Australia in Sri Lanka 2011

Chappell to remain selector on duty

Daniel Brettig in Colombo

August 22, 2011

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Andrew Hilditch and Greg Chappell at Australia's net session, Brisbane, November 24, 2010
The Argus review has ended Greg Chappell's role as a selector © Getty Images
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Greg Chappell will remain on tour as Australia's selector on duty ahead of the three Tests against Sri Lanka after discussions with James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive.

Sutherland and Chappell cleared whatever shades of grey remained between them in Colombo on Tuesday to confirm that CA's national talent manager would remain as the selector on tour in a caretaker capacity, despite being stripped of the role for the future as part of the restructures brought on by the Argus review.

"Greg's staying, Greg's selector on duty and he'll stay until whatever time we see appropriate," Sutherland said before departing Colombo after the briefest of visits. "The approach we normally take with selector on duty is once we get into the Test series then we just see how things go and what's needed on the ground here. Greg will be selector on duty through the Test series.

"We just talked through the circumstances and he's completely understanding of that and he's an employee of CA and he fully understands, he's absolutely committed to CA and he understands that's in the best interests as well, and he'll be fine."

Having spoken to the assembled Australian team on tour, including all coaches and support staff, Sutherland said none of his discussions indicated that Chappell would seek to leave the national talent manager's role now it had been re-defined.

"Absolutely no discussion about that, Greg is national talent manager and I'm on public record saying I can't think of anyone in the world who is better credentialled than Greg Chappell to do the job," Sutherland said.

"I came over here just to have a chat to everyone, and what I see is a group of absolutely dead-set professionals, who are very focused on what they need to do in the immediate term to help the Australian cricket team win the current Test series. I don't see there's any distraction that we need to have any concerns about."

Michael Clarke, the Australian captain, had said after the final ODI against Sri Lanka that he was happy to take responsibility for selection, alongside the coach Tim Nielsen - himself unlikely to keep his job much longer - if Chappell chose to fly home.

"I'm not bothered either way," Clarke said. "If Greg stays fantastic, if Greg has to go back then obviously the coach and the captain are now selectors, we'll have the communication with the selectors back home like there normally is, so either way I'm not really fussed to be honest."

The head of cricket operations, Michael Brown, himself moved to one side as one of the recommendations of the review, was in Colombo to manage the announcement of the findings and has been seen in animated conversation with Ricky Ponting and the former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody, among others.

Jamie Cox, the only remaining member of the selection panel who has not been given an immediate verdict on his future, had indicated that Chappell would stay on in Sri Lanka, as neither Cox nor the departing chairman, Andrew Hilditch, were intent on joining the tour in a caretaker capacity.

Hilditch released a statement on the day of the review's publication, indicating that his time as a member of the selection panel was effectively at an end.

The elevation of the captain to an official selection position is only the subtlest of changes from the accepted norms of Australian cricket. Mark Taylor once described the dynamic between himself and the selectors to the then England captain Mike Atherton: "I don't officially sit in on selection, but by and large they'll let me take who I want."

Similarly, Clarke did not feel any great qualms about holding the role and talking to players about their inclusion or otherwise.

"I understand what comes with it, but I think in regards to the players, they know the captain has some sort of input in the XI that take the field anyway," he said. "Not in all decisions but he gets to at least voice his opinion. Being a selector will be quite similar, I don't make or break the decision, I have my vote, and if I get outvoted, it doesn't go that way.

"The players understand the captain has always had somewhat of a say, obviously now being an official selector you'll have a bit more of a say, but for me it's about getting the best XI players we possibly can onto that field and we play our best cricket, it's as simple as that. None of the decisions I make will ever be personal, it'll be all about what's best for the team and I've tried to do that from day one."

That process, in Test cricket at least, begins when Clarke speaks to Nielsen and Chappell about how to approach the warm-up match, balancing his prospective Test XI against those younger players, like the spin bowler Nathan Lyon, who he must get a decent sight of.

"It's a tough one, you can go one of two ways, either you can pick your Test team, or close to your Test team, and play that to try to get a bit of momentum as a team," Clarke said, "but then you've also got to monitor where guys are at, the guys who've played all five one-dayers, and work out if you know your Test XI.

"It is pretty important that we make that decision, I'd like to give the guys as much notice as possible and I believe we've got to do whatever's right to get us 100% ready, day one of that Test match."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by RightArmEverything on (August 24, 2011, 3:27 GMT)

@Luke Hantzis, which Aussie batsmen apart from Mike Hussey did have a good Ashes series? I hope Clarke has a cracking tour of Sri Lanka.

Posted by Meety on (August 24, 2011, 2:56 GMT)

@camcove - well said. I think that Pattinson & Copeland will be in the mix due to 3 test in 3 weeks & Harris's knees are unlikely to stand up to that schedule. I am hoping that the selectors are considering Copeland ahead of Pattinson despite the latters reasonably good performance in the 5th ODI. Pattinson has less of a track record than Copeland & was probably in the ODI side because Copeland has currently a poor short form record. I think Pattinson is a big talent, but I think Copeland deserves to be next cab off the rank (IMO). @Behind_the_bowlers_arm - I agree regarding selections in the ODI side. I thought it lacked much in the way of iniative. The WC though is still a long way away & I suppose the selectors were thinking of defending the #1 ranking in ODIs. To me Haddin must go from the ODI/T20 sides straight away. I'm sort of leaning towards M Hussey being omitted from the ODI side shortly too. We have great ODI prospects everywhere, so replacing them won't be too hard!

Posted by hyclass on (August 24, 2011, 1:02 GMT)

Im fascinated by the term,'Care-taker'.To me,it implies,taking care.Hilditch was retained as the caretaker,head selector after his contract expired.Numerous reasons were supplied,one being continuity.I wonder what relevence,continuity has,when your team is being thrashed.Im confident that few people will believe that care was taken in the preparation and selection of this side and yet,the coach is currently in a caretaker capacity and the on tour selector as well.Bollinger,who had great success,but was ignored for the last game,despite having no further cricket,was sent home.Could it be that his obvious fitness and great success were embarrassing the,'caretakers'?That wouldnt do and so Bollinger must go.Alas for David Hussey,who,like many before him,could play like Bradman and never gain test selection.O'Keefe languishes at home and continues to be ignored on a spinners tour.Reserve wicket keepers are nowhere to be see.Fortunately,the caretakers remain on tour,taking care-but of whom?

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 22:57 GMT)

Shades of the 70's here, remember when the Packer group with the Chappell's at the fore front split the Australian team during a tour of England. Greg Chappell has been there and done that before his roll is that of a non enity with no long term say in this team.No one is going to say booan because an Cricket Australia official travel half way around the world to ask him what he wanted to do! Greg Chappell ordered his brother to bowl underarm so he wouldn't lose a game of cricket! his reason; I was tired!. Was kicked out of Idian cricket because he couldn't get on with people, that is suppose to be what a coach does!Yet he still chases the the big bucks and a positions of influence. It is time to bite the bullett Cricket Australia, you know the Australian public do not endorse Chappell's involvement in their national sport. Fans were led to believe that progressive changes were afoot, instead we get history repeating itself !!!!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 22:40 GMT)

I am sure Clarke is excited about having Chappelll around like Ganguly was

Posted by CricketChat on (August 23, 2011, 16:02 GMT)

Don't know why Greg is so much enamored with being a selector or a coach. His record was absolutely terrible so far. No one, including Aussies, wants him around. Greg should do what he does best, teaching youngsters in batting technique.

Posted by sohaibahmad on (August 23, 2011, 15:46 GMT)

good news for Sri Lanka :), hope Greg remains and opposition can rejoice

Posted by bobagorof on (August 23, 2011, 14:24 GMT)

land47: I think you'll find that none of the recommendations ARE being implemented until after the SL series - everyone is staying in 'caretaker' positions in exactly the same setup as it was on the day before the report came out. People will know that things will change, but while the tour is on they'll keep the status quo.

Posted by Herath-UK on (August 23, 2011, 14:06 GMT)

It is interesting Tom Moody is currently on tour in Sri Lanka where both teams are looking for the head coach.Will he be landed with one of the jobs? Ranil Herath -Kent

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

who ever is the selector now......just dump that steven smith forever......

Posted by venkatSan on (August 23, 2011, 12:42 GMT)

Better to have Ricky Ponting as the on-tour selector!!!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 11:26 GMT)

Come on, Pups! As an official selector now, for starters, why don't you call back Katich?

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 10:35 GMT)

Do you reckon Michael Clarke would consider dropping himself from the Test team now that he's a selector? What did he average in the Ashes; can anybody tell me?

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (August 23, 2011, 8:54 GMT)

Its a transitional time so you just pick the best 11 from the squad there though i would love it if Clarke's first words at the meeting were 'Send me Steve O'Keefe'. Dont have a problem as long as it means that once the squad for SA is being considered that Hilditch & Chappell as far away as possible. Speaking of selections can anyone explain the recent ODI team to me? The next World Cup is in 2015 and we are using Hussey x 2 & Ponting and only the last match saw the introduction of a young bowler in Pattinson. For the next two years (take note new selectors) the ODI team should be used as a trying ground for young future Test players or in away tours like this with minimal or nil lead up 3 or 4 day games as a game with the full Test side selected to have some practice in foreign conditions .... ie dont worry about the result, set Test fields and bat 50 overs like Test batsmen. Hell, even wear white clothing!

Posted by chandau on (August 23, 2011, 7:03 GMT)

@ Cpt.Meanster , gogoldengreens : Hope u guys read this article s l o w l y. Clark is a selector on tour, which means he and the coach together with the selector on tour will select the playing XI for a match. This is common for most test / non test nations. After all the captain is the one who leads on the field - simple logic dictates he should have some say in the composition of men. How can u drop the captain during a tour? usually captains are appointed for fixed terms like say for the year 2011 or for 2 years from today or untill next world cup. Asia has a tendancy to appoint captains for a series or a couple (Pakistan.) Either way a captain is usually not replaced mid tour irrespective of his form. If he is injured the vice captain takes over (Clark did when Ponting broke a finger). Sometimes for tour matches when both take a rest some senior is made captain. So the conflict of interest as stated is not there. One sign of Chappell going; dropping Smith from ODI team LOL

Posted by anver777 on (August 23, 2011, 6:56 GMT)

This was coming................. i think Aus Board did the right thing by axing Greg as a selector !!! mark my words ... in future we can see a big different in OZ setup !!!!

Posted by landl47 on (August 23, 2011, 4:24 GMT)

As an outsider, I'd have to say, what a mess. Here they are, just days before the first test of a series, and the captain doesn't know who the selectors are or what the game plan is for the tour. The guy supposed to be with the team representing the selection committee has been axed, the coach has to reapply for his job and the only person likely to remain in the new set-up isn't going to join the tour. What is Cricket Australia playing at? Either they should have waited until after the tour to implement Argus' recommendations or they should have had a plan in place for the transition. As of now, nobody has a job and the captain is left to struggle along with a lame duck coach. Neither Michael Clarke nor the Australian players deserve to be treated like this.

Posted by camcove on (August 23, 2011, 2:12 GMT)

People seem to forget that in the era when the Chappells played, the tour selectors were often players only. As I recall, on Ian's first tour of England as captain, the tour selectors were the captain and vice captain and a third senior player - John Inverarity. As with any organisational setup, you have to take into consideration the quality of the people concerned. Inverarity showed his selfless regard for the team when he was part of the decision to drop himself from the side. Given the stated comments about the relationship between Greg and the players, it is not surprising that he would find continuing difficult. Unfortunately, many will doubtless see it as merely a hissy fit. For those pumping for Copeland, I have a high regard for him but doubt whether he would be selected at this stage ahead of either an incumbent or Pattinson. And Lyon may well surprise, even against the good players of spin. Uncertain stamina (little 1st class cricket) is my only question mark about him.

Posted by Itchy on (August 23, 2011, 2:09 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: what Taylor and Warne have said is somewhat irrelevant - the Argus review has come up with an alternative view which would seem to be a serious improvement on what has been the norm. There will be a full-time selector on the panel and as stated in the article, the captain of the side has always had a say in the team - the decision to elevate the captain to a selctor as well just makes it more official than it has been.

Posted by RD270 on (August 23, 2011, 1:54 GMT)

Tom Moody would make an excellent coach!

Posted by hyclass on (August 23, 2011, 1:30 GMT)

I wonder how,if Clarke has input into team make-up,at the level that is indicated by Taylors asides to Atherton,that O'Keefe and Bollinger arent in the squad.I also wonder at the ommision of a better keeper or back up.I would have expected Wade or Paine to be given an opportunity.I understand that we are witnessing the last twisted rites of selection panel who are now being confined to history on the back of unfathomable selections and results. But in 2011,when every professional is available instantly by phone,do we have to endure,putting less than our best team on the field and crossing our fingers once more? As charming a news story as it is for Lyon,for Beer before him and Doherty and Krezja before them,even the youngest of cricket followers are aware that only O'Keefe and Hauritz,who is injured,currently have credentials to warrant test selection.One wonders at the continued omission of long format specialist and peerless run scorer,David Hussey.As Argus said,results before age.

Posted by David47 on (August 23, 2011, 1:25 GMT)

Pup says it all when commenting "I'm not fussed either way". In my book that's code for "he's got nothing to contribute anyway" What do you think?? And as some of you have pointed out, the Aus captain has always been a selector while on tour - same for the coach so no change there.

Posted by thebrownie on (August 23, 2011, 0:24 GMT)

Cpt. Meanster: this is for on tour selection. Not full time.

Posted by Yugiyoh on (August 23, 2011, 0:16 GMT)

I am not in the least bit surprised at CAs decision regarding Chappell. Just as you can't keep a good down for too long, you can't keep an confrontational and egotistical man like Chappell up for too long. The quality of his work shows in the damage it does to the team he manages or the young players he supposed to groom. His future employees should consider the implications when they make him an offer.

Posted by gogoldengreens on (August 23, 2011, 0:14 GMT)

Good news - Hilditch out!! However new model has some flaws... Players cannot come and see the coach/coach on issues they may be having with form etc knowing that they will be possibly standing them down... it is a conflict of interest... It is a good method when backed up behind a selection panel for deciding votes etc when there is a deadlock... Other point is who drops the skipper when form is bad?? Keep a selector with the team untill the new roles are established

Posted by HatsforBats on (August 23, 2011, 0:00 GMT)

A captain of course should have a say in who makes the squad, but it's a tricky issue to balance. Clarke has shown is he professional enough to deal with friends in the team, evident in his role in the disciplinary action taken against Symonds a couple of years back. Whatever else anyone may think of him Clarke is a professional, now hopefully he can rediscover the stirling batting form he was enjoying not so long ago.

Posted by Chapelau on (August 22, 2011, 23:47 GMT)

Oz has strength in depth so they will be ok in the long run and losing Chappell has to be a bonus!

Posted by smudgeon on (August 22, 2011, 23:14 GMT)

Isn't that the role of the captain & coach on tour already? Selecting the XI for each match from the squad available? Anyways, roll on the tests - really eager to see the new makeup of the attack, I'd like to see Copeland, Johnson, Harris + token spinner. Would rather see Lyon than Beer, but then any current spinner they pick is probably going to get eaten alive by the Lankans at home. I'd even go so far as suggesting a fourth quick, but I'm not sure Sid's "bang 'em in hard" approach is going to cut the mustard in SL. And I'll probably get howled down for saying this, but perhaps Doherty could be an outside contender? He did fairly well in the ODIs, and while I know it's not an indication of test form, he's now had five recent top level matches bowling to what will probably be the same SL side for the tests, and he's shown he's willing to attack. Provided he doesn't lose heart when the batsman are on top, which to me is his biggest hurdle (and likely here), he could do quite well...

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 22, 2011, 22:27 GMT)

I seriously don't understand why Michael Clarke has to take up a selector's job ? this is ridiculous. What has happened to Australia ? losing their minds. I thought Mark Taylor and Shane Warne were recently talking about how there have to be 'full time' selectors to take care of that issue. I think this is too much burden on Pup. He's just come into the job as a skippa and you wanna intensify his tension more by making him selector. I hope this doesn't come back to bite Australia. I think Australia are fine however they were before the Ashes debacle. All they need is intensity and full blooded cricketers who can toil hard and sweat GREEN AND GOLD.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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