Embattled Australian chief selector Rodney Marsh panned critics for suggesting wives and girlfriends be banned from touring with players after Michael Clarke’s men were hammered by England in the ongoing Ashes series.
Former Australian wicket keeper Ian Healy had raised the issue after Australia lost the fourth Test against England, surrendering the Ashes in the most embarrassing manner.
“All their partners are here and some of the most respected cricketers I played with hated that distraction. They weren’t allowed on tour until after the series had been won,” Healy said during his commentary of the fourth Test at Trent Bridge.
But Marsh spoke in support of the policy which allows players to have families on tour with them, saying he wouldn’t be “half the player he was” without his wife’s support.
“Well, what do you want? Do you want divorces? Do you want players unhappy?” Sydney Morning Herald quoted Marsh as saying after Brad Haddin was granted an early release from the Ashes squad to return to Australia for personal reasons.
“In this day and age the scheduling is such that you can’t play cricket unless you see your family. You’re going to be less happy as a person and they all say it. All the players say it. You’re going to be less happy if you don’t see your family,” Marsh said.
“All the families were there [when Australia beat England] at Lord’s, as [Cricket Australia executive] Pat Howard quite rightly said.
“Individuals can do what they want to do and Darren [Lehmann, coach] endorses that. And as far as I’m concerned it’s fine.”
Australia’s 3-1 series loss with the fifth and final Test still to play has sparked recrimination in the country, with local media tearing into the team’s woeful batting and blaming selectors for picking a ‘Dad’s Army’ of ageing players.
Steve Smith, Australia’s skipper-in-waiting, has vowed to be a more aggressive captain if he is appointed to lead the side as expected following the disastrous campaign which prompted Clarke’s retirement.
The 26-year-old, in line to take over after Clarke’s final Test at The Oval later this month, has promised to be less defensive than he was while captaining against India at home earlier this year.