Australia v Sri Lanka, Commonwealth Bank Series, Sydney February 16, 2012

Selectors clearer with players than public - Ponting


Brad Haddin knows precisely where he stands with the Australian team and its selectors, even though a thorough explanation has not been outlined for public consumption.

ESPNcricinfo has learned Haddin spoke on Tuesday to the Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive, Paul Marsh, telling him he was satisfied that he knew where he stood and that the communication from the selectors had been adequate.

The lack of a publicly mirrored statement from the national selector John Inverarity has left a few heads being scratched, though not within the dressing room.

As he prepared to lead Australia as Michael Clarke's stand-in, Ricky Ponting conveyed no discomfort at all about the way Inverarity and his panel have communicated with the players since they were appointed as part of the raft of team support staff changes brought in by the Argus review.

Communication has been a buzz topic of the past few days, particularly after Steve Waugh then Shane Watson indicated that Haddin deserved a better explanation for his omission from the ODI team than that which had been publicly given. Inverarity had stated that Haddin was being rested for the first three matches of the series before the panel reassessed the position, but Ponting said a more concrete explanation had been delivered privately.

"I think he actually has been given that [explanation], face-to-face," Ponting said. "That's my understanding of it all. He's been told, his position has been rock solid all the way through. He hasn't changed anything. What he had to say when he was left out of the first game is exactly what he's saying now. I've got no idea why the communication has been the way it has been to the media but I know Brad's stance hasn't changed from day dot.

"I think Brad's been spot on the mark with everything he's had to say. It's been made pretty clear now that what Brad's had to say at the start of the one-day series looks like it's the way it is. He's been unmoved in his stance on his situation. He's got a week where hopefully he's not answering those questions any more and he can get a really good Sheffield Shield game under his belt, score some runs, take some catches, and come out of this week a lot happier guy than he is at the moment. I think it's all pretty clear as far as he's concerned."

When he was appointed to the national selector role, Inverarity's highest priority was establishing effective and mature communication with the players about where they stood at any given time. There have been very few of the player rumblings of discontent that accompanied the previous panel, chaired by Andrew Hilditch, but Inverarity has maintained a certain level of mystique by not explaining every decision in great detail to the public via the media.

The public dimension to Inverarity's role is still evolving, leading to the occasional moment of doubt about where players stood. David Warner's elevation to the ODI vice-captaincy, for example, was not trumpeted, even though everyone within the dressing room knew exactly when and why he had been given the post. Ponting said his own communication with the panel had been strong and consistent, but added he could not speak for others.

"Whatever communication I've had with selectors since this new panel's been in place, to me directly, has been very good," Ponting said. "Because I've been out of the loop in the last few months and not being the captain ... I'm not exactly sure of the way the communication's been between players on the outside or players coming in or out. I really can't answer that question."

Inverarity's appointment, alongside those of the other selectors Rod Marsh, Andy Bichel and the coach/selector Mickey Arthur, was hastened by the Argus review's list of recommendations. Ponting said those changes had helped freshen a set-up that had become stale, providing something of a catalyst for the success that has followed.

"I just think a whole freshening of everything has probably been the major reason that things have turned around the way they have," Ponting said. "It's just been a really refreshing feel I guess right through cricket in Australia, not just around the national team either but everything. All the issues that were brought up in the Argus review have been been addressed and some of the appointments that have been made, it certainly looks like we've got cricket in Australia heading in the right direction.

"To be in and around the team in the last few months has been great fun, been very enjoyable. We've won some games of cricket and when you win games of cricket obviously the atmosphere around everything picks up. Culture in a team is all about winning games and when you start winning games it's amazing what it does for the culture of the team. I think everyone that you would have spoken to throughout this year has enjoyed their cricket.

"When you've got guys that are enjoying their cricket it's amazing what guys can achieve. That's been our whole focus, hard work, enjoyment, doing whatever you can to win and if you're doing that then everything else tends to look after itself. I think everything that's happened in the last six months has been ultra-positive for Australian cricket. Every now and then you've got to take stock and have a look at where you're going, what areas need a lot of attention. There's no doubt throughout Australian cricket there were a lot of areas that needed attention and I think most of those have been addressed."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nick on February 17, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Meety - I agree about O'keefe should get a chance as backup spinner to the test team and definitely T20. I wonder if it is a personality thing - perhaps Clarke doesn't like him? His one day stats aren't great. But then again, if you're a selector, who cares about performance right? Forrest and Hilfenhaus have mediocre one day stats but that doesn't stop them being in the team. I also agree that this is a good article by Brettig. After his bizarre article about Khawaja, he was certainly due for a good one. The problem with Brettig as a writer, to use a cricketing analogy, is that he never converts his starts into a big score. We all see his potential, but are left bewildered about his lack of consistent performances.

  • Roo on February 17, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    I think everyone should take a step back on this 'rested/dropped' discussion... Paine was already being prepared as Haddin's replacement 2 years ago then something hit the fan & now we need to test a new replacement quickly (Haddin breaks a finger we'd be stuffed)... Argus said we need a squad - i.e. 8 batsmen, 2 keepers, 6 bowlers as a core group + replacements in queue... Perhaps you should all being asking the Manager Team Performance (Howard) where we are going with our players as the buck stops with him... PS: Coulter-Nile just got Haddin for a duck & Watson for 21 at the WACA...

  • Roo on February 17, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    @Meety... Yes, I think all fans would like to have some indication of where the top 30-40 players sit in the NSP's eyes & what they need to do to be in the top 16 of the 3 formats - it would stop the confusion when someone like Forrest is picked when other batsmen have better form in this format this season... This is a job for Pat Howard as he is the NSP's boss & is ultimately responsible for where all our players are heading...

  • Andrew on February 17, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    I think this i sone of the best articles to come out of cricinfo in ages, (well done Daniel). The biggest problem with the past regime is that it never told anybody anything. So players & fans were in the dark, add to it that 1,000 man squad for the 1st Ashes test last year & you can see why performances weren't where they should of been. This time around, the selectors are keeping in the loop (great), but playing political spin doctors with the public - (the people who ultimately pay their wages) - that aint great! Other sports tell it how it is, a player gets dropped or before hand told to pick up his act. In cricket we get nothing, he's been rested (Haddin), is just spin. I am happy that in private he has been counselled on some level about what his chances of international duty, but I would like to see some more transparency with the public - like why does SO'K keep getting overlooked (injury prone?), where is Copeland in the Test pecking order etc.

  • Nick on February 17, 2012, 2:13 GMT

    Why are the selectors not being clear with the public?

  • Mick on February 17, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    @Sayantan Bhattacharya: Watson has been injured and when fit will come straight back into the Australian side, most likely in all forms. It bears no comparison whatsoever to the Katich situation.

  • Hamish on February 17, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    Several issues a) Haddin averages 11 with a SR of 66.66 in his last 10 ODIs and he's batted in all of them. His glovework is poor. It's hard to say that he justifies a place in the team much less a chance to captain. b) any player who is rested might not make it back if his replacement does well. Haddin was probably left out for a break and would have come back in the second lot of ODIs if Wade hadn't done well. It's especially bad for a keeper because there's only 1 spot (unless you want to play Haddin as a batsman, in which case see a) c) we don't know what Haddin has been told, and seeing as Watson has been away from the squad since the tour of RSA (apart from a batting camp around Christmas) he's not in the ideal position to know either. d) As far as the captaincy and vice-captaincy thing goes Watson was the VC until he was injured, Warner was given the role for a short time to get him involved but when he's averaging about 21 and SR 80 fair enough he should focus on batting

  • Sialkoti on February 16, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    This is the time for media to jump in and fire new head of selection because it's media who has problem with him not players.

    Media can make and break any person in the world.

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Looks like Watson is going the Katich way. Pity, he was a good player.

  • ashok on February 16, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    he is the only dead weight in the Aussie team...

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