Australia have begun preparing for life after the sage influence of Rod Marsh
and Greg Chappell
by recruiting former Test wicketkeeper Graham Manou
as the national Under-15-19 High Performance pathway manager.
Manou, who has been working with the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) since 2013, will leave his role as cricket operations and membership manager late next month to oversee youth development and talent identification at Cricket Australia (CA).
Having also served as captain of South Australia during his playing days, Manou was a key man for the players' union. He made pre-tour security visits overseas while also sparring with the CA team performance manager Pat Howard
over numerous issues such as the recent agreement over women's pay and conditions.
Whatever their differences of opinion, Howard and Manou worked closely together. The arrival of Kevin Roberts
as executive general manager of strategy and people - after he resigned from the CA Board last year - saw the ex-gloveman come into calculations for the talent management and selection areas.
"While it was a very difficult decision for me to leave the ACA, I'm very excited about the opportunity to influence the next generation of cricketers and assist in further enhancing a clear and inspiring pathway," Manou said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the ACA and wish the Executive and the team at the ACA all the best for the future."
The 2011 Argus review called for succession planning in areas beyond the national team itself, and Manou's appointment is a clear sign that Roberts and Howard are aware that national talent manager Chappell, 67, and national selector Marsh, 68, cannot carry on in their roles indefinitely. While there is no pressure on either man - both highly respected figures in the global game - to retire, Manou's arrival will afford the chance to broaden the base of candidates for more senior roles. He will also add useful cricket experience to CA, as the organisation seeks a balance between commercial clout and knowledge of the game.
Apart from the national coach Darren Lehmann
, Trevor Hohns
previously served as selection chairman from 1996 to 2006 and could do so again, while Mark Waugh
has been on the panel since May 2014. It is believed that CA wish to take a more analytical approach to selection of the Twenty20 team in particular, after disappointing showings at the two most recent ICC events. Australia are ranked No. 1 in Tests and ODIs.
"This is a terrific opportunity for Graham and his family, so whilst we are sad to see him go, we can certainly appreciate that these roles don't come along every day," the ACA Chief Executive Alistair Nicholson said. "Graham is regarded very highly at the ACA and has built fantastic relationships with the Executive, staff and of course the players in his three and a half years with us. His integrity and commitment to the players is of the highest order and we wish him well in this next challenge."
There has been considerable crossover between the ACA and CA in recent years, notably the choice of the former president Lehmann as national team coach and his successor Michael Kasprowicz
joining the CA Board before being named interim chief executive of Queensland Cricket.
Manou's departure will leave a gulf of cricket experience at the ACA, though Simon Katich
has agreed to work in a part-time role on player liaison matters. Jodie Fields and Brendan Drew will maintain their roles in working with the ACA membership.