Melbourne: Former Australian fast bowler Merve Hughes has said that he has no regrets about not being a member of the National Selection Panel (NSP), insisting that he would jump at the chance to rejoin the panel if a vacancy arose.
The 48-year-old was yesterday confirmed as the casualty of Cricket Australia’s introduction of a full-time selector, Greg Chappell.
Its board unanimously confirmed Jamie Cox and David Boon as the part-time selectors who should complement Chappell and panel chairman Andrew Hilditch.
“At the end of the day, the decision’s been made and I got the rissole. It doesn’t matter what the process is, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m no longer a selector,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Hughes, as saying when asked about the process that cut the panel from five members to four.
“Yes, I am disappointed. It was a real honour to be involved with this cricket team, but having said that, if it had’ve been David Boon or Jamie Cox, I would have been disappointed for them, too, because I know the passion and the energy that they put into the job,” he added.
The retired fast bowler attracted some public criticism for mixing selection duties with his role leading tour groups at overseas matches.
CA, however, relied on Hughes’ enduring popularity with fans, making him the spearhead of a television advertising campaign to eradicate loutish behaviour at matches.
Hughes would not speculate on whether his participation meant he was not taken as seriously by the public - or by the CA board that voted him out - as he would have been had he kept a lower profile.
“I don’t know, that’s not for me to comment on. But to be involved in crowd management they’ve got to think that you’re somewhat serious or you don’t get the message across,” he said.
“I was happy with the process. To come up short, while it is disappointing, you just move on. Down the track, if a position opened up again, I’ll be putting my hand up,” he said.
“They know what I can do, I’ve done it for 5½ years. Whether that be 12 months’ time or 12 years’ time, I’ll still have a look at it,” he said.
With the part-time selector job requiring Hughes to be an ever-present figure at domestic and international MCG matches, he agreed that one positive aspect of the decision was that it would allow him to reclaim his weekends.