Cricbuzz Staff •
Hohns also clarified that his selection panel doesn’t owe Maxwell an apology. © Getty
Australia’s chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns has stressed that the scheduling of first-class cricket has played a role in Australia’s fortunes in the Test series against India. Cricket Australia, for this edition of the Big Bash League, had decided to prolong the 20-over tournament.
The round six of Sheffield Shield ended on December 10 and league is going on since and will only conclude on February 17. The Australian selectors have been under the pump for their choices that eventually led to Australia losing the first every Test series to India at home in 71 years.
The selectors have been criticised for giving a long run to out of form Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch and ignoring players like Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell who have put the runs in the domestic first-class tournament. Hohns pointed out that the scheduling wasn’t ideal. “It’s probably not appropriate but the program has been the program for some time and we can’t do much about that at the moment,” he said. “The Big Bash is on and it’s a very, very good product for CA. It’s just unfortunate that there isn’t any red ball cricket. How we rectify that, that’s in the hands of CA.
Australia now take on Sri Lanka in a two-Test series at home and will hope to gain some positives before limited-overs cricket becomes the focus in the lead up to the World Cup. Several changes have been made to the squad with Finch, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh making way for the likes of Burns, Will Pucovski and Matt Renshaw.
“Nobody has had the chance to play any red ball cricket. We can’t do anything about that and we are seriously using this game for those purposes. It’s been quite a challenge… and an unprecedented period I must say. You never admit that you get it wrong. Whether we got it right or wrong, that’s up to you people to judge us on. We always review what we do and… maybe we could have done something a little bit better. At the time when we chose the side we were convinced they were the best players to represent Australia at that time.”
The axed players, from the ODI squad for the series against India, too have questioned the process of the selectors. While Ashton Agar said he wasn’t given a clear explanation, Nathan Coulter-Nile expressed disappointment after poor communication. Hohns stressed he’s always available to give the players an explanation. “If there’s any further clarity required, we encourage them to call me back or ask for another meeting so we can go through it again,” he said. “We also encourage all the state coaches to encourage their players to give me a call if they want some feedback. Give the coach a call if they want some feedback.
“So there’s an open line of communication. It’s their careers, so if they’re unclear about anything we’d like to think they can get some clarity if they want and take some ownership of their careers. People are always told why they’ve been left out so there can be no misunderstanding whatsoever. Sometimes obviously players are disappointed. There’s no doubt about that. Sometimes they may understand, [or] they may not.”
Hohns also clarified that the selection panel doesn’t owe Maxwell an apology. The allrounder had claimed he had let go of offers to play County cricket after being told he will be selected for the Australia A squad for the India tour. He wasn’t picked for the India tour and the subsequent Test tour against Pakistan. The limited-overs commitment meant Maxwell had very few opportunities to play first-class cricket to make a claim for the home series against India. “I don’t think so. I’m not sure what the instruction was or who it came from but players are free to make up their own decisions on what they go and play,” Hohns revealed. “Glenn has chosen to go and play county cricket again this year and a lot of that is one-day cricket leading up to the World Cup.
“He has also chosen not to put his name in for the IPL so that’s all credit to him for doing that. He is genuinely trying to improve himself and give himself the best possible opportunity to have some practice in England leading into the Ashes if he is chosen, leading into the World Cup. Full credit to him for that.”