Wednesday, November 23, 2011
It all comes down to the interaction, doesn't it?
With the pieces of the selectorial jigsaw finally in place and the first phone hookup for the selection panel apparently scheduled for tonight, we'll presumably see a few answers to questions about the makeup of the Australian side over the next couple of days and, hopefully, it'll be a matter of later rather than sooner.
I'd be extremely disappointed if tonight's discussions are followed by an announcement tomorrow. If it is it'll be a fair indication that the panel is looking to a continuation of business as usual rather than a conscious rebuilding process.
The point of the preceding couple of blog entries was an attempt to put together an Australian side using the same thought processes that would have been used to select a Primary School representative side back in the days when I was involved, and while there's no guarantee the national panel will follow the same process and come up with a similar result I'm hoping we won't be seeing Michael Clarke getting things right when he said " I have a selection meeting on Thursday, a phone hookup with the other selectors, and I'll imagine the team will be announced shortly after that conversation." (Source here)
If it turns out that way you'd have to suspect a case of tweaking the side from the last game rather than starting a rebuild from the ground up.
Somehow, I don't think that a result out of a Thursday night conversation is a good look for the future.
For a start it means anything that happens on day two, three or four of the Australia A game doesn't come into the calculations, and we've got all the state sides involved over the next couple of days. With the Test starting Thursday you'd suspect there's no need for an announcement before Saturday night. Allow Sunday for the players to get to Brisbane (if they're not already there) and three days' preparation and they should be right to go on Thursday.
Any announcement before that is going to suggest a lack of detailed contingency planning, which is something that you'd expect would almost be mandatory in a case where the only element of continuity from the old regime is the identity of the captain. Presumably there have been discussions between Inverarity and the outgoing panel, but how many and who else was involved isn't something we're likely to be hearing about.
If tonight's phone hookup is the first time the full selection panel has been sitting around the same virtual table they'll have a few items on the agenda beyond selecting the squad for the Gabba next Thursday. That's going to be a major concern, but there'll need to be a fair bit of sorting out when it comes to who does what?
Clarke, one assumes, will be looking towards retaining players he has a close relationship with, and shouldn't be asked to deliver the bad news where an incumbent is concerned.
That role, of course, should go to the National Selector, who'll be fairly busy over summer, and there'll be issues as to who gets to see what along the way.
With four selectors apart from Clarke, and Pat Howard as team performance manager there'll be a number of housekeeping issues to be sorted out somewhere along the line (if they haven't already).
You'd assume the coach will be watching Australia A take on New Zealand at Alan Border Field today, and you'd suspect the captain may be there as well (if he isn't at the SCG for the NSW v WA game that starts tomorrow. You'd expect one of the other selectors would be at that game, with someone else in Adelaide to watch the Redbacks take on the Bulls and somebody'll need to find their way to the MCG on Sunday for the Victoria-Tasmania game.
Among the first things you'd expect to be discussed on tonight's hookup would be what transpired at Alan Border Field during the day, and then, with those issues dealt with it'll be time to start sorting out a team for next Thursday.
Assuming they're going to follow something like the thought processes detailed in my lat couple of posts they're either going to have a very large phone bill for tonight's conversation or will need to be getting back in touch with each other on Saturday, which is the way I'd be inclined to go.
There'll also be ongoing matters that need to be sorted out, and the chief one of those will be the rotation of bowlers through the summer and the steps they take to ensure Cummins isn't overworked. Now, some of those matters may already have been addressed, but you'd expect they'd be issues to raise, discuss, go away to ponder and return to the table to make a decision about.
We mightn't be privy to the actual processes, but you'll be able to get a feel for how things are going in the timing and content of announcements that follow that initial phone hookup