Waugh, Hohns also in, Inverarity and Bichel exit
Australian cricket's selection panel has undergone a major shake-up with former Test great Rod Marsh appointed as chair, ex-chairman Trevor Hohns recalled and retired Test batsman Mark Waugh added to the new four-man structure.
Incumbent national coach Darren Lehmann and Marsh are the only two members of the previous panel to retain their positions, with outgoing chairman John Inverarity and former all-rounder Andy Bichel making way for the new committee.
The changes were ratified during a Cricket Australia board meeting held in Melbourne over the past two days, and announced by CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland who confirmed that Marsh, 66, had been contracted for three years to head up the panel.
"Rod Marsh is the right man to take on this important role having been a key member of the panel since 2011," Sutherland said of the former wicketkeeper/batsman who played 96 Tests and set a new world benchmark for Test dismissals during his career that spanned 1970-1984.
"His track record speaks for itself. He brings a wealth of experience to the position, having been a leading player, coach and most recently a selector.
"Throughout his days as a player he was the absolute embodiment of the Baggy Green cap and to this day is widely respected throughout the game.
"He has a great eye for talent and has strong relationships throughout international cricket."
Following his retirement from international cricket, Marsh served as head coach at the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy in Adelaide and then undertook a similar role in England where he also worked as a national selector.
Quick Single: Marsh's history of spotting talent
Marsh will also now relinquish his role as Cricket Australia's Manager – Elite Coaching Development, and a replacement for this role will be sought.
Inverarity had indicated he was prepared continue as a selector for a further year but, in relinquishing the Chairman's role, the CA Board opted to take the opportunity to bring new personnel and insights into the selection process.
"For some months I have been clearly of the mind that the end of my contract period on 30 June was the right time for me to step down in favour of Rod Marsh to Chair the panel," said Inverarity.
"Rod is the ideal person in every respect to take over and I would like to wish he and Darren, along with Trevor Hohns and Mark Waugh the very best in their new roles.
"I have certainly enjoyed the role and the success of the Australian teams in recent months has been pleasing. It has been a pleasure and a great deal of fun working together with Rod, Andy Bichel and Darren on the National Selection Panel in recent times and together with Michael and Mickey Arthur prior to this.
Sutherland paid tribute to Inverarity, saying Australia's No.1 Test and ODI ranking was a testament to his work.
"When John Inverarity took over as National Selector the Australian Test team was ranked fourth in the world and its on-field performance was well short of where it is today," Sutherland said.
"He leaves his post with Australian teams in a position of strength holding the No.1 ranking in Test and One-Day International cricket.
"That reflects his commitment and the astute judgment he brought to the role at a challenging time for Australian cricket.
"We thank John for his leadership and the integrity and insight he brought to the role throughout his tenure as the National Selector and the lifelong commitment he has given to Australian cricket.
"Andy Bichel (also) made a great contribution at the selection table for two and a half years just as he also did as a player for Australia and Queensland.
"He faced challenges balancing the heavy travel schedule associated with being a selector and coaching at the Chennai Super Kings with raising a young family (and) we fully understand and respect that."
Hohns had previously served as a national selector from 1993-2006, including a decade as the panel's chair, and since 2011 has served as a Queensland selector (a role he will relinquish in light of his new appointment) as well as the State's Talent Manager.
"I took on selection responsibilities with Queensland a couple of years ago and really enjoyed doing it again," said Hohns.
"During that time I worked closely with Darren Lehmann where we developed a good working relationship. So to have the chance to work together again at a national level, along with Rod and Mark will be great.
"I’m genuinely looking forward to it. I enjoy the role and the responsibilities that go with selection and making a contribution to Australian cricket."
While Hohns' return to the selection panel was largely unforeseen, Mark Waugh's elevation has been the subject of discussion over recent months.
His frank, insightful assessments of current domestic and international players through his role as a commentator and analyst on Fox Sports and Channel 10 has won him significant kudos and a wide following, and his keen eye – as well as his long-standing relationship with former teammate Lehmann – will prove a timely addition.
Waugh was installed into the Cricket Hall of Fame earlier this year, and it is understood he will be free to continue his commentary work – most notably as part of Channel 10's coverage of the KFC Big Bash League – in addition to his selectors' responsibilities.
"I see it as a real honour to be a selector for Australia," said Waugh. "I still love the game and since retiring have remained very interested in the Australian team and its performance. I view this as a really good challenge and for me it’s a way that I can give back to the game."
Sutherland said Waugh's role will focus largely on Australia's limited-overs program.
"He was one of the world's greatest one-day international players (and) we think he can add a lot, particularly in an important World Cup year," said Sutherland.
The new panel will convene for the first time on 1 July 2014 when the contracts for the current selection panel expire, with their first main task being the touring party for the triangular one-day series against Zimbabwe and South Africa in Zimbabwe from late August.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 02 May, 2014 10:31AM AEST