Mark Waugh walks away from selection panel
MARK Waugh will quit as an Australian selector to concentrate on his burgeoning commentary career with Fox Sports.
The former Test great joined the national panel back in 2014, and as the current selection Chairman for the Australian Twenty20 side, he has served as one of the most influential voices in the game.
However Cricket Australia said on Tuesday Waugh had elected not to continue in the role when his contract expires in August, following the tours of England and Zimbabwe.
Losing such an astute reader and analyser of players and the game - as Waugh is - comes as a major blow to Cricket Australia.
Finding high-profile and well-qualified selectors is never easy given so many ex-players are earning bigger money in business and the media.
The setback is extenuated by the fact there is a World Twenty20 on Australian soil in the year 2020, and Cricket Australia had revamped the selection panel to put Waugh in charge of that mission.
Appointing a specialist T20 selector was CA's way of recognising that it had failed to grasp the shortest format in which it has never won a World Cup.
Waugh is taking on a pivotal role on Fox Cricket under the new TV rights deal and his commitments will be more all-encompassing than his previous media work was at Channel Ten when he was only commentating the Big Bash.
It's expected Waugh will commentate across all Test and international cricket as well as the BBL under his Fox deal and it's deemed he won't be able to juggle those commitments with being a national selector.
As the T20 chairman, Waugh is down to tour with Justin Langer's Australian side to England and Zimbabwe for a series of internationals in July, but that will be his final hurrah.
Cricket Australia never believed there was a conflict of interest with Waugh working in the media and selecting, arguing that his role watching BBL matches in fact put him at the forefront of the ever-evolving format.
Waugh has acknowledged in the past that combining the two roles has had its challenges, particularly given his forthright style on air.
Cricket Australia will now be on the hunt for a new selector and a new board member, following the recent resignation of director, Bob Every.
It's a time of mass upheaval at CA following Langer's appointment as coach, Tim Paine's ascension to the captaincy and the launching of a cultural review.
It remains to be seen whether the cultural review will make any specific recommendations in regards to how the selection panel should look.
Trevor Hohns is the current overriding chairman, with Greg Chappell and Langer as his only fellow panellists.
CA have flirted with different selection models and Howard is known to be an advocate of the coach having the balance of power in big calls.
Controversy always stalks selection panels, but Hohns' backing of Paine at the start of the summer has paid dividends.
Waugh has signed on to partner Adam Gilchrist as the head of Fox Cricket's new all-star commentary team, which also includes Mike Hussey, Mel Jones, Isa Guha and Michael Vaughan.