Chadd Sayers Axed – What’s the Selection Criteria?

With the fall in the standards of Australian Cricket, there has also been fall in the quality of selection which Australian Selectors have made in recent years. The Day of the announcement of the Australian squad for the upcoming South African tour was quite a happening one as selectors went on to select 21-year-old Western Australia pacer Jhye Richardson and left-arm spinner John Holland thereby overlooking Glen Maxwell and Ashton Agar. However, the topic of the day was the omission of South Australian Swing bowler Chadd Sayers.

The thing got more heated up when Sayers himself expressed his disappointment while talking to Radio Station 5AA.

“I guess that’s one of the disappointing things, that I haven’t had a phone call to actually find out why I was left out,” he told 5AA. 

Earlier in the day, Chairman of selectors clarified that dropping Sayers from the squad is a tough decision as he has been impressive in the domestic circuit but as Hazlewood and Bird fulfil the need of swing bowlers, therefore, they have preferred the pace of Jhye Richardson.

The clarification created a sense of frustration among the fans as they have seen Sayers performing brilliantly on the domestic circuit and were confident of him getting the call for test debut.

In 2012/13, Chad Sayers topped the chart of Sheffield Shield picking 48 wickets in 9 matches at 18.52. In his only second season in first-class cricket, Sayers showed he had immense talent and potential to offer.

In 2013/14, he had a modest season picking 36 wickets in 10 games at an average of 28, yet he was among top 5 bowlers of the season.

In 2016/17, he topped the charts once again with unbelievable 62 wickets in 11 games at a remarkable average of 19. He has picked up 246 wickets in 59 matches at an impressive average of 23.56.

The Question which arises here is that whether Australian selectors are giving enough importance to the domestic cricket or they have a policy of selecting ‘players of choice’ rather than the performers. Is this a system of lottery where anyone can get picked.

Isn’t it surprising that Jhye Richardson himself was surprised on his test selection? While Australian selectors are considered to be very bold who go by gut feeling but how would one clarify the situation to hundreds of other players performing in the system but being ignored.

In case of Sayers, while the bowler may be criticised for opening up in Media rather than discussing with selectors but one has to understand his frustration. He has been performing and missed to get baggy green on many occasions. The first time in 2015-16 when he was selected on New Zealand tour, but couldn’t get a chance ahead of Jackson Bird.

In November 2016, he was picked against South Africa and almost sure to make the debut but couldn’t because selectors preferred Bird once again. He once again came close to test debut in Ashes the last November only to miss out and later replaced by Mitchell Marsh. However, this omission seems to have broken Sayers down as he appeared quite hurt.

“You can be disappointed, but you can’t whinge. It’s not Jhye Richardson’s fault for getting picked; it’s exciting for him to be involved in the Australian system and he’ll love his first tour”, Sayers said.

Sayers has always been a fighter who has never shown his disappointment. In 2015-16 after being overlooked in New Zealand, he worked with Craig Mcdermott and returned to take 7-46 in the shield, his best performance.

In 2016-17, after being overlooked again he topped the charts with 62 wickets and also in this season, he has been toiling admirably. He may appear disappointed, but anyone who knows Sayers also knows that he will go back to his work and to what he knows best sweating hard in domestic cricket.

“I’ll be going back to training, trying to get better every day and keep performing”, he said.

Will he finally be able to break the jinx and make his test debut remains to be seen?


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