THE full-time selector Cricket Australia has needed for years will be appointed before the Ashes campaign, with one of Jamie Cox, David Boon or Merv Hughes set to lose their job.The trio’s performances will be assessed by chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch and CA’s general manager of cricket operations, Michael Brown, before one is likely to be asked for his resignation. Brown said one of the three could yet land the full-time role – titled national talent manager – and therefore no change would be made to the four-man panel as it stands, but the fact CA are set to advertise for the position next week makes it unlikely.The new selector would be in charge of liaising with state talent managers, national players and fielding media inquiries – much of which has been ignored in the past few years.”This is a huge step,” Brown told the Herald last night. ”This is really strongly supported by the states and they are very important stakeholders. We need to professionalise the game of cricket, to do that we have strong recommendations that cricket enter a full-time era, yet the selectors are still part-time.”So we need to professionalise the selections process. We wanted to improve talent management and leadership – soccer and AFL have done this really well.”Hilditch is contracted as chairman of selectors until the end of next year’s World Cup and will retain his position as the panel’s head.Brown said for the time being he saw the need for only one full-time selector, so Adelaide lawyer Hilditch and the remaining two would hold their primary occupations.Cox has previously been accused of having a conflict of interest because he retains his role as South Australia’s director of cricket, with the eastern states particularly aggrieved at the seemingly 50-50 calls that went to Redbacks and Tasmanian players recently.Boon is a marketing executive with Cricket Tasmania.Hughes has been criticised for running overseas tour group operations while working as touring selector and players have privately expressed concern about his ability to make career-defining calls while entertaining clients.The entire selection panel was ridiculed following the Ashes defeat last year and Hilditch admitted that they misread The Oval pitch for the deciding Test when spinner Nathan Hauritz was left out. They were also under fire for hastily promoting, then dropping, young opening batsman Phillip Hughes. And the number of spinners tried in the past few years has been comical.But the coming Ashes campaign will certainly benefit from a full-time eye because questions have arisen over the amount of state cricket selectors are watching in between their occupational duty.Brown said the candidacy was open to all-comers – even state talent managers – but there are five qualities being sought. They must have international first-class experience, be skilled negotiators, have an ability to manage people, be effective communicators, and understand the identification of talent and manage it.Meanwhile, Australian captain Ricky Ponting has opposed Channel Nine’s proposal to restore all wickets in the second innings of the split-innings one-dayers to be played domestically this summer.”Personally, I wouldn’t like to see it go that way. I would like to see it remain as a traditional game of cricket,” Ponting said in Dublin before the ODI against Ireland.”Forty wickets in the game, it almost goes away from the game of cricket. I think what everybody is after with this game is having some point of difference between 20-over cricket and a 40-over game, which is the way it’s heading, and a 50-over game.”I think if you start bringing it back to 40 wickets in a game, the point of difference between a 20-over game and that concept is not very much.”
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