Aussie chief se­lec­tor quits over Test cri­sis

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SYD­NEY: Aus­tralia’s chair­man of se­lec­tors Rod Marsh quit with im­me­di­ate ef­fect yes­ter­day after a run of five heavy Test de­feats left the team in cri­sis, say­ing it was time for “some fresh think­ing”. The for­mer wick­et­keep­ing great, 69, stepped down amid re­crim­i­na­tions about the poorly per­form­ing team which crashed to a third-straight home se­ries de­feat to South Africa on Tues­day.

“This is my own de­ci­sion and no one within Cricket Aus­tralia has pres­sured me or even sug­gested that I should do this,” Marsh said in a state­ment. Cricket Aus­tralia said it would hold an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing later Wed­nes­day to de­cide on an in­terim re­place­ment, with an an­nounce­ment “in due course”. Marsh, one of sev­eral lead­ing cricket of­fi­cials un­der in­tense pres­sure, had pre­vi­ously in­sisted he would see out his con­tract which runs to the mid­dle of next year. But on Wed­nes­day he said it was time for a new per­spec­tive after a run of de­feats which has prompted se­vere crit­i­cism in Aus­tralian me­dia. “Clearly... it is time for some fresh think­ing, just as it is for our Test team to wel­come some new faces as we build for the fu­ture,” Marsh said. “I have al­ways had the best in­ter­ests of Aus­tralian cricket fore­most in my heart, and that’s why I have made this de­ci­sion.” Aus­tralia’s four-man se­lec­tion panel now con­sists of Mark Waugh, Trevor Hohns and coach Dar­ren Lehmann. The panel has been un­der heavy scru­tiny over the shock­ing re­sults of Steve Smith’s na­tional team, cul­mi­nat­ing in their lat­est bat­ting col­lapse of eight for 32 in their in­nings and 80 runs de­feat to the Proteas in Ho­bart this week.

DARK DAYS

Lehmann de­clared only four play­ers-cap­tain Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Josh Ha­zle­wood-were sure to keep their places after Aus­tralia’s sec­ond de­mor­al­is­ing col­lapse in the Ho­bart Test. Only hours be­fore Marsh’s an­nounce­ment, Cricket Aus­tralia chief James Suther­land voiced sup­port for him to see out his con­tract. “He said he will fin­ish up June and we will make de­ci­sions about where and how we tran­si­tion to that in the fu­ture,” Suther­land told re­porters in Ho­bart. For­mer Test fast bowler Ja­son Gille­spie and for­mer Test cap­tain Ricky Ponting have been touted as pos­si­ble suc­ces­sors. Aus­tralia’s team an­nounce­ment for next week’s third and fi­nal daynight Test in Ade­laide has been de­layed un­til Sun­day so se­lec­tors can as­sess play­ers’ form in do­mes­tic Sh­effield Shield matches. It has been a stormy se­ries for the Aus­tralians, start­ing with a stun­ning first in­nings col­lapse of 10 for 86 in the first Test in Perth, when Aus­tralia squan­dered a 158-run open­ing stand to sur­ren­der meekly to the Proteas by 177 runs.

Crit­ics pointed to other re­cent dark days in Aus­tralian cricket, in­clud­ing their de­mo­li­tion for 60 by Eng­land at Trent Bridge last year. Aus­tralia now face be­ing white­washed in a home se­ries for the first time in their his­tory if they lose to the Proteas in Ade­laide. The last time they lost six straight Tests-against In­dia and Eng­land in 2013 — the coach at the time, Mickey Arthur, was sacked. Suther­land ear­lier Wed­nes­day told re­porters he would not be step­ping down from his post as CA chief ex­ec­u­tive which he has held for 15 years.

Marsh, who re­placed the pre­vi­ous chair­man of se­lec­tors John In­ver­ar­ity in May 2014, played 96 Tests from 19701984, tak­ing a then-record of 355 dis­missals as wick­et­keeper.

ADE­LAIDE: This file photo taken on De­cem­ber 1, 2015 shows Aus­tralia’s cricket chair­man of se­lec­tors Rod Marsh speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence at the Ade­laide Oval. Marsh has stepped down with im­me­di­ate ef­fect after a hu­mil­i­at­ing run of five heavy Test de­feats.

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