Hilditch fired in Australian cricket overhaul

Melbourne: Australia`s chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch has been fired and national team coach Tim Nielsen must reapply for his position under sweeping changes adopted by Cricket Australia.

The changes were made immediately following today`s release of a report by former BHP Billiton chief Don Argus, who held a seven-month long review into Australian cricket following the loss of a home Ashes series.

Hilditch had been a part-time chairman of selectors and will be replaced by a full-time chairman, while the selection panel will be expanded from three members to five and will include two independent selectors, plus the Australian coach and captain.

The role of head coach, currently held by Nielsen, will be expanded and refined, so he must reapply for the job.

The report also said current selector Greg Chappell should not continue in that role while he remains national talent manager.

Cricket Australia will appoint a new general manager of team performance, responsible for coaching, selection and the Center of Excellence.

The review was commissioned by Cricket Australia in the wake of the series defeat by England last summer -- its first home Ashes series loss since 1987.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said there were no surprises and the review was harsh. Chairman Jack Clarke called it a "full, frank and fearless look" into the state of cricket in Australia.

"We didn`t want quick fixes, we wanted to do this properly," Clarke said.

He said the dominance of the Australian team over many years had likely masked problems in the sport which were only now being addressed and there was no "scapegoating" in any of the decisions taken.


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