Gone ... Western Australia's Hilton Cartwright is run out against NSW on Thursday. Photo: Getty Images
MOISES HENRIQUES deemed NSW's Sheffield Shield match important enough to warrant catching an 11th-hour flight - but not so national selectors, none of whom were present to witness the final audition of several Test aspirants before next month's tour of India.
John Inverarity's panel have bemused many with their controversial rotation policy or ''informed player management'' plan, and now questions will be asked how they make judgment calls on fringe players based on second-hand information.
While Rod Marsh was in Adelaide to oversee the progress of James Pattinson and David Hussey, there was no selector in Blacktown to assess the likes of Henriques, Stephen O'Keefe and Steve Smith. Instead, full-time selector Inverarity was in Melbourne finalising a squad for the start of the ODI series against the West Indies next Friday.
Cricket Australia said there is no requirement for a selector to be present at every Shield game. When absent they rely on the state talent manager, in this case NSW's well-respected David Freedman, to provide a ''detailed report'' for them.
''The national selection panel have the confidence in the ability of the state talent manager to provide them with information they require to assist with their future decision making,'' said a CA spokesman.
Selectors missed seeing O'Keefe turn in one of the best performances by an Australian spinner this season. The Blues captain claimed 3-52 from 28 overs as NSW reduced Western Australia from 0-62 to 9-232 to gain control on the first day of play.
O'Keefe had been tantalisingly close to a Test debut in 2010 but an injury to Michael Beer has left the door ajar for a shock call-up.
Xavier Doherty is in the box seat after his strong performance in Hobart for Australia but O'Keefe's performance is timely.
O'Keefe introduced himself into the attack in the ninth over and after heeding Brad Haddin's advice to attack the stumps proved difficult to score against. ''One will turn, one will skid on and you get the invariable [bounce] out of it,'' O'Keefe said. ''It was good to build some pressure and good to get out of the four-over cricket and get 25-30 overs in.''
Encouragingly for the left-armer, his three victims were all set when they were dismissed.
Though modest, O'Keefe's season tally of 12 wickets, at a respectable 30, is the highest of any spinner in the Shield this season.
O'Keefe's admitted he had erred with his reading of the pitch, which resulted in him bowling first and leaving out a second spinner, Adam Zampa, from the XI but that was his only mistake on day one.
Henriques had only a minimal role to play, bowling just nine overs after arriving at the ground shortly after midday from his 7.30am flight, but captured the wicket of the dangerous Nathan Coulter-Nile.
The 25-year-old, who landed some mortal blows on Sri Lanka a day earlier, has gained valuable ground in his battle with Glenn Maxwell for the all-rounder's berth and could further enhance his stocks by hitting some valuable runs on Friday.
''His batting's good enough and his bowling's good enough,'' O'Keefe said. ''It's a small glimpse of the potential he has to win games.''