The Aussies have had a battering last few months. They drew with Pakistan in England, lost a Test series against India, following a loss in India in the ODIs. This was followed by a home loss to Sri Lanka in the ODIs and then, an Ashes loss to England in a convincing fashion. The T20Is were tied 1-1 and despite leading England in the ODIs 1-0, one gets the feeling that it will need them a Herculean effort to win the 7-match series.
One has to say that the issues are as much related to the quality of the players as it is to do with the quality of the selectors. The latest in the list of gaffes seems to be the exclusion of Shaun Marsh, who then had to be forcibly selected after the Michael Hussey injury. And the result – a Marsh century of the highest quality.
What has been surprising is that despite all this, the selectors look to be living in a world of their own. There is no acknowledgement of the fact that there is as much blame to be taken by the selectors as it had to be received by the players. Nathan Hauritz, for example, wasn’t selected in the last Ashes Test match in 2009 on a spin-friendly Oval track. Then again, he did not make it to the squad for any of the Ashes games this time around after he had been taken to the cleaners in India. But if the yardstick for selection for a spinner was going to be a tour to India, no spinner was ever going to make it to his side.
There have been other issues as well. The continuous selection of Marcus North, the dropping of Mitchell Johnson for the second Test before being called up for Perth, the idea to groom Michael Clarke as a captain are only a few of the mistakes that the selectors have made in the recent times.
Selection is a difficult job and the only other role that comes close to it in cricket in terms of being thankless is probably umpiring. Mistakes are made and one needs to take that in one’s stride and move on. However, the two issues with the Aussie pack is that not only have the mistakes come thick and fast, there is also a sense of stubbornness about the same. This can be seen from the fact that the head selector, Andrew Hilditch has gone about saying that his team hasn’t made any mistake and that they had done a good job so far.
Quite clearly, this is a case of the board needing to clear things out quickly and start afresh. But, what about the board themselves?