Axed players agitated by lack of feedback from selectors
Australian cricket's players union has called for selectors to give greater consideration to state form as agitation grows among playing ranks over the communication of selection decisions to those overlooked.
Seven years after the Argus review called for the better communication of selection strategy, players are again upset at what they perceive to be a lack of feedback from the men who pick the national team.
Pressure is mounting on selectors with Australia on the verge of losing their first series on home soil to India.
The impending series defeat is not a surprise given the unavailability of Steve Smith and David Warner but there is growing discontent among former players and administrators.
There is a widely held suspicion some players are being left out due to perceived knocks on their character over performance.
The Herald is aware of at least one perennially overlooked player who is considering publicly hitting out at selectors if he is not named for the series against Sri Lanka.
Recalled batsman Peter Handscomb and former selector Mark Waugh have defended the panel of Trevor Hohns, Greg Chappell and Justin Langer.
The move this week to recall Marnus Labuschagne, who has a Shield average of 34, to bat at No.3 raised eyebrows, though the Queensland repaid some of the faith with a fighting 38.
Although there is no player clearly dominating state ranks, selectors are under fire for picking batsmen averaging in the mid-30s when there are candidates with better Shield numbers.
Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Kurtis Patterson and Joe Burns are all averaging above 40 but have not been picked since Langer took over as coach last year.
Matt Renshaw, Jake Lehmann and Daniel Hughes also boast higher Shield averages than incumbents Travis Head, Marcus Harris and Labuschagne.
Harris has vindicated his promotion but critics will point to his strong form over several years to strengthen their argument that selectors need to pay more respect to the Shield.
"Clearly, there are some anomalies and it's true to say that we've fallen away from state-based cricket as being the predominant method by which people are selected," ACA president Greg Dyer said on SEN.
"The players unanimously say, "I want to be selected based on my state form, my domestic cricket form" rather than Australia A or some other pathway.
"They want to go back to that really clear, fair system which says runs on the board, wickets, so forth are the primary criteria."
Dyer said there was "a lot of disquiet" among players over selections and inferred they were unhappy with the communication from selectors.
"[They say], 'I just don't understand what I did or didn't do, what is the basis for what's happening?'" Dyer said.
Fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile said his omission from the one-day international squad for upcoming matches against India had been "communicated to me really poorly".
Hohns said Coulter-Nile was not picked due to lower back soreness but the paceman, who has a long injury history, said subsequent scans had cleared him. More eyebrows will be raised if Coulter-Nile lines up for the Perth Scorchers in the BBL on Wednesday at a time he has been ruled out by national selectors due to injury.
Waugh, a selector until last year, suggested those out of the team would always be most critical of selectors.
"I think it is an easy excuse to blame the selectors when individuals and the team is not performing," Waugh wrote on Twitter.
"As a player why do you constantly want feedback from the selectors why you are not in the team or why you have been dropped. It's normally pretty simple not enough runs or wickets."
Handscomb, recalled this week to the Test side and the ODI squad, said his conversations with selections had been "open and honest".
"I've been able to push my case with them with some really, really good conversations," Handscomb said.
"And they tell me where I stand, what I need to improve or how they see me in the Test side. It's actually been really good, the communication has been great."
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald