Steve Rhodes has been given an opportunity to revive his cricketing career after being named as one of England’s new selection scouts.
Rhodes, the former England keeper, was sacked by Worcestershire in January after it emerged that, for several months, he had concealed from the club’s hierarchy the arrest of a young player – Alex Hepburn – on a rape charge. He also lost his role as England coach at the U19 World Cup.
But his record as an experienced player and successful coach has persuaded the ECB to invite him back into the fold. As well as representing England in 11 Tests and nine ODIs, Rhodes oversaw the promotion of Worcestershire into Division One of the County Championship at the end of the 2017 season with a side stacked with home-grown players. The likes of Josh Tongue and Joe Clarke could both go on to represent England in the near future and owe much of their development to Rhodes’ ability to identify and nurture talent.
The other scouts named by Strauss are Marcus Trescothick, James Taylor, Richard Dawson, Glen Chapple and Chris Read. All are former international cricketers with several still involved in coaching (or in Trescothick’s case, playing) roles at county clubs. None of them will be asked to compile reports on players from their own counties.
While Taylor, who was forced to end his playing career in April 2017 after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition, has concentrated on a media career in recent months, he has also conducted a review into Somerset’s coaching structure and enjoyed a role as a coaching consultant with Northants. Read, who retired as a player at the end of last season, now works at Uppingham School but will coach at Nottinghamshire when time allows, while Dawson and Chapple are the head coaches at Gloucestershire and Lancashire respectively. Trescothick continues to play red-ball cricket for Somerset but has a coaching role with the club’s List A side.
“The idea is for us to get better information on all the players playing in county cricket,” Strauss said. “This is not what some people think it is around loads of data and statistics. This is about getting qualitative information on what England’s needs are.
“They will be compiling reports on players of interest to us but those involved with counties won’t be compiling reports on their own players. It is about formalising a process that has been going on in a more ad hoc way before.”