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Rod Marsh replaces Inverarity as head of Australia's selection panel

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MELBOURNE, Australia - Rod Marsh will replace John Inverarity as chairman of the national selection panel after an overhaul announced Friday, a day after Australia returned to the No. 1 ranking in test cricket for the first time since 2009.

Inverarity's retirement opened the position for Marsh to take over from July 1. Mark Waugh was added to the four-person panel, with former selection chairman Trevor Hohns recalled and national head coach Darren Lehmann retaining his position.

Marsh is one of the most respected wicketkeepers in cricket history. In a test career spanning 14 years from 1970, the Australian gloveman collected a then-record of 355 dismissals.

Australia has enviable strength and depth in its fast-bowling stocks, but Marsh sees deficiencies elsewhere.

"I don't think our batting is as good as it should be for a nation of our strength," Marsh said on Friday. "Technically, I don't think it's good enough.

"We have got to get back to the basics — It's the only way forward, as far as I'm concerned."

Australia hasn't had a settled No. 3 or No. 6 batsman since Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey retired two seasons ago, and last year turned to veteran opener Chris Rogers to open the batting.

Marsh has been heavily involved in cricket development since retiring as a player in the mid-1980s, coaching at Australia's cricket academy from 1990-2001, where he helped launch the international careers of players including Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. He also helped set up England's national cricket academy and worked abroad before returning to Australia.

Marsh, who was most recently working in coach development and as a part-time national selector, was given a three-year contract as selection panel chairman.

"Rod Marsh is the right man to take on this important role having been a key member of the panel since 2011," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said. "His track record speaks for itself. He brings a wealth of experience to the position, having been a leading player, coach and most recently a selector. Throughout his days as a player he was the absolute embodiment of the Baggy Green cap and to this day is widely respected throughout the game.

"He has a great eye for talent and has strong relationships throughout international cricket."

Sutherland said Inverarity took over at a difficult time, with Australia at No. 4 in the test rankings, and "leaves his post with Australian teams in a position of strength."

Australia struggled at times during between 2009 and last year. The Australians were swept 4-0 in a test series in India, contributing to Mickey Arthur being fired as coach, and then lost the Ashes in England. But with Lehmann in charge, the improvement was swift. The Australians swept the return Ashes series 5-0 on home soil, then beat South Africa in a three-test away tour, with the back-to-back series wins helping them edge the Proteas for the No. 1 test ranking. The next test series is against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, before a home series against India starting in November. Australia will co-host the 2015 World Cup with New Zealand starting in February.

Sutherland said Mark Waugh, the twin brother of former Australia skipper Stephen Waugh and a stylish international batsman in his own right, would bring more limited-overs expertise to the selection panel.

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