The future of embattled coach, Tim Nielsen will be among a range of issues discussed by Australian cricket chiefs as they demand answers for their disastrous Ashes campaign, reports said on Sunday.
Nielsen's input, along with Cricket Australia management and team selections, have come under intense scrutiny following Australia's humiliating 3-1 Ashes series defeat, which England wrapped up on Friday.
The Cricket Australia (CA) board will meet in Melbourne on February 8 and according to one unnamed official, will seek answers from its management and coaches on Australia's dramatic slide from first to fifth in the Test rankings within two years, reports said.
Nielsen is under pressure, having presided over two Ashes defeats, two Test series defeats in India and Australia's first series defeat against South Africa at home. Nielsen was given a new three year contract on the eve of the Ashes as part of CA's decision to show confidence in the team, but reports said some leading officials admit they may have made the wrong call.
"If contracts need to be paid out to get the right outcome, then so be it," one unnamed high ranking official told the Sun Herald. The newspaper said Nielsen will guide Australia until the end of the World Cup and if the team were to again struggle on the subcontinent, then the pressure to dump him could become intolerable.
Nielsen on his part seems to have anticipated trouble,"I expect us all to be looked at, and talked to, in the review," he told reporters. "The planning was there, it was just our inability as a group to do what we wanted with bat and ball."
Sources cited by The Sun Herald claimed there had also been agitation and bewilderment over the comments made by national selection chairman Andrew Hilditch on Friday that his panel had done a good job. The demise of spinner Nathan Hauritz and the handling of fast bowler Doug Bollinger continue to rankle in some circles, while the future of opener Phillip Hughes, and his unconventional technique, have also been questioned, the newspaper said.
Hilditch, whose contract expires after the World Cup in April, faces a fight to stay on and the Sun Herald said there is strong support for CA's first full time selector Greg Chappell to take over.
Former Test captain Ian Chappell said CA had to overhaul a flawed system that was once the envy of world cricket. "A good starting point would be upgrading the selection process to ensure the system for identifying and producing future international players is strong," Chappell told the Sunday Telegraph.
"After losing three Tests to England by an innings, the Australian cricket team is like a lift on the bottom floor; it only has one way to go. "CA has followed the advice of boffins for too long, now it's time to return to doing the things that produce good, strong minded cricketers."