Fraser named as new England selector
The ECB has announced that Middlesex's director of cricket, Angus Fraser, has been appointed as an England selector. He will join the national selector James Whitaker and England's ODI and T20 Head Coach Ashley Giles on the selection panel.
Fraser played 46 Tests and 42 ODIs for England in an international career that spanned almost a decade as well as representing Middlesex between 1984 and 2002. He will continue in his Middlesex role alongside his new responsibilities as a selector, which begin on March 1.
Andy Flower has indicated upon his resignation as England's team director that he will step down as a selector at some point in the future but the ECB has yet to clarify when this will be.
Fraser said: "I am chuffed to be involved and am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. As a player I always took great pride in representing England and I am delighted to be given another chance to contribute.
"Despite the doom and gloom after this winter's Ashes, I believe it's a really exciting time to be involved in the England set up. There is a real chance to create something and there are a lot of talented young cricketers within the county game. This new position will not affect my desire to turn Middlesex into the most competitive and respected club in the country."
Fraser has won the role ahead of other potential candidates such as John Emburey, the former England offspinner, and two former directors of cricket at Somerset and Surrey respectively - Brian Rose and Chris Adams. Marcus Trescothick was another tempting candidate, but the ECB were likely to have been reluctant to consider him while his playing career persists: too much of a nod perhaps to player power.
Whitaker, said: "I am delighted to welcome Angus Fraser on to the selection panel. Gus has been heavily involved in cricket for many years as a player and an administrator. He brings integrity and the wealth of knowledge that we will need as we look to identify the players across all formats who can thrive in the international environment."
Giles' previous position as a selector while he was also fulfilling a role as Warwickshire coach was not universally welcomed with some critics regarding it as an unfortunate dual role. It was pointed out that theoretically players on the fringe of the England side would have been better placed at Warwickshire where Giles would see them more closely and gain a greater respect for their talents.
Geoff Miller, who retired as England's chief selector at New Year when Whitaker took on the senior role, has expressed a personal view that in an ideal world, selectors should have neither a direct and current association with a county or a role within the media.
The ECB has always remained impervious to such theoretical issues, preferring to put their trust in the integrity of those appointed. Given an opportunity to quietly change their policy, they have shown the same faith in Fraser as they previously did in Giles. Even the most implacable opponents to such job conflicts will recognise that if there have to be conflicts then it is best that they are conflicts addressed by men widely respected for their honest dealing.
Middlesex were also quick to applaud Fraser's recognition. Ian Lovett, Middlesex's chairman, said: "Angus' appointment receives the full support of the Middlesex executive board, safe in the knowledge that Angus's commitment to achieving the goals he has set himself and the Middlesex squad remain firmly in place."
There is no doubt that Fraser has a strong knowledge of England's professional circuit and that his judgment of a player will be based on sound principles. He will bring an earthy realism to the selectors' table and ensure that there is not too much fanciful thinking during a period of considerable change.
He has always been widely regarded within the ECB and was among those seriously considered for the role of managing director of England cricket - a role eventually awarded to Paul Downton - before he decided he did not want to relinquish his day-to-day contact with the game at Middlesex.
He might also have a problem closer to home If Fraser the selector sits on a panel which decides to bring Eoin Morgan back into England's Test as well as one-day sides, Fraser the Middelsex team director will have to consider whether Morgan's recent appointment as Middlesex's one-day captain remains a workable solution.