Dwayne Bravo is congratulated by Cameron White on taking a catch for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.
Dwayne Bravo is congratulated by Cameron White on taking a catch for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League. MAL FAIRCLOUGH

Cricket selection boss fires back at White's criticism

SELECTION boss Trevor Hohns concedes Aussie T20 debutant Michael Klinger's luck has turned but he swatted Cam White's criticism over picking on a hunch this summer.

Hohns took on former national team all-rounder White's inference that cheap caps had been given out in a season where one-day bolter Sam Heazlett and Test disappointment Nic Maddinson were blooded with modest records.

"I am a little bit surprised by those comments as the Sheffield Shield has been well documented as being very important to us in Australian cricket, selectors, everybody alike. I think he needs to remember he was a very young man when he was given his first opportunity in one-day cricket," said Hohns of White, who made his ODI debut in 2005 at age 21.

Klinger, BBL's most prolific batsman with 1608 runs at 36.5, gained overdue national squad recognition.

The 36-year-old is now on course to debut on February 17 against Sri Lanka in Melbourne.

Klinger has amassed the most runs scored before an Australia debut across all formats with 22,093.

By contrast Heazlett, 21, was catapulted to a one-day debut against New Zealand in Auckland - replacing injured Matt Wade, on Monday without having represented Queensland at one-day level.

White - the leading run scorer in the 2016-17 Matador Cup with 457 runs at 76 for Victoria - complained on Melbourne radio that the Australian set-up currently resembles a "development team".

Hohns countered White's claim, drawing attention to the 32-year-old's one-day batting average of 34 in 88 games, and T20 average of 32, as "okay without being earth-shattering".

"I don't think there is a disparity. Sometimes players get an opportunity, sometimes others. I don't particularly won't to focus on Cameron White but he has had plenty of opportunities in the past," Hohns said.

Asked if veteran Klinger had been unlucky at the selection table in the past, Hohns conceded: "He probably has been."

"It is a T20 game, it a great honour. Persistence and consistency has got him over line in this instance. I can't speak for former selection panels but there is no doubt he has been a well performed player for a number of years."

Klinger (334) placed behind Ben Dunk (364) and Aaron Finch (354) in BBL06 but sealed selection with a match-winning (71 off 49 balls) against Sydney Sixers in the final in Perth.

"In Ben Dunk's case he was the leading scorer but I think Michael Klinger's match-winning performance tipped the scales his way," Hohns said.

"Right here and now we are trying to put on the park a team we figure is the best and can help us win some games and improve our ICC ranking."

Sydney Sixers speedster Sean Abbott was overlooked despite snaring a competition-high 20 BBL wickets at 16.15 this season. Hohns cited Abbott's 8.72 economy rate across 10 games as counting against him.

Giant tearaway Bill Stanlake, uncapped Perth left-arm revelation Jhye Richardson and rookie all-rounder Ashton Turner have been drafted in to back Pat Cummins.

"Sean Abbott took a lot of wickets as well but when we looked at his economy rate that weighed against him," Hohns said.