James Whitaker is set to stand down as England’s national selector at the end of the month, as the ECB look to introduce a new scouting system to reflect the increasing specialisation across the three formats of the game.
Whitaker, who has been on the England selection panel for a decade, has served as National Selector since 2013. However, his role – and those of his fellow selectors Angus Fraser and Mick Newell – have come under scrutiny in recent years, amid reports that Andrew Strauss, England’s director of cricket, had been eager to shake up the system for several seasons.
The ECB are now set to advertise the revised role this week, in good time for the next selection meeting ahead of the Pakistan Test series in mid-May.
The board’s intention is to instigate a system with designated discipline-specific scouts, including the current ECB national lead coaches, providing information to a three-strong selection panel, made up of a new National Selector, a full time independent England Selector and Trevor Bayliss, England head coach.
Fraser and Newell will remain in place until new positions have been filled and are free to apply for the new roles.
“The new approach will allow us to see more players throughout the county game, more often, and simplify the selection process,” said Strauss. “We will have a greater body of information, deeper insight into the talent we can pick and a better understanding of who to help develop across the red-ball and white-ball games.
“The game now requires our teams to play more often, at a higher intensity, in a range of conditions and across different formats. A formalised scouting network will help us to be more aware of players’ strengths and, as they will be seen more often by more people, they will have a greater opportunity to impress.
“Our new National Selector will coordinate with a full-time England selector, who will be appointed by the National Selector, and the England Head coach to ensure that we are scouting players throughout the pathway for England’s current and future needs. Clearly, we are looking for a person who is an excellent judge of talent and character and has experience in both talent Identification and the international game.
“I want to express my personal gratitude to James, as well as the heartfelt thanks of the ECB, for his hard work and dedication over a number of years. His has been a critical role and one that he has fulfilled with distinction during a period where the game has evolved at domestic and international level. We cannot thank him enough for his calm leadership and commitment and wish him the very best for his next step.”
“We have been considering this for some time and now is the right moment to make the change. The last year has been exceptionally busy for all the men’s teams and this decision is not related to results.”
Of his role within the England set-up, Whitaker said: “It has been an immense privilege and an honour for me to have been an England selector for the last ten years. I am very proud of what the team has achieved during this period and will always treasure the memory of those four different Ashes series wins and our first ever victory in an ICC global event [2010 World T20].
“I have been involved for a decade now and it feels that the time is right, with this new approach, for me to move on. As someone with a lifelong involvement with professional cricket, Team England will always be close to my heart and I would like to wish Trevor Bayliss, Paul Farbrace, senior captains Eoin Morgan and Joe Root and all the players and management the very best for the future.”