Hilditch should never be able to select another team
Nobody is better at dodging bullets than Andrew Hilditch. The selection chairman of three Ashes series losses in four should have been sacked, especially after his inane quote of, “We (selectors) did a pretty good job.” “The good job” translates to losing the last series 3-1.
And for the first time in Ashes history, the baggy greens were beaten by an innings three times in five Tests.
Flogged would be a more accurate description.
That’s how good a job the panel did, and Cricket Australia’s not much better.
Hilditch’s contract expired last April, in perfect time to show the chairman the exit door. But Cricket Australia renewed it.
Yesterday, Hilditch struck again, with an “exciting new list of contracted players to see us through to the 2013 Ashes series in England”.
His words, not mine.
But no Simon Katich, who has been shown the door instead. Hilditch, you can’t be serious?
Not only has the Katich-Shane Watson opening batting combination been one of the world’s most consistent, but Katich is one of the best “on-the-hip” close-in fieldsmen of the last 20 years – the equal of David Boon, a current selector.
“We think it is really important there is an established opening partner for Shane Watson,” chirped Hilditch yesterday.
Another inane quote, Watson and Katich are already established. Katich is an asset. Who gives a continental he is close to 36?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting are both 36. Said Hilditch: “Katich is the victim of being one of three who will be 36 this summer”.
So there is a limit on 36-year-olds?
Who has scored the most runs for Australia since May 2008, when he was recalled after two-and-a-half years in the international wilderness?
Simon Katich, with 2,835 runs at 49, including eight centuries and three scores in the 90s, among 23 half-tons.
And who were the poorest performers in the last Ashes series?
The current captain Michael Clarke, and his predecessor Ponting.
Clarke averaged 22, Ponting 16. Any thought given to dumping them? Not on your life, even though Katich has better credentials.
So whatever you do, Simon, don’t retire. Just shove umpteen runs skippering NSW right up the selector’s jumpers to force another recall as the likes of Phillip Hughes, Tim Paine, Brad Haddin, or Shaun Marsh struggle to fill your boots.
But Katich isn’t the only one unfairly treated.
All-rounder James Hopes is another who has been sawn off, despite being named the Sheffield Shield Player-of-the-Year last season.
To be fair, the selectors got it right with tyro pacemen Pat Cummings and James Pattinson.
The 18-year-old Cummings has international written all over him, bowling well within himself but touching 145 kph on a regular basis, while 21-year-old Pattinson has nearly as much to offer.
Both have a lot more to offer than the pop-gun Australian attack flogged by England last season, with Ryan Harris the exception.
Hilditch can take a bow for the Cummings-Pattinson selections, but should bow out for sacking Katich and Hopes.
Andrew Hilditch has made far too many blunders to ever select another team.