Generational
change has come to Australian cricket somewhat quicker than the
selection panel might have liked after our Ashes failure, but to sit on
their hands and not ring some
serious changes for the upcoming Super Series would be to ignore the
consequences for their own longer term employment prospects.

While
it was obvious the axe had to swing in the direction of our ageing/fading fast
bowlers, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz, at least one if not two
batsmen also needed to be “retired” from the next battle. You could also bet no matter who drew the
short straw it was always going to be spun as a matter of poor form rather than
the end of international careers.

I
have never been a big fan of chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns, but he strained credibility when announcing the squads
for the Test and ODI contests again the World XI. Hohns
claimed the changes were neither a sign of panic – nor the start of generation
change. Well if they’re not the latter –
why not?

Just
maybe Gillespie can haul himself back from the brink but poor form doesn’t so
easily explain away his demise as looking totally unthreatening when bowling, and
old and slow in the field in England. On the other hand, Kasprowicz (now 33), cannot
be seriously entertained to remain in the selectors’ future plans. He’s done a great late career job for his
country, but his time has now passed and we need new blood in his place –
we already have more than enough “thirty somethings” in our ageing attack.

Matthew Hayden’s
dumping from the one-day squad is soundly based, and Hohns is right to talk
about the need for 2007 World Cup planning to be in their thinking now. Yet despite the chairman’s argument to the
contrary, the Super Series is the start of generational change and for the
likes of Kasprowicz to seriously suggest he feels he can still be in the 2007
selection mix astounds me.

Damien
Martyn’s marked batting decline might only be temporary, but along with
Hayden, he’s captive to time’s relentless march, and surely their
halcyon
days at the crease are behind them.

We
have gambled on an abundance of players’ growing old gracefully together in an
Australian team. But it’s the selectors’ job to get on with generational
change when time is a luxury we can no longer afford – and the Super Series is
the beginning of the end for some.

Peter Fray

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