Australia news September 7, 2011

Australia 'advanced' in finding general manager

Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland is confident that the new general manager of team performance will be appointed before Australia's tour of South Africa next month. The creation of the new job was one of the key recommendations from the Argus review, and only after that position is finalised will CA move on to filling the coaching and selection roles.

However, there is no guarantee the new general manager will have started the job before the squads for the South African series are selected. That could mean the touring party will be picked by Andrew Hilditch, Greg Chappell, Jamie Cox and the captain Michael Clarke and coach Tim Nielsen, who form the interim selection panel.

"We're significantly advanced in consideration of the general manager role," Sutherland said in Melbourne on Wednesday. "Our priority is to identify and recruit a general manager to fulfil that important role of looking after the Australian team performance. Once that person is identified and appointed then the review of other positions and the appointment of other positions will flow very quickly from that.

"I'd like to think it was a matter of weeks [not months] before we make an appointment and then it will depend on what job that person is doing at this time, and how quickly they may be able to make that transition. I'm certainly very confident that we'll have an appointment before [the South Africa tour]."

The Australians will depart for South Africa early next month before the first Twenty20 on October 13. However, the first Test is not until November, which gives Cricket Australia a little extra breathing space while they recruit selectors and decide on the head coach, a position that will involve more wide-ranging responsibilities than Nielsen currently holds.

And while the early indications were that Cricket Australia would look elsewhere to find the new coach, Sutherland was impressed by the way Nielsen handled the release of the Argus review. He said he hoped Nielsen would throw his hat in the ring for the coaching job.

"I was in Sri Lanka a week or so ago and met with Tim," Sutherland said. "It's really for Tim to talk about what he wants to do but what I made clear to him at the time is that we're very keen for him to be a front-line applicant for the job and I don't see any reason why he can't be."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo