Benaud calls for overhaul of Australian selection panel

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Melbourne, Aug 30 (ANI): Former Test selector John Benaud has blamed the Australian selection panel for a series of blunders, including dumping opening batsman Phil Hughes for Shane Watson, opting for wicketkeeper Brad Haddin over Graham Manou and leaving behind a spare batsman.

Benaud has called for an overhaul of the four-man panel, claiming the team of Andrew Hilditch, Jamie Cox, Merv Hughes and David Boon lacks balance and innovation, and is too stubborn to change.

"I have a fear about this selection panel, that they don't like admitting a blue. They've got this blinkered view of things," the Daily Telegraph quoted Benaud, as saying.

"It's all right for Jamie Cox to put his hand up and say, 'I misread the pitch' but I don't think it was that so much as it was the way we handled things.

"They got themselves into a bit of a corner, these blokes, because when they chose the Ashes squad initially they only had the two opening batsmen. They were one batsman short," he said.

"I feel they should have taken (Brad) Hodge to cover any eventuality. They created their own problem by dropping Hughes, who two Tests before made two centuries in a Test match against one of the best opening bowling attacks in the world (South Africa).

"To drop him, that suggests they were never really keen on Hughes as an opening bat, and that they'd been tyre-levered into picking him because the kid had done so well.

"But then they surprised us all by picking Watson as the opening batting replacement. I just couldn't follow that," Benaud said. (ANI)

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