New Zealand news September 9, 2011

Kim Littlejohn named New Zealand selector

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

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  • Andrew 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!

  • Dummy4 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!

  • Simon 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?

  • Peter 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 ;

    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.

  • Ronald 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

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    @Observer2 NZ hosted the 2010 u19 cricket world cup.

  • ankur on September 9, 2011, 18:07 GMT

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

  • Dummy4 on September 9, 2011, 17:57 GMT

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

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

    ie. John Wright picks the team

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