Australia news August 8, 2011

Hohns re-enters the selection fray

Trevor Hohns, the former chairman of selectors for Australia, has re-entered the fray as Queensland's state talent manager and selection chairman.

Having sat on the national panel for 13 years, 10 of them as chairman, Hohns brings plenty of experience and strong opinion to the job, which will see him work closely with the national talent manager and selector Greg Chappell.

Since departing his national selection role in 2006, Hohns has stayed quiet, but a coffee with Queensland's state coach Darren Lehmann was all it took for the onetime Australian legspin bowler to resume a formal role in the pathway between club cricket and the national team.

Surveying the national game, which has fallen into a state of some disrepair since his departure, Hohns said rebuilding was evident not only nationally but in each state.

"Australian cricket is a bit like here in Queensland," Hohns told reporters in Brisbane. "They're rebuilding, Queensland's rebuilding, every other state is rebuilding, it's just a period in time that the whole country appears to be going through.

"And I think other countries have done the same over the years, so we're just going through that period right now, and I think if the talent we have in Queensland is consistent throughout Australia, I think Australian cricket could be in for a pretty good period in the near future. It might take a year or it might take a couple of years, but there certainly appears to be plenty of talent around."

Hohns' successor as chairman, Andrew Hilditch, is out of contract and widely expected to be replaced once the Don Argus-led review of the Australian team is tabled to the Cricket Australia board later in August. Wary of criticising selectors he once worked with, Hohns nonethless hinted that he might have made a few different decisions.

"Of course you follow it, there's no doubt about that," Hohns said. "I'm just like anybody else these days, I'm a civilian, and of course you follow it, you watch it on TV. Everybody's got differing opinions on things of course, and having been there for a long time, it's a very difficult job, and they've got a job to do.

"I'm like everybody else, I've got opinions, certainly there's been some issues that have come up that other people may have done differently, but they've got to do it to the best of their ability and run that part of it as they see fit."

More detailed were Hohns' views on spin bowling, and the need to nurture young talent without expecting it to bloom into another freak of the Shane Warne variety.

"We're trying to find a spinner or a couple of spinners to take us forward, there can be no doubts about that," he said. "But let's face it, everyone is thinking or hoping that another Shane Warne will come along, but he won't. So we probably have to change the make-up of our side and the way we play the game accordingly.

"But for now as we've seen over the last couple of years, it looks as though we're trying to find the next couple of spinners to take us forward. Sooner or later two will emerge, I've no doubts about that."

As for Australia's current lowly ranking of No. 5 in the world in Test cricket, Hohns expressed cautious optimism.

"I suppose No. 5 is a bit disappointing, but at the same time we shouldn't be that bad I don't think," he said. "I can see us starting to climb that ladder in the next couple of years, with the talent we have available."

Hohns is not the only new appointment to the national network of state talent managers. David Freedman, the former New South Wales wrist spinner and assistant coach, has replaced John Dyson in the role with the NSW Cricket after Dyson became general manager of the Sydney Thunder in the Twenty20 big Bash League.

The Blues' new assistant coach will be the former Sri Lankan Test allrounder Chandika Hathurusingha, who will commence his role with the Champions League in India in September.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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