Australia news December 21, 2011

Selection an 'extra difficulty' for Clarke - Inverarity

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Michael Clarke's elevation to a selection role has added "extra difficulty" to the office of the Australian captaincy, according to the head of the panel, John Inverarity.

Though he did not express outright opposition to Clarke's position as captain and selector, Inverarity was of the view that the arrangement brought about by the Argus review of Australian cricket had placed the incumbent in "a very difficult position".

Clarke and his predecessor Ricky Ponting shared the view that the captain should also be a formal selector, but the saga of Phillip Hughes' demotion from the Test team, despite his standing as a close friend of Clarke, has placed renewed heat on the position, as Inverarity acknowledged.

"It is obviously a very difficult situation, a captain needs to be supportive of his current players and Michael was exactly that," Inverarity said of Clarke's support of Hughes. "But the reality is there are other pressures, as it is a difficult situation that Michael is in, a very difficult situation.

"The pressures on an Australian captain are enormous, and with the current situation with the captain being one of the official selectors on the national selection panel, it is an extra difficulty, but that's the situation and Michael needs to cope with that."

Asked directly whether or not he was opposed to the arrangement, Inverarity replied: "That's a question I'll defer for the time being, thank you."

Inverarity also said there was concern among the selectors about a Twenty20-dominated schedule that has the potential for a player to be chosen for the fourth Test against India in Adelaide having not played a first-class match for almost eight weeks.

"Yes it is of concern, of course it is of concern," he said. "We're faced with the prospect of including a new player should there be injury or loss of form, a new player for the Test match in Adelaide, which begins about January 24, and that new player would not have played first-class cricket for six or seven weeks. That is a concern, but that is the situation and that is what we've got to cope with.

"From the preparation of a Test team the current situation is not ideal, but that's the way it is. A lot of us watched the T20 match last night in Brisbane and it was a great success there."

There is plenty that is not ideal in Australian cricket, and another is among Inverarity's pet peeves. In the West Australian teams of the 1970s that Inverarity captained, every player was obliged to bowl for at least an hour in the nets at every session, encouraging batsmen who could bowl and break partnerships. Inverarity said there was not enough of this in evidence, and indicated he had told the talent managers of each state to encourage their batsmen to bowl as often as possible.

"In general all of us on the selection panel hold that view that it is very desirable to have some of your six best batsmen as decent bowlers," Inverarity said. "If you look at some of the Australian teams when Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh were among the best batsmen and also very handy bowlers.

"Allrounders are like gold and also batsmen who are very competent bowlers - Greg Chappell, Doug Walters, Greg Blewett, and here in WA Tom Moody was a prime example. It does make a huge difference if a couple of your batsmen are decent bowlers. We've talked to the national talent managers in each state and we're certainly emphasising that."

Two series since he accepted the role of national selector, Inverarity said he was satisfied with the level of youth and freshness being injected into the team, reeling off a list of names that lengthened with each Test since the tour of Sri Lanka.

"In recent times Pat Cummins has come into the side, Nathan Lyon has come into the side, David Warner, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and now Ed Cowan," he said. "So there are a lot of new names there, a lot of refreshment, and I think that needs to be blended with experienced players and I'm very pleased with the way that's developing."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Simoc on December 22, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    The selections are obvious apart from Christians. Kawaja and Hughes are flops at this stage and need a mountain of runs to get back in. Ponting, Hussey and Clarke are the three best batsman in Australia so picked themselves. Ponting needs to get runs again but even out of form is miles better than the two dropped. Its hard to see the fast bowlers troubling the Indian batsman unless we get some green tops. But similarly unless Zaheer, Irfant come good, there quicks don't look much better. We may be in for high scores in direct contrast to the recent tests.

  • RandyOZ on December 22, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    We need Christian to cover for Hilfenhaus or Starc's potential failure. Plus if the pitch isn't spinning we are relying on Siddle and Pattinson, very risky. It's a no brainer that Christian comes in.

  • unregisteredalien on December 22, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    I could not agree more with Inverarity's (none-too-subtle) unvoiced opinion. It is a horrible conflict of interest for the captain to be a regular selector and obviously the captain is in no position to be a talent spotter. In fact, I may have misunderstood originally, but I thought the Argus report called for the captain to be a selector only when the team was on tour, to help the selector-on-duty and the coach to choose the team from the touring party. If the (former captains) on the Argus panel actually wanted the captain to be a regular member of the selection panel then that was a rare bum note in an otherwise excellent set of recommendations.

  • Android4 on December 22, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    Clarke's 'friendships' keep destroying the team. Hughes has hacked around way too long, and Clarke being offended because of an arguement where Katich told him to harden up is a major reason behind the recent batting collapses.

    Clarke is to emotionally soft and metrosexual to have the second most important job in the country. Hussey or Katich should be captain. Clarke should be given a mirror and told to leave. Take him out the side, and overall the team would improve, regardless of him being a good player. Not long ago he was on the verve of being dropped. He hasn't done that much to prove himself really, except a couple of scores. He's just bad news.

  • the_flying_squad on December 22, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    "drop ponting, drop hussey"

    For who? Seriously.

  • Rahul_78 on December 22, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    What Inverarity says makes lot of sense. When you have paid professional selectors who can keep a wider eye on the performances across the country they are expected to select a balanced pool of players who are best of the lot and deserve to play for the country. Then it should be captain the foremost and coach who should select the XI that is going to play on the field. In todays busy schedules, cramped cricketing calenders and media commitments it is going to be difficult for someone like Clarke to carry the burden of being selector. Captain should definitely be a selector but his selection duty should be restricted to select the best XI out of fourteen provided by the selectors.

  • on December 22, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    The dilemma and difficulty is in-built into any system that lets the skipper to be a part of the selection process. If someone is 'discovering' these now, then obviously they have not been thoroughly deliberated while going for such an arrangement. By being part of the deliberations at least the skipper would know how the other selectors think and what is their criteria for selection. He can then share the thought process amongst the selectors with his team mates who will then have (hopefully!) less reason to wonder why someone is selected pr dropped. Case in point: Hilfenhaus, Ponting, Hughes. The merit in this system is that the captain can be a bridge of communication between the selectors and the players. No system is perfect. But we need to work its strength.

  • satish619chandar on December 22, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Sad to see such a view from Clarke.. Never expected a Aussie captain to be sad to drop his under performing friend and replacing him with a guy in red hot form.. Every captain will go through this case.. Even Dhoni had to drop Yuvi and Raina, his best pals around in test squads..

  • on December 22, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    Nice Sunny few days, no extra off the air or off the pitch movement and there is a good chance that Ponting and Hussey will come good and rest will all be forgotten. If they cant do well even in that then Inverity has no option.

  • farkin on December 22, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    11 in form players are better then 11 friends which is how the Australian team has been selected in the past

  • Simoc on December 22, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    The selections are obvious apart from Christians. Kawaja and Hughes are flops at this stage and need a mountain of runs to get back in. Ponting, Hussey and Clarke are the three best batsman in Australia so picked themselves. Ponting needs to get runs again but even out of form is miles better than the two dropped. Its hard to see the fast bowlers troubling the Indian batsman unless we get some green tops. But similarly unless Zaheer, Irfant come good, there quicks don't look much better. We may be in for high scores in direct contrast to the recent tests.

  • RandyOZ on December 22, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    We need Christian to cover for Hilfenhaus or Starc's potential failure. Plus if the pitch isn't spinning we are relying on Siddle and Pattinson, very risky. It's a no brainer that Christian comes in.

  • unregisteredalien on December 22, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    I could not agree more with Inverarity's (none-too-subtle) unvoiced opinion. It is a horrible conflict of interest for the captain to be a regular selector and obviously the captain is in no position to be a talent spotter. In fact, I may have misunderstood originally, but I thought the Argus report called for the captain to be a selector only when the team was on tour, to help the selector-on-duty and the coach to choose the team from the touring party. If the (former captains) on the Argus panel actually wanted the captain to be a regular member of the selection panel then that was a rare bum note in an otherwise excellent set of recommendations.

  • Android4 on December 22, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    Clarke's 'friendships' keep destroying the team. Hughes has hacked around way too long, and Clarke being offended because of an arguement where Katich told him to harden up is a major reason behind the recent batting collapses.

    Clarke is to emotionally soft and metrosexual to have the second most important job in the country. Hussey or Katich should be captain. Clarke should be given a mirror and told to leave. Take him out the side, and overall the team would improve, regardless of him being a good player. Not long ago he was on the verve of being dropped. He hasn't done that much to prove himself really, except a couple of scores. He's just bad news.

  • the_flying_squad on December 22, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    "drop ponting, drop hussey"

    For who? Seriously.

  • Rahul_78 on December 22, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    What Inverarity says makes lot of sense. When you have paid professional selectors who can keep a wider eye on the performances across the country they are expected to select a balanced pool of players who are best of the lot and deserve to play for the country. Then it should be captain the foremost and coach who should select the XI that is going to play on the field. In todays busy schedules, cramped cricketing calenders and media commitments it is going to be difficult for someone like Clarke to carry the burden of being selector. Captain should definitely be a selector but his selection duty should be restricted to select the best XI out of fourteen provided by the selectors.

  • on December 22, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    The dilemma and difficulty is in-built into any system that lets the skipper to be a part of the selection process. If someone is 'discovering' these now, then obviously they have not been thoroughly deliberated while going for such an arrangement. By being part of the deliberations at least the skipper would know how the other selectors think and what is their criteria for selection. He can then share the thought process amongst the selectors with his team mates who will then have (hopefully!) less reason to wonder why someone is selected pr dropped. Case in point: Hilfenhaus, Ponting, Hughes. The merit in this system is that the captain can be a bridge of communication between the selectors and the players. No system is perfect. But we need to work its strength.

  • satish619chandar on December 22, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Sad to see such a view from Clarke.. Never expected a Aussie captain to be sad to drop his under performing friend and replacing him with a guy in red hot form.. Every captain will go through this case.. Even Dhoni had to drop Yuvi and Raina, his best pals around in test squads..

  • on December 22, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    Nice Sunny few days, no extra off the air or off the pitch movement and there is a good chance that Ponting and Hussey will come good and rest will all be forgotten. If they cant do well even in that then Inverity has no option.

  • farkin on December 22, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    11 in form players are better then 11 friends which is how the Australian team has been selected in the past

  • farkin on December 22, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    a good captain on the selection panel has no friends when he is at the selection table if he lets friendship get in the way of picking friends over player in form then he should be sacked

  • D.V.C. on December 22, 2011, 1:37 GMT

    People need to lay off Hussey. He was Player of the Match for 3 Tests in a row in Sri Lanka, now less than 6 months later, and after 4 games, the fans all want to drop him. Fickle. Plus, his bowling has been handy. Hussey averaged 96 in Sri Lanka, and 63 in the Ashes series before that. Even with these last two lean series his average over the last 4 series is 53. That's not droppable. Ponting on the other hand is close to the end. Without a sustained run of form in this series, it will be curtains.

  • Barnesy4444 on December 22, 2011, 1:24 GMT

    The captain should have strong input but shouldn't be on the panel. His job is to get the most out of his players and captain the team, not sit around the selection table. I think Ponting pushed for the captain to be a selector because of the terrible job the previous panel did and he could obviously do better. Batsmen having the ability to bowl more, I'm all for it.

  • christy29 on December 22, 2011, 0:23 GMT

    that is an absolutely brilliant idea, and this is coming from a kiwi!

  • Meety on December 21, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @elle119 - "...Clarke's role as selector should be minimized in that, the main selectors should give him a team of 12-13 (which he has no say in), and let him then pick the best 11 for the upcoming game as he sees fit..." - I like that. I mean at the end of the fabled day, how would Pup know how good Herrick or Boyce are? He hasn't played against them. The non-playing members of the NSP lob up to Shield & tour games. So to tinker with what you said, I would have the NSP as is with Clarke's role as a non-selector, then when a 12/13/14 man squad is selected, the captain can name his XI. The captaincy would rely on the decisions he make, whereas at the moment, the captaincy appointment is more weighted towards stability.

  • elle119 on December 21, 2011, 21:24 GMT

    To all those people who are praising Inverarity's selection and how well picked the team is given the circumstances, I would like to point out that it seems this way simply given the stark contrast when compared to the bumbling inexplicable decisions reached by his immediate predecessor, Hilditch. When the decisions are seen in isolation, Inverarity's decisions are just ones that any person on the street who'd been following cricket would make. In fact, Inverarity's public support of Ponting and Hussey despite them being woefully out of form (less so Hussey as he did well in SL), could be seen as him mirroring the previous panel's policy's in bowing to peer pressure and not wanting to be the guy that drops a legend of the game. In relation to the topic above, I think Clarke's role as selector should be minimized in that, the main selectors should give him a team of 12-13 (which he has no say in), and let him then pick the best 11 for the upcoming game as he sees fit.

  • on December 21, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Hey Inverarity show some balls an drop Ponting.Oops sorry i forgot he is Clarkes mate so you cant.Thats the reason Clarke is now upset that Hughes dropped

  • zico123 on December 21, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    very bad decision, old big guys Ponting n Hussey flopped and team lost the match, poor young guys philip hughes and khwaja got dropped !! its like going backwards, persisting with out of form 36-37 yr old at expense of rising youngstars!!

  • zico123 on December 21, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    if Shaun marsh is fit, he should play at expense of Ponting, as Ponting has to go anyway, but knowing Australia they would take the easiest option of leaving out Marsh to play 36-37 yr old out of form guys Ponting and Hussey

  • AndyMack on December 21, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Think only Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke think it is a good idea. Its a dud idea, and needs to change asap.

  • maruthikunnuru on December 21, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    If Clarke himself wanted to be a formal selector, I don't understand what this fuss is all about. You are part of the national selection panel and you feel bad about leaving out your friends who are walking wickets. Are we talking about Australia or Pakistan? Clarke must be tough to the core if he really wants to revive OZ cricket.

  • on December 21, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    Right you are JI. Serious conflict of interest!

  • Gizza on December 21, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Inverarity makes a good point. These days there is so much focus on training tailender bowlers to improve their batting so they can stick around and wag but there is less emphasis on encouraging batsmen to bowl a bit except in the limited over formats. In Australia's case, now that Clarke is captain he is reluctant to bowl himself. If Lyon would get smashed a bit, and Clarke is looking for a part-time spinner who could break vital partnership he won't be able to use anyone apart from himself. Hence he is using Hussey's medium pacers recently which although okay, aren't as good as say Katich, Clarke and Symonds' spinners (or Steve Waugh, Blewett and Moody going further in the past). Even Ponting could bowl a bit but pretty much stopped once he got the captaincy.

  • PrasPunter on December 21, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Well done Sir !! given the options, it is good combo. Wish we Aussies win this series for god's sake and prove the world that its just an extended form-slump for us. Go Aussies !! Cant wait to wave the Aussie Flag come December 26 !!

  • RandyOZ on December 21, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    John Inverarity less media articles and more effective selecting. All that you guys have shown so far is that you can imitate the old selection policies. Your current selections are pathetic. Hilfenhaus, with an average of 34+? Give me a break John.

  • CricketMaan on December 21, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    There has been no excess cricket at far as Ryan Harris, Pat Cummins, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh or from India's pov Varon Aaron, Ishant and its certainly is not IPL...so why does Tony Greig have problem with it?????

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  • CricketMaan on December 21, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    There has been no excess cricket at far as Ryan Harris, Pat Cummins, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh or from India's pov Varon Aaron, Ishant and its certainly is not IPL...so why does Tony Greig have problem with it?????

  • RandyOZ on December 21, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    John Inverarity less media articles and more effective selecting. All that you guys have shown so far is that you can imitate the old selection policies. Your current selections are pathetic. Hilfenhaus, with an average of 34+? Give me a break John.

  • PrasPunter on December 21, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Well done Sir !! given the options, it is good combo. Wish we Aussies win this series for god's sake and prove the world that its just an extended form-slump for us. Go Aussies !! Cant wait to wave the Aussie Flag come December 26 !!

  • Gizza on December 21, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Inverarity makes a good point. These days there is so much focus on training tailender bowlers to improve their batting so they can stick around and wag but there is less emphasis on encouraging batsmen to bowl a bit except in the limited over formats. In Australia's case, now that Clarke is captain he is reluctant to bowl himself. If Lyon would get smashed a bit, and Clarke is looking for a part-time spinner who could break vital partnership he won't be able to use anyone apart from himself. Hence he is using Hussey's medium pacers recently which although okay, aren't as good as say Katich, Clarke and Symonds' spinners (or Steve Waugh, Blewett and Moody going further in the past). Even Ponting could bowl a bit but pretty much stopped once he got the captaincy.

  • on December 21, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    Right you are JI. Serious conflict of interest!

  • maruthikunnuru on December 21, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    If Clarke himself wanted to be a formal selector, I don't understand what this fuss is all about. You are part of the national selection panel and you feel bad about leaving out your friends who are walking wickets. Are we talking about Australia or Pakistan? Clarke must be tough to the core if he really wants to revive OZ cricket.

  • AndyMack on December 21, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Think only Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke think it is a good idea. Its a dud idea, and needs to change asap.

  • zico123 on December 21, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    if Shaun marsh is fit, he should play at expense of Ponting, as Ponting has to go anyway, but knowing Australia they would take the easiest option of leaving out Marsh to play 36-37 yr old out of form guys Ponting and Hussey

  • zico123 on December 21, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    very bad decision, old big guys Ponting n Hussey flopped and team lost the match, poor young guys philip hughes and khwaja got dropped !! its like going backwards, persisting with out of form 36-37 yr old at expense of rising youngstars!!

  • on December 21, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Hey Inverarity show some balls an drop Ponting.Oops sorry i forgot he is Clarkes mate so you cant.Thats the reason Clarke is now upset that Hughes dropped