Saturday, November 20, 2010

Unconscious Bias of Australian Selectors

If we assume for a moment that the Australian selectors are making decisions that they consider the best for Australian cricket, and not merely to piss me off (and I am not yet convinced of this argument, but anyway), I wonder whether there is an unconscious bias towards batsmen.

Recently, Australian cricket has been plagued by batting collapses, and an underperforming middle order. North and Hussey in particular have been considered by most judges (other than the selectors) to be under pressure to hold their places for over 12 months. However, in spite of losing our last three tests, the only change (other than the return from injury by Haddin) that appears likely for the first Test is the dropping of Hauritz (and potentially Bollinger evidently).

While I don't think Hauritz should be anywhere near our national team, why is a bowler the sole victim of our recent poor form? Haurie's form against India was crap, but he was actually better than expected last summer. Why does his two failures in India result in his dropping, whereas Hussey's three years of underperforming doesn't similarly result in demotion?

If you look at the composition of the panel, all are former batsmen. I wonder whether they are, perhaps unconsciously, more sympathetic to the plight of struggling batsmen than bowlers? Would a selection panel made up of Shane Warne, Geoff Lawson, Terry Alderman and Merv Hughes (hypothetically) been as likely to drop a bowler as our current group? Should there be a better balance between former batsmen and bowlers on the national panel, as there appears to be both currently and historically a strong trend towards former batsmen being selectors rather than bowlers.