Australia news October 29, 2011

Katich to face CA hearing for Clarke comments

ESPNcricinfo staff

Simon Katich, the Australia batsman, will face a Cricket Australia (CA) hearing over the recent comments he made about Australia captain Michael Clarke having a hand in keeping him out of the national side. Katich was reported under the CA code of behaviour provisions covering detrimental public comment.

Details of the hearing will be released in the next few days, but arrangements will be similar to those of past instances of CA reports for detrimental public comment, including Matthew Hayden's 2008 criticism of Harbhajan Singh and Adam Gilchrist's query of Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action in 2002. It is expected to be held in Melbourne and presided over by CA's senior code of conduct commissioner Gordon Lewis.

James Sutherland, the chief executive of CA, said he was surprised and disappointed with Katich's comments, especially considering that new full-time national selector John Inverarity had said the selection door was still open for him. Katich had said on Friday that he took little joy in Inverarity's appointment because Clarke would not countenance his recall to the team.

"CA emphatically refutes any suggestion that Michael Clarke influenced the independent selection panel's recommendations for the 2011-12 CA contract players' list, a list that did not include Katich," Sutherland said in a statement.

"The National Selection Panel made its recommendations based on its independent assessment of Australian cricket's player needs for the next 12 months and the suggestions made by Katich are completely erroneous, inappropriate and unfair to Clarke, the selectors and to CA.

"Without compromising my confidential understanding of the selectors' confidential thinking, I can state their recommendations were completely independent of outside influence. I was particularly disappointed at the comments yesterday after the discussions we had with Katich in mid-2011 on inappropriate public comments he had made then."

Sutherland said that CA had followed its normal process when someone is dropped in Katich's case. The process involves the chairman of selectors talking with the player, for the player's state association to be advised before a public announcement so it can provide support if needed, and a subsequent CA follow up. In Katich's case, this included a follow-up discussion with Michael Brown, according to the statement.

Katich is expected to dispute the view that his axing was dealt with adequately by CA, though he is understood to have engaged in two conversations with the then chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch at the time of his removal, followed by a lengthier dialogue with Brown.

Having led Australia to an ODI series win in South Africa, Clarke responded to Katich's words by saying they had been hurtful to the team's morale. Clarke said Katich's words would not help him get back into the team, and may also affect team morale.

"Look when Simon wasn't selected I wasn't a selector at the time," Clarke said. "Since becoming a selector I've made it clear in plenty of press conferences that I've done that the door's certainly not closed on anyone, but in saying that I don't think his comments are certainly helping him get back into this team at the moment.

"The team morale is such an important part of having success and it's been a great thing for the Australian team in both forms of the game of late. I think the team morale is outstanding and we're enjoying seeing a bit of success as well."

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