The Ashes 2010-11 January 15, 2011

Clarke and Hughes made 'supreme error of judgment'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Michael Clarke and Phillip Hughes made a "supreme error of judgment" in attending functions on the morning of Ashes Tests, according to Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland. The Age reported that the pair attended a Shane Warne Foundation breakfast on Boxing Day, and they were interviewed at 7.30am at Melbourne's Crown Casino, before returning to the team hotel.

When the match started three hours later, Hughes slashed to gully for 16 and Clarke wafted outside his off stump to be caught behind for 20. It was all part of Australia's horror innings of 98 after they were sent in by Andrew Strauss, and with the series at 1-1, that morning was a turning point from which the Australians never recovered.

Clarke also reportedly attended breakfast functions during the Sydney Test, where he was captain the absence of the injured Ricky Ponting. Sutherland, speaking on the Melbourne radio station 3AW, said it was not a wise move for the players to be involved in such events on the morning of a Test.

"That was a supreme error of judgment on their part," Sutherland said. "The players decided that of their own will. I would be surprised if we see that happening again. You don't leave yourself open to the chance of criticism. As a professional footballer, you would never do that."

Sutherland also said it was "unfortunate" that the chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, had said publicly after the 3-1 series drubbing that he felt his panel had done a good job. The selectors made some odd decisions, including axing Nathan Hauritz and playing Xavier Doherty and Michael Beer, who took a combined tally 4 for 418.

"Andrew's comments … were unfortunate, and I think what he was trying to say was the selectors had tried their hardest," Sutherland said. "Everyone involved needs to take responsibility for what was a very disappointing performance."