Selector departs suddenly from panel October 11, 2006

Border denies beer company conflict

Cricinfo staff

Steve Rixon would like to replace Allan Border on the national panel © Getty Images

In seven years and two stints as a national selector Allan Border made many difficult decisions. Yesterday he reportedly chose between two beer companies as he stepped down suddenly from Andrew Hilditch's panel only four months after being re-appointed.

Border denies the brewing link to XXXX forced him to walk away and stressed it was his overall business commitments that would have prevented him from doing the job properly. He has kept his place on Cricket Australia's board and will continue the search for John Buchanan's replacement as national coach.

"It had nothing to do with this decision," Border said in The Australian. "I just had so much on my plate I felt I couldn't do it justice because I wouldn't have been able to do it 100 percent. I felt I owed it to the panel to make up my mind early. It was as simple as that."

XXXX, which is owned by Lion Nathan, has been a personal sponsor of Border's since his playing days and one of his many summer appearances will be alongside Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson in a beach cricket series. The matches, which also involve England and West Indies in an ambush marketing exercise, will be played at the Gold Coast, Perth and Sydney in January and February, meaning Border could not fulfil his selector's duties at two Pura Cup fixtures.

Border's apparent commercial conflict of interest occurred due to Cricket Australia's deal with the Foster's Group, which has supported the organisation since 1996-97. The brewing company secured a new deal with Cricket Australia in March but did not keep the naming rights for the annual tri-series.

"We think ambush marketing is fairly un-Australian," Geoff Donohue, a corporate affairs spokesman for the Foster's Group, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I will leave you to decide whether what they [XXXX] are doing with their current advertising campaigns is ambush marketing. I guess Allan has [resigned as a national selector] in pursuit of his own commercial interests."

Border is also a member of the Queensland Cricket board and a commentator for the television network Fox Sports. Cricket Australia will begin looking for a fourth selector this week with Steve Rixon, the former New Zealand and New South Wales coach, putting his hand up for the position. Two other wicketkeepers, Rod Marsh and Ian Healy, said they were not interested.