Australian news June 10, 2011

Action against Katich unlikely - Sutherland

James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, doubts any action will be taken against Simon Katich for his tirade against CA and the national selectors.

However Sutherland has taken issue with Katich's contention that the naming of a 17-man squad prior to the first Ashes Test in Brisbane last year, in order to appease the demands of the CA marketing department, had destabilised the team.

CA were sent scurrying for a response by Katich's bold address at the SCG on Friday morning, and Sutherland emerged from a concurrent board meeting to say it was unlikely that Katich would be penalised before his central contract expired on June 30.

"I understand that Simon's disappointed and that he's made comments along those lines today but I don't see that CA will be taking action for those comments," Sutherland said. "My view and the Cricket Australia board's view is that it is right for people to be able to make their subjective judgements but it crosses the line when there are any suggestions about the integrity of individual members of the selection panel, the panel as a group, or the processes they engage in to make these selections.

"I am not necessarily saying Simon has entirely called them into question in that fashion but Cricket Australia stands by them in terms of their integrity and the process they go through."

Sutherland said he was "not happy" with Katich's public pronouncements but would seek him out personally to discuss them rather than charging him with bringing the game into disrepute over public comments, an area usually within the remit of the head of cricket operations, Michael Brown.

"The simple answer is yes, Simon could have expressed his views more privately. But he chose to do that in the manner that he did," Sutherland said. "I'm not making a complaint about that. I know Simon did have some discussions with the Australian Cricketers' Association to explore that. If that's not some sort of avenue to at least understand what his rights might be then I'm not sure what is."

More divisive was Katich's view that the Ashes campaign had been damaged by the selection of a 17-man squad that could be announced via a public event at Sydney's Circular Quay. The announcement was a fizzer, attracting few spectators or television viewers, and things would only get worse from there.

"It's fair to say that has come up from time to time in discussions, certainly something in the review. My personal view on that is that as professional sportsman you live in a world of competition," Sutherland said. "You compete against other teams, you compete against other people for spots in teams, and if the process of selection means you have a squad of 13 or 14 or whatever it might be before a Test match, or even 17, well so be it.

"People live in that competitive world, and if anyone can cope with that, it is elite athletes, elite cricketers. I don't see how someone who has the mental toughness and strength to compete in Test cricket at the highest level how that should affect them too much. At the same time I acknowledge that it wasn't an ideal situation, and perhaps looking back on it we would've done it slightly differently."

As for the growing tide of opinion that the selectors should be full-time employees, Sutherland said there were "no immediate plans" to change the current system, but hinted that may change after the Argus review had concluded.

"At the moment we have a selection panel of three, Greg Chappell is a full-time employee, there are no immediate plans for that, but there is a review under way and it is quite obvious that one of the topics of discussion within the review process has been about selection," he said.

Daniel Brettig and Brydon Coverdale are assistant editors at ESPNcricinfo

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