Australian news June 17, 2011

Player selector relations can improve - Chappell

Australia's selectors agree that communications between the national panel and the players it chooses, for national contracts and teams, are not what they should be.

In the aftermath of the Simon Katich episode, the selectors have refused to comment publicly again until the chairman Andrew Hilditch names the squads for the tour of Sri Lanka in July. But last month Greg Chappell told ESPNcricinfo that the lines of inquiry to the selectors, and their feedback to players, could be improved.

"I think it's in a good place. Can it be in a better place? Probably," Chappell said in a feature interview. "You're always looking to improve those relations, and particularly the communications. Most players like to know where they stand.

"Some of the more established perhaps feel pretty confident and comfortable with where they're at, but there might be players on the fringe of the team or just new to the surroundings who probably need a bit more comfort and discussion about the position, the role and all the expectations.

"The players are always saying they'd like open and honest appraisals of where they're at. Trying to achieve that is a constant exercise, but receiving bad news is never easy, delivering bad news is never easy. The chairman of selectors is the one who has to deliver that news and it isn't always well received, obviously."

Chappell also noted that the selection process had not changed much at all in the time between his first stint as a selector that ended in 1988 and the present day, even though the game around it had changed irrevocably.

"It's very different in that we have professional first-class cricket now as opposed to the 80s, when I was originally involved," he said. "Being a full-time selector obviously makes it different. There's a few more layers in the system these days, and my role on the national selection panel has a very large youth component to it.

"I am full-time and I am working with people in the states and the Centre of Excellence. There's a bit more depth to it and a bit more day-to-day responsibility than just turning up to selection meetings and picking teams. But the process hasn't changed that much."

Australian cricket's structure for the 2011-12 season is being changed significantly again by the expansion of the Twenty20 competition and its eight newly-manufactured teams. Chappell admitted that T20 did run the risk of diverting focus from the development of the national team.

"Yes, it can (divert focus). I think Twenty20 is good; the changes to the Big Bash League have the potential to be very positive for Australian cricket. Dealing with the challenges that it presents will be important at many levels - at a state level and at the national level," Chappell said. "Being an employee of CA, and a member of the NSP, I have a focus on Australian cricket.

"There's no doubt that the money available with Big Bash leading into the Champions League means that the franchises, the states as owners of the franchises, have some focus in that area, which just means that all our other competitions and how they are run… the focus on those competitions is going to be even more important than in the past."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo