In a somewhat incredible centralising move, CRICKETher have discovered that prior to the recent Women’s Ashes, the entire England Women’s Selection Panel was completely abolished. Instead as of this summer, responsibility for squad selection has rested entirely with the Head of England Women’s Performance, Paul Shaw.
All of the existing selectors – including the Chair, Sarah Pickford – received an email back in June informing them that they were dismissed with immediate effect.
Additionally, the England Women’s Academy Head Coach (until last week, Lisa Keightley) was given sole responsibility for the selection of EWA squads.
While the ECB are currently seeking to appoint a team of senior and development scouts, led by a new Head of Scouting, the post of “England Selector” has been permanently abolished. Shaw will now, according to the ECB, “work closely with a group of key stakeholders” (selected by himself) to make all selectorial decisions. Meanwhile Sarah Pickford – who had been an England selector for 8 years – is likely to have no further involvement in the selection process whatsoever.
Previously, the England Women’s selection processes have always aligned with that of their male counterparts, whereby an independent chair, alongside several senior selectors and the coach, meet prior to every series to decide on the final squad selection. However, power now seems to be largely concentrated in the hands of the Head of Performance – who, it is alleged, failed to attend several selection meetings prior to the changes being implemented.
The ECB have stated that the new system makes the selection process “more robust and resourced than ever before”. However, a source who was previously involved in the selection process has told CRICKETher that they believe the changes to be “a re-invention of the wheel and thoroughly misguided”.