Ed Smith has emerged as the favourite to be appointed as England’s new head selector.
While the ECB have not confirmed the appointment, Smith is understood to have been preferred from a shortlist that also included Andy Flower, Derek Pringle, Mike Selvey and one of the current selectors, Mick Newell. Angus Fraser, another of the current incumbents, is understood not to have reapplied for a selection role.
Smith replaces James Whitaker in the lead selection role. He will be involved in picking another member of the selection panel who will complete a three-man line-up alongside England coach, Trevor Bayliss. The trio are expected to be advised by a dozen or so scouts whose names will be announced imminently.
An elegant batsman, Smith was good enough to play three Tests for England in the summer of 2003 after a prolific run of form in county cricket. He scored 64 in his first innings but managed only 23 more runs in his next four innings and was dropped. His playing career ended somewhat when he suffered a badly broken ankle in 2008. He was 31.
While much of his subsequent career has been in the media – Smith has, among other things, commentated for the BBC’s Test Match Special, as well as written books and articles for a variety of outlets – he also had a spell as a consultant to Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2016, when they reached the final of the IPL.
A former captain of both Kent and Middlesex, Smith was at the latter with Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket. Smith’s leadership style was not always popular, however, and he left Kent not long after something approaching an on-field mutiny from some senior players.