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December 6, 2012

Australia cricket

Was Quiney the sacrificial lamb?

Michael Jeh
Rob Quiney walks off after being dismissed for 85, Queensland v New South Wales, Sheffield Shield, Brisbane, 1st day, November 2, 2012
Was Rob Quiney genuinely the best available batsman in the country three weeks ago when he made his Test debut or was he merely a band-aid to stem the bleeding?  © Getty Images
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Former Australia captain Graham Yallop wrote a book in the late 1970's entitled "Lambs to the slaughter". It referred to an Ashes series during the Packer vs ACB era when a young Australian team, led by a very inexperienced captain (Yallop) copped an almighty 5-1 annihilation by England. There was some talk at the time that the experienced veteran John Inverarity might have been made captain instead, so it is fitting indeed now that he is the chief architect in what could be a sequel to Yallop's book, perhaps ghostwritten by Rob Quiney one day - Lamb to the Slaghuis (Afrikaans for butcher).

So now it's all becoming as clear as mud. Phil Hughes is the favoured long-term option to replace Ricky Ponting but he wasn't ready enough to be exposed to the likes of Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn. Rob Quiney is a damn good chap and all that but if there ever was a chap that was expendable, then Quiney it was to be. Usman Khawaja meanwhile is perhaps next cab off the rank but even with a slight concern about Michael Clarke's dodgy back, Khawaja is to be removed from a three-day game against the visiting Sri Lankan side for a quick bash for Sydney Thunder. Josh Hazlewood bowled a few overs in the nets in Perth under strict supervision by the medical/conditioning team and is now out of cricket for a few months. And to cap it all off, perhaps more of a joke than a genuine story, there is some scuttlebutt that Shane Warne may be back to bowl Australia to Ashes glory. Yep, clear as mud.

Inverarity's statement today about the Hughes selection is refreshingly honest and is a reflection of the man's decency but it still leaves a few questions unanswered. Was Quiney genuinely the best available batsman in the country three weeks ago when he made his Test debut or was he merely a band-aid to stem the bleeding? We can only assume that winning the series against the Proteas was the first priority for the summer, so on that assumption, it stands to reason that Quiney was selected because he was the best man for the job at No. 3. Yet, reading between the lines in Inverarity's comments today, it almost sounds as if Hughes is clearly seen as the next best batsman in the country but not worth traumatising. So we throw Quiney to the wolves, hope that he gets lucky and it becomes an inspired selection but at the same time conceding that our real favourite for that long-term position at 3 is another batsman who wasn't good enough to take on the best bowlers but is hoping to feast on some juicier fare.

"We felt that for the South African series that Quiney was the right man," Inverarity said. What? The right man to bat at 3 and average the same? Clearly that was some way short of what they expected from Quiney but it still appears from the outside that he was deemed expendable against the high-quality Proteas attack so that Hughes could be protected. That hardly seems to be the most ringing endorsement of either candidate. One is deemed worthy of a sacrifice if necessary and the other is rated as the best player (supposedly) but not good enough to take on the best. Can you imagine selling that argument to a young Ponting?

The references to Quiney being grateful for the opportunity and not holding grudges etc. just underscores the perception that he was the sacrificial lamb. Why would he possibly hold a grudge otherwise? What is there to be bitter about unless it is now being made transparent that it was a poisoned chalice all along to be given the 'honour' of batting at 3 against the South Africans.

Similarly, with Khawaja perhaps being just one injury away from the Test team, why would you possibly remove him from a three-day game and give him slogging practice instead? Unless of course that decision too is a clue that Alex Doolan is actually the next incumbent and Khawaja can Big Bash to his heart's content because at least we know that our real choice, Doolan, is playing the entire match. He failed today, bowled by Suraj Randiv for 6 but unlike Khawaja, Doolan at least might get another chance to practice his Test Match technique in case Clarke's dodgy back doesn't improve. Or in case any part of Shane Watson's body seizes up overnight after the arduous workload he shouldered in Perth.

Listening to all the young players giving diplomatic but sterile media interviews over the last few days, it is clear that they are all trying to please everyone and offend no one. That is admirable and unavoidable in the circumstances. Doolan especially was gracious enough to claim that the others should be picked ahead of him while Khawaja was happy to "put his hand up" but equally quick to acknowledge that whoever they picked was the best choice. I remember hearing similar vanilla offerings a few weeks ago before the Brisbane Test. It's clear now that the person they picked wasn't necessarily the best player, but the best player that the system could afford to sacrifice with half a chance of him getting lucky and making it look like an inspired selection.

Was that the same selection policy for the bowlers too? If Steyn, Morkel and Philander comprise the best bowling attack, surely a top order comprising Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and AB De Villiers is to be similarly feared in batting terms. Can we assume (tongue in cheek of course) that the bowlers selected for Perth were not necessarily the best available on the day but handy foot soldiers who could be sacrificed if the Proteas went on the attack and ripped them to shreds. Was that partly why Smith, Amla and de Villiers batted with such raw aggression in that magnificent second innings in Perth? They knew that this attack were lambs sent to the slaughter?

All of these cricketers, when interviewed, offer bland, diplomatic and utterly manufactured comments that tell us very little about how they really feel. One can't blame them - that is the role of the modern professional cricketer these days. Say nothing of substance, nothing controversial, nothing that can be misconstrued as an attack on the selectors. Privately, it may well be that a few players may be seething inside (Peter Siddle springs to mind), but they'll never admit it upfront. There's some talk that some of the current Test team are astounded that Khawaja is being released from a three-day fixture to play T20 but I doubt you'll find a public voice of dissent. Fair enough too. Not so much a case of lambs to the slaughter; silence of the lambs perhaps!

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

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Keywords: Selection

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Posted by Dave Dawson on (December 31, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

It was an absolute disgrace what they did to Quiney, l hope Hughes blows his chance and never gets another go. Just watch him fail against England and the next time they play South Africa. Talk about be mollycoddled and wrapped in cotton wool, he's just a pathetic mummy's boy.

Posted by chris on (December 23, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

You have to pick your best available team to win a test match and protecting hughes from fast bowling is a sign to me that the selectors arent doing that,maybe we just dont have the batting depth that we used to have.The bowling depth is there but it is being tested by the worrying amount of injuries to our paceman.I hope the aussies get back to the top soon but my gut feeling is we are still a long way of.

Posted by Cricfan0101 on (December 13, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

Sorry boss, from hard experience I have learned that things are never so straightforward nor perfect, conspiracy theories may always have a little element of truth, but are mostly crap. If the selectors did not have any monetary advantage in playing one over the other, there was no conspiracy, period. Anyway, regardless of all this Quiney should know that he is not such a great player and he should grab any chance he gets. Cricket history is littered with mediocre players who did not grab the few chances they got, and yet there are some who did and became superstars despite being mediocre.

Posted by Moford on (December 13, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

I feel sorry for Quiney,but just maybe along with Khawaja & Doolan, he might have a chance when Hussey retires. Mike Hussey had batted at almost every position, so why can't one of these 3 do the same? Khawaja was unlucky after making some runs in a test before Ricky ran him out. The selectors have to think about poor old Mike sooner than later.

Posted by Jagger on (December 10, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

Our nation's cricket team at this point in time is diabolically poor. Where are the Lehmanns, the Siddons, the spin bowlers waiting in the wings? The current group across the board are all so... mediocre. Historically the transition of Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist era could prove even more difficult to overcome than the Lillee, Marsh, Chappell debacle. We have put our faith in the wrong people to lead our national team selection. It's not the selectors. They were just doing their best from what they had available on the park. We must look at the players themselves. We are severely lacking in class and sustainable policies.

Posted by jabsy on (December 10, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

So if Quiney had made the runs, and kept his spot, and Hughes didn't need to be selected, where would this story have come from? Nowhere. Quiney didn't cut it, and Hughes took the spot. Unlucky for Quiney, but the selectors may have pulled a swifty all in the name of team management, and hopefully one that pays off for them this time.

Posted by iambunney on (December 10, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

Well written - one gets the feeling that this new selection panel has a whole new set of dysfunctions compared to the old one. Whilst the old one had no plans, no vision for future, the new one seems to think too much. As smudgeon stated - you just pick your best XI - really its not that difficult. Another item that gets me hot under the collar - and this happened with both old and new panels, is the picking of bowlers on talent, not fulfilment. Starc took 8 wickets in Perth, but at a cost - no surprise as his form is completely with the white ball. How Hazelwood got picked in the squad ahead of Cutting, Bird or even Butterworth and Feldman are beyond me. Even Hastings selection raised my brow - yes, he's had a good last 5 games, but Bird and Cutting have done the same damage, but over longer periods. Sure, Hazelwood is a talent, but his form in the long game is poor. How do you get a gig on the NSP? I'm sure I could do better!

Posted by Luke Price on (December 8, 2012, 21:29 GMT)

Fantastic article Michael. Made for great reading and really explains the whole process in lamens terms. There does seem to be some "favouritism", I suppose you could call it. And also some people in the cricket fraternity that seem to want to sheild certain players. I think it would be fantastic if the players themselves actually said what they thought regarding selection. After all, they are the guys have to play with each other. I know it will never happen though unfortunatley. Never the less, Rob Quiney is a brilliant cricketer who had a rough start to test cricket againt the so called best bowling team in the world. Very unlucky to be dismissed the way he was in his first innings in Brisbane and then got 2 good ones. But anyway, we will all see what happens in a week or so I guess. If Hughes comes out against a mediocre attack and scores plenty he will be a hero. Which I think, will be unwarranted. But on the flipside, if he fails, it will be the same old excuses as before......

Posted by cwc on (December 8, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

great article.

Posted by Rhubarb muncher on (December 8, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

What nonsense. Quiney was given two tests and scored nine runs, so he was dropped. Wht possible reason does he have to feel indignant?

Posted by Rhubarb muncher on (December 8, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

What nonsense. Quiney was given two tests and scored nine runs, so he was dropped. Wht possible reason does he have to feel indignant?

Posted by 1783 on (December 7, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

Hughes is not and will not be good enough. end. of. story.

Posted by 1783 on (December 7, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

Hughes is and will not be good enough. end. of. story.

Posted by Sir Francis on (December 7, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

I didn't agree with Quiney's selection (his record pales compared to Rodgers & D. Hussey) and I'm a fan of Hughes & Khawaja. However, once picked, he deserved an extended run like North. He should have been given a chance against SL.

Posted by Victor on (December 7, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

Yay! someone has finally referred to G Yallop's fabo book "Lambs To The Slaughter". Sure its all from poor old Mr Yallop's point of view, but a great read nevertheless. If you spot it, do yourself a favor and grab it, as it was during the turning point of the face of cricket. Bravo Mr Jeh, bravo sir

Posted by James on (December 7, 2012, 4:03 GMT)

Australia will never be number one in the world until we unearth another world class spinner.

Posted by James on (December 7, 2012, 4:03 GMT)

Australia will never be number one in the world until we unearth another world class spinner.

Posted by Ollie on (December 7, 2012, 3:40 GMT)

Yep, most honest yet inexplicable piece of batting selection rationalisation I have ever seen.

Posted by Rick on (December 7, 2012, 3:38 GMT)

Generally speaking, Not every player is suited & comfortable in every playing condition. There are Only a few who fit into taht slot. D.K Lillie, Sir Richard headly, were great elsewhere but not so good in subcontinent. On the other hand Glen McGrath, Shane Warne, Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner, Courtny Walsh, Imran Khan, Wasim & Waqar etc were able to bother opposition regardless of the conditions. Same is true for Batsmen. Some are good players of swing bowling and some are not that good otherwise every one shall be able to bat at any number. The point is that defeat is a very bitter pill to swollow especially for the team (and fans) who have been No: 1 for 10-15 years. Same thing happened to West-indies after 1980s glory. Selection board gave the chance to Rob Quiney due to his consistant performance. He failed. If Usman Khawaja or Phil Hughes were given the chance and they had failed, the objection would be"why they are trying to revive the dead horses Why not they tried Rob Quiney.

Posted by Joseph Langford on (December 7, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

Incorrect Sam .... the ACB is doing a crap job!!! Since Pakistan 2010 (over 50 Innings) the top three wickets have fallen before 200 on all but one occasion and before 100 on all but 10 occasions. The continual selection of Warner who cannot bat as an opener should and protect the number 3 and 4 batsmen ..... which is their job ..... we will continue down the same road!!!

Posted by njr1330 on (December 7, 2012, 2:06 GMT)

Re: Philip Hughes: Imagine saying to a promising young swimmer... We're not going to let you go to the Olympics, because you might have to race against Michael Phelps!! Absolutely unbelievable!

Posted by Joseph Langford on (December 7, 2012, 0:40 GMT)

In regard to Quiney ..... we was given a chance!!! The way he batted in the first test I wouldn't have given him a second chance.

Posted by Joseph Langford on (December 7, 2012, 0:38 GMT)

Well, I believe that there has been a lot of politics in the Australian Cricket Team for far too long ..... and it's all about a bloke called Michael Clarke and its all about having a Cricket Captain from NSW. It all started back with Andrew Symonds who (would never play for Australia again), then went to Katich (who would never play for Australia again), then Hussey/Bollinger/North (I doubt the later two will never play for Australia again) and it goes on!!! When Clarke became captain it was a sham ..... Ponting form was under a microscope but in all the smoke and mirrors where was the analysis of Clarke's form. In his previous 8 Test Matches Clarke's average was only 21.5 ... and significantly lower than Ponting's. As Captain, Clarke then scaped through against Sri Lanka and salvaged a draw against Sth Africa .... the later would have been lost 2-0 if it wasn't for Mitchell Johnson's 40*. Clarke scored 2!!! Sorry, I could go on but I have run out of characters!!!

Posted by Chris on (December 7, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

of course if Quiney had of scored runs he would still be in the side, simple as that..getting caught on the boundary and knicking up twice to balls he should have left wern't the fault of the selectors..

Posted by Anonymous on (December 7, 2012, 0:01 GMT)

Well said Michael. When I heard they picked Quiney, I thought are they serious. Why didn't they pick one of the top 2 contenders (Hughes & Khawaja)! So now I am assuming Hughes would somehow be saved from the English next year. I wonder who would be the next the sacrificial lamb? Remember the poms had the better of Hughes last time he was there. And for the people who will say but he scored lots of run in county recently. My answer to them is watching the english bowlers bowling against India at the moment. Specially Anderson and Monty.

Posted by Nas on (December 6, 2012, 23:00 GMT)

Michael, Interesting view on the situation

Inverarity didnt actually "say" that Quiney was expendable did he? So have inferred it which doesnt actually make it true.

Quiney and Hughes both faced the south african attack in the Australia A game and Quiney scored a solid 85 against the SA attack, which by reports included a very fast and fiery Dale Steyn. Hughes made minor scores.

Quiney was in the side as a replacement for injured Shane Watson, so it want a full time appointment to number 3.

Perhaps if Quiney had scored runs in the 2 tests he played, he would be the current number 3 in the Australian side?

Perhaps if Hughes had scored the runs in the Australia A game, he may have got the nod ahead of Quiney for the tests?, and so on

I think the NSP have a long term plan, and are working to it as best they can.

Perhaps the issue is of priorities? Is the Priority the no1 ranking, or the ashes?

Nas

Posted by Ash Townsend on (December 6, 2012, 22:52 GMT)

Top article Michael, rings horribly true. This is what happens when the suits run the sport. None dare speak the truth for fear of expulsion from the club. The conniving, duplicitous BCCI has shown us the way.

Posted by Benbo on (December 6, 2012, 22:42 GMT)

Fantastic article Michael and a great comment from Smudgeon too, couldn't agree with you both any more. I'm sick to death of reading Malcolm Conn waffle on about how great Phil Hughes is and how he deserves his spot. We've picked a career opener at #3. An opener who, 10 months ago, had a dodgy technique and was found out. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day - nor is a fundamental technique for a number 3. If Khawaja is being released for BBL duties, I'd say he's fallen out of favour with the selection panel. Why pick him as captain then yank him out of the game after a net against the Sri Lankans? Cricket Australia is doing a bang up job of alienating their supporters.

Posted by Matt Watmore on (December 6, 2012, 22:07 GMT)

I am Australian and I feel for Khawaja. He should have been picked ahead of Hughes. Khawaja is a better player its as simple as that. The Sri Lankans will walk over Hughes. Politics and the fact you are not a 'True' Australian by nature cost you selection here I believe.

Posted by Adrian on (December 6, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

Quiney was meant to be the "buffer", which meant that all he had to do was to get 0 off 50 balls and he would have done the job. He failed in that regards by failing to last 10 balls in any innings. It reminds me of when Steve Smith was picked, apparently as the cheer leader. Steve Smith did his job well, was dumped, never to play again. Rob Quiney, though, failed in his admittedly minor request. I would much rather have Steve Smith in the team, who actually did what he was asked to do. Quiney clearly isn't test quality.

Posted by Geoff on (December 6, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

More importantly than slaps on the back or in the face is the fact that selectors clearly underestimate and dont recognise Hughes capacity. If he was considered the next best, he would have been selected as he has in recent years been our best batsmen against the Proteas. Given the way the series progressed and the contributions from key players, Aus should feel we are moving forward, there are some handy quicks developing and there are some solid batting options of which Hughes is probably the best in all conditions. Now thw selectors have made a decision. They need to give it a chance to stick and the shift of Watson to five makes the batting two batters better than last week. Good Luck Boys

Posted by BK on (December 6, 2012, 20:13 GMT)

Athletes motivational and emotional responses to success or failure need to be considered in the wider context of their teams real and perceived ability, expectations, and functioning at competition. Quiney's thoughts could/would be negative at moment and success/runs somewhere emotionally would be beneficial before being reintroduced. The selectors went with someone scoring runs now with a positive mental state. I think Lillee said the game was played at 90% mental and 10% physical at the national level. You'd prefer someone thinking I'm going to score runs rather than am i going to score runs. The selection of someone in form makes sense to me.

Posted by Sifter on (December 6, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

I think the idea that Australia should always select the best possible XI for each and every Test is a lovely romantic notion that fans love to hold onto, but it's a terribly naive one - plans must be made for the future, not just this week's match. I think of Peter Forrest being selected for ODIs last summer, he wouldn't have been in the top 10 OD batsmen in the country but the selectors wanted to see how he went in international cricket. I think of guys like Michael Clarke who were picked on little but the hope that his raw talent would win the day and he would burgeon into something special. It would also mean returns for old guys back into the team that have little to contribute in the mid-long term.

Will agree that the comments Inverarity made about Hughes being thrown in at the deep end vs SA were frank, but silly. Doubts may start to creep into Hughes' mind if he reads that, I wouldn't even have said that to him behind closed doors.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 6, 2012, 18:48 GMT)

Australian cricket is at it's lowest point in 50 years, and the selection of Hughes over Quiney demonstrates that. Their now famous 'slide' after having Warne & Mcgrath in the side, started as everyone remembers by England, continues at full pace, and they continue to go backwards instead of forwards to a new beginning, where a solid coaching base and extra work on fitness and fielding produces exceptional cricketers down the line.

Posted by Sion Morris on (December 6, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

Michael, how can phillip hughes be ready to face one test nation and not another? If he's strong enough for test cricket against one team, then surely he's strong enough against everyone?! Plus, Didn't he hundred on debut v SA a couple of years ago? Some seriously muddled selections from Oz to follow their questionable selection for the last test match v SA. Who do you think should be in?

Posted by Sion Morris on (December 6, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

Michael, how can phillip hughes be ready to face one test nation and not another? If he's strong enough for test cricket against one team, then surely he's strong enough against everyone?! Plus, Didn't he hundred on debut v SA a couple of years ago? Some seriously muddled selections from Oz to follow their questionable selection for the last test match v SA. Who do you think should be in?

Posted by Anonymous on (December 6, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

Rob Quiney had his own career in his hands after all. If he'd scored a couple of fifties, he might not have been immediately expendable.

Posted by Sandeep on (December 6, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

Hi, I am from India, and I must say I was really feeling for Quiney when I read the news about him not holding a grudge and all that. As said in this article, nowadays sports persons are living a chained life that they cant express their feelings publicly anywhere. The intention of the selection panel is in the best interests of Australian cricket, but still this was a shocker...

Posted by ali bajan on (December 6, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

Quiney huh... I don't know how they do things in Oz..

but I have seen selectors pick people who they are SURE will fail, because they are trying to keep someone in good form out of the team to prevent them from establishing themselves (should they get some runs). They do this because the selector's "preferred" player is out of form. It is all attempt to keep the batting slot open until the "preferred" player scores some runs in the domestic league so they have a justifiable reason to select him...

Posted by Brett on (December 6, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

So Rob Quiney was just the ultimate nightwatchman - and instead of three overs before stumps, we're using them three matches ahead now. Doesn't bode well for the future...

Posted by Lawton on (December 6, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

My prediction.1)Phil Hughes will make a million of runs against vanilla offerings of the Sri Lankans.2)His lack of batting technique will be exposed against the English and will be dumpped again after the second Ashes Test.

Posted by madpie on (December 6, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

Great article! Couldn't agree more.

Posted by fahad javed on (December 6, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

Well said Michael. For a long time Aussies were ruthless in their selection dropping Waugh just because there was someone better whereas for other teams even thinking of dropping their old guard was sacrilegious (Tandulkar etc. for India for example.) They were at the top of their game as well but now they are soft and pick teams based on other factors. I hoped that the new selection team will be better than the previous one but they are clearly still not man enough to do the right thing. I hope for cricket's sake that some tough characters are included in the selection panel or else Aussies might not see themselves even in the top 4.

Posted by Nahim on (December 6, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

This is crazy. The most charitable interpretation I can put on this is that the Aussie selectors are over-thinking things. So they end up going for the fancy, counter-intuitive, intellectual choice, rather than the logical one. Why else would you change the entire pace attack after one test?

Contrast this with SA's selections during the series- hardly perfect, but at least they went with the logical ebbs and flows. As such they ended up picking two players (du Plessis, Peterson) who had a pivotal impact on the series.

Perhaps the best way to see the difference is to look at how Kallis and Siddle were handled. After Kallis's heroic Adelaide performance, SA made it a priority to ensure he would make it to the squad, even though the chances looked slim. Whereas after Siddle's heroic Adelaide performance, the Aussie selectors (and media!) seemed to assume from the go that Siddle would not be fit for Perth.

Posted by Illiyaz on (December 6, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

Is Hughes somehow related to Inverarity???Poor Rob quiney, It must ve been very very hard for him.So is Khawaja the next bakra(sacrificial lamb in hindi) ? With this attitude, Australian cricket will never be back to No 1.Indians are making sure they exact revenge (for 3-0 drubbing) on them by increasing England's confidence.Bye bye Ashes.It is a baffling decision to remove Khawaja from 3 day game to practise HITTING, the message is loud and clear to Khawaja that he is not the next in line after Hughes.

Posted by booney on (December 6, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

The idea that Khawaja is not quite right for test cricket, because he needs to improve his running and fielding is rubbish. It suggests to me that the selection panel are rationalising because they don't know who to pick.

Micky Arthur has been making noises that whoever being selected ought to be given time to find their feet. Where was that thinking 12 months ago when Usman was removed from the team averaging just over 29 from 6 tests? As was revealed on Channel 9 commentary during the last test, Amla was only averaging 32 from his first 10, but SA didn't cast him adrift.

No credit for Khawaja for scoring 65 in the 310 run chase vs South Africa. If i recall all the wraps were for Ponting for getting a 50. Furthermore, while we're all soft and fuzzy about Ricky on his retirement, the fact that Khawaja was dropped, while Ponting remained, was in my opinion unfathomable. The problem with these selectors is that while they want to build for the future, they're just too afraid to lose.

Posted by Politicricketing on (December 6, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

Well, It was given to understand that the Argus report would revolutionize the CA and its affairs but no such thing is happening.Things are only going from bad to worse. Next year it will be Hussey who will be hanging up. Who will the selectors then call upon? It's a case of 'Similar Strokes' with respect to the way BCCI is running cricket rather than "Different Strokes"

Posted by Philip on (December 6, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

So! Do you have to be a mate of Mr clarke to get a place in the Test team. SURELY, the Captain should NOT be a selector, and as for Invers, He seems to have forgotten the State in the NE corner of Australia. Our Bowlers failed to bowl SA out in Adelaide and Perth. Give the Shield holders a couple of chances. Replace the keeper who cannot keep for a start!!, and pick a bowler who can maintain some resemblance of line and length

Posted by Philip on (December 6, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

So! Do you have to be a mate of Mr clarke to get a place in the Test team. SURELY, the Captain should NOT be a selector, and as for Invers, He seems to have forgotten the State in the NE corner of Australia. Our Bowlers failed to bowl SA out in Adelaide and Perth. Give the Shield holders a couple of chances. Replace the keeper who cannot keep for a start!!, and pick a bowler who can maintain some resemblance of line and length

Posted by shahzad on (December 6, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

imagine what must be going through phil hughes mind... he must be thinking head of selection committee thinks i m good but not good enough to face steyn & co. his confidence must have been shattered

Posted by mautan on (December 6, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

This is quite disgusting.Insulting almost. If there is no much preferential treatment given to one player, the whole value of the baggy green is brought down. I hope and pray that Rob Quiney gets atleast a couple of tests more to prove, or else forever he will feel a second class citizen in front of someone like Hughes. By the way, Hughes has a far worse technique than Quiney. This is shocking.Feel for Quiney.

Posted by Anonymous on (December 6, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

Quiney scored 9 runs in 3 innings and got dropped. Had he done his job and scored runs he'd still be in. End of story.

Posted by jack on (December 6, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

Great article........ If they are not picking the absolute best available team, they have no business being selectors.

Posted by bobagorof on (December 6, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

The last player I can think of who was selected above a 'favourite' was Scott Muller, in 1999, before he was dropped for Brett Lee. In Muller's case, however, his domestic performances warranted his selection and he had been on tour previous. This situation is completely different, and is more than a bit distressing. Coupled with the Khawaja situation, it points to some shonky dealings and undermines players' confidence as to whether the best selections are being made. Following the Argus review, and its recommendation for clearer lines of communication between players and selectors, was Quiney told that he was only being selected to protect a favourite player and would be dropped at soon as convenient? And how does this affect Hughes, with the tacit admission that he wasn't considered good enough for the South African series (despite scoring centuries against the same attack years ago) but yet is supposed to be the future?

Posted by Anonymous on (December 6, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

This is the height of lunacy.

You are suggesting that

1) The selectors think Hughes can't play fast bowling. 2) Because of this the selectors select Quiney (last years shield player of the year)

This is perfectly reasonable so far. But now your suggesting that Quiney was selected to protect Hughes from having to play pace, so that they could select him in the Ashes where he would have to play pace in favourable conditions for pace bowlers.

A more rational explanation is that they wanted Hughes to play more shield games to demonstrate that he had removed his technical flaw. He promptly did this by scoring 150 against Victoria, whilst Australia was playing at the Gabba.

Posted by Simoc on (December 6, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

Well Michael That is a pretty ordinary effort and I would send you off in Quineys path so that you might learn to deliver a decent article; as you and Quiney didn't, when given the opportunity. It is so easy to be sarcastic in hindsight and that is all you have delivered. Quiney had two opportunities and failed at each attempt. Hughes will probably get six opportunities but has proven ability at international level, something which you lack.

Posted by Lone star on (December 6, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

Great article, I believe it highlights just how confused the national selection panel has become and more broadly speaking CA. If Hughes is the next in line, wouldn't you want to play him against a team he has 2 test hundreds against, on home soil, when in domestic season leading form? Sounds like a recipe for success to me. And what if quiney had performed? What then of our protected species?? What happened to picking the best XI on the back of strong international or domestic form? If those players fail, look to strong domestic form to find the next best. Sounds simple really... We are definitely over thinking it at the moment

Posted by Tahir Salman on (December 6, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

"...that is the role of the modern professional cricketer these days. Say nothing of substance, nothing controversial, nothing that can be misconstrued as..." And say nothing about the fixing that the boards and the ICC are getting involved in. Players are asked to keep queite or their careers would be over in no time!!

Posted by Dave on (December 6, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

I think its fair to say, the selection panel has a long term strategic goal of grooming a group of players to be number one in the world. However while aiming for this they have conceded its aceptable to loose a battle along the war to wining a war (foregoing winning every game at any cost). To my mind a sink or swim policy of selection suits best as adversity brings out the best in great players. Though should all going from the domestic to the deeper international waters find themselves unable to stay afloat the standard in the domestic game must be addressed.

Posted by Dave on (December 6, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

I think its fair to say, the selection panel has a long term strategic goal of grooming a group of players to be number one in the world. However while aiming for this they have conceded its aceptable to loose a battle along the war to wining a war (foregoing winning every game at any cost). To my mind a sink or swim policy of selection suits best as adversity brings out the best in great players. Though should all going from the domestic to the deeper international waters find themselves unable to stay afloat the standard in the domestic game must be addressed.

Posted by ygkd on (December 6, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

At noon I hadn't heard of the Test team selection, but the way Khawaja was batting made it pretty obvious he wasn't in it. Oh well, I'm sure he'll say that he's thrilled to be off to the Big Bash.

Posted by Peter on (December 6, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

In all fairness to the selectors, Quiney outplayed Hughes in the tour match leading into the Gabba test against the proteas. I think he deserves another chance against Sri Lanka given Hughes's inability to perform at the top level. Would Hughes have performed better than Quiney? You decide.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 6, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

@Smudgeon, Agree entirely. Lamb to the Slaghuis applies equally to Tsotsobe who had the temerity to complain when he was overlooked for de Lange and was asked to carry the drinks in England. Will he return to favour or will his "bad attitude" end his career?

Posted by Mary on (December 6, 2012, 10:22 GMT)

I would have liked to see Khawaja but i am glad that the selectors acknowledged the improvements he has made, hopefully we see him in the team with Hughes.

Posted by Gazooligan on (December 6, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

Michael, it's interesting that you are so clearly dissatisfied with the "diplomatic and utterly manufactured" comments modern crickets make "these days" (I'm not sure when else modern cricketers would make comment), and yet a few paragraphs earlier you chose to dissect Inverarity's statement, "reading between the lines" to make the case as you see it. For what it is worth my take is a little different, that it is a developmental decision which involves handling assets in a thoughtful manner. Hughes as a long term prospect was guarded from a possible setback in confidence and another contender who was close to the mark was given a chance based on the extra years of wisdom, grit, whatever may come with that. If Quiney had grabbed the chance by the scruff of the neck they probably would have given him a chance to run with it. Windows sometimes open just briefly and luck goes both ways. I wish Hughes the best of luck with his new opportunity, and Quiney with any future opportunity he gets.

Posted by Dashgar on (December 6, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Perhaps Quiney was a lamb to the slaughter but as a 30 year old with an average below 40 I bet he was delighted to be. I would say that Jamie Cox would have treasured a chance to play a series against the mighty West Indians of the early 90s to shield a young Damien Martyn or Ricky Ponting. The fact is that if Quiney had managed to make big runs he'd be playing in Hobart. But at 30 he isn't going to get the easy transition into the game that is afforded a 23 year old. Chances come in all shapes and sizes, if you want to play for Australia you have to take them or get back in line.

Posted by Alex on (December 6, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

Michael, another fantastic article. I think you have absolutely highlighted the fact that Quiney's selection was nothing more than a temporary stop-gap measure, a decision made more out of hopefulness of a noteworthy performance than out of expectation. Really interesting article, keep up the good work.

Posted by Umar on (December 6, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

Well this is unworthy team, a spot for middle order batsman is left and they are selecting 4 opening batsmen in 12 member team. I am surprised that how on earth can an opening one take the place of middle order batsman, this team has only two middle orders ie, huss and pup. Taking wade as an opener we got 5 opners in a team.

Posted by smudgeon on (December 6, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

Michael, you've perfectly captured every thought that went through my head when I read Inverarity's statement. To say I'm peeved and disgusted is an understatement. I said elsewhere that I had always presumed Australian test cricket was played on the principle that you pick your best available XI, and compete as hard as you can against your opposition. The idea of Rob Quiney being somehow expendable is a slap in the face to the cricketing public, cricketers around Australia, and in particular to Rob Quiney (but it's okay - he doesn't hold a grudge). Inverarity is a very well spoken, articulate man, but the sub-text and double-speak in this latest statement made me very uneasy with the selection panel. The other thing that really gets my goat: the idea that Philip Hughes somehow "deserves" to have an easy re-entry to test cricket. Seriously, maybe I should give up on following test cricket and just watch cats doing hilarious things on Youtube. I'm sure they don't hold grudges, either...

Posted by Sam Krushka on (December 6, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

Cricket Australia is doing a pretty good job overall the new with selection panel in place and I believe the selectors are on the right path to getting us back to number 1 in the world. Where I believe they have made the biggest mistake is with their ranking of the players and the minimal number of contracts being offered by CA. The right way to go in my opinion would be to select a squad of say 40 to 50 players from the 6 domestic sides (maybe 6 per team plus the best of the rest) that CA selectors believe capable of playing for Australia in at least 1 form (Test, Odi, 20/20). Similar models from sports such as AFL or NFL could be adapted for areas such as Leadership, Coaching and even Management and Selection of each of the teams. NFL has 3 separate departments while afl has a strong squad culture. This would enable coaches, players & selectors to speak honestly about selection in the media at the very least. Thats a brief summary of how I believe we can make it back to the top..

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Jeh
Born in Colombo, educated at Oxford and now living in Brisbane, Michael Jeh (Fox) is a cricket lover with a global perspective on the game. An Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, he is a Playing Member of the MCC and still plays grade cricket. Michael now works closely with elite athletes, and is passionate about youth intervention programmes. He still chases his boyhood dream of running a wildlife safari operation called Barefoot in Africa.

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