CA makes sweeping changes, sacks Hilditch and Chappell from selection panel

August 19th, 2011 - 3:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Aug 19 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) Friday made sweeping changes by sacking national selection panel chairman Andrew Hilditch and stripped Greg Chappell of his role as a selector while head coach Tim Nielsen faces an uncertain future.

The Hilditch-headed selection panel will be replaced by a five-member committee that will also include captain Michael Clarke and the coach. Hilditch became a member of the National Selection Panel in 1997 and was later elevated to chairman of the panel in April 2006 when Trevor Hohns stepped down.

CA chairman James Clarke said Hilditch has told CA he is not available for the newly-created full-time role as chairman.

“Andrew is not available to work full-time. He has just started up a new legal practice so he is not available to apply for the role. I haven’t spoken to Andrew (about whether he wants to continue as one of two part-time selectors). He’s certainly unavailable for the top job,” said Clarke.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Chappell, a former captain, who was widely criticised by players in interviews conducted by Don Argus-headed review panel, has been stripped of his role as a selector but can continue as national talent manager. Former captains Steve Waugh, Allan Border and Mark Taylor are also part of the review panel.

Nielsen has been told that he has to re-apply for the job of head coach.

“Tim can apply for the job and he may well get the job. But it’s a different role and in a restructure you don’t just give someone the job in a new role,” said Clarke.

CA chief executive James Sutherland said the priority was to recruit a new general manager - team performance, who will be responsible for the team, coaching, selection, the Centre of Excellence and will work closely with state cricket performance and talent managers.

The review panel also recommended a new, performance-based contract system including incentives for Test cricket to reflect its position as the “premium format”. It also suggested reducing the number of central contracts from the current 25.

The long-term ambition is to climb from the current mediocre Test ranking of five to reclaim the No.1 spot, but Argus warned it could take a good 18 months to see the first results.

“We didn’t want quick fixes, we wanted to do this properly. It is clear with the benefit of hindsight that there are some issues that could have been addressed earlier,” said Clarke.

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