“Clark had influence on my sacking,” says Simon Katich

Peter Lalor, in the Weekend Australian, 29-30October 20111, with different title

SIMON Katich has hit out at Michael Clarke, claiming the Australia captain was responsible for him losing his contract, and said he believed he would never play for Australia while the new skipper was a selector. The prolific opener traced his downfall to a dressing room clash with his teammate in 2009. Katich, axed from the national team in June despite being one of its best performed batsman, also slammed Cricket Australia. Katich scored 110 for NSW at the SCG yesterday and returned to the dressing room to hear that the new chairman of selectors, John Inverarity, had said the door was not closed on his Test future. “It’s pleasing to hear, but you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that it is not just the selectors that had a part in sending me on my way, so that is one of those things,” Katich said. Asked what he meant, he referred to an incident in the same dressing rooms after a Test against South Africa when he grabbed Clarke by the throat in a late-night incident.“To be brutally honest what happened in the dressing room here a few years ago didn’t help my cause and obviously the captain and coach are selectors and just because he (Inverarity) is going to be chairman of selectors I wouldn’t have thought that would make too much difference,” Katich said. The outburst amounts to a change of heart for Katich. At the time of his sacking he lashed out at Cricket Australia, but declined to blame Clarke.

Clarke has always denied any involvement in the decision to withdraw Katich’s contract, but the two have not spoken since the opener was dropped and have never been close. However, it is understood Clarke left a message on Katich’s phone wishing him the best after he was dumped. As captain, Clarke was given a selection role arising from the Argus review, released in August.

The gritty Katich, widely supported after his axing, said he didn’t think he would be invited to play for Australia again while Clarke was captain. “I wouldn’t have thought so, because that’s probably why I am in this position in the first place.” Katich blasted the selectors and Cricket Australia when he lost his contract in June but never publicly blamed Clarke despite many people believing the new captain was involved in the decision. The NSW batsman still had the support of a number of senior figures this week. Former opener Matthew Hayden, who has just stepped down from the Cricket Australia board, said Katich’s axing was one of the most “mysterious” decisions he had encountered. Victoria opener Chris Rogers said on Thursday that dropping the champion was “a disgraceful decision”. South African fast bowler Dale Steyn said this week his job was a lot easier with Katich out of the side.

There is speculation Clarke’s appointment as occasional captain of NSW was the reason the state dumped Katich from that job. The opener blasted Cricket Australia in June for not contacting him after he was told he had lost his contract and he revealed yesterday nothing had changed. “No one from Cricket Australia has been in contact with me” since that press conference here – “no one has been in touch, not one person”, he said.

“I have moved on, but just to think that no one has been in touch since that happened it is pretty disrespectful, having been on contract for 11 years. As Chris Rogers said, it is blatantly rude, to be honest. He had a call that didn’t get returned – it is just common courtesy to give someone a call back.”

Katich, 36, was asked why he has kept playing after the setbacks. “I enjoy playing cricket here, so that is why I am still playing and a big part of that is because I had a lot of support when the axing happened and that spurred me on to keep playing, but I know I am not going to play forever, so I just try to enjoy what I have left,” he said. Katich played 56 Tests for Australia. He scored his 52nd first-class century yesterday in the same game he took his 100th first-class wicket.

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Filed under Australian cricket, performance, peter lalor, player selections

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