Cricket Australia weighs up revamp of national selection panel

Cricket Australia will weigh up a radical change to its selection panel with two positions possibly scrapped to make what has been seen as a more accountable model.

The CA board is set to discuss the issue at its February meeting, a debate also linked to the ongoing review of the high-performance structure.

There are currently four national selectors – interim chairman Trevor Hohns, Mark Waugh, national talent manager Greg Chappell and coach Darren Lehmann – but one suggestion set to be discussed is retaining only the chairman and coach as official selectors.

Under the plan, captain Steve Smith and Chappell, in his role as talent chief, would still have input but it would be Hohns – should he retain the top role – and Lehmann who would be most accountable. As reported by Fairfax Media, Hohns is open to retaining the top post.

There is a view that accountability can be unclear on a four-man panel, although Rod Marsh showed it ultimately lay with the chairman when he quit that role and stepped down from the panel after Australia had been crushed by South Africa in Perth and Hobart this summer. That came after a series of confusing selections, the same issue which had, in part, sparked the wide-ranging 2011 Argus report.

Under the proposed plan, Chappell would have the benefit of also consulting state talent managers when it came to analysing emerging talent and reporting to Hohns. Talent managers could take on greater responsibility, for they presumably would have to report back from first-class matches, a role Hohns, Waugh and Chappell split given Lehmann is with the national team.

The Argus report recommended the national talent manager not be a selector "to ensure greater focus in both areas – national selection being focused on the short-medium term, and national talent management being focused on the medium-long term".

The review comes with Hohns and Waugh off-contract in June and Chappell given the selector's role on an interim basis.

A CA spokesman confirmed to Fairfax Media on Tuesday the structure of the panel was being reviewed.

"We have appointed an interim chairman of selectors and we are in no rush to review the structure of the national selection panel or appoint a permanent chairman," he said.

"We want to put the best structure in place and appoint the best person for the job. The board is in ongoing discussions about the process and will look to review the best structure and potential candidates in the new year."

A CA source suggested there would be "nowhere to hide" for the two selectors if that plan was backed by the CA executive and board.

The CA board instructed Hohns and the selectors to embrace a youth-led policy when revamping the Test side after the South African series was lost. It was a move which sparked immediate success. The Australians have since won four straight Tests.

Should there be a shake-up of the selection panel, it would mean more change to what had been recommended by the Argus report. That report had recommended the captain also be an official selector, a role which has again been seen as too delicate for a skipper to handle. It had recommended a full-time national selector, which Hohns is, and for the coach to be also be a selector, as Lehmann is. But the report's recommendation for two part-time selectors would be scrapped under the latest proposal.

Debate surrounding the selection panel comes at a time when the high-performance structure, led by team-performance boss Pat Howard, remains under review. This includes the managing of player loads and the controversial resting policy.

CA was criticised for resting pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc (who was later injured) from last October's one-day series in South Africa, when the tourists lost 5-0. But Hazlewood and Starc were key contributors during the six Tests this summer, and finished the season off strongly – the reason why they had been rested.

This story Cricket Australia weighs up revamp of national selection panel first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.