Finally… Finally Cricket Australia has listened to all the calls for heads to roll in the higher echelons of the selection table. With the Argus review reaching its conclusions on Thursday, it has been reported that head selector Andrew Hilditch, Greg Chappell and current coach Tim Nielsen have all no longer got their jobs.
Over the past many years fans have screamed in frustration, anger and agony over the decisions that have been made by the selection panel. Whether it be the current rotating door policy with our crop of young spinners or keeping an out of form batsman in the team far too long, the selectors have rarely pleased the majority. There had been a call for a full-time selector to lead the panel, many thinking that Hilditch’s role as a lawyer and part-time selector was hindering his ability to complete the selection process to the highest standard.
The new structure for the selection panel is as follows – one head selector (full-time), two selectors (part-time), coach and captain.
One common factor, according to the review, was breaks in communication between the players and the selectors as to why they were/were not selected in the side. The most recent and most contenscious is Simon Katich, his non-selection started a widespread uproar and from what I can remember, no clear answer was given, aside from the selectors wanted a younger opener rather than our most in form batsman of the past five years.
The fact that the captain and coach are now included on the selection panel means that the communication breakdowns should no longer exist, at least to the extent that they are rumored to be currently.
Andrew Hilditch is unable to re-apply for the position of head selector due to its new full-time approach, he is however still able to apply for one of the two part-time positions. I’m not sure if he will or not, frankly I believe that if he wants what is best for CA then he should keep out. Allow the Argus review to bring in a completely new set of faces for the selection committee. To be honest, I wouldn’t say no to Mark Taylor, Allan Border or Steve Waugh, someone of that ilk to put their hand up to lead the panel, or at least sit on the panel as a part-time option.
The selection panel needs to be made up of ex-cricketers that performed at the highest level for an extended period, however also those given a chance to perform. This should allow the current revolving door of spinners longer than one match to figure out what’s what.
Nielsen, the current coach, has also lost his job although will remain in the position for the Sri Lanka tour that is in progress at the moment. He is able to re-apply for his position but is he the best option? Justin Langer, Darren Lehmann and Darren Berry are amongst the local talented, ex-cricketers that I would hope put their hand up to coach the Aussies.
So the death clap has begun for the selection panel and the round of applause, or at least the drum roll, has begun for the new era to be ushered in. Hopefully, for the sake of the success of Australian cricket, the new heads at the selection table make the right decisions!