Australia news June 12, 2011

Minister pans selectors over Katich

ESPNcricinfo staff

Simon Katich's contentious removal from the 25-man list of Cricket Australia contracts has moved the federal defence minister, Stephen Smith, to make his own unbridled attack on the national selectors.

Unlike on the subcontinent where the crossover between the sporting and legislative realms is frequent and often fevered, Australian cricket and politics seldom collide.

But Smith had no hesitation in making his feelings known when questioned about the decision on the Insiders program on Australian television.

Like Katich a West Australian by birth, Smith said the decision ranked with any of the poorest calls made by selectors in Australian cricket history.

"Well historically of course there have been a series of atrocities committed by the Australian Cricket Board or Cricket Australia or the Australian selectors against Western Australian cricketers but this one is extraordinary. This one is very high at the top of the list," Smith said.

"I mean this is a bloke who over the last 30 Tests he's played has got nearly 3,000 runs, an average of 50 and done better than Ponting and Mike Hussey.

"So it's an extraordinary decision. And regrettably whilst it's always easy to take a shot at selectors I think it says a lot more about the selectors than it does about Simon Katich and I think frankly it has sent very much a message which has undermined confidence in the selectors that they're really up to the task in terms of managing a transition to the next generation of Australian cricketers.

"Simon Katich has the resolve and the determination that you want to have during hard times. So it's an extraordinary decision. If he's not in the top 25 Australian cricketers - and I can't find one better opener than him on that list, let alone two - then I'll go hee for chasey."

CA's head of cricket operations, Michael Brown, maintained the organisation's defence of the selectors.

'I certainly don't support the idea that [if] you pay peanuts you get monkeys. A lot of people work in cricket, which is essentially a volunteered game, who are incredibly talented, incredibly qualified and incredibly committed but do the best they can because they love the game,'' Brown told The Sunday Age. ''If that step to professionalism is enhanced by having full-time selectors then cricket will move in that direction but just by making people full-time doesn't automatically give you the best outcome.

"You have got to have the best people, the best structures, the best position description for them, and make sure they are accountable. If we are about making the game go forward that issue needs to be considered and I'm sure it will be by the [Argus] Team Performance Review.

'This panel puts on the ground what it thinks is the best team to win every game of cricket it plays in, it doesn't bat and bowl. Yes it has [been] accountable for selection and for outcomes once performances have been made but to say that the selection panel has lost Ashes series, that's incorrect.''

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Khair ul on June 14, 2011, 11:31 GMT

    Stephen Smith is one of the most composed person I have seen in politics. If he can get fired up over this, you can imagine how bad it is. This is simply atrocious! I think the Board and the selectors should be asked to explain. The only thing I have against Katich is why the hell did he go to play for NSW? What was wrong with WA where he is so adored?

  • Karl on June 14, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    Who owns australian cricket ?

  • Rafeeq on June 14, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Oh Its Greg Chappel behind all this,Guys Trust me he is a real destroyer of confidence of a player,he creates insecurity among the Players,He did it with Team India,He dropped Zaheer,he make players like Viru,Bhajji feel insecure..entire cricket world knows about his email leak(about Ganguly's captaincy) once he is kicked out by BCCI see where is team india now..Wake up CA

  • Fazal on June 14, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    I do agree with the minister Steven Smith's allegation that the ashes was lost due to poor team selection. One instance that comes to mind is the omission of Nathan Hauritz in the final ashes test in England on a spinners wicket which cost us the game & the series. Though there was no such incident during the last ashes series in Australia the team selected during the series was pretty ordinary.The inclusion of Smith, Doherty & Beer instead of a frontline spinner like Hauritz was a poor decision. The inclusion of Hughes for the injured Katich proved very costly as the English bowlers were able to exploit his weaknesses right from the start. By the time the struggling Marcus North was dropped it was too late to win the series as the middle order was just as brittle.Likewise due to poor team selection we lost many matches during the recent past which could have been avoided by good team selection. As such I reckon that most of it was self inflicted due to our incompetent selectors.

  • Shane on June 14, 2011, 1:48 GMT

    Mate...this is insane...can someone please fire all the selectors...or else Australian cricket will be in a very deep trouble waters...!!!

  • Paul on June 14, 2011, 1:37 GMT

    ................go what for what?

  • Ahsan on June 14, 2011, 1:31 GMT

    My Lord! In which way International cricket heading towards!!!! In recent times there has been several controversies: Irish supporters condemned ICC for 10-team World Cup idea, dropping of Sarwan early in Pak series & now Gayle has been dropped from last 10 ODIs, Shahid Afridi sacked from a post of ODI captain, Australian selectors thrashed widely by cricket circles & media over Katich selection. I beg to all cricket management, boards, players, commentators, covering media: please be sincere to your jobs, please help cricket prosper, please leave your personal enmities aside for betterment of the game!

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2011, 0:57 GMT

    True about Hilditch njr1330 but if my memory serves me correctly Hilditch picked up the ball and handed it to the bowler (Sarfraz Nawaz I think) who appealed and the umpire had no choice, given the rules at the time, but to give him out. I agree totally with the other statements and I also wonder if Katich and Hauritz are consoling each other.

  • Dummy4 on June 13, 2011, 23:21 GMT

    Greg Chappel did all the wrong thing to Indian cricket whatever he could do. And now it is Austalia's turn......

  • Rohan on June 13, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    have i missed summin ...I was of the view that he was not offered a central contract !!! nothing to do with being picked or dropped, it would seem to me that he is still avaliable for selection....unless ofcourse selection to the aussie team is limited to contracted players only

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