Simon Katich is a bloke I’d have alongside me on the battlefield any day, let alone the cricket field.
Furthermore, it is a liberating feeling hearing an Australian cricketer finally speak the damn truth about the pathetic, public relations rubbish we have been fed by both the National Selection Panel (NSP) and Cricket Australia with their policies and lack of transparency with the shuffle of players in both Test and ODI cricket.
The Baggy Green Blog is about supporting Australian cricket as a whole, but when a player is hard done by on an issue I have questioned for a long time as a loyal supporter, I will support that player 100%!
Katto did something that required courage. For that word to be worthy to one’s character they need to show it in a challenging environment.
He did it on the sport field for us, but this is a serious testament, in my opinion, to his character.
Read the Katich case here: Link at Cricinfo.com with interview
If you are going to come to the Baggy Green Blog and have your say about how he did it was unprofessional and all that junk, sod off.
For three years we have dealt with inconsistencies. I want to support a team of guys who know they belong there, who have worked hard and have earned their spot and most importantly I want to know who the hell the players are I am supporting. By that I mean it’s important to know they are playing for the pride of the Baggy Green and that we know their stories as cricketers.
We have had spinners come and go, certain players getting endless lifelines, not to mention this never ending bullshit that younger players must be streamlined.
Test cricket is a highly skilled form of the game. If you don’t have the goods both mentally and technically concerned, you will fail!
Katto’s story is one of both those aspects and to drop him on age with the Ashes still two years away is total stupidity and ignorance on a selection platform.
I love the Ashes, I live for it, but I put Australian cricket first. Sri-Lanka and South Africa are currently higher ranked than Australia and are going to be tough contest. England has NOTHING to do with the upcoming clashes.
We needed Katto’s expertise alongside Shane Watson, who is our most valuable player.
Their duo works and even though Katto’s contract wasn’t renewed and although he could (and should) still play for us, the reality is it is unlikely as it was clearly stated that no renewal was to make way for a younger, new opening prospect to partner Shane Watson.
Go figure. Given Katto’s consistency and commitment to our team, yeah, I’d be pissed off if I was him.
Never mind how hard he has worked to improve his injury on the Achilles which is a very difficult injury to overcome. Isn’t that an indication he was determined to return for us?
A cheap shot by the NSP!
Of course this ordeal isn’t complete without Shane Warne throwing in his verdict, which was that if Katich goes, what about the rest of age?
He didn’t state anyone but it was pretty obvious who he was referring too.
I see his point, but the fact is Katto was performing, more so than some of our younger players.
The reasoning isn’t sufficient and Katto was clear that this isn’t financially related, but rather performance related, which I believe; “It's just that I know I've earned the right to play for Australia through my performance and to have that taken away for a reason I don't agree with is blatantly wrong."
I also see Katto had his New South Wales Blues shirt on at the announcement he made.
Being involved in Australian cricket for over a decade, you have to say Katto has been thrown into the crapper on this issue and fully deserved better treatment on the matter.
This is pure corporate mentality though.
I don’t agree with Shane Warne for one second with bringing in young players to test level without proven performances in at least Sheffield or limited overs cricket at International level.
I have my examples to back this and we all know Warnie hasn’t been shy is questioning Michael Hussey in particular, so as far as I’m concerned Warnie’s opinion on this matter is fifty fifty.
He has a point on the other players around Katto’s age, but at the same time it’s not valid on a basis of questioning performance if a player still delivers the goods.
Age means buggar all in test cricket if a guy around 34 or 35 is performing.
If age and a new opening partnership for the Ashes are the reasons the NSP has for sacking Katto’s contract, the same could be said for the top order with Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. Don’t get me wrong, I support Huss and Punter just as I am doing so for Katto, but there is some serious contradictions if the case is purely aimed at Katto, right?
Wasn’t it the laughed at “Dad’s Army” that won the 2006/07 Ashes 5-0? Warne was there.
Bottom line, this is the truth! So what’s with this crap about youth must be injected…yes, by all means do so in ODI cricket and push for better competitiveness at State level, but not in Test cricket.
I have really thought hard about this current situation.
Apart from having a good laugh at James Sutherland’s really hearty C.E.O type comments (which makes me think of the Andrew Hilditch contradictions), I think it’s great when the underdog questions the bigger picture.
The same scenario would be you going up to your Boss in front of your colleagues, who are brown nosing to keep their pay check glorified, and bringing out the unfair dismissal of your job and the lack of integrity and ethics displayed via top management or the human resources department.
You probably wouldn’t go through with it. If you could, that’s courage, which is what Katto did, in a very clean and professional manner with factual substance.
They have hit a nerve with Katto and dammit it’s awesome to have someone tell it like it is.
For too long they (The NSP) have gotten away with it, but let’s have a look at the comments laid out by our C.E.O of Cricket Australia.
"I am not necessarily saying Simon has entirely called them into question in that fashion but Cricket Australia stands by them in terms of their integrity and the process they go through."
I’m sure Simon has called them into question because they have done a poor job. And now the inconsistencies and, I quote one of my Twitter followers, “I think it's great that they're (the players) speaking their minds & exposing the hypocrisy present.”
Hypocrisy is one thing, but it’s more so blatant inconsistencies and contradictions that have forced a player who grafted during the dominant era to put his Baggy Green back on, to come forward and state things.
"I'm sure the door's not entirely closed on him. I sincerely wish him the very best and encourage to put lots of runs on the board to prove the selectors wrong."
"That's sport, isn't it? Everyone's under review all of the time."
We have dropped from number 1 to 5. We have lost two Ashes series.
Sure, 2009s loss was due to some tactical errors and just losing key moments.
Of course, the 11 players who go out there need to win, but if there’s off-field politics (selection issues) and players who are not full of confidence within their selection (Michael Beer, Xavier Doherty, Phillip Hughes) then there will be a lack of synergy.
So, selection is related to sport and performance. If everyone is under review, why do we have the selection panel still in place? Why is Hilditch still there? They have FAILED!
They have failed a player, who did what Sutherland said by scoring a record pile of runs for NSW in the Sheffield Shield a few years back to mark his return to the elite level.
Why must he do it again? Sutherland should have reworded this daft statement as Katto wasn’t dropped on form, but lost his contract on age!
"I reject any criticism of the selectors, in terms of their individual integrity, the collective integrity and the integrity of the process that they go through to decide who the best team is, the best players are, the best squad is for Australian cricket."
"It's not an easy job but they are the people that Cricket Australia vests the responsibility in to do so."
Yes, it is a very hard job. But how has that job been done? They have made their PART-TIME jobs harder. They’ve been inconsistent, with no solid long term prospects and absolutely no definite clarity on their overall intentions. I think these issues go right into State cricket, which Darren Berry recently slammed.
For Darren Berry’s views, take a read here, this bloke is one of the many coaching or organisational characters we need in the system! Although he does look at the players and how lucrative deals at State level lowers competitive work ethic, thus contributing to lower quality cricket.
"The simple answer is yes, Simon could have expressed his views more privately. But he chose to do that in the manner that he did," Sutherland said.
He had a right, which Sutherland accepts. But if Katto hadn’t done this, we would not have been aware of it and Cricket Australia and the NSP would have gotten away with their antics once again.
Now they have been cornered and privacy means nothing. Transparency is the solution and the public are aware! What marketing gimmick will resolve it?
Not too long ago I linked an article to some comments made by Stuart Clark.
He has insisted that the whole structure needs to be looked at. Furthermore, the selectors should be held accountable for their decisions as the players are for their performances.
The two are directly related and the NSP have underperformed and for this reason, why should we stand for it? Why should the players stand for it?
The NSP never get questioned and always get support from Cricket Australia, even when their performances do require questioning.
I add a quote from a Cricinfo.com source;
Both Katich and his former Australian team-mate Stuart Clark were adamant about the need to implement a system whereby the selectors were employed full-time and made to be as accountable for their decisions as the players are for their performances.
In just one of many memorable lines, Katich summed up the incongruity of $2 million-earning players being judged by part-time selectors on $40,000 a year by saying "when you talk about money you get the best in the business for paying. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys".
Furthering Clark’s opinion;
"I think it's a joke that they're part-time. You're dealing with $2 million salaries and a guy that works part-time getting $40,000 a year, it's laughable,
"(Full-time) would make them more accountable. At the moment they have got some sort of accountability, but when was the last time you saw a selector sacked for a poor selection? I can't seem to remember one.
"Selection's a tough ask, you've got to balance a lot of different issues and a lot of different perspectives. Whether this is right I'm not sure, but let's just hope the selection process gets better because of this.
"He's arguably Australia's best batsman over the past three years, so for him not to be selected can only mean that they've just said 'you're too old and we want to go down a youth path' and any other job in the country that'd probably end up in court somewhere.
"A four-minute conversation is probably not enough for someone that's been part of the organisation for 12 years. How long is right I don't know, but surely Simon deserves something more than that."
Our players are treated like royalty with their payment, but clearly the treatment they get as professional sportsmen in a development and selection guidance environment is poor enough for someone to come out and state something that is nothing new.
It is an issue that has been apparent for a long time, and for that reason – which has affected players as well – I back Katto and believe his argument is valid and related to the love of the game, his pride in representing the Baggy Green and a genuine care for his job as an opening batsman.
How this is addressed? Cricket Australia said no punishment would be handed out, damn right about that! Good answer Mr Sutherland.
I also think this situation Katto has exposed goes alot deeper than his personal situation, in fact I think even he is aware of that. His situation has been the instrument though to sound this whole fiasco.
What I really hope is that these part-time selectors will be thrown overboard, especially Greg Chappell who is always going on about "young talent" and we all know what happened in India during his reign.
I would love to see a return of the old army, like we have with Justin Langer and Craig McDermott, to all areas of Australian cricket.
Even Michael Slater – a member of the “old army” - slammed the selectors when speaking to the Daily Telegraph;
"I think he has been appallingly hung ... If his replacement (Phil Hughes) came in scoring hundreds and was red hot, then I can understand an injury stopping someone in their mid-30s. But that clearly hasn't happened.
"The system that is being reviewed at the moment around the country, what are they reviewing?
The first thing they should be reviewing is the selectors and the selection process and I'd start with the chairman of selectors."
I hope the public is fully aware of ordeal and that it is no longer just the supporters being clueless gits on selection matters, but rather our views be seen as a genuine concern that is felt by some of our most respected cricketers, who we support and want to see thrive at the elite to win games for us.
If the politics are off-balance and the system is shaky, why support it?
I have always stated that you don’t support the system you were born into it, but rather support the system because you believe in it.
It is something I stand strongly by and this retaliation by Katto justifies that statement.
Sure, the whole thing of this is just a game and why should we give a shit because the players get fat cat salaries anyway, may come into this but I believe this incident with Simon Katich has simply brought about awareness with the issue that has been infesting itself deeper into the worries of Australian cricket.
The NSP’s antics have actually made me, as a supporter, lose a bit of enthusiasm with our cricket. Perhaps one example may be that I sympathise with a player who gets sacked after 1 test match, only because they shouldn’t have been there to begin with or because the NSP doesn’t know what the heck they are doing.
Or it’s because they – the NSP - listen to Shane Warne’s public rants like it’s a gospel e.g. Michael Beer at the WACA.
It was also amusing when Katto mentioned the 17 man Ashes Squad announcement.
I never wanted to comment on that on the Baggy Green Blog as it would have been a negative input regarding our side heading into the Ashes, which we were all nervous about. It’s kind of a laugh looking back at it now with the series concluded.
Cricket is important to us, it has a major role in our personal lives away from work and family matters, and even then it is indirectly related on those grounds.
The quality of the game and the belief Dan I hold at the Baggy Green Blog is directly related to this matter and that is, the game must be put first and “long live cricket” for the supporters and players!
If the players are dissatisfied and the system is unstable, we should question it and folks, the three year old argument some of us have been expressing regarding the NSP – starting with Brad Hodge and the spinner dilemmas - has finally been made public by a solid performer for Australian cricket.
Let us hope that a time of change will happen now and that the transition stage revolves back towards the selection panel and the organisational hierarchy.
We have some intense cricket coming up where we could have done with Katto on the tour to open with Shane Watson, as Michael Clarke embarks on his first series as official Captain in August.
A younger team may be the way to go in limited overs cricket, but I’m convinced a young team with very little combined experience will be eaten alive in the upcoming contests.
Therefore, we need a team blending youth and experience for the next 6-12 months in test cricket.
It is time for Cricket Australia to facilitate cricket again, to stop being a marketing machine and to do what is best for the game…and not compete with the IPL.
Nurture the younger players with the guidance of experienced players, while having some enthusiastic retired players (of a recent era) in coaching or managerial roles and sack the marketing gurus’ influence on our team.
Good on ya Simon Katich. You’ve got the supporters of the Baggy Green backing you!
I just never thought Australian cricket could sink so low due to so many fickle matters.
Katto telling it like it is before the media. This incident could prove to be a massive moment in Australian cricket for the changes to be made.
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