New Zealand news September 9, 2011

Kim Littlejohn named New Zealand selector

ESPNcricinfo staff
21

New Zealand Cricket's journey towards the unconventional has continued with the appointment of a little-known Australian lawn bowls administrator as their new national selection manager (NSM). Kim Littlejohn, who has spent the past seven years with Bowls Australia, was preferred ahead of the interim selection manager, Mark Greatbatch, along with other former cricketers including Ken Rutherford and Glenn Turner.

It was a bold move from an appointment panel led by the NZC's director of cricket, John Buchanan, who in June announced the disbanding of the existing selection panel in favour of a two-man panel made up of the NSM and the national coach, John Wright. Buchanan said the new role was very different to the traditional selection role and required a specific skill set.

"A key part of the role will be accessing and utilising the wealth of knowledge that already exists within cricket, including first-class coaches, high performance staff and New Zealand's cricket experts - in that respect it is more inclusive than previous models," Buchanan said. "The selection panel agreed that Kim was the right fit for the role.

"Kim brings extensive experience from Bowls Australia where his operational skills and understanding of high performance sport were highly regarded. Although he is new to cricket in New Zealand I am confident his will mean he has no issue getting up to speed with new selection system, performance focused management, people management, and cultural change.

"It is worth noting that Mark Greatbatch provided invaluable input and expertise during his time in the acting NSM role. However, the selection panel decided that Kim was the candidate who best matched the requirements of the role with the appointment also endorsed by John Wright."

Greatbatch declined to comment on the decision on Friday. Earlier in the week, before the appointment was confirmed, the former selector Dion Nash said he held some concerns about the way Buchanan appeared to be experimenting with New Zealand's setup.

"You can feel it's a changing of the guard. It's not surprising," Nash told the Dominion Post. "My only reservation is that I feel like we're being exposed to a huge experiment. To me it's uncharted territory.

"We're putting a lot of faith in John Buchanan and the new system, which is not to say it's a bad thing, but it is quite experimental. The shame for me would be if someone who deserved to be picked, wasn't picked."

Littlejohn has been the high performance manager and national team manager with Bowls Australia, and he previously worked as operations manager for Baseball Victoria. He started his career as an investment banker, but he does have some cricket in his background, having played in the club competition in Western Australia and coached with Melbourne University.

Under the new structure, Littlejohn will be responsible for the selection of national teams for both men and women, and the under-age sides, and he will be advised by the six domestic first-class coaches. However, Wright has the final say on selection, which fits with Buchanan's push for more accountability.

Littlejohn will begin in his new role on September 19. The appointment panel consisted of Buchanan, the former fast bowler Shane Bond, and the NZC board member Brent King.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bc1992 on September 10, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    Give the appointment a chance - Goldenduck74, I agree that for too long NZ (and other countries) have automatically assumed that ex cricketers are suddenly going to make good administrators. This guy may turn out to be a dud or the best thing that happened to NZ cricket, we just dont know yet. Gupta.Ankur, we may not be playing at the moment, but sub continental cricket aint looking so flash right now - Bangladesh beaten by Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka getting steamrollered by Australia, India being proven to be the flash in the plan that everyone outside the subcontinent knew they were - so not playing is better then being soundly thumped and coming up with excuse after excuse!

  • on September 10, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    From this far, it appears New Zealand is messing it all up. It is all nice to think out of the box and bring a fresh mindset etc. But a little johnny from Australia whose only connection to cricket seems to be 'bowls' to lead? It is not about egos but about knowledge of cricket which is pretty complicated already.

    Is New Zealand heading the way of Pakistan? If 'imports' are needed to get teh Blackcaps back into contention try a few Englishmen!

  • Goldenduck74 on September 10, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    At last. It's taken many years, but finally someone has realised that ex-players don't automatically make good administrators. Some do, but the majority do not. At least NZ have taken the bold step of appointing someone who give the position a fresh perspective. Perhaps other boards and ICC should take note - recruit candidates based on their skills and suitability, rather than their First-Class or Test batting or bowling averages!

  • Harvey on September 10, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    I quite fancy the NZ selector's job. Maybe I should apply for a position with the Albanian Snail Racing Federation as a stepping stone?

  • Observer2 on September 10, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    @Thomas Horrocks. Yes....true....NZ did sub as host in 2010 for Kenya at the ICC's request ....but that was an ICC funded event. And a strong N Z team ( on paper) fared poorly . Where is NZC's investment in underage cricket? Other Test playing Nations and top Associate countries invest heavily and host internationals or tour abroad annually .See eg ;

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/531810.html

    Top Associate countries are rapidly improving so watch out N Z.

    What are NZ's age group teams doing in 2011 ? Does NZC have any ? When did an NZC age group team last go overseas which was not to an ICC funded U 19 tournament every 2-3 years ? Time to raise the bar and invest some precious NZC resources and prepare Kiwi youngsters to compete on even terms at eg; U 19 World Cups. This age group gives us the Taylors, Southee's and Williamson's . Hopefully JB ( and KL) will prioritise this given the OZ investment in and emphasis on youth.

  • HairyKiore on September 10, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    First ..NZ needs to have a proper fitness program so that players do not sucomb to preventable injuries ..then our lack of players will not be such an issue ..Second do not pick players that play across the line ...Like Taylor??? All batsmen selected should know how to straight drive ?? yes even McCullum....HK

  • on September 10, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    @Observer2 NZ hosted the 2010 u19 cricket world cup.

  • Gupta.Ankur on September 9, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    Do NZ really need all this? i mean they hardly play any cricket......

  • on September 9, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    Bring Chappell to NZ cricket he can destrouy as he did for Ind and Aus

  • HorseH on September 9, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    ie. John Wright picks the team

  • bc1992 on September 10, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    Give the appointment a chance - Goldenduck74, I agree that for too long NZ (and other countries) have automatically assumed that ex cricketers are suddenly going to make good administrators. This guy may turn out to be a dud or the best thing that happened to NZ cricket, we just dont know yet. Gupta.Ankur, we may not be playing at the moment, but sub continental cricket aint looking so flash right now - Bangladesh beaten by Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka getting steamrollered by Australia, India being proven to be the flash in the plan that everyone outside the subcontinent knew they were - so not playing is better then being soundly thumped and coming up with excuse after excuse!

  • on September 10, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    From this far, it appears New Zealand is messing it all up. It is all nice to think out of the box and bring a fresh mindset etc. But a little johnny from Australia whose only connection to cricket seems to be 'bowls' to lead? It is not about egos but about knowledge of cricket which is pretty complicated already.

    Is New Zealand heading the way of Pakistan? If 'imports' are needed to get teh Blackcaps back into contention try a few Englishmen!

  • Goldenduck74 on September 10, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    At last. It's taken many years, but finally someone has realised that ex-players don't automatically make good administrators. Some do, but the majority do not. At least NZ have taken the bold step of appointing someone who give the position a fresh perspective. Perhaps other boards and ICC should take note - recruit candidates based on their skills and suitability, rather than their First-Class or Test batting or bowling averages!

  • Harvey on September 10, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    I quite fancy the NZ selector's job. Maybe I should apply for a position with the Albanian Snail Racing Federation as a stepping stone?

  • Observer2 on September 10, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    @Thomas Horrocks. Yes....true....NZ did sub as host in 2010 for Kenya at the ICC's request ....but that was an ICC funded event. And a strong N Z team ( on paper) fared poorly . Where is NZC's investment in underage cricket? Other Test playing Nations and top Associate countries invest heavily and host internationals or tour abroad annually .See eg ;

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/531810.html

    Top Associate countries are rapidly improving so watch out N Z.

    What are NZ's age group teams doing in 2011 ? Does NZC have any ? When did an NZC age group team last go overseas which was not to an ICC funded U 19 tournament every 2-3 years ? Time to raise the bar and invest some precious NZC resources and prepare Kiwi youngsters to compete on even terms at eg; U 19 World Cups. This age group gives us the Taylors, Southee's and Williamson's . Hopefully JB ( and KL) will prioritise this given the OZ investment in and emphasis on youth.

  • HairyKiore on September 10, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    First ..NZ needs to have a proper fitness program so that players do not sucomb to preventable injuries ..then our lack of players will not be such an issue ..Second do not pick players that play across the line ...Like Taylor??? All batsmen selected should know how to straight drive ?? yes even McCullum....HK

  • on September 10, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    @Observer2 NZ hosted the 2010 u19 cricket world cup.

  • Gupta.Ankur on September 9, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    Do NZ really need all this? i mean they hardly play any cricket......

  • on September 9, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    Bring Chappell to NZ cricket he can destrouy as he did for Ind and Aus

  • HorseH on September 9, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    ie. John Wright picks the team

  • CricketChat on September 9, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    NZ board should be wary of Buchanan. He got lot of credit for overseeing the best period in Aussie Test history. He was lucky the best players were available to him. NZ should remember how he pretty much destroyed IPL team KKR few yrs ago.

  • on September 9, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    how much of this is due to john buchanan believing that everything has to be "out of the box"

  • amclean on September 9, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Of most interest here is the "new selection system, performance focused management, people management, and cultural change" that the new selector has to get "up to speed" with. It would have been helpful if John Buchanan could explain what this means. John Wright is the manager (coach), is focused on performance, is responsible for managing the people in the team (players and support staff) and, together with the captain, will be responsible for the team culture. I can't see where a selection manager fits in here, other than to pick people that are capable and he fit with what John Wright wants. The same applies at lower levels. Perhaps John Buchanan means "performance-focused management" and the culture of the selectors? Then the selection manager would be managing himself. Sounds just as sensible!

  • on September 9, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    Bowls is a high performance sport?

  • Observer2 on September 9, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Good to see JB on the move ! NZ Cricket needs a huge shake up. Too many blazers and no action. Lots of bureaucrats /coaches in the NZC trough . Rugby has railroaded cricket in NZ in recent years. Big smoke Auckland does not even have a cricket ground these years due to RWC 2011. Has been using a Club pitch in the suburbs. Time to move NZC HQ north. Christchurch sadly is not the place to be. Give Lincoln facility to Canterbury cricket and relocate NZC HQ . No idea who the new KL is but with JW working in tandem NZ is in good hands. Does NZ have any under age group teams? No cricket fan in NZ would have a clue ! When was their last overseas tour ? Elite Youth cricket is invisible in NZ.

  • on September 9, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    @JT0511 great comment :)) great to see N Z trying to do the right thing at the top but with such a small pool of players I find it hard to see much improvement in the near future .

  • 512fm on September 9, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    It seems as though we are just giving up on cricket with these selections we are making

  • on September 9, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    hahah... all australian for top job in nz..... i think it wll harm nz cricket as no country love.......

  • Mob_King on September 9, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    I don't understand. Littlejohn knows nothing about NZ, cricket, or NZ cricket. I would wager that he has never watched a single Plunket Shield game.

    Can someone please explain to me how he's supposed to select based on this?

    I understand the need for a fresh pair of eyes, but this seems too far, too experimental. Why couldn't we have picked up Dave Boon, Merv Hughes or other outcast Aussies? At least they know the game.

  • JT0511 on September 9, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    An Australian underarm bowling expert appointed as NZ selector? What next: a Chappell as coach?

  • Impactzone on September 9, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    Smart cookie this Littlejohn guy. A good eye for talent and great manager of people. Nice move NZC.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Impactzone on September 9, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    Smart cookie this Littlejohn guy. A good eye for talent and great manager of people. Nice move NZC.

  • JT0511 on September 9, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    An Australian underarm bowling expert appointed as NZ selector? What next: a Chappell as coach?

  • Mob_King on September 9, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    I don't understand. Littlejohn knows nothing about NZ, cricket, or NZ cricket. I would wager that he has never watched a single Plunket Shield game.

    Can someone please explain to me how he's supposed to select based on this?

    I understand the need for a fresh pair of eyes, but this seems too far, too experimental. Why couldn't we have picked up Dave Boon, Merv Hughes or other outcast Aussies? At least they know the game.

  • on September 9, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    hahah... all australian for top job in nz..... i think it wll harm nz cricket as no country love.......

  • 512fm on September 9, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    It seems as though we are just giving up on cricket with these selections we are making

  • on September 9, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    @JT0511 great comment :)) great to see N Z trying to do the right thing at the top but with such a small pool of players I find it hard to see much improvement in the near future .

  • Observer2 on September 9, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Good to see JB on the move ! NZ Cricket needs a huge shake up. Too many blazers and no action. Lots of bureaucrats /coaches in the NZC trough . Rugby has railroaded cricket in NZ in recent years. Big smoke Auckland does not even have a cricket ground these years due to RWC 2011. Has been using a Club pitch in the suburbs. Time to move NZC HQ north. Christchurch sadly is not the place to be. Give Lincoln facility to Canterbury cricket and relocate NZC HQ . No idea who the new KL is but with JW working in tandem NZ is in good hands. Does NZ have any under age group teams? No cricket fan in NZ would have a clue ! When was their last overseas tour ? Elite Youth cricket is invisible in NZ.

  • on September 9, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    Bowls is a high performance sport?

  • amclean on September 9, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Of most interest here is the "new selection system, performance focused management, people management, and cultural change" that the new selector has to get "up to speed" with. It would have been helpful if John Buchanan could explain what this means. John Wright is the manager (coach), is focused on performance, is responsible for managing the people in the team (players and support staff) and, together with the captain, will be responsible for the team culture. I can't see where a selection manager fits in here, other than to pick people that are capable and he fit with what John Wright wants. The same applies at lower levels. Perhaps John Buchanan means "performance-focused management" and the culture of the selectors? Then the selection manager would be managing himself. Sounds just as sensible!

  • on September 9, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    how much of this is due to john buchanan believing that everything has to be "out of the box"