Quick single: fair selection

Trott and Cook open again for England, while Adam Lyth, the premier opener in county cricket last season, acts as 12th man. Mark Wood, seen by some as the fastest bowler in the touring party, waits for his international debut, while the four seamers who took nine wickets between them in the first Test, get another game.

It’s not fair.

And I’ve not even mentioned Nick Compton.

Unfair selection; worthy players who are ‘hard done by’. It’s just, well, unjust and the selectors should pay the price.

That’s a characterisation of opinions expressed by many followers of all major teams. It’s not one I share.

Fairness, I believe, has no place in the selection of international cricket teams. Selectors should aim to field the team that, in their expert opinion, is best suited to achieve the objective set. Most commonly, that objective is to win the next match; but it could be to prepare a team for a more stretching challenge ahead (Cook’s continued selection may fall into this category).

A very simple algorithm could pick a team based on statistics from domestic first class cricket. The selectors’ role is to assess whether a player with an impressive first class record could reproduce that success in international cricket. They must judge whether an encouraging start to a Test career is likely to be sustained and, if not likely, that it is better to cut it off before it goes sour. Selectors must know when to bring to an end the career of one of the mainstays of the team. Selectors must search for the clue that distinguishes the potentially international-class from the group of pretenders. They should not trouble themselves with fairness.

And given that license to make judgements, selectors should be held accountable for results. I expect selectors to be ruthless and to be treated ruthlessly.


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About chrisps

TouchlineDad to three sporty kids; cricket blogger and coach; and the alpha male in our pride.

6 responses to “Quick single: fair selection”

  1. David Oram says :

    But who should select The Selectors? Are administrators either fair enough or ruthless enough in selecting who should make those fair or ruthless decisions? Or should the fans have a voice? Is the process transparent enough – or is it
    another case of ‘jobs for the boys’?

    • chrisps says :

      David, I don’t have a satisfactory answer. Cricket’s governance is shown repeatedly not to be up to the task and you’ve pointed out another example. Chris

  2. Mykuhl says :

    I don’t have any problem with selectors having the ability to pick some players that people don’t like, and to not pick players that everyone is clambering for.

    The only issue for me comes when there’s clearly something wrong. Andre Adams was treated as a one day player, despite being much more successful with the red ball throughout his career. His test bowling average of 15 suggests that he didn’t let the team down in the one chance he got.

    In that sort of situation, I’m happy to stick the boot into the selectors.

    • chrisps says :

      Michael, I certainly don’t think selectors should go uncriticised. It just seems pointless criticising them (as many people do) for failing to be something (ie fair) that they bother themselves with. It would be fascinating to know what was going on in the Adams example. Maybe one day we will find out. Thanks

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  1. Short pitches: fairer selection | Declaration Game cricket blog - April 22, 2015

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