Qantas Tour of South Africa

Sayers wants answers after missing SA tour

Swing bowler expresses disappointment at being overlooked, says he would have been suited to South African conditions

Martin Smith

22 January 2018, 07:51 PM

Selectors, new faces discuss Test and T20 squads

Swing bowler Chadd Sayers says he's phoned selection chairman Trevor Hohns in order to get some clarity as to why he was overlooked for Australia's Qantas Tour of South Africa.

Australia have picked five fast bowlers for the four-match series against the Proteas, with Ashes trio Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Patrick Cummins supported by Tasmanian Jackson Bird and uncapped Western Australian Jhye Richardson.

Sayers has been the dominant fast bowler in Sheffield Shield cricket in recent years and, having been close to a Test debut in Adelaide last summer, was included in an extended squad for the first two Tests of the Ashes this season with a particular focus on the day-night Test in Adelaide.

But having been overlooked due to the strong form and fitness of Australia's main pace trio, Sayers was removed from the squad for the final three Tests of the series.

Watch all of Chadd Sayers' 62 Shield wickets

The South Australian had held out hope of a recall for the South African tour and his absence in favour of the younger Richardson as left him wanting answers.

"I guess that's one of the disappointing things, that I haven’t had a phone call to actually find out why I was left out," he told 5AA. "It would be nice to know.

"I found out on social media so I guess that’s one of the disappointing things.

"Not being in the touring party and being dropped from the squad, I was involved in The Ashes, was also disappointing but not to have had a chance to find out why is hard to take.

"I have tried to call him (Hohns).

"Hopefully he gets back to me tonight and I can have a chat to him and can get some clarity on how Jhye Richardson, who has only played five Shield games, was picked ahead of me.

"I'd like to know where I stand in Cricket Australia's eyes and where I can get in their side. It's quite hard to take at the moment.

"I'm just disappointed and just want some clarity."

Speaking after the squad was announced, Hohns praised Sayers for his recent form but added the selections of Hazlewood and Bird meant the squad was well-stocked with swing and seam bowlers like the Redbacks right-armer.

And he added youngster Richardson, one of the quickest bowlers in the domestic scene, would "benefit immensely" from his first Test tour.

"Chadd is performing well, as he always does, but with Jackson Bird there he has the jump on Chadd at the moment, there’s no doubt about that,” Hohns said in Sydney.

"We have him, Josh Hazlewood is a well-renowned seam bowler then we have the good pace of Starc, Cummins and Jhye Richardson."

Sayers said he was "a realist" in acknowledging that the Starc-Hazlewood-Cummins triumvirate would also be picked ahead of him when fit, as they were during the Ashes.

But he said the record of Proteas swing bowler Vernon Philander indicated that his style of bowling could succeed on South African pitches. 

"I thought South Africa would have been perfect for my bowling with the conditions over there," he said. "You watch Vernon Philander go about his business as he does, he takes a lot of wickets in South African conditions.

Philander shines in SA's thrilling win

"Being a realist, the big three are always going to play if they're fit.

"Every time Jackson Bird has been picked in the squad I think he'd done reasonably well and that's why they keep going back to him. And I guess it's exciting for Jhye Richardson to get his shot. 

"To not be touring with that squad and for a young kid to come in, I'm back in the pecking order now.

"I've just got to go back to South Australia again and hopefully we can turn around our form in the back half of the year, win a few games and get ourselves back in the Shield final.

"You can be disappointed, but you can't whinge. It's not Jhye Richardson’s fault for getting picked, it's exciting for him to be involved in the Australian system and he'll love his first tour.

"I'll be going back to training, trying to get better every day and keep performing."

Qantas tour of South Africa

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24

First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3