There is one constant in Australian cricket that is guaranteed to get tongues wagging at home, in schools, workplaces and in pubs and clubs – selections for the Australian cricket sides.
For as long as I can remember, there have been ongoing sagas about players being selected or being left out of teams.
Each reader will have their own recollections of stars who they thought either should have got a game or should have been dropped for someone else; Rod Marsh being preferred to Brain Taber was my earliest recollection, Greg Campbell making the ’89 tour of England and Mr ‘Can’t Bowl, Can’t Throw’ Scott Muller making the team are a few players that spring to mind.
The past two seasons have continued the trend – selectors making decisions about player selections then failing to adequately explain their reasoning.
To this day, I cannot understand why Aaron Finch has been chosen as an opener, how Mitch Marsh earned a place in the third Test, how Marnus Labuschagne deserved consideration for the UAE tour or the fourth Test, why guys like Joe Burns, Matt Renshaw, Kurtis Pattinson and co can’t get a look in – and why Glenn Maxwell has not been considered at all.
I realise everyone has their own version of what our Test team should look like and I get it that Test selectors, in this case, are able to see far more cricket and understand the game better than I do. What I don’t like is being taken for a fool, because that’s what CA, through its selection panel is doing, to Australian cricket supporters at the moment.
The secret club which is the selection panel clearly feels no need to truthfully explain its decisions. There is no way for example, Mitch Marsh was the best option for the side in the last Test, as Tim Paine tried to explain pre-game.
The same guys have been arrogantly dismissive of public demand for explanations about Glenn Maxwell’s non-appearance in a baggy green and as recently as yesterday, failing to explain why the same top six guys, supplemented by a bloke who’s hardly made a Shield run this year, should be expected to beat an attack that hammered them in two innings less than a week earlier.
At present, it seems the selectors are a law unto themselves and this needs to change now. Cricket Australia needs to do three things to make selectors credible and responsive to the public who pays to watch games.
1. Selectors need to be on contract and paid well for their services. This should be an incentive to get the best people to apply, male or female;
2. All selections need to be completely justified. This includes specifics about why guys are in and others aren’t chosen. These explanations should be understandable by a ten-year-old and not some wishy-washy BS that makes for a good sound bite but means nothing;
3. Their tenure has to be based in results, exactly the same as it is for players. If they aren’t performing, then they’re sacked.
As a Roar expert said some years ago “these people decide who I get to watch play”. I want them to be open and accountable and above all, stop treating me like a fool with nonsensical selections.