MELBOURNE // Australia have appointed Greg Chappell, the former captain, the country's first full-time national selector following criticism of the selection panel's part-time devotion to their roles. Calls for Cricket Australia (CA) to make at least one selector full-time escalated in the wake of Australia's Ashes loss to England last year, when the panel was derided for failing to pick a spin bowler in the decisive fifth Test at The Oval, which proved costly as England prevailed, with Graeme Swann, their own spinner, taking eight wickets in the match.
Chappell said of his appointment: "I am really excited by the challenge of this new role. From a talent management point of view, this will be an exciting period for Australian cricket." "You have to earn the right to play for Australia, that's something the whole selection panel is conscious of, and will bear in mind going forward." Local media have long perceived conflicts of interest in the panel, which is chaired by Andrew Hilditch, a lawyer, and includes Jamie Cox and David Boon, both of whom retain cricket roles at state level. The panel's other member, Merv Hughes, the former fast bowler, has been ridiculed for running overseas tour groups while acting as a selector.
Chappell, who played 87 Tests and 74 one-day internationals for Australia, would vacate his current role as the head of Brisbane's Centre of Excellence to take up his new post in Melbourne, CA said in a media release yesterday. "Greg will work closely with the state cricket talent development managers and with the national selectors in a system that now gives us a tightly integrated, national talent identification and management system across all Australian cricket," Michael Brown, the CA cricket general manager, said.
"A well-defined national pathway which has all of Australian elite cricket pulling in one direction in the interests of our international performance is critically important in what is becoming a more competitive international cricket environment." CA said Hilditch would remain as chairman of the selection panel which stands to be reviewed, meaning one of either Cox, Boon or Hughes will be dropped.
Chappell also coached India from 2005 to 2007, a stint that saw the team being split into factions and his eventual sacking following the 2007 World Cup. * Reuters