Jimmy Maher has slammed John Buchanan and Cricket Australia for ruling that World Cup squad members must not play in the domestic one-day final on Sunday. Maher, who will captain Queensland against Victoria, has been denied Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson, two men who could have made a significant difference in the final.
He said Buchanan, who once coached Maher at Queensland, had changed his stance now that he was in charge of the Australia team. "When he was coach of Queensland he wanted Australian players to play as much as possible for their states, wherever possible," Maher said on ABC Online. "So where's the standard? I think he's contradicted himself because it doesn't suit him now."
Maher said the decision, which also rules Brad Hodge out of the Victoria line-up, smacked of contempt for the domestic competition. "I think it's outrageous, not just from our point of view, but from everyone's point of view," he said. "It just shouldn't be happening. Even if we ran fifth and weren't involved in the final, I just don't think it's the right message to be sent to the sponsors of the Ford Ranger Cup, anyone involved in the Ford Ranger Cup, domestic cricket full-stop.
"At the end of the day, I've got no problem with guys like Ponting or Gilchrist, if they've got a game in five days, but mate, the Australian cricket team does not play cricket for three weeks. This is a final, it's not just round three of the Ford Ranger Cup, this is a final, it's 100 overs of cricket."
Queensland had already named Watson, Johnson and Matthew Hayden, before he broke his toe, in their squad for the final. Maher said if the players were fit it would do them good to get some more practice ahead of the World Cup.
"It just does not make any sense whatsoever," he said. "Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson have played hardly any cricket in the last six months and they're told they can't play for fear they may get injured. I hope they didn't cook last night, they might have burnt themselves. I just can't believe it, it is just a disgrace in my opinion."
Queensland have recalled Scott Brant, the fast bowler, and Nathan Reardon, the allrounder, to replace Watson and Johnson. Cameron White, who will not be on the Caribbean tour, has returned to lead Victoria. Gerard Denton has also been included in their 13-man outfit at the expense of Peter Siddle.
Victoria squad Michael Klinger, Jon Moss, Cameron White (capt), David Hussey, Rob Quiney, Aiden Blizzard, Andrew McDonald, Adam Crosthwaite (wk), Grant Lindsay, Shane Harwood, Gerard Denton, Mick Lewis, Darren Pattinson.
Queensland squad Jimmy Maher (capt), James Hopes, Clinton Perren, Craig Philipson, Aaron Nye, Nathan Reardon, Chris Simpson, Michael Buchanan, Chris Hartley (wk), Andy Bichel, Ashley Noffke, Scott Brant.