Steve Waugh said that while nobody has approached him yet, he is willing to consider a selection role if it came up © Getty Images
Steve Waugh, the former Australia captain, has indicated a willingness to consider the role of selector after it emerged that the panel’s chairman Rod Marsh will vacate his post at the end of the season.
Series defeats in Sri Lanka and South Africa have renewed focus on the Australian team’s performance, and there is tension in the air as Steven Smith’s team look to rebound by winning at home.
Marsh’s decision not to seek a contract renewal was announced after the South Africa ODI series ended in a 5-0 defeat, and he will not be the only man under pressure, should results go badly this summer.
Pat Howard, the head of team performance, is also out of contract next year, and will be looking to recast the selection panel before that time. Darren Lehmann, the national team coach and selector, has had his contract renewed until 2019.
Waugh, whose twin brother Mark has been a selector since 2014, said he would be open to joining the panel. “I’d listen to it if the opportunity came up, but there are a lot of things you’ve got to throw into the mix and see whether it’s the right time,” Waugh told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I think there are a lot of good cricket brains in Australia. No one has asked me, but I’d listen to it.”
Aside from a brief chat during the 2015 World Cup, Waugh has seldom been seen near the Australian side since his 2004 retirement, but has remained a respected voice and was a member of the Argus review panel in 2011, alongside fellow former captains Mark Taylor and Allan Border.
Waugh perceives 2016-17 to be a pivotal summer for Smith in particular. “You always have a honeymoon period. The first six to 12 months, everything is fantastic. You make all the changes and they work,” Waugh said. “Then, the reality sets in and it’s a bit harder than that.
“I think losing that series in Sri Lanka probably was a bit of a shock to the system. I thought our fielding was very poor, which is unlike Australia, and that sort of set the benchmark for the rest of their cricket.
“[Smith] will be having a good look at himself, his captaincy style and which players he wants in the team. These six Tests in Australia could well define his captaincy going forward. I think if they have a good series in Australia and the team stays stable, and they respond to his leadership, then it’s great for him, but if things don’t go well, it will be a challenging time for him, particularly after the last few losses. “But as a captain, the one thing about Steve Smith is he’s amazing in the way he responds when things are down.”
Waugh also noted Smith’s recent comments about the “quiet” nature of numerous members of the Test team and wanting to see a more boisterous group.
“That’s when he’s got to get together with the selectors and say ‘this is the type of player I want in the side’,” Waugh said. “I’m sure he’ll be talking to Rod Marsh and the selectors, saying, ‘look, we need a bit more life, a bit more talk and attitude and a bit more Aussie Way’. That may define some of the selections in the first Test. If he wants more talk out there, he’s definitely got to get it.”
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo