Cricket: Umpires to pick teams
By Andrew Alderson
5:30 AM Sunday Sep 8, 2013
Cricket umpires might do more than judge dismissals, count deliveries and assess wides and no-balls this summer.
New Zealand Cricket's new national selection manager Bruce Edgar intends to canvass their views as the closest neutral observers to the domestic game.
"Obviously we'd go to major association coaches, but umpires are at each game observing batsmen and bowlers close at hand. For example, I want to know how a spin bowler reacts when he comes back for a second spell after getting hit in the first. They're likely to have a feel for what's happening on the mental side; feedback you might not get from afar. Someone on the ground might say 'yeah, it was jagging around a lot, the guy left (the ball) well, then went on the offensive."
Edgar is looking to spread his resources as wide as possible. Match referees are likely to be employed this summer, in addition to two talent-spotters. Those roles have been advertised; Martin Crowe and Glenn Turner did the jobs last year.
It's expected the talent spotters will recommend names to Edgar and coach Mike Hesson, with Hesson retaining the power of veto.
Edgar and Hesson also used the observations of NZ A coach and former test spin bowler Grant Bradburn to select their squad for the upcoming tour to Bangladesh.
Bradburn's former Northern Districts charges Corey Anderson (22) and Ish Sodhi (20) were picked after strong form on the development tour to India and Sri Lanka.
Edgar's concept is not new. As chairman of selectors, Sir Richard Hadlee once revealed that he sometimes consulted veteran commentator Bryan Waddle.
Edgar's predecessor, Kim Littlejohn, and the former director of cricket, John Buchanan, introduced the "selection pie chart" in 2011. It was designed as a means for picking international, provincial and age-grade level teams.
The pie was broken into categories with various weightings such as significant performance, consistent performance, contribution to the team, fitness and fielding. Selectors' intuition was granted a minimal five per cent.
An alternative system of assessment was launched by the New Zealand Cricket Players Association in association with NZC in 2008.
The Most Valuable Player gave players a ranking in relation to their peers based on batting + bowling + fielding + captaincy + winning = total MVP points