With power over team selections, Australian coach Justin Langer will be assured of getting the team he wants.
With power over team selections, Australian coach Justin Langer will be assured of getting the team he wants.

New era as Langer takes control of selections

JUSTIN Langer is set to be handed unprecedented power at cricket's selection table under a new streamlined system for picking Australian teams.

In a move designed to prioritise accountability, the buck will largely stop with the Australian coach on all major selection decisions.

Outgoing selection panel member Mark Waugh will not be replaced and a more efficient model is expected to be phased in, giving the balance of power in decision-making to the coach and, possibly still, national selector Trevor Hohns.

Giving the Australian coach the team that he wants is the basic premise of a system that cricket's head of team performance, Pat Howard, has been advocating for some time.

The new model represents a drastic change in thinking for a game as set in its ways as cricket has been, given there have been times in the not so distant past when the Australian head coach hasn't even had a vote in selection.

Major football codes generally operate by a system where the head coach is ultimately accountable for team selection, and powerbrokers believe cricket can also benefit from this change in outlook.

Ultimately it's the head coach who usually lives and dies by team performance in professional sport.

Selectors are still expected to play a role in picking teams, but state representatives may increasingly be relied upon around the country to provide information to the panel on player performance.

Logistically a reduced selection panel wouldn't be able to physically attend every game of domestic cricket played in the country.

Australia coach Justin Langer speaks to his team during a nets session in Wales last month. Pictured: Gareth Copley/Getty
Australia coach Justin Langer speaks to his team during a nets session in Wales last month. Pictured: Gareth Copley/Getty

The expected move will increase the amount of responsibility that's been taken on by Langer since assuming the role vacated by Darren Lehmann.

Before the South African ball-tampering scandal, there was a school of thought that Australia would look to divvy up coaching responsibilities across the different formats - but Langer felt the game needed continuity across the board following one of the biggest controversies in the game's history.

If there's a deadlock on a selection matter, it's believed Langer and Hohns will have the casting vote. This is particularly pertinent on overseas tours, when Hohns won't always be there.

Cricket Australia's board is due to meet on Friday in Melbourne.

Australian player Glenn Maxwell chats with chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns at the Gabba during the first Test of the 2017/18 Ashes series. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty
Australian player Glenn Maxwell chats with chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns at the Gabba during the first Test of the 2017/18 Ashes series. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty

Meanwhile, Australian cricket's cultural review is ongoing, with players around the country continuing to be interviewed by the ethics committee. The findings are anticipated to be handed down before the start of the home summer.

Cricket Australia is also set to have its new chief executive in place by around that time as well.

An announcement on James Sutherland's successor is anticipated by late September-early October.

Senior Cricket Australia figure Kevin Roberts, former NSW chairman John Warn, Western Australia chief Christina Matthews and Australian Grand Prix chairman John Harnden appear to be the leading candidates.

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