Australia overhaul selection after Ashes review

MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – Australia’s coach and captain  are to be brought into an expanded national selection panel on  the recommendation of a report into the humiliating Ashes defeat, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Friday.

The seven-month “full, frank and fearless review” of  Australian cricket in the wake of the 3-1 series loss to England  would also result in a new chairman of national selectors to  head up the five-strong panel, CA chairman Jack Clarke said.

Andrew Hilditch

Current chief selector Andrew Hilditch, who has come under  considerable fire over the last year, would not be considered as  he was unable to commit himself full time to the role, Clarke  added.  Hilditch later released a statement saying he would be happy  to continue until his successor was appointed but indicated he  would not be looking to take one of the two part-time posts on  the new panel. “Once the new head selector is appointed, I look forward to  spending a lot more time with family and friends and my growing  legal practice. It has been a privilege and an honour to serve  Australian cricket,” he said.

A “newly expanded” head coaching role would also be  established, Clarke said, but current team coach Tim Nielsen,  who signed a new contract to the end of 2013 last August, would  have to re-apply for the job if he wanted it.

“We didn’t want quick fixes, we wanted to do this properly,”  Clarke told a news conference in Melbourne.
“Australia dominated world cricket for an extraordinary  period of time from 1987 to 2007 (but) that successful period is  now history and the Australia team’s lack of success has been a  concern for players, administrators and the public. “People want to understand the reason for this lack of  success and be confident about the future of Australian  cricket.”

The third recommendation of the review to be immediately  implemented is the creation of a role of “General Manager Team  Performance” to focus on elite cricket. England, whose captain and coach select the team, beat  Australia by an innings in the three tests they won in the Ashes  series at the turn of the year and have since gone on to claim  the top test ranking.

Clarke said other recommendations from the report, which  will be released to the public, would be considered in due  course.

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