New Zealand news June 9, 2011

Part-time selectors 'a bit of an anachronism'

ESPNcricinfo staff

John Buchanan, the New Zealand director of cricket, has said he pushed for radical change to the selection process because the old panel of part-time selectors had become "a bit of an anachronism".

NZC has done away with the national selection panel, replacing it with a full-time national selection manager who will deliberate with the team coach John Wright on all matters of choosing teams. Mark Greatbatch will hold the role in a caretaker capacity until the prime candidate is found.

Buchanan, leaning heavily on his experience as coach of the Australian team between 1999 and 2007, said he had found the system of part-time panellists did not gel readily with a fully professional environment.

"I've always found it's very difficult to have part-time people - albeit well-meaning people who understand the game - being involved in full-time sport. I think that's a bit of an anachronism," Buchanan told the New Zealand Herald.

"Because it's new, it does challenge tradition. I was able to run those arguments past a range of people and everybody had their various views, but it received solid support. In the end, like any system, we've got to get the right person, then make it work."

Buchanan's ideas did not always meet with a warm response during his time in Australia, and his assertion that the team coach should have a greater final say on selection than the captain is guaranteed to raise old hackles.

"There's no question the head coach and captain must have a very close working relationship," he said. "Beyond that it's very clear to me the head coach needs to make the final decisions. Sometimes the captain, as a player, may be one of the persons who has to be removed.

"It's very difficult to place the captain in that role and also in the role of selecting other people that they've then got to walk out on the field with."

Appointed to the director's job in April, Buchanan has made it plain that he wants New Zealand to develop a reputation for progressive thinking on the game.

"I think NZC has a great capacity to do things in advance of everybody else," he said. "This is one of the first steps towards changing a little of the way NZC goes about what it does, becomes a little bolder. What we operate with now, is it the best, can it be better? The selection system is our first toe in the water."

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