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Hohns re-enters the selection fray

Daniel Brettig

August 8, 2011

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns chats with Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist and captain Ricky Ponting during training at Dambulla Stadium, Sri Lanka, February 19, 2004
Trevor Hohns chats to Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting on the 2004 tour of Sri Lanka © Getty Images
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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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Posted by Meety on (August 9, 2011, 4:06 GMT)

@straight_drive4 - hold the phone matey, Dizzy? Mate Dizzy was an outstanding performer for Oz who inexplicably lost form in 2005 during the Ashes. He took 96 wickets in 2 years at an ave below 24 before the 2005 Ashes. Post 2005 Ashes he got a gravy train tour to Bangladesh, that's it. Not having a go at you, but I don't remember many/any bad calls, (maybe as you said we were winning), I wouldn't say Gillespie playing in the 2005 Ashes was a bad call, because everything about his resume suggested he would be brilliant, but lost confidence thru the ODIs (KP took to him), he seemed to lose about 5 yards of pace. My only gripe back in the 90s early 2000s were that we didn't send teams to the sub-continent that were tailored to the conditions, more horses for courses, whereas it was one team fits all. @Behind_the_bowlers_arm - I remember Hohns as being good, Sawle was better!

Posted by straight_drive4 on (August 8, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

@gzawilliam/meety - for years his bad decisions went unnoticed because we had such a good team that just kept on winning. we had one of the greatest teams of all time but he kept bringing in stupid things like rotation policies and all sorts of garbage. one example of his bad selection policies was when he kept on picking jason gillespie when he had a lean 2 year period and we had guys sitting on the bench like kasper and andy bichel and even brett lee would have to sit out. to be perfectly honest i cant remember every single case off the top of my head but i do remember cursing the name countless times throughout the early 2000s...

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (August 8, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

Very diplomatic. A little too much so but having just taken his new job it is understandable. Laurie Sawle who was the Chairman of selectors from the mid 80's is one who did an excellent job in helping set the groundwork for the late 80's revival. There has been talk of Rod Marsh as the replacement for Hilditch but at the moment i think most Aust fans would even take Mickey Mouse rather than the incumbent. Hopefully the new appointment will coincide with a new coach. The outclassing of Neilsen by Flower in the Ashes was embarrassing. Maybe John Buchanan could come back and disprove all those doubters who say his record is 100% down to the players?

Posted by popcorn on (August 8, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

This is great news. Andrew Hilditch doesn't have the decency to step down and is waiting to be hrown out.Trevor Hohns has my respect.

Posted by HatsforBats on (August 8, 2011, 9:22 GMT)

I wish Hohns had answered these questions BEFORE he had his new job, I would've liked to hear his honest thoughts on the current situation. As for the ranking, no.5 isn't too far off, and I think they'll be pretty interchangeable for the next few years.

Posted by Adoh on (August 8, 2011, 8:56 GMT)

It's a cop-out to suggest that people are expecting another Warnie. I certainly don't have this expectation, and I don't know anyone who does. Can someone lift the needle from the brocken record - all we want as fans is a spinner who can take more than 1 wicket per 50 overs consistently. Funny, Nathan Hauritz fits that bill - the selectors seem to be ignoring his stats, not the fans. All we want is for the Australian bowling unit to be capable of taking 20 wickets in a test match. No-one is hoping for miracles - but the longer it takes for the team to do what is reasonably expected, the more it does look like we're looking for miracles.

Posted by Meety on (August 8, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

@straight_drive4 - yeah well my memory of Hohns was that he was prepared to make the hard decisions (M Waugh & Healy) - they were two of my favourite players, can't remember if he gave Slater the chop, (I always was a pro-slater v Langar & Hayden kind of guy). They were hard calls but he made them, don't remember in-decision & confusion during his reign!

Posted by Governor on (August 8, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

Trevor Hohns was prepared to make the tough calls during his reign as Chairman of Selectors. He was prepared to make the tough calls.

However, Hilditch did not want to push the champions into retirement.

When will AMJ Hilditch be replaced by RW Marsh?

THE GOV

Posted by gzawilliam on (August 8, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

Sorry Straight_drive4 but wasnt Hohns a selector during which we were easily the best team in the world and hardly lost under his rule?

Posted by straight_drive4 on (August 8, 2011, 5:55 GMT)

people forget that hohns was about as "usefull" or useless (which term you like) as Hilditch. was very poor and we all celebrated when he quit.

Posted by Meety on (August 8, 2011, 4:18 GMT)

Interesting selectin of Hathurusingha - has a reasonable pedigree as a coach. Also interesting to see a spinner (Freedman) get a coaching/management role.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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