This week the Australian Squad for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka was announced and, as is often the case, the National Selection Panel’s explanation of their decision making raised more questions than they belligerently answered. Yet even by their admittedly low bench marks, they were able to bewilder the Australian public anew with their attempts to utilise misinformation, contradiction and denigration to justify their squad.
There’s a saying in Cuba: A lie repeated many times becomes the truth.Lenin Rivero
While there is no way of knowing if Trevor Hohns or Justin Langer have met Lenin Rivero, events of recent days suggest they believe in the Cuban Baseballer’s suggestion that repetition is the only difference between a lie and the truth. Unfortunately for both men, despite their best efforts the ham fisted manner in which they have gone about convincing the public of the inconceivable has been more comical than persuasive. As if channelling George Costanza and his mantra that it isn’t a lie if you believe it, both men have fronted the press and earnestly told the Australian public that black is white and up is down.
On consecutive days Trevor Hohns and Justin Langer fronted the media and it isn’t unfair to suggest that the squads actually made more sense before their attempts to justify the absence of those who had missed the cut.
Matt Wade? After bemoaning prior to the Sydney Test that nobody had knocked down the door, we are now meant to believe that the leading runscorer in the Sheffield Shield couldn’t be considered because he had scored them from too far down the batting order. That he could maintain a straight face while feeding us this has to be commended, especially when you consider in the same breath he announced Marnus Labuschagne in the team who hasn’t scored runs in any position.
READ: Let’s Talk Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell? Not enough first class runs. Sergeant Shultz was invoked when they were asked if they felt any guilt over robbing him of First Class opportunities having advised him to rest for tours they didn’t pick him for? They knew nothing. Langer going even further in cringeworthy exchange with a journalist.
Are you certain that’s what happened? Did it happen? Did it happen? Did it happen? You’re telling me it did happen.
I’ve got zero knowledge of that … careless whispers, eh?
Sorry for getting grumpy.
I don’t like getting grumpy but there’s so many stories that go around about so much stuff. The truth is a beautiful thing.Justin Langer 10.01.19
The whole exchange was telling, especially his choice of words to end it, given the fact that the journalists he had attempted to bully and dismiss were closer to the truth than he was. Within hours of the terse exchange, Cricket Australia acknowledged that they had indeed advised Maxwell to forgo other opportunities to be rested ahead of the ‘A’ tour of India.
Misinform. Denigrate. Contradict.
While there will be many who are willing to offer the benefit of the doubt here to the Australian coach, it seems highly improbably that neither he nor Hohns were aware of this directive when selecting the ‘A’ Tour squad. Given this was far from new information – Maxwell himself had spoken about it in interview as far back as September – it is absurd to believe that both were still in the dark this week. Even harder when their other key claim that Wade was well aware of the selectors need to see him bat higher, was contradicted by both the batter and Cricket Tasmania.
The confusing thing about the whole new mess that Langer and Hohns have walked themselves into, is that it is entirely unnecessary. Instead of the whole Maxwell situation being easily explained away as an unfortunate misunderstanding, it is now clouded with a sinister air by their unnecessary denials. Rather than simply challenge Wade to continue to mount an irresistible case to change their mind, they have made it appear as though he could make 2000 runs and they would make a case to leave him out.
There might have been a time when the Australian Selectors could pick and choose a team unchallenged by those who support it, but that time is not now. When Australia was winning it was easy to explain away the omission of a player like Jamie Siddons, Jamie Cox or Brad Hodge but when losses are coming at a rate of three to one, there needs to be more than huffing and puffing to explain away the credentialed being overlooked for those less so.
It is time that the Selection Panel treat the press and the Australian Public like the invested stakeholders they are rather than a painful inconvenience. Uncomfortable questions have a greater tendency to go away if you attempt to answer them openly and honestly. Treating them with contempt or half arsed answers leads only to more questions. Time to put the Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber schtick away and get the Australian public with you and not against you.
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