Cricket fans will remember Andrew Hilditch as a former revolving door chairman of selectors, but current chairman John Inverarity is beating him off the break.
In the last two years of the Hilditch watch, he awarded 12 new caps in 24 Tests.
In his first 14 Tests, Inverarity has matched Hilditch’s dozen, and still has four Tests to go to complete the same time frame.
In 2009, Hilditch had David Boon, Jamie Cox, and Merv Hughes making up the panel with new caps Andrew McDonald who has played four Tests,
Ben Hilfenhaus playing his 25th, Phil Hughes (17), Marcus North (21), Bruce McGain (1), Grahame Manou (1), and Clint McKay just one.
In 2010, the same panel with the exception of Greg Chappell replacing Hughes – Ryan Harris (4), Tim Paine (4), Steve Smith (5), Peter George (1), and Xavier Doherty with two.
In 2011-2012, Inverarity took over the chair with Rod Marsh, Andy Bichel, Michael Clarke, and Mickey Arthur.
The new caps in that period under Inverarity – Michael Beer (1), Usman Khawaja (6), Trent Copeland (3), Nathan Lyon playing his 14th, Shaun Marsh (3), Pat Cummins (1), James Pattinson playing his sixth, Mitchell Starc (4), David Warner playing his 10th, Ed Cowan playing his eighth, Matt Wade playing his fourth, and Rob Quiney on debut.
Throw in the regulars who made their debuts before 2009 over the four-year period – Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Shane Watson, Simon Katich, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, and Nathan Hauritz and that adds up to an incredible 32 Australians have played in the last 32 Tests.
Revolving door alright.
Injuries have played a part, no doubt about that, but not to that extent.
Which begs the question is the five-man selection panel working? We’ve been through all this before when it was first muted. I was against it then, and that’s still the case.
Selectors should select, players play, and coaches coach, and nair the twain shall meet.
Inverarity, Marsh, and Bichel should be the total panel. They are removed from the players, and not in the inner sanctum like captain Clarke, and coach Arthurs. And that’s the way it should be.
Just as importantly, Inverarity is the only full-time selector – Marsh and Bichel are part-timers. All three must be full-time, it’s the most important panel in Australian cricket, dictating the fortunes of the sport.
Over the last 75 years, there have been 38 three-man panels, 36 four-man, and just one five-man panel in the 1982-83 season when Phil Ridings was in the chair with Laurie Sawle, Ray Lindwall, Alan Davidson, and Greg Chappell, the only other time in Australian cricket history the captain has been an official selector for a home series.
The longest-serving three-man panel record in successive years is 13 held by Sir Donald Bradman, Jack Ryder, and Dudley Sneddon from 1954 to 1967.
The longest-serving four-man panel is five years – Trevor Hohns, Hilditch, Boon, and Allan Border from 2000 to 2005.
For preference a three-man panel does the job admirably. Four can become messy with a 2-2 vote, giving the chairman the casting vote, and five is too many.
I can’t see the current panel lasting too long. Simply, Clarke and Arthurs shouldn’t be selectors, they have their hands full doing what must be done within the team.
Be consulted by all means, but not involved in the final decision.