PAUL NEWMAN: Ashley Giles acts to put the right man in control by sacking selector Ed Smith and giving Chris Silverwood unprecedented power as England coach
- National selector Smith will leave his post at the end of the month
- Smith failed to convince Giles he is the right man to select England sides
- Silverwood empowered to pick England squads as part of a revamped system
- England captains Root and Morgan will advise Silverwood on team selections
Make no mistake, this is a sacking. Ed Smith, a man appointed by his former Middlesex team-mate Andrew Strauss, has failed to convince Ashley Giles he is the right man to select England sides.
The ECB may portray this as a restructure of their selection system. They may say the role of national selector no longer exists. That is all window dressing.
If they were happy with Smith’s analytical methods, his liking for ‘weighted averages’ and his almost too-clever-by-half approach to the job, he would have been allowed to carry on.
Engaland selector Ed Smith (left, with Test captain Joe Root) will leave at the end of the month
After all, the ECB were quick to point out they would still rely on performance analysis, talent ID, scouting, and medical and sports science in their selection process. All areas of expertise that Smith believed in.
And Smith’s trusted lieutenant James Taylor is staying, in a newly created role of head scout.
So Smith may well consider himself unlucky. After all, he leaves the job having overseen England’s 50-over World Cup win in 2019, with the men’s team ranked No 1 in both white-ball formats and No 4 in the Tests. It is hardly a poor record.
England managing director Ashley Giles (right, with Smith) is at the heart of the restructure
He would also be within his rights to say he was responsible for Jos Buttler’s successful return to Test cricket soon after he inherited the selecting role in 2018 — and he did tell Sportsmail just that in his first big interview in the job.
Then there was Smith’s championing of Zak Crawley when he was producing modest figures at Kent — a move that was vindicated when he made 267 against Pakistan last summer.
Smith made sure we knew Crawley was his choice, too.
England captains Root and Eoin Morgan (right) will advise Silverwood on team selections
And there is no question Smith made some powerful enemies, not least Stuart Broad, who he tried to omit from England’s touring squads going back to the Sri Lanka trip of 2018 but who kept proving him wrong.
It has been clear for some time that Giles was uncomfortable with Smith at the helm.
At least he has been decisive in removing him and giving Chris Silverwood unprecedented power as England coach.
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