Australia overhaul selection after Ashes review

Australia’s coach and captain are to be brought into an expanded national selection panel on the recommendation of a report into the humiliating Ashes defeat, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Friday.

The seven-month “full, frank and fearless review” of Australian cricket in the wake of the 3-1 series loss to England would also result in a new chairperson of national selectors to head up the five-strong panel, CA chairperson Jack Clarke said.

Current chief selector Andrew Hilditch, who has come under considerable fire over the last year, would not be considered as he was unable to commit himself full time to the role, Clarke added.

Hilditch later released a statement saying he would be happy to continue until his successor was appointed but indicated he would not be looking to take one of the two part-time posts on the new panel.

“Once the new head selector is appointed, I look forward to spending a lot more time with family and friends and my growing legal practice. It has been a privilege and an honour to serve Australian cricket,” he said.

‘Quick fixes’
A “newly expanded” head coaching role would also be established, Clarke said, but current team coach Tim Nielsen, who signed a new contract to the end of 2013 last August, would have to re-apply for the job if he wanted it.

“We didn’t want quick fixes, we wanted to do this properly,” Clarke told a news conference in Melbourne.

“Australia dominated world cricket for an extraordinary period of time from 1987 to 2007 [but] that successful period is now history and the Australia team’s lack of success has been a concern for players, administrators and the public.

“People want to understand the reason for this lack of success and be confident about the future of Australian cricket.”

The third recommendation of the review to be immediately implemented is the creation of a role of “general manager team performance” to focus on elite cricket.

England, whose captain and coach select the team, beat Australia by an innings in the three Tests they won in the Ashes series at the turn of the year and have since gone on to claim the top Test ranking.

Clarke said other recommendations from the report, which will be released to the public, would be considered in due course. — Reuters

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