Wright wins in New Zealand selection shake-up
The coach John Wright will become the major powerbroker in New Zealand's team selection after a radical shake-up of the panel. In one of John Buchanan's first major decisions as New Zealand's director of cricket, he has announced the disbanding of the existing selection panel, which will be replaced by a full-time national selection manager who will work closely with Wright.
Mark Greatbatch has been given the job in an acting capacity and he and Wright will effectively work as a two-man selection panel, with Wright given the final say in case of disagreement, a move that fits with Buchanan's push for greater accountability. The national selection manager will be responsible for all men's and women's cricket from Under-19s through to the Black Caps and the White Ferns.
"It is my experience it is important to streamline the number of people who impact on team decisions and team dynamics," Buchanan said. "We have therefore sought to simplify the selection process to ensure greater consistency of selections, feedback and integration of playing pathways from youth, through first class to international cricket.
"A large part of the role will be liaising with our first-class coaches and assessing their views on the leading players in our domestic competitions as well as consulting with high performance staff, cricket stakeholders and of course the captain. It is a challenging role that requires the skills of a highly organised individual with great cricket knowledge and who is respected among the cricket fraternity."
The innovative move means Glenn Turner and Lance Cairns have been axed from the selection panel, although both men could yet apply to become the national selection manager. Greatbatch will fill the role temporarily, giving him an important say in New Zealand's central contract list for 2011-12, before the job is readvertised ahead of the next international tour, to Zimbabwe in October.
"While New Zealand Cricket has chosen to move away from a traditional national selection panel in favour of a new system, it is important to recognise the selectors over the past years have done a great job," Justin Vaughan, the NZC chief executive said. "The new system introduced by John Buchanan was supported and approved by the NZC board."
Buchanan took the reins at NZC in April and his other major decision to oversee during the coming weeks will be the appointment of a new captain to replace Daniel Vettori. The New Zealand side also needs a new team manager, to take over from Dave Currie, and the Dominion Post has reported the former Otago coach Mike Hesson is the favourite for the role.