Review to restore Australia`s reputation: Press

Sydney: The Argus Review of Australian cricket, which threw out the national team`s management after the side`s humiliation in the Ashes series, was warmly welcomed by Australian media.

Commentators were universally damning of the selection panel, the coaching setup and inept decision-making by Cricket Australia (CA), and backed the review`s findings.

Chief selector Andrew Hilditch and head coach Tim Nielsen were high-profile casualties after the sweeping review into Australian cricket was released on Friday, sparked by the team`s 3-1 Ashes defeat by England earlier this year.

Both men lost their jobs, along with fellow selector Greg Chappell, following the seven-month review headed by Don Argus, the former chief of mining giant BHP Billiton.

"Avoiding cosy generalities, the Argus report has effectively ditched the entire selection panel and overhauled the backroom staffing," Peter Roebuck wrote in a leading daily.

"Crucially, the report gives the (CA) board, itself in urgent need of renewal, an opportunity to undo the unholy mess it has created in the past few seasons.”

"Over the years Australia has been able to put the right men in the right place. Somewhere along the way that skill was lost. Jobs for the boys became the custom, complacency took hold."

The Age columnist Greg Baum said Australian cricket will be run differently in the wake of the far-reaching review.

"The something that had to be seen to be done can be seen to have been done. Heads have rolled and more will," he said.

"Whatever your standpoint on the remedial measures – to make coach and captain selectors, for instance -- it is clear that Australian cricket will now be run differently.”

"But it does not finish there. The Argus report puts the players squarely in the gun. It notes `poor performances by the leading players` and `poor basic skills generally`."

The Age said a striking feature of the review was the dissatisfaction of players interviewed with the feedback they received from the selectors.

"Players who did speak to Hilditch often felt he had little grasp of their domestic performances; one experienced batsman was told he could enhance his prospects by opening the batting for his state, but had been doing just that for some time," the newspaper said.

The Australian newspaper said the review "clearly took aim at the role of selectors."

"The players, coaches and elite performance structures, however, do not escape blame for the failures of Australian cricket," The Australian`s Peter Lalor said.

"Under the new selection set-up, which CA says it aims to establish soon, there will be a five-man panel with a full-time chairman."

Roebuck said: "The next step is to call to account those responsible for the debacle."

Citing a litany of "abysmal decisions" in recent times, among them "groveling before Indian power" and "toleration of conflicts of interest", he added: "It tells of incompetence in high places."


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