Simon Katich has launched a scathing attack on Cricket Australia, slamming the decision to leave him off the contract list as “absolutely ridiculous”.
Katich’s name was not among the 25 read out on Tuesday when CA announced the cricketers who would automatically draw a salary from them, despite the opening batsman’s record over the past three years showing that he’s been one of the most consistent performers in a fairly bleak time for the Test side.
However while Katich expressed his disappointment at being left out, his ire was directed more at a system which employs selectors on a part-time basis than it was at the selectors themselves.
His most memorable line summed up the situation where part-time selectors on $40,000 a year affect the careers of players who earn $2 million when he said: “When you talk about money you get the best in the business for paying. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.”
Having taken a few days to compose himself after Tuesday’s news, Katich chose his words carefully and made it clear that he was speaking out because he felt the system needed a shake-up.
“I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated with the decision I found out about on Tuesday but I also want to make it clear that I know I’m not the only player who has gone through this in the last couple of years due to inconsistent policies,” he said.
“I just hope that something good comes out of this situation because I actually think the decision that came on Tuesday was absolutely ridiculous.
“It certainly didn’t come as a total shock on Tuesday, only because I know how they operate. I’ve been through this situation before. From my point of view, to hear the news was very disappointing, particularly because of the reason that was given.
“To be given the reason that it’s because the opening partnership needs to bed down for 2013, when I know for a fact that Watto (Shane Watson) and I have thoroughly enjoyed opening together, and it’s been one of the bright spots of our team in the last two years, I find it very hard to believe that (a new partnership needs to come in).
“This is not just about me but a number of players that have felt aggrieved at how they’ve been treated by the selectors in particular. Not just the selectors, by CA. There’s people above the selectors that make the decisions on their futures and also our players’ futures because they ratify the decisions that are made.
“I’m one of a number of players that will be in this situation. Having spoken to Paul Marsh, the ACA boss, there’s actually no course of appeal against this happening. As a player we’ve got absolutely no way apart from legal proceedings to answer back.”
Therein lies Katich’s greatest frustration, and he revealed that he and his manager Robert Joske had even contemplated taking legal action to claim unfair dismissal before deciding against it.
Nevertheless the New South Welshman insists that having full-time selectors is crucial if Australia are going to haul themselves back to the top of the game.
“There’s been talk about that (full-time selectors) for a while now but nothing’s been done about it,” Katich said. “It’s a business, there’s no doubt about that, that’s just the way sport has gone. Being realistic it’s got to go that way, because you’re dealing with guys’ careers.
“This is not just me, there’s plenty of other guys out there as well who’ve gone through this. So maybe something good will come out of this situation.
“Technically I’m still contracted until the end of June 30. So no doubt the phone will ring and I’ll probably have to answer for this. But at the same time, I’m not going to stand up here and lie about it all, because that’s not going to help anyone moving forward. Hopefully the review (proposed after the Ashes), something good will come out of that review, because this might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
Katich went on to cite examples of questionable selection principles, such as the decision to name their squad for the first Ashes Test well in advance due to marketing and publicity demands, and the apparent cluelessness over who Australia’s best spinner is.
“There needs to be more consistency,” Katich added. “The facts are a week or two before the Ashes a squad of 17 was named. In my opinion if you can’t know what your best 11 is a week or so before our biggest Test series that we play in the Ashes, that to me reeks of indecision.
“The fact that we’ve had 10 or 11 spinners in the last two or three years whatever it’s been, obviously some have been through retirements and injury and stuff like that, (but) that to me is another indicator of the inconsistency in selections. There’s been rules for some and rules for others.
“I’ve got no doubt that it (the 17-man squad) did (unsettle the team) and I’m sure there’ll be other players in the team saying the same thing because you’ve got so many guys looking over their shoulder about whether they would play or not. If you were to compare it to how England prepared they were settled, they played the same team in all their warm-up games and no surprise that they had a very good campaign.”
Katich said that he was “steaming” after the phone conversation with chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch that effectively ended his international career, and confirmed that retirement had crossed his mind.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, every thought goes through your mind, and this isn’t just something I’ve thought about since Tuesday because I know how they operate and I could see it coming,” he said.
“I’ve only had a four-minute conversation with Andrew Hilditch on Tuesday, and I haven’t heard from anyone else at CA since, and I’ve been involved in the organisation since 1999.”
Katich confirmed that he will continue to play for New South Wales in spite of CA’s decision, and was backed up by his former Australia teammate Stuart Clark on the issue of having selectors full time.
At the moment only Greg Chappell is employed on a full-time basis – as national talent manager and selector – while Hilditch, Jamie Cox and the outgoing David Boon are not.
“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,” Clark said.
“(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.” Cricket365