Sometimes we can get a bit carried away with age. I think it depends on fitness and whether the hunger is still there to play at the top level.

"With Ponting, Hussey and Katich, they're all pretty fit. They're not old 35-year-olds and they don't walk around the field and struggle. They're pretty fit and it's all about performance really. I think it's about performance and Katich has got the performance, so that's why he's unlucky."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (June 11, 2011, 5:40 GMT)

Ponting can understand the selectors' decision to axe Katich as it keeps him on the contracted list. Obviously it's logical to keep a failed captain with a recent sub-par batting average than a griity opening batsmen who has the runs on the board over the past 3 years. Obviously success on the field 5 years ago is more important than current form. Obviously the guys at CA are lunatics!

Posted by Will90 on (June 10, 2011, 14:28 GMT)

@Bone 101. "Was", not "is". Ponting is a shadow of his former self.

Katich has the perfect game to lead Australia's reconnaissance, why was he dropped?

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (June 10, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

What's done is done. If they want Hughes to open then they have to stick with him. Not drop him if he has a couple of low scores like they did in 2009 Ashes.

Personally, if that's what they want then Hughes, katich, Ponting, Watson 4, Clarke 5, khawaja 6.

Posted by Onedayer on (June 10, 2011, 9:51 GMT)

Good Old Simon Katich...don't think Clarke would have loved him in his team with the differences they had in the past!!Recall he got the better of his throat once...

Posted by   on (June 10, 2011, 0:35 GMT)

Unfairly cut for players that will never be as good as he is now (and some of them have even proven this).

Posted by 5wombats on (June 9, 2011, 20:35 GMT)

@Kevin Jong; you are sooo right!! I wrote more or less exactly the same thing back after the Boxing Day debacle. Aus have paid the price for their reaction to getting beat in 2005. I got a good kicking for saying that 6 months ago - but people seem to have woken up to it now. Aus have gone a long way down - and it is going to take a while to get back. Aus should not be in the position where a player like Katich has his retirement forced on him - it demonstrates weakness.

Posted by 5wombats on (June 9, 2011, 18:29 GMT)

I agree, obviously, with a lot of the commenters here who think Ponting should've got the chop before Katich. This is mispalced loyalty from CA - it would make them look bad to replace Ponting as 'skip - then unceremoniously drop him. But that's what should have been done. Hopefully Ricky will fully "understand" when he is finally dropped from the team in 4 or 5 years time.... :-(

Posted by spinkingKK on (June 9, 2011, 11:26 GMT)

Clarke is the one who should be dropped.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (June 9, 2011, 7:00 GMT)

Did I hear the name of one GREG Chappell somewhere related to the selection issues..! Well...then the whole issue now starts to make some sense.

Posted by donda on (June 9, 2011, 3:45 GMT)

Australia needs to rebuild the team with young and talented blood which can put australia back on track in three four years and Katich is old enough to carry that responsibility. I think after 2013 Ashes, all the oldies in Australian cricket should retire and give chance to new 20 to 25 years old players to dominate cricket once again.

Rebuild the team aussies.

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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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