Luke Wright’s appointment as England selector on Tuesday coincided with his retirement from professional cricket, bringing to an end an illustrious 20-year career. He leaves the game with over 20,000 runs and over 300 wickets. Record for most runs scored in T20 Blast; And many trophies to his name – including England’s first in a men’s ICC event, the 2010 World T20.
He is the latest in a string of shrewd appointments by Rob Key since becoming managing director earlier this year, although it is notable that his job title – ‘England men’s selector’ – is ‘national selector’. was slightly different from the post which was public. Advertiser.
Rather than take responsibility for the selection himself, Wright will join a panel comprising the relevant captain and coach, England’s performance director (Mo Bobbitt) and player ID lead (David Court) and himself, who initially backed out. Maintained involvement by planning
His role is somewhere between that filled by Ed Smith and James Taylor before Ashley Giles’ ill-advised and ill-fated decision to put the reins in the hands of Chris Silverwood. Importantly, his arrival added another voice from outside the dressing room to challenge the assumptions and biases of coaches and captains.
Wright’s appointment – and his simultaneous retirement – is in stark contrast to the job details published by the BCCI on Friday in the search for a new, five-member panel to select India’s squad. While Wright had a year left on his Sussex contract, the BCCI stipulated that candidates “should have retired from the game at least 5 years ago”.
The BCCI’s implication appears to be that current – or even more recent – players will carry with them the potential for conflicts of interest or bias towards their former teammates, but the ECB has no such concerns. do not have. Wright has always maintained an independent streak: first as a hired T20 gun in an era when English involvement in franchise leagues was scarce, and later as an outspoken Sussex T20 captain who made his thoughts clear on the exit of the club’s best player. the player
I Times On Tuesday, Chris Nash, Wright’s long-time opening partner at Sussex, drew a perceptive parallel with Australia’s appointment of George Bailey. Like Bailey, Wright has played with and against a generation of England players and has kept pace with the modern game: he was good enough to be named in Test squads and scored 17 first-class centuries. , and has also played on almost every white team. Ball tournaments around the world.
There was a notable moment in January this year when Wright was working as BT Sport’s studio pundit for England’s T20I series against the West Indies. There were several members of the home squad with limited international experience, which most English broadcasters would struggle to offer much insight into. Not Wright: Just two months ago, he played alongside Romario Shepherd, Akil Hussain and Dominique Drakes at the Abu Dhabi T10 and was perfectly placed to discuss their strengths.
Wright has spent the past three years preparing for his post-playing career in a number of different roles: he has worked as a batting coach at the Melbourne Stars, an assistant coach for New Zealand and Auckland’s Performance and Talent. Relinquishing his role as coach. End of March; Earlier this year, he graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a Masters in Sport Directorship. It has been the ideal apprenticeship.
He will not join the ECB until the start of the 2023 season and will be at stake from the start: within the first six months of his role, he will be selected for the home Ashes series and the 50-over World Cup. will in India, where England will defend their title.
In practice, communication may become Wright’s most important skill. He is only one member of the selection panel but can be its public face, explaining decisions behind closed doors to the players and then to the media. It is an occupational hazard of the job that he will not always be popular and will need to develop a thick skin.
Ultimately, he will be judged on his decisions. Both England men’s whiteball teams are reigning world champions, and the Test side head to Pakistan with six wins from their last seven. Wright’s delivery is simple: to help transform a high watermark into a period of sustained dominance.