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John Inverarity named full-time Australian selector

Brydon Coverdale

October 28, 2011

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

John Inverarity portrait, 2004
John Inverarity's first-class career spanned 23 years © Getty Images
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John Inverarity is confident he has kept close enough ties with the game to make a success of his new role as Australia's national selector. Inverarity, 67, was a surprise appointment to the newly-created full-time job, with Rod Marsh and Trevor Hohns previously considered front-runners for what will be one of the most important positions in Cricket Australia's new structure.

A former allrounder who played six Tests for Australia, Inverarity was more prominent in Sheffield Shield cricket and was considered a great thinker and captain during his 23-year first-class career for South Australia and Western Australia. Since his retirement from cricket, he was headmaster of a prestigious boys' high school in Perth, and more recently served as head of St George's College at the University of Western Australia.

However, Inverarity has also kept his hand in cricket coaching, first at Kent in 2001 and then during a three-year stint as head coach of Warwickshire, which ended in 2005. Cricket Australia's chief executive, James Sutherland, said Inverarity's varied experience made him the outstanding candidate to succeed Andrew Hilditch, the current part-time chairman, as the head of the revamped selection panel.

"There's no concern at our end," Sutherland said of Inverarity's age. "One of the things that we've worked through in the interview process and got absolute satisfaction on is the fact that John Inverarity is ready to do this job. In many ways, this is his time to be involved in cricket.

"He's pursued another career, he has continued to have an involvement and an interest in cricket through that time, but he's pursued another career. As I see it, it's a career that is very much complementary to what this role as national selector is. In terms of any questions about his age, I just don't think that's an issue."

Inverarity will begin his new role after the tour of South Africa, with Hilditch and the interim panel set to continue choosing the teams during that trip. Cricket Australia's attention will now turn to finding two independent part-time selectors to join Inverarity and the captain Michael Clarke on the panel, which will also include the yet-to-be-chosen head coach.

Their challenge over the next few seasons - Inverarity has been signed to a three-year contract - is to manage the development of a host of young players, while also steering the side through a transition phase with older men such as Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey nearing the end of their careers. Inverarity said he was confident he had not been out of the game too long to handle the responsibilities.

"I'm 67 but I feel very young at heart," Inverarity said. "I'd like to think that over those 67 years I've had a lot of experiences from which I have benefited. The key thing in this is exercising judgment. I have followed the game very closely. I think in my life outside of cricket, particularly in education and being the headmaster of a school and warden of a university college, your experiences and exercising judgments and dealing with young people [will help].

"All my life I have sought challenges. I have sought challenges of trying to be in the area where I can influence a leadership or management role and trying to get a group performing at its best. Whether that's been in a cricket team or club, or in a school or in a university college, that's what motivates me. That's what I really enjoy doing. I feel that over the years I've had some success in doing so."

Inverarity is the second key appointment to stem from the Argus review, after the former rugby international Pat Howard was named Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance earlier this month. His appointment also came on the same day that his former Western Australia team-mate, Wally Edwards, was elected chairman of Cricket Australia.

However, while Inverarity has a firm three-year deal to shape the future of Australian cricket, Edwards is less certain about the length of his tenure. The review into Cricket Australia's governance is expected to be tabled later this year and could recommended the existing board being replaced by an independent commission.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by riley22 on (October 29, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

Decades ago, I was bored stupid watching Inverarity bat. Slasher Mckay would have been proud of him! Far too long out of the game for this gig- he'll be nodding off during the afternoon's play!

Posted by RandyOZ on (October 29, 2011, 4:39 GMT)

As long as seemingly untouchable players such as Johnson, Haddin and previously North (and i'll throw Clarke in that mix) do not continually get picked I will be happy!

Posted by 9-Monkeys on (October 28, 2011, 14:10 GMT)

Good choice. Inverarity is one of the Australian game's best brains, a great leader of cricketers on and off the field and a wonderful educator and communicator in his roles outside cricket. If nothing else I have no doubt he will massively improve the way the selection panel conducts itself (I can't imagine him not returning the calls of confused/disgruntled players, e.g. Katich and Rodgers) and that is much needed.

And by the way, he may have had a poor Test record but he clearly isn't "one of the worst" players to play for Australia.

Posted by   on (October 28, 2011, 12:03 GMT)

I be happy as long as he picks the RIGHT players.

Posted by crankypet on (October 28, 2011, 9:25 GMT)

I still remember the "Cricketer" magazine article that was published when he retired from cricket. "Inver....a Rarity". Perfect description of the man, a leader in all sense of the word. It was little co-incidence that West Australia really became a power house side in the mid to late 1970s under his leadership. I look forward to inspired selections and an end to players needing to move to NSW to get an Australian cap.

Posted by Okakaboka on (October 28, 2011, 8:24 GMT)

This selection has me worried. He was a great shield player but could never make the transition to test level. He would be one of the worst players I can ever remember representing Australia. We used to joke....."IN will go IN and the IN will go OUT!" and he invariably did! (John (couldn't hit the pitch) Watkins was the worst.......another dud NSW biased selection many many years ago. With today's game we need a genuinely smart cookie who really understands the game....Gillespie, Fleming, Lehman, Border to name a few. I Think we are back to square one....and because he is from WA we'll never get rid of old Spraygun. And...and...and....the Leyland P76 might make a comeback....???What? Don't you know? ...oh, okay, Marcus North.

Posted by hyclass on (October 28, 2011, 8:01 GMT)

Congratulations to Invers.Im sure he is an outstanding selection.Its possible that Rod Marsh will be involved in a different capacity.I believe that he is anathema in principle to the current CA administration and can only be involved once the corporate governance review determines,as it surely must,the unaccepatability of tenure of the previous position holders,such as Sutherland.Marsh is an old school advocate and bases actions soley on accountability and performance.I believe that Sutherland is behaving more reasonably,because he believes he has established his aim of diminishing traditional Australian cricket enough to justify the sudden and unreviewed introduction of his perceived money and connection spinner,BBL.He is virtually incapable,as are all the CA detritus,of speaking publicly without debunking traditional cricket and espousing the virtues of he and his colleagues and of course,their main motivation,BBL.I look to a time where intelligence rules once again.Chardy Invers?

Posted by fleetwood-smith on (October 28, 2011, 7:19 GMT)

Left field but an inspired choice I reckon. Invers was always a team man and looking for new angles to improve the side and win games when he was WA skipper. I think he will be very receptive to new ideas while remaining sensitive to player feelings and team dynamics. There will be no repeat of the Simon Katich fiasco, guaranteed!

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (October 28, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

Growing up in Perth in the 70's Invers was always regarded as a brilliant captain - 4 Sheffield Shields in 5 seasons as Captain - and a great thinker on the game. Excellent move to have someone of his intelligence and class involved. Hopefully he can bring the same sort of calm that another West Australian Lawrie Sawle did to the role. Good luck, John.

Posted by jonesy2 on (October 28, 2011, 7:07 GMT)

and whats more a west aussie as chief selector and chairman!! maybe there is still a chance for guys like marcus north and simon katich

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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