Australian Selector Mark Waugh chats with England coach Trevor Bayliss last week during the first Test at the Gabba.
Australian Selector Mark Waugh chats with England coach Trevor Bayliss last week during the first Test at the Gabba. Ryan Pierse

Waugh sitting comfortably in the selection hot seat

MARK Waugh knew all about tough decisions in cricket long before he joined the national selection panel.

He did, after all, take the spot of twin brother Steve in the Australian side for the Adelaide Test in the 1990-91 Ashes series.

It was his long-awaited Test debut after impressing as a one-day specialist.

"It wasn't hard for me, probably harder for Steven getting dropped,” he said with a laugh. "Probably even harder for Mum and Dad ... but at least there was one of us in the team.”

The selectors' decision was justified when "Junior” smacked a ton.

"It all worked out well in the end - Stephen got back in the team and we played a lot of cricket together,” he recalled. "A minor hiccup shall we say.”

The legendary twins went on to play in 108 Test matches together, coming together for the first time in the longest form of the game just a few months later against the West Indies in Trinidad.

Mark would go on to become a selector in 2014.

Controversy followed the announcement of the Australian team for the first Test in Brisbane, once again putting Waugh and his fellow selectors in the hot seat.

"I wouldn't say it was any tougher than last year when we lost to South Africa in Hobart - we had to make a few changes then,” Waugh said.

"There was good discussions regarding two or three spots in the team ... that happens, that's just the nature of being a selector.

"It wasn't easy. We'd like it to be 11 straight picks every Test match.

"A couple of spots test you out a bit. I wouldn't say it was too tormenting, but we had to think about those spots.”

In came batsmen Cameron Bancroft (5 and 82no) and Shaun Marsh (51) for Matt Renshaw and Glenn Maxwell, and wicketkeeper Tim Paine (second innings stumping) for Matthew Wade. All impressed in the 10-wicket win.

While they finally get to take an unchanged team into the second Test, Waugh and his fellow selectors aren't about to go patting each other on the back though just yet.

"You don't pick a team thinking they are bad players. You pick a team that you think is going to win the game for you,” Waugh said.

"It's always nice when you bring players into the team and they do well first-up. (But) it's a fine line, one bad decision can make you look silly.

"The three selections we made last week all contributed to the success of the team.

"It's only one Test match. Let's not get too carried away, but it's a great start by those guys.”



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