SHIP SHAPE: Trevor Hohns at his new business venture in Mooloolaba, Pier 33.
SHIP SHAPE: Trevor Hohns at his new business venture in Mooloolaba, Pier 33. John McCutcheon

From masterminding Ashes wins to mowing Mooloolaba lawns

POLISHING glasses and mowing lawns on the banks of the Mooloolah River is a far cry from the hallowed cricket ground of Lord's in St John's Wood, London.

But Trevor 'Cracker' Hohns doesn't mind. The reward in keeping a family venue in shipshape is still tangible.

Maybe not quite the same as helping mastermind an Ashes win, or helping the nation's most celebrated sporting side through one of its most tumultuous periods; that's a different kind of rewarding.

But there's no secret to how he helps keep popular Parkyn Pde, Mooloolaba venue Pier 33 spotless.

It's just hard work.

Two words Trevor puts pretty high up the list of traits he looks for when he's scouring Australia's cricketing stocks, looking for international-standard talents and world beaters.

Brisbane, October 28, 2002. Trevor Hohns, chief selector for the Australian Cricket team speaks today at a press conference about Mark Waugh's dropping from the test side and also his retirement from International Cricket. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING.
Brisbane, October 28, 2002. Trevor Hohns, chief selector for the Australian Cricket team speaks today at a press conference about Mark Waugh's dropping from the test side and also his retirement from International Cricket. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING. DAVE HUNT

The current Cricket Australia national selector spent nearly 15 years on the national selection panel, from 1993-2006, overseeing a golden period in the game, and spending 10 of those years as chairman of selectors.

The former Ashes winner has been back in the frame as a national selector since 2014, alongside fellow selector Greg Chappell and head coach Justin Langer.

He's about to put polishing glasses on the backburner for three months, as he leaves the venue he part-owns and jets to England where the Australian Men's cricket team is battling for two of the sport's highest honours.

First stop will be to check in with the Australia A side, currently being anchored by a sizzling Matthew Wade who is banging at the door of selectors for a Test recall through sheer weight of runs.

 

Cricket Australia National Selector Trevor Hohns speaks to the media in Sydney, Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Hohns commented on the announcement of the Australia Test Squad for the upcoming Test Series against Sri Lanka. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
Cricket Australia National Selector Trevor Hohns speaks to the media in Sydney, Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Hohns commented on the announcement of the Australia Test Squad for the upcoming Test Series against Sri Lanka. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING JOEL CARRETT

Then it's off to the Men's One Day team, who, based on current trajectories, should be preparing for a World Cup semi-final, and then he'll be all eyes on the pitch for the entire Ashes Series.

A sea of data is available to them, and they have the ability to watch many games, but the preparation for an Ashes series has been thrown into relative chaos due to scheduling, with players going from Twenty20 competitions into the World Cup and then straight into longer-form cricket.

It means a pre-Ashes match between, for lack of a better description, Australia and Australia A in Southampton, looms as crucial, as 'Cracker' and Chappell look to "prune" down their Ashes shortlist of about 20 names into a squad of 15 or 16.

"We want it to be a serious game," Mr Hohns said.

So serious that they're currently working to try and have it recognised as a formal first class fixture.

Australian cricketer Marcus Stoinis (left) and Cricket Australia National Selector Trevor Hohns during a training session at the SCG in Sydney, Friday, January 11, 2019. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
WISDOM: Australian cricketer Marcus Stoinis (left) and Cricket Australia National Selector Trevor Hohns during a training session at the SCG in Sydney, Friday, January 11, 2019. JOEL CARRETT

"We want it to be a fair dinkum hit-out," he said.

The selection headaches are a world away from helping run what's fast becoming one of the Coast's most popular venues.

Backed by three other partners, including his son, successful restaurateur Andrew, and son-in-law and cricket lover John Robertson, Mr Hohns and the team have revived what had been a tired, but spectacularly located venue.

SHIP SHAPE: Trevor Hohns and his son Andrew at their new business venture in Mooloolaba, Pier 33.
SHIP SHAPE: Trevor Hohns and his son Andrew at their new business venture in Mooloolaba, Pier 33. John McCutcheon

A Brisbane local born and bred, Mr Hohns grew up on a farm and was raised on a sporting diet of leather and willow, fuelled by his father.

"I think I was just brought up on it," he said.

"It just became part of my life."

ESPN's Cricinfo website states he made his Test debut at age 34 as a left-handed batsman and right-arm leg spinner and took 17 wickets in seven tests and notched a highest score of 40, playing a role in the 1989 Ashes series win.

(L-R) Cricket Australia National Selector Trevor Hohns, head coach Justin Langer and captain Aaron Finch during a training session at the SCG in Sydney, Friday, January 11, 2019. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
CHAT: (L-R) Cricket Australia National Selector Trevor Hohns, head coach Justin Langer and captain Aaron Finch at the SCG in February. JOEL CARRETT

He even knocked over Ian Botham for a duck in the Fourth Test of that series at Old Trafford.

Mr Hohns had 288 first class wickets to his name and more than 5200 runs.

"My wife Jacqui, she's been very supportive because cricket has been my life," he said.

He captained Queensland in the 1990-91 season, his last in first class cricket, and became a selector soon after.

Brisbane, November 21, 2000. Brisbane cricket ground curator Kevin Mitchell, Australian test captain Steve Waugh and Australian chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.  The trio are surveying Brisbane's first portable Test pitch, at the Gabba after the Australian squad's training session.  (AAP PHOTO/Lisa Davies.)
STUDY: Gabba curator Kevin Mitchell, Australian test captain Steve Waugh and Trevor Hohns in 2000. LISA DAVIES

Mr Hohns oversaw one of the most dominant periods in Australian cricket history, as the Test team won 16 tests in a row and the One Day team won the 1999 and 2003 World Cups.

A Buderim resident of the past 18 months, Mr Hohns felt the Sunshine Coast was a sleeping giant of sorts in the cricketing world, as long as the weather played ball.

"It bloody rains a lot," he said with a laugh.

"The facilities up here are fabulous.

"You can only think that cricket will continue to expand up here."

(L-R) Steve Smith, Darren Lehmann and interim chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns are seen on the MCG ahead of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING
BOXING DAY TEST: (L-R) Steve Smith, Darren Lehmann and interim chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns on the MCG in 2016. JULIAN SMITH

While overseeing plenty of success, his time hasn't been without its controversies.

The careers of Ian Healy and Mark Waugh and One Day captaincy of Steve Waugh all came to an end under his watch.

While the rebuilding continues in cricket after the South African ball tampering scandal that saw superstars Dave Warner and Steve Smith axed from international cricket for a year.

"Selecting is always subjective," Mr Hohns said.

"Everyone's always got a different view."

Australian cricketer David Warner (left) speaks with Australian Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns during a training session at the MCG, Melbourne, Saturday, January 13 ,2018. (AAP Image/Ellen Smith) NO ARCHIVING
Australian cricketer David Warner (left) speaks with Australian Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns during a training session at the MCG, Melbourne, Saturday, January 13 ,2018. (AAP Image/Ellen Smith) NO ARCHIVING ELLEN SMITH

He said there was probably not quite as much depth in Australian cricket now as there was in those golden, record-setting periods, but people couldn't keep harking back to those days, given the way the game had evolved.

He said there were encouraging signs that the depth was being restored.

As the game evolved, so too had his role.

Watching games, absorbing data and assessing conditions were all part of it.

"Not everyone's the same," he said.

"Encouragement is important for some."

Australian Test captain Steve Smith (left) and Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns speak to the media during the team announcement at the Qantas domestic terminal at Brisbane Airport in Brisbane, Friday, November 17, 2017. (AAP Image/David Clark) NO ARCHIVING
Australian Test captain Steve Smith (left) and Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns speak to the media during the team announcement at the Qantas domestic terminal at Brisbane Airport in Brisbane, Friday, November 17, 2017. (AAP Image/David Clark) NO ARCHIVING DAVID CLARK

And it's here that those two words - hard work - come up again.

"It's no coincidence that the hardest workers have been the best players," Mr Hohns said.

"Ponting, Smith, guys like that, they just work harder."

He said there had been plenty of immensely talented cricketers he'd worked with, and for some, the stars never quite aligned for them to reach their full potential.

But one thing selectors were now demanding of elite players was continual improvement.

"We're always asking them to get better," he said.

(L-R) Steve Smith, Darren Lehmann and interim chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns are seen on the MCG ahead of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING
(L-R) Steve Smith, Darren Lehmann and interim chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns are seen on the MCG ahead of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING JULIAN SMITH

One of the unsung heroes of the turmoil of the past 18 months is current Test captain and wicket keeper Tim Paine.

Mr Hohns said Paine's efforts deserved many plaudits.

"He was thrust into that role," Mr Hohns said.

"He has done a wonderful job in that area."

He said Paine, along with coaching staff and other senior players had been instrumental in rewriting the blueprint for the Australian game, as the national side underwent a very public recalibration.

"He's (Paine) led it," Mr Hohns said.

"Tim and the players and the coaching staff (agreed), play the game the Australian way, hard out on the field, but play it fair.

"We can't not play hard."

And in the same breath, a measured Mr Hohns noted the efforts of Smith and Warner, to come out the other side of what had been a harsh, prolonged public examination, to establish themselves once again in the national side.

"They're very important to us," Mr Hohns said.

Out and about at the annual Men Of League Luncheon are Andrew Blucher, Trevor Hohns and Tony Durkin.
Out and about at the annual Men Of League Luncheon are Andrew Blucher, Trevor Hohns and Tony Durkin. Patrick Woods

The grandfather, whom English great Mike Atherton once suggested should be renamed 'Crackers' for recalling Paine in November, 2017, from relative obscurity, was pleased with the way the Australian World Cup campaign was progressing, when he spoke ahead of the blockbuster against England.

He thought the side was yet to play its best, which was a good sign.

"If we can make the semis anything can happen," he said, praising skipper Aaron Finch, who he described as world class in short-form cricket.

The man who selected a generation of household names knows full well what can happen in a World Cup semi final. Just ask Allan Donald and Lance Klusener.

And he also knows when a side in transition needs the likes of Paine, a world-class gloveman and accomplished batsman, at the helm to navigate troubled waters.

SHIP SHAPE: Trevor Hohns at his new business venture in Mooloolaba, Pier 33.
SHIP SHAPE: Trevor Hohns at his new business venture in Mooloolaba, Pier 33. John McCutcheon

And when the English adventure is over in three months' time, the next holders of the World Cup and Ashes decided and the next household names having shot to stardom, Trevor will be back at Pier 33 with the family, polishing glasses, mowing lawns.

Working hard.

"There's no secrets. I'm just making sure it stays nice," he said.

"We just want to create a nice venue for people to come to."