Melbourne: Was Simon Katich`s axing from Cricket Australia`s list of contracted players a fallout of his infamous bust-up with current captain Michael Clarke more than two years ago?
At least that`s what an outraged Michael Slater has alleged while reacting to the enterprising batsman`s dropping from the list of 25 elite players.
Former opening batsman Slater hinted that the 35-year-old Katich, who was dropped despite a reasonably good Test record, paid for the dressing room showdown with Clarke in 2009.
"I think he has been appallingly hung," Slater said.
"Maybe the new captain (Clarke) hasn`t been a great supporter but I don`t think that can be blamed for him (Katich) not making the list of contracted players," he said.
Slater also rejected Cricket Australia`s explanation that the left-hander was not included in the list because of his age.
"If his replacement came in scoring hundreds and was red hot, then I can understand an injury stopping someone in their mid-30s," Slater said.
"But that clearly hasn`t happened. The system that is being reviewed at the moment around the country, what are they reviewing?”
"The first thing they should be reviewing is the selectors and the selection process and I`d start with the chairman of selectors (Hilditch)," he said.
But an outraged CA rubbished Slater`s claims that the Katich-Clarke showdown had any bearing on the list of contracted players.
"It`s absolute nonsense. It`s hardly worth dignifying with a response," CA public affairs manager Peter Young said.
"The selection panel reports direct to the board and is independent of the influence of players, administrators, states or anybody else. Anyone who knows Andrew (Hilditch) would know that it`s a joke," he added.
The infamous incident happened during the 2009 home series against South Africa.
After a thrilling win over the Proteas, the Aussie celebrations turned ugly when Clarke and Katich had to be separated by teammates when the former grabbed the latter by the throat during an argument over the singing of the team song.
It is understood Clarke had wanted the song sung early so he could leave to be with family and the then girlfriend Lara Bingle and it was this persistence that irked Katich.