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October 12, 2006
Cricket Australia already has three former Test players to consider for Allan Border's spot on the national selection panel when the board meets on Friday. Steve Smith and Ray Bright have registered their interest alongside Steve Rixon while Damien Fleming and Geoff Lawson have refused to nominate after Border's sudden resignation on Tuesday.
Border's departure, which was caused by a combination of expanding business commitments and a conflict of personal sponsorship with a Cricket Australia partner, has raised concerns selectors are not being paid enough. The Courier-Mail reported Border declined to sign a contract that could have severely restricted his commercial opportunities.
"Previously Cricket Australia had not worried about him not signing because his commercial deals were not as high profile as they were when he was playing and had flown under the radar," the paper reported. "But the Fourex deal thrust him into the spotlight and Foster's felt it was a form of ambush marketing they were not happy with."
Border has signed on for a heavily-advertised beach cricket series in January and February with the makers of XXXX, a brewing company in direct opposition to Cricket Australia's sponsor the Foster's Group. Border will captain Australia in the event that involves teams from England and West Indies.
David Gilbert, the New South Wales chief executive, has warned it is difficult to find people to fill selection roles "when it is often not worth their while to give up the jobs they have". "Years ago, when players were playing for match payments and the love of the game, they were cut from the same cloth as the selectors," Gilbert said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "But you have to have a situation now where you have people who are qualified to make informed decisions on professional careers."
Lawson, who is a commentator like Fleming, told the paper former players would not consider joining the panel "unless they pay a selector enough money so that he doesn't have to do his media job". Fleming said he was "too busy with everything else" to consider taking the position. Andrew Hilditch chairs the panel that also includes David Boon and Merv Hughes.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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