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”.
Unsurprising really that an ECB enterprise can want so much media attention and support yet operate so secretively behind closed doors.
Paul Shaw is a good bloke but also an ECB employee and It is very difficult when you have key stakeholders who (are quite rightly) icons in their sport to make real change without a mandate and independent support.
I’m not sure that anyone would believe that they could wrestle control from a strong minority and implement long term change, even if the contract put it in writing!
Wow. We now know who to blame for the selection debacles this summer. A certain Mr Shaw!Not that it was the only reason the Ashes were lost, we played badly too often, but it certainly did not help. The level of secrecy at the ECB is frankly ridiculous and more akin to a sort of shadow agency like MI6 or the KGB.
One must question whether Shaw is any more competent than the other ECB selector who has been very fortunate to keep his position, after a long record of foul-ups: James Whitaker.
One thing we can say is the the ECB can hardly claim that this change has worked so far. And to me it doesn’t bode well for the future. Having one guy in charge of everything is bad because if any “stakeholders” say anything he doesn’t like, he can just decide to conveniently replace them with another more inclined to agree with him, citing any random reason. This sort of “role flexibility” is what is needed more in the actual team itself, not in the backroom staff and management. England need to go away and “look at the data” again, I think.
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