Australia v Sri Lanka Tests - Men
Australia's selection recipe revealed
Trevor Hohns answers questions about the process by which players are selected and also left out of Australian national teams
9 January 2019, 05:14 PM AEST
In Australia, it's often said there are 25 million selectors picking the national men’s cricket team; each with their own opinion and philosophy on who should be named in the XI.
There is, however, just three selectors.
Chairman Trevor Hohns, former Australia captain Greg Chappell and head coach Justin Langer make up the National Selection Panel and together they are tasked with picking the men’s Test, one-day and T20 teams.
Selection is considered by many as a mysterious art - even Test great and close confidant of Langer, Ricky Ponting, admitted to cricket.com.au he wasn't exactly sure how it worked.
To attempt to dispel some of the confusion around why 'this' player gets picked over 'that' player, Hohns explained how he and his panel go about the process of selection.
"We take into account the 'now' of course, that's very important to us," Hohns told reporters in Sydney today.
"If we're picking a squad or what have you we also take into account where they may fit in, where they may not, or where they might even fit in down the track.
"That's very important to us too, because that's part of our charter, to take care of the now but also take care of the future.
"That keeps things rolling along nicely.
"We do look at, obviously - we have access to facts and figures etc. - we look at that. We look at what type of player we might need for certain conditions and what type of player we might need to fill a certain position.
"So we certainly look at all of those sort of things.
"And from there we have a look at what we've got.
"We then come up with what we consider to be an informed decision."
Hohns admitted these are unprecedented times as a selector.
With the country's two best batsmen unavailable due to suspension, a jam-packed schedule and three formats to juggle, finding the right players for the right team at the right time has never been more difficult.
"It’s been quite a challenge," he said. "But it’s also been a challenge because of the program.
"We’ve been (playing) Test cricket to T20 cricket to one-day cricket to Test cricket and we’re going to one-day cricket again now so that’s been a bit of a challenge in itself keeping up with everybody and trying to keep our key players fresh if that’s at all possible.
"It’s been an unprecedented period, I must say."
Hohns also addressed the topic of communication between the selectors and elite players.
While captain Tim Paine and batsman Peter Handscomb said they have had no issues with communication from selectors, Perth Scorchers pair Nathan Coulter-Nile and Ashton Agar have expressed their frustration around what they were and were not told following their omissions from the one-day squad to face India in the three-match Gillette ODI Series.
Hohns said he personally notifies players who have been included in a new squad and says he also speaks to those who have been dropped either on the phone, or preferably in person.
Feedback is given to those who have missed out, whether that be just "two or three lines", but the omitted player, any any elite players, are encouraged to contact the selectors about where they stand and what they need to do in order reach higher honours or be recalled.
"There's an open line of communication," he said.
"It's their careers, so if they're unclear about anything, we'd like to think they can get some clarity if they want and take some ownership of their careers.
"The state talent managers as well are encouraged to encourage the players to give us a call, as is the chairman of selectors from their respective states.
"People are always told why they've been left out, so there can be no misunderstanding whatsoever.
"Sometimes obviously players are disappointed, there's no doubt about that.
"And sometimes they may understand, sometimes they may not.
"But there is that open line where they can always get clarity if they wish and we do speak to them on a regular basis."
Hohns was asked if the NSP got any selections wrong in the Test series against India, and said: "You never admit that you get it wrong.
"That’s always a discussion point there’s no doubt about it.
"Whether we got it right or wrong that’s up to you people to judge us on.
"We always review what we do and we always consider maybe we could have done that, maybe we could have done something a little bit better.
"At the time when we chose the side we were convinced they were the best players to represent Australia at that time."
Domain Test Series v Sri Lanka
Australia: Tim Paine (c/wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha
CA XI: Joe Burns (c), Kurtis Patterson (vc), Scott Boland, Jake Doran (wk), Jon Holland, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Will Pucovski, Jason Sangha, Matt Renshaw, Chris Tremain
Jan 17-19: Tour match, CA XI v SL, Hobart (D/N)
Jan 24-28: First Test, Gabba (D/N)
Feb 1-5: Second Test, Canberra