England’s cricket team has bid farewell to National Selector Ed Smith and presented selection control to Head Coach Chris Silverwood.
The former Yorkshire, Essex and England bowler will have the support of James Taylor and Mo Bobat as well as lots of data. Alec Stewart and John Emburey have also been recruited in scouting capacities. Captains Joe Root and Eoin Morgan will liaise with Silverwood but the coach has the final say.
Regarding Smith, he’s obviously not everybody’s cup of tea. I always found him engaging and thoughtful on commentary but he did say some things about selection that left me (And others) scratching my head.
Jason Roy opening in Tests, Ollie Pope batting at four having never done so at domestic level, Adil Rashid and red ball cricket, are all moves that people can criticise thrice-capped Smith for. Not to mention some of the rotation on the recent winter tour!
Smith did select a squad that won a World Cup though cynics will say all that he had to do was leave it ticking over. He persisted with a woefully out of form Liam Plunkett however as well as axing David Willey for Jofra Archer… and England won!
Many may have given up on Mark Wood, even Jack Leach or prematurely moved on from James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Smith didn’t. Has he insisted on not picking a load of uncapped players who might’ve outperformed the incumbents, or not recalled James Vince again when the Hampshire man would’ve outscored Bairstow, Roy and Root combined? We don’t know!
There are suggestions that he didn’t just pick the squad but got involved in team selection. Fair enough in opinion! If he selected a squad then he presumably had an eleven in mind. I’ve always found the whole selector, coach, captain thing a bit weird anyway, though if anything it’s the role of coach that’s weird, but if he’s now the selector then it kind of makes sense… even if he might need a hundred hours in a day to watch domestic cricket! What is all this data that they use?
The early stages of the county campaign have confirmed the extreme depth of talent that their is in English cricket but also how difficult it is to get into the England team. Even given that England have capped a reasonable amount of players and recently used enlarged squads, some extremely good cricketers will never even get close.
It’ll be fascinating to see what Smith does in the future. Write a book about selection possibly? I wonder how transferable England’s selection process would be to an emerging nation.