Former Australian stars want selectors to go

January 1st, 2009 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 1(IANS) Inclusion of injured all-rounder Andrew Symonds in the Melbourne Test against South Africa has put the Australian selectors under fire with former stars calling for their ouster. Former Test players Rodney Hogg, John Benaud and Darren Lehmann have strongly criticised the panel’s handling of selections this summer.

“They are all over the place,” Hogg said of the selectors in Daily Telegraph. “Heads should roll (in the selection panel). They must have known Symonds was not fit in Melbourne and when he did not come on to bowl until after the 100-over mark, (chairman of selectors) Andrew Hilditch must have felt like resigning,” Hogg said.

“If Hilditch wasn’t totally embarrassed by Symonds’s selection in that Test match then it’s a joke. This side has not got Warne and McGrath. They need a fifth bowler.”

Lehmann, president of the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), believes Australia must ensure there is never a repetition of the Symonds debacle where the all-rounder was chosen with a knee injury that will require surgery.

“That is a real issue the selectors have to get right,” Lehmann said. “It just proves you have to pick people who are 100 per cent fit for every Test match. It is time they take stock for the future of Australian cricket and make sure they are selecting people who can play and give them a really good run at it.

“The time has come for reality checks on which way we are going in Australian cricket regarding the selection process.”

Lehmann has no issue with the retention of Matthew Hayden in the Test side for Sydney but said Hayden may be best to retire from one-day cricket if he is to fulfil his goal of making the Ashes tour.

“A lot of people have written off Matthew but the selectors want to get him through to the Ashes but the pressure is mounting and he needs to get runs in this Test,” Lehmann said.

“If they want to get Matthew through to the Ashes why don’t they play him in Sheffield Shield games for the rest of the year instead of the one-dayers?”

Lehmann and former Test selector Benaud, who said he would not have chosen Hayden for the Sydney Test, believe Australia have blundered by playing defensive off-spinner Nathan Hauritz over the more attacking Jason Krejza.

“Krejza should have been picked for Sydney as he is an attacking option,” Lehmann said. “Hauritz was serviceable in Melbourne but the problem is we still have to get 20 wickets.”

Benaud added: “I can’t believe they picked Hauritz in Melbourne. Why would you pick a defensive bowler in a Test you have to win?”

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