New Australia coach Justin Langer made a huge blunder when speaking to the press as he mixed up numbers on a spreadsheet which included hundreds by the Australian batsmen, as he was justifying the decision of excluding Glenn Maxwell from the squad for Tests against Pakistan.
Hundreds have been how Langer has been discussing selection with the public in recent times, but this time he read the numbers incorrectly in coming up with a "total hundreds" statistic that counted international centuries twice.
The unselected Glenn Maxwell, Langer said, had only made 17 centuries "above A-Grade cricket" while the suspended Steven Smith and David Warner had 79 and 88 respectively. Aaron Finch, meanwhile, was credited with 41 hundreds across all forms. This was cited as a reason why Maxwell, in particular, needed to be more productive to regain a place in the Test team.
These figures were conjured up by counting all the common statistical categories for centuries - Test, ODI, T20I, first-class, List A and T20 - as though they are entirely separate. This overlooks the fact that the latter three categories already include their international equivalents.
When corrected Smith, then, does not have 79 hundreds but 48; Warner not 88 but 53. Finch's tally slips from 41 to 28, and Maxwell's from 17 to 13. He made a tabulation mistake and has, after being informed, returned to quoting the correct figures. He also stands by his comments about needing Maxwell to pass three figures more often in all formats.
Langer’s comments recently have reflected that he uses centuries as a benchmark for players. He said in an interview with SEN Radio, "At the end of the day, in Test cricket and there's a method to our madness, Glenn Maxwell is 30 years old and everything above A-grade cricket he's scored 17 hundreds. I'll put that in perspective for you, Steve Smith has scored 79 hundreds and David Warner's scored 88 so we all know Maxwell's a terrific bloke, he's a brilliant fieldsman, he's got talent to burn, but he's also a very frustrating cricketer because he needs to score more hundreds.”
Such inaccuracies in statements by Langer have only exacerbated the public’s mistrust in the current Australian cricket setup, especially after the ball-tampering saga. The public is struggling more than ever to make sense of decisions made by the selectors, and respect the office bestowed upon Langer, Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell by the Cricket Australia board.
(with inputs from ESPNCricinfo.com)