I was amused and dismayed by the reported story from Steve Smith’s book launch on the process of his appointment as captain following injury to Michael Clark.
It was reported that a conversation between Board member Mark Taylor, and vice-captain Brad Haddin at a bar post Adelaide Test match was where a decision was made.
According to the report, Mark Taylor told them both that he would make a few calls to the Board and get matters cleared. The following morning Chairman of selectors, Rod Marsh, called to say the elevation of Steve Smith to the captaincy had been approved.
Admittedly there was only some 4 days to the next Test in Brisbane, and the position of captain of Australia needs Board sanctioning – but if what is reported to occur, did happen, Mark Taylor’s intervention highlights the need for a selection panel to be a relic of the past.
I have suggested on many occasions that I believe selectors are no longer a requirement in Australian cricket.
For cricket to change as David Peever was outlining with respect to the ACA-CA contract negotiations dispute, then processes and systems must change.
When selectors were first ‘invented’, there were no coaches, no talent identification systems, no technologies that allow for capturing of all data and vision of all players, no support systems such as Academies, sports science staff and so on.
Professional sport has moved on.
Professional sport, in most codes, places the Head coach or Manager as the person responsible and accountable for team results.
If there are selectors, they perform more scouting roles, and report directly or indirectly to the Head Coach.
These Head coach positions rely very heavily on the input of the coaching staff in their system to make the best calls on players. There are few better examples than the ALL BLACKS system where all coaches are employed by the national body and work closely together to ensure the best management of athletes, as well as putting the best possible teams on the park.
With the NZRU, this approach flows down through second tier provincial competitions, to clubs and schools.
If Cricket Australia seeks to return to world cricket dominance again, then in a number of key areas, it cannot expect to keep doing the same things and get different results.
The current archaic selection system, utilising a band of selectors is one of those key areas.
Respecting tradition, paying homage to the past is important to the culture and performance of any organisation.
But clinging to relics only anchors the business or the organisation in the past, and does not allow it to move into the future with direction and confidence.
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