Hobart - Australia's
chairperson of selectors Rod Marsh quit with immediate effect on Wednesday
after a run of five heavy Test defeats left the team in crisis, saying
it was time for "some fresh thinking".
The former wicketkeeping great, 69, stepped down amid recriminations
about the poorly performing team which crashed to a third-straight home
series defeat to South Africa on Tuesday.
"This is my own decision and no one within Cricket Australia has
pressured me or even suggested that I should do this," Marsh said in a
Cricket Australia said it would hold an extraordinary meeting later
Wednesday to decide on an interim replacement, with an announcement "in
Marsh, one of several leading cricket officials under intense
pressure, had previously insisted he would see out his contract which
runs to the middle of next year.
But on Wednesday he said it was time for a new perspective after a
run of defeats which has prompted severe criticism in Australian media.
"Clearly... it is time for some fresh thinking, just as it is for our
Test team to welcome some new faces as we build for the future," Marsh
"I have always had the best interests of Australian cricket foremost in my heart, and that's why I have made this decision."
Australia's four-man selection panel now consists of Mark Waugh, Trevor Hohns and coach Darren Lehmann.
The panel has been under heavy scrutiny over the shocking results of
Steve Smith's national team, culminating in their latest batting
collapse of eight for 32 in their innings and 80 runs defeat to the
Proteas in Hobart this week.
Lehmann declared only four
players - captain Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Josh
Hazlewood - were sure to keep their places after Australia's second
demoralising collapse in the Hobart Test.
Only hours before Marsh's announcement, Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland voiced support for him to see out his contract.
"He said he will finish up June and we will make decisions about
where and how we transition to that in the future," Sutherland told
reporters in Hobart.
Former Test fast bowler Jason Gillespie and former Test captain Ricky Ponting have been touted as possible successors.
Australia's team announcement for next week's third and final
day-night Test in Adelaide has been delayed until Sunday so selectors
can assess players' form in domestic Sheffield Shield matches.
It has been a stormy series for the Australians, starting with a
stunning first innings collapse of 10 for 86 in the first Test in Perth,
when Australia squandered a 158-run opening stand to surrender meekly
to the Proteas by 177 runs.
Critics pointed to other recent dark days in Australian cricket,
including their demolition for 60 by England at Trent Bridge last year.
Australia now face being whitewashed in a home series for the first
time in their history if they lose to the Proteas in Adelaide.
The last time they lost six straight Tests - against India and
England in 2013 - the coach at the time, Mickey Arthur, was sacked.
Sutherland earlier Wednesday told reporters he would not be stepping
down from his post as CA chief executive which he has held for 15 years.
Marsh, who replaced the previous chairman of selectors John
Inverarity in May 2014, played 96 Tests from 1970-1984, taking a
then-record of 355 dismissals as wicketkeeper.