England cricket – Ed Smith’s tenure ends as national selector as role is made redundant

England cricket - Ed Smith's tenure ends as national selector as role is made redundant

Chris Silverwood assumes responsibility with Joe Root and Eoin Morgan alongside him

Ed Smith is to leave the ECB with almost immediate effect after his role was made redundant.

Smith, who was appointed as national selector three years ago to the day, has been squeezed out after a restructure of the selection process by Ashley Giles, the managing director of England’s men’s cricket.

Under the new structure, the head coach, Chris Silverwood, will have responsibility for squad selections. He and the team captains, Joe Root in Test cricket and Eoin Morgan in the limited-overs formats, will then decide on the final XI together.

How Silverwood can combine his role as coach and selector remains to be seen. England’s relentless schedule provides him with little time to watch county or pathway cricket, though the ECB have previously said he may not need to be with the senior sides at all times.

He will, however, have some assistance. James Taylor keeps his job, though its title will change from ‘England selector’ to ‘head scout’, while Mo Bobat, the performance director, will also provide input. Information from performance analysis and scouting is likely to become more important.

“I would like to personally thank Ed for his contribution to the England men’s teams over the past three years,” Giles said. “Ed’s input has helped deliver successes for all our England Teams, and he has worked with commitment and professionalism throughout his time as National Selector. I wish him well in his future endeavours.

“The new structure also makes lines of accountability much clearer, with Chris Silverwood, as Head Coach, taking ultimate responsibility for picking England senior men’s squads.”

On the face of things, Smith is the victim of a restructuring that no longer has the necessity for his role. It may be relevant, however, that the relationship between Smith and some within the England set-up has been on the wane for some time. Some felt he attempted to interfere in team (rather than squad) selection, which has traditionally been the preserve of the captain and coach. Several players were understood to have taken a personal dislike to him.

It may be that the turning point for Smith’s tenure came in the Barbados Test of January 2019 when Stuart Broad was left out for Sam Curran and England lost heavily. Some felt Smith has exerted a surprising amount of pressure over the final selection.

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