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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Cricket Australia sacks Chappell, Hilditch

Cricket Australia sacks Chappell, Hilditch

August 19, 2011 15:47 IST

In a major revamp of Australian cricket following a year of debacles, chief selector Andrew Hilditch, selection panel member Greg Chappell, who reportedly drove everyone "mad" in the national team, and coach Tim Nielsen were sacked on Friday.

The overhaul came about after Cricket Australia's board accepted recommendations from the Don Argus review into the team's performance following their Ashes debacle last summer.

Hilditch, who was not full-time appointee, was sacked, with Cricket Australia announcing that a five-man selection panel will be created with a full-time chairman and two independent members.

It also decided to give the captain and coach selection powers.

"The position is a full-time role. 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," CA chairman Jack Clarke said.

"I haven't spoken to Andrew about [whether he wants to stay on the panel]. He's certainly unavailable for the top job."

National talent manager and former India coach Chappell, was removed from the selection panel and the players are reportedly very happy with the decision.

'He drove us all mad,' one player was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

Players complained that Chappell, who had a stormy stint as India coach, was a "caustic" influence around the team.

"The players found Chappell such an unsettling influence in the dressing room, particularly when they were batting, that they asked that he be excluded," the report said.

Hilditch, meanwhile, said he supports CA's decision in the best interest of the team.

"I fully support the recommendation of the review panel to appoint a full-time chairman of the national selection panel and the appointment of the captain and coach as members of the panel."

"It is a structure I supported as appropriate when interviewed by the review panel and I think it will serve Australian cricket well going into the future", Hilditch said.

"They were always going to be difficult years as chairman with the exodus of so many great players but I have given it my all and always acted to the best of my ability to achieve the best outcome for Australian cricket," he said.

Nielsen will continue in the job for the ongoing tour of Sri Lanka before stepping down.

"Coaching the Australian team is a tough job anyway with the travel and that sort of thing. It's going to take some additional time and skill sets to put a strategy for the whole of Australian coaching," Clarke said.

"We need to align the coaching so that there's one philosophy which the head coach has got to be able to articulate and get that through to the state coaches and all other coaches in the system.

"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," he added.

Australian Cricketers Association CEO Paul Marsh welcomed the restructuring.

"I commend Cricket Australia and the Argus review panel for their thoroughness and transparency," Marsh said.

"The players want to see Australian cricket back at the top as much as anyone, and we are glad to see that desire shown so strongly in the review," he added.

The recommendations came about after a review of the team's decline in the past couple of years, which has included losing the Ashes both home and away and being knocked out of the World Cup in the semi-finals this year.

Four-time ODI World champions, Australia are currently fifth on the ICC Test rankings could miss out missing the inaugural Test match World Championship, to be held in 2013, as only the top-four make the cut for that.

Apart from Don Argus, the review panel included former captains Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and ex-ICC CEO Malcolm Speed.

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