Australian selection boss Andrew Hilditch and under-fire coach Tim Nielsen may be pushed off the plank after their bosses pointedly refused to guarantee their jobs.
One of the biggest shake-ups in Australian cricket history started on Tuesday when a CA board meeting gave the green light to two major reviews – which were sparked by the abysmal Ashes flop.
A sweeping performance review will analyse every aspect of the team’s awful plunge to No. 5 in the world, while a governance review is likely to recommend major changes to Australian cricket’s outdated and archaic board structure.
As sparks flew in the Ashes post-mortem, fingers were pointed at Hilditch, who refused to take any responsibility despite making some perplexing decisions and blunders, starting with anonymous spin greenhorn Xavier Doherty getting the nod for the first Test at the Gabba.
Nielsen was also under severe pressure after, incredibly, he was appointed for another three years until the 2013 Ashes despite overseeing Australia’s worrying free-fall down the world rankings.
Patience may be running out, with Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland indicating he could not offer any job guarantee to Hilditch or Nielsen.
The fate of both men may now be out of their hands.
“If we can really closely examine some of the faults that the experts may deem to have caused this, then it won’t occur again,” Sutherland said.
“In terms of what implications that has for people in certain roles right now, that will happen in due course through the review.
“Andrew Hilditch is as disappointed as I am in the performance of Australian cricket in not winning the Ashes and being beaten how we were.”
Nielsen has become known as “Teflon Tim” within cricket circles because he keeps such a low profile that mud rarely seems to stick and he has at times seemed almost unaccountable for poor performances.
Since the former South Australia wicketkeeper took over from John Buchanan after the 2007 World Cup, Australia have lost two Ashes campaigns, been beaten at home by South Africa and lost two Test series in India.
Asked whether Nielsen’s job was safe, Sutherland said, “All of those things will be encompassed in the team performance review. That’s the only way I can really answer that question.
“The team performance review needs to get to the bottom of the reasons behind our decline from being the best team in the world to the fifth-ranked Test team over the last couple of years.”
Hilditch, whose contract runs out after the World Cup ends in April, will not willingly walk away from his post.
Buford Balony says: I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again. Sack Hilditch.