Simon Katich's axing from the Australia squad June 10, 2011

Sound and fury signifying much

International opponents have known for years how feisty Simon Katich can be as an adversary, and now Cricket Australia has been similarly enlightened
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It was entirely fitting that Simon Katich delivered his stream of righteous fury about Australian cricket from the Cricket New South Wales lecture theatre at the SCG.

Katich dished out some harsh truths, the likes of which no one in a position of authority at Cricket Australia has yet been prepared to address in public. They will have to now, after Andrew Hilditch and his selection panel pulled what has quickly become an incendiary rein, cutting Katich out of their plans despite all he had done with the bat over the preceding three years.

Often an angered player has rounded on his critics in order to clear his head, and then promptly resumed his normal stance. The early sound and fury has often signified nothing. But Katich's outburst was highly meaningful at a time when Australian cricket is examining its very marrow in the search for better results and better balance.

International opponents have known for years how feisty Katich can be as an adversary, and Michael Clarke discovered it to his detriment in the SCG dressing room in 2009. Now CA have been similarly enlightened.

Katich's temper, and willingness to scrap, are widely known. But he is also among the shrewdest figures in the Australian game. In the Australian Test team he was, by a distance, the most experienced state captain, and among the best performed. Neither Ricky Ponting nor Clarke had anything like Katich's captaincy pedigree before being handed the national job. The Katich who faced the media in the lecture theatre was angry, yes, but exceptionally controlled.

By choosing his words carefully, Katich had the maximum impact on those he felt had wronged him. The selectors, who have toyed with his career more than once without having anything like the same investment in their decisions as Katich did in his cricket. The Cricket Australia management hierarchy that appoints the selectors and remained deaf to ever louder calls for a fully professional process. And the marketeers who destabilised the Test team ahead of the Ashes by forcing the announcement of an unwieldy 17-man squad to a deadline that was for publicity rather than purposes of cricket.

One of the few to evade Katich's wrath was Clarke. Katich dismissed any contention that their two-year-old dressing room dust-up had played a part in his removal: "I'm not going to shy away from the fact we had the incident a couple of years ago, but I think we've both been really professional in handling that the last two years, and it hasn't really been a problem since then, so I don't think that's an issue." It was the most conciliatory thing Katich said for 20 minutes.

Even amid such grave matters, there was still room for humour. Katich started off by apologising for the stubble that better reflects his 35-year-old self than a clean chin might have done. He also answered a query about a Twenty20 future by saying "not really, when you consider the way I play". A cue for knowing grins all round.

But the most telling words arrived when he resorted to cliché. So often such terms have been used by cricketers or administrators to gloss over the truth of a matter, but in this case the circumstances made them sound utterly appropriate, even profound.

When asked about the need to pay selectors a wage commensurate with what was expected of them, Katich replied: "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys."

As he pondered the ramifications of his words, Katich hoped for a positive outcome stemming from the concurrent investigations of the Don Argus review into the Australian team's performance. "Hopefully the review, something good will come out of that review," he said. "Because this might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back."

Some straw. Some camel.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • popcorn on June 12, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    I think CA should look at how Tassie planned and executed their plan to win the Sheffield Shield Title. Justin Langer, Mark Taylor,Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting,Simon Katich, Mike Hussey,were scrapers.They wouln't give their wicket away. As to the new crop of youngsters,there's a fair amount of good players.The old fashioned Aussie way was to give out Baggy Greens stingily.That's the way to go. These new guys have to scrap for their Baggy Green. Like Usman Khawaja. Not like Xavier Dougherty,Michael Beer,Steve Smith.

  • hyclass on June 11, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    The idea that there is a dearth of quality players in australian cricket is very poorly informed.As in any organisation,when those tasked to manage it are not held accountable,lack intelligence,or serve their own interests,then even the most iconic brands will fail.One only has to look as far and as recently as Toyota in the USA.Im certain all good Indian bloggers will also remember their recent tribulations with Chappell and that was only one man.Australia is abundant with cricketing talent.Unfortunately,the highly successful,century-old institutions and the professional centres of excellence that propogate that talent,are being savaged by an administration whose incompetence is only exceeded by its self-servitude.Ive heard from Sutherland and Chappell that the shield is no good and that curators are to blame or that we need talent spotters and new formats.Utter rubbish.It is less we need.Less interference with due process.Less scandalous management.Less ill treatment of players.

  • popcorn on June 11, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    Andrew Hilditch should resign immediately.Greg Chappell should take over as Chairman of Selectors. Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh should be inducted.

  • shortofalength on June 11, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Aust selectors have had the easiest job in world cricket for the last 20 years. Anyone who had a rudimentary interest in cricket could have picked a team with Warne. McGrath, Gilchrist, Waughs etc. Now that it actually comes to finding talent and working it into the Test team we have seen that the current selectors have no idea what they are doing. A merry go round of spinners (Beer anyone?), Bolly picked when he was clearly injured, Hilfenhaus couldn't get dropped no matter how bad he bowled, Hughes (a Test opener?), North couldn't get the ball off the square but kept getting picked. Meanwhile the veterans that made Shield cricket the strongest domestic comp in the world have been moved out to bring "young talent" in. The standard has dropped to B team standard. I assume the Argus review will be a Yes Minister exercise, everyone will keep their cushy jobs, business as usual. It looks like a long summer(s) ahead.

  • on June 11, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    Imagine how refreshingly honest he'd be after a day's in the press box as the Aust XI Capt. Much better than the siege mentality of Ponting & the cliche driven Clarke. My god press interviews with Clarke will be boring & uninformative, you could write the script before he speaks :)

  • GDFactor on June 11, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    Greg Chappell - great batsman, poor anything else Ricky Ponting - past his best, why is still still playing, reducing his legacy Michael Clarke - needs to be given a go by the public, his captaincy may not be a reflected by results, think he will do ok Simon Katich - wrong older played dropped Steve Waugh and co - responsible for current predicament, played too long yet on the review committee

  • Aibak on June 11, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    I am an Aussie fan. The biggest problem at the moment with CA is that they are just focusing on Ashes 2013 not any other series. This might even result in the Australian team losing the test series this year.

  • squidhead on June 11, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    @bobbo2 - I may be wrong but I'm guessing Ponting and M. Hussey have also played their last tests and got their contracts only because they might be considered for ODIs and/or T20s whereas, of course, Katich would not. Nothing would surprise me now from this lot. If so, it's gonna be tough to watch Aussie cricket with any enjoyment for the next few years. I don't know how much lower it can sink, especially if/when this review finds that everything's just fine. Don't think it won't happen, CA are like Teflon.

  • maddy20 on June 11, 2011, 3:04 GMT

    @Jim1207 It is safe to Say that BCCI has learned from CA's mistakes. That is why why we are blooding our next generation cricketers "BEFORE" the seniors like Sachin, VVS, Dravid etc., retire

  • crikey on June 11, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    To youngkeepersdad . I will third that sentiment.

  • popcorn on June 12, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    I think CA should look at how Tassie planned and executed their plan to win the Sheffield Shield Title. Justin Langer, Mark Taylor,Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting,Simon Katich, Mike Hussey,were scrapers.They wouln't give their wicket away. As to the new crop of youngsters,there's a fair amount of good players.The old fashioned Aussie way was to give out Baggy Greens stingily.That's the way to go. These new guys have to scrap for their Baggy Green. Like Usman Khawaja. Not like Xavier Dougherty,Michael Beer,Steve Smith.

  • hyclass on June 11, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    The idea that there is a dearth of quality players in australian cricket is very poorly informed.As in any organisation,when those tasked to manage it are not held accountable,lack intelligence,or serve their own interests,then even the most iconic brands will fail.One only has to look as far and as recently as Toyota in the USA.Im certain all good Indian bloggers will also remember their recent tribulations with Chappell and that was only one man.Australia is abundant with cricketing talent.Unfortunately,the highly successful,century-old institutions and the professional centres of excellence that propogate that talent,are being savaged by an administration whose incompetence is only exceeded by its self-servitude.Ive heard from Sutherland and Chappell that the shield is no good and that curators are to blame or that we need talent spotters and new formats.Utter rubbish.It is less we need.Less interference with due process.Less scandalous management.Less ill treatment of players.

  • popcorn on June 11, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    Andrew Hilditch should resign immediately.Greg Chappell should take over as Chairman of Selectors. Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh should be inducted.

  • shortofalength on June 11, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Aust selectors have had the easiest job in world cricket for the last 20 years. Anyone who had a rudimentary interest in cricket could have picked a team with Warne. McGrath, Gilchrist, Waughs etc. Now that it actually comes to finding talent and working it into the Test team we have seen that the current selectors have no idea what they are doing. A merry go round of spinners (Beer anyone?), Bolly picked when he was clearly injured, Hilfenhaus couldn't get dropped no matter how bad he bowled, Hughes (a Test opener?), North couldn't get the ball off the square but kept getting picked. Meanwhile the veterans that made Shield cricket the strongest domestic comp in the world have been moved out to bring "young talent" in. The standard has dropped to B team standard. I assume the Argus review will be a Yes Minister exercise, everyone will keep their cushy jobs, business as usual. It looks like a long summer(s) ahead.

  • on June 11, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    Imagine how refreshingly honest he'd be after a day's in the press box as the Aust XI Capt. Much better than the siege mentality of Ponting & the cliche driven Clarke. My god press interviews with Clarke will be boring & uninformative, you could write the script before he speaks :)

  • GDFactor on June 11, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    Greg Chappell - great batsman, poor anything else Ricky Ponting - past his best, why is still still playing, reducing his legacy Michael Clarke - needs to be given a go by the public, his captaincy may not be a reflected by results, think he will do ok Simon Katich - wrong older played dropped Steve Waugh and co - responsible for current predicament, played too long yet on the review committee

  • Aibak on June 11, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    I am an Aussie fan. The biggest problem at the moment with CA is that they are just focusing on Ashes 2013 not any other series. This might even result in the Australian team losing the test series this year.

  • squidhead on June 11, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    @bobbo2 - I may be wrong but I'm guessing Ponting and M. Hussey have also played their last tests and got their contracts only because they might be considered for ODIs and/or T20s whereas, of course, Katich would not. Nothing would surprise me now from this lot. If so, it's gonna be tough to watch Aussie cricket with any enjoyment for the next few years. I don't know how much lower it can sink, especially if/when this review finds that everything's just fine. Don't think it won't happen, CA are like Teflon.

  • maddy20 on June 11, 2011, 3:04 GMT

    @Jim1207 It is safe to Say that BCCI has learned from CA's mistakes. That is why why we are blooding our next generation cricketers "BEFORE" the seniors like Sachin, VVS, Dravid etc., retire

  • crikey on June 11, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    To youngkeepersdad . I will third that sentiment.

  • jollyjugg on June 11, 2011, 1:54 GMT

    @Jim1207,

    Dont you see how many young players have emerged in indian cricket in the past 3-4 years. Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Badrinath, Yousuf Pathan, Ashwin, Ishanth, Vijay, Pujara,Munaf, Mishra, Ojha.... the list is endless. All of the above mentioned guys are match winners in their own. We have more who havent made their debut and who played in IPL. Our IndiaA team is currently screwing windies. Hopefully you will see some of them during India's tour downunder. What has australia got to show in the last 4 years. Hughes, Jaques,North, Hilfenhaus,Harris,Smith,Siddle,Hauritz,Kreza, Doherty,Beer... All are miserable failures. Comeon 10 spinners in 2 years is not only ridiculous but also outrageous. Except David Hussey there is not even one reliable batsman who can get in to test middle order. Aussie cricket is in sad sad state. That probably reflects their position in world cricket at the moment. Only NZ,WI and Pak are below them and NZ is closing in soon.

  • cricket-vid on June 11, 2011, 1:06 GMT

    There will be no swift changes in the form of changing the selection panel - ACB will not want to be seen doing a back flip on the guys that they keep endorsing. Can I , dare I, suggest a show of no confident be shown by the players in the form a players strike! Now where is Tim May (Head of the Player Assoc) when you need him?

  • on June 11, 2011, 0:30 GMT

    Vivek, I understand that the selectors made a bad decision in choosing Saha and India have many better wicketkeeper/batsmen in the domestic circuit, but their decision was reasonable, because Parthiv has been in tremendous form as of late, and so has Saha, so it is understandable.

    As far as our bowling depth goes, we are coming up with an excess of spinners as you can see is that case with Mishra, Ojha, and Ashwin(to name a few). As far as pace bowling, we are not quite as deep, but it isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Zaheer has always been great, Ishant seems to be getting back to his old, lethal form, Munaf has been doing a decent job, Sreesanth is a good bowler as far as test matches is concerned, Praveen is very good in ODI's and I'm sure as he gets some test experience over the years, he will only improve.

    So the point I am trying to make is the BCCI's selection policy is pretty decent. Indian cricket will only continue to grow stronger at the rate we are going.

  • on June 10, 2011, 23:50 GMT

    Katich should be Captain, not sacked. Australia need a hardheaded leader at present - and I don't think Michael clarke ocmes into that category.

  • FlashAsh on June 10, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    I feel sorry for Katich he now appears to be suffering as many ENG players did in our bad old selection days in the 90's!! Oh how the worm has turned!!

    CA needs to listen to the review if its any good and implement full time selectors and learn by their current failures??

  • SRT_GENIUS on June 10, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    Didn't you guys see the news ? CA is trying to better PCB.

  • Parthipan on June 10, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    @Fernando_Torres_9 - Ya, wonderfully composed was he even when he was angry and fuming. The last part of the interview where he mentions Sachin and says " ironically it is the present Austarlian selector who had written him off " was a nice kick on the back to Greg.. @youngkeepersdad - yes, really high quality article

  • bobbo2 on June 10, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    He has made more runs than Ponting and Hussey over the last couple of years so why did he get the chop? CA is a circus at the moment.

  • on June 10, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    Jim1207, its hard to criticize when ones team is doing so well. India has real depth in their batting line up so even if the selectors want to they can't mess it up there. But for a second have a look at the wicketkeeping reserves. They have been vacillating between wriddhiman, dinesk Karthik and Parthiv patel. The bowing dept is worse than this. Apart from Zaheer and Harbhajan no one is a sure starter, and now unadkat and umesh yadav have suddenly made way for abhimanyu mithun who debuted in SL and was successively dropped for SA to make way for them at the first place. Do you see a clearcut plan here because I don't. Anyways the discussion was about Katich and I am sorry if I made you feel that I was venting my ire unnecessarily on BCCI.

  • on June 10, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    good on ya Katto but i think they wont go back on there word, they look foolish enough, go back n score heavily like u did few seasons ago last time they dumped u

  • on June 10, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    "Posted by youngkeepersdad on (June 10 2011, 06:46 AM GMT)

    Daniel Brettig is to be congratulated for the quality of this article."

    Seconded.

  • Jim1207 on June 10, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    Vivek, Can we hear about where BCCI does something senselessly and without a logic? BCCI has been implementing wonderful selection policy in last few years. Can you explain clearly without just naming them for the sake of it?

  • Guruprasad.S on June 10, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    I am surprised that the CA, which is run very professionally, doesnt have paid selectors. Also, I always felt that it is performance and not the age which matters to CA. Now, by not renewing Katich's contract and simultaneously handing out the contracts to a few less-than-deserving players, the CA has sent a negative message. Players who play only test cricket can go on up to 37-38 years, as seen in the case of Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Murali and other players. In the current teams, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Kallis readily come to mind. Merely stating that all this is for future will not absolve CA from its faults. Katich's sacking is NOT a necessarily evil. It is plain incompetence by Aussie selectors.

  • Fernando_Torres_9 on June 10, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    His interview is a must listen!! Katich seems to be a very intelligent bloke!

  • on June 10, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    The treatment meted out to a player like Katich is deplorable to say atleast. Being from Indian subcontinent I wouldn't have been surprised if such a decision came from boards like BCCI (money controls them) or PCB (god knows what controls them). Its absolutely ridiculous. They wouldn't dare to do such a thing to Ponting who is not in a very good form either. I love the way Australians go about their sport but these "monekys' are ruining it. I hope the CA doesn't go the BCCI way, acting senselessly without logic. Whats wrong with cricket these days? More than the players its the administrators and their policies which make the headlines and that too for all the wrong reasons.

  • ygkd on June 10, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    Daniel Brettig is to be congratulated for the quality of this article.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • ygkd on June 10, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    Daniel Brettig is to be congratulated for the quality of this article.

  • on June 10, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    The treatment meted out to a player like Katich is deplorable to say atleast. Being from Indian subcontinent I wouldn't have been surprised if such a decision came from boards like BCCI (money controls them) or PCB (god knows what controls them). Its absolutely ridiculous. They wouldn't dare to do such a thing to Ponting who is not in a very good form either. I love the way Australians go about their sport but these "monekys' are ruining it. I hope the CA doesn't go the BCCI way, acting senselessly without logic. Whats wrong with cricket these days? More than the players its the administrators and their policies which make the headlines and that too for all the wrong reasons.

  • Fernando_Torres_9 on June 10, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    His interview is a must listen!! Katich seems to be a very intelligent bloke!

  • Guruprasad.S on June 10, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    I am surprised that the CA, which is run very professionally, doesnt have paid selectors. Also, I always felt that it is performance and not the age which matters to CA. Now, by not renewing Katich's contract and simultaneously handing out the contracts to a few less-than-deserving players, the CA has sent a negative message. Players who play only test cricket can go on up to 37-38 years, as seen in the case of Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Murali and other players. In the current teams, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Kallis readily come to mind. Merely stating that all this is for future will not absolve CA from its faults. Katich's sacking is NOT a necessarily evil. It is plain incompetence by Aussie selectors.

  • Jim1207 on June 10, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    Vivek, Can we hear about where BCCI does something senselessly and without a logic? BCCI has been implementing wonderful selection policy in last few years. Can you explain clearly without just naming them for the sake of it?

  • on June 10, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    "Posted by youngkeepersdad on (June 10 2011, 06:46 AM GMT)

    Daniel Brettig is to be congratulated for the quality of this article."

    Seconded.

  • on June 10, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    good on ya Katto but i think they wont go back on there word, they look foolish enough, go back n score heavily like u did few seasons ago last time they dumped u

  • on June 10, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    Jim1207, its hard to criticize when ones team is doing so well. India has real depth in their batting line up so even if the selectors want to they can't mess it up there. But for a second have a look at the wicketkeeping reserves. They have been vacillating between wriddhiman, dinesk Karthik and Parthiv patel. The bowing dept is worse than this. Apart from Zaheer and Harbhajan no one is a sure starter, and now unadkat and umesh yadav have suddenly made way for abhimanyu mithun who debuted in SL and was successively dropped for SA to make way for them at the first place. Do you see a clearcut plan here because I don't. Anyways the discussion was about Katich and I am sorry if I made you feel that I was venting my ire unnecessarily on BCCI.

  • bobbo2 on June 10, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    He has made more runs than Ponting and Hussey over the last couple of years so why did he get the chop? CA is a circus at the moment.

  • Parthipan on June 10, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    @Fernando_Torres_9 - Ya, wonderfully composed was he even when he was angry and fuming. The last part of the interview where he mentions Sachin and says " ironically it is the present Austarlian selector who had written him off " was a nice kick on the back to Greg.. @youngkeepersdad - yes, really high quality article