Bruce Edgar’s return overdue
It’s good news that Bruce Edgar is to return to the New Zealand cricket fold as national selection manager. Details are to be announced shortly.
Unfortunately, it’s a case of too little, too late.
Edgar should be the New Zealand Cricket chief executive. He sought the role after Justin Vaughan’s less-than-impressive fouryear term ended in 2011.
However, the New Zealand Cricket board let Edgar know he would not get the job because it was set on appointing David White, so Edgar withdrew his application.
White has been an uncon- vincing chief executive – the Ross Taylor captaincy debacle was a case in point – and Edgar has been languishing on the sidelines.
Now that Australian Kim Littlejohn has been sent packing, the role of national selection manager has become vacant, and Edgar has put up his hand.
Not surprisingly, New Zealand Cricket has leapt at the chance to appoint someone of Edgar’s calibre. For me, it still seems a waste.
Edgar should be running New Zealand Cricket. He would have had the same influence and impact as did his 1980s team- mate Martin Snedden during Snedden’s time as chief executive.
Instead Edgar will coordinate a selection panel that will include a couple of other talent-spotters. They will report to New Zealand team coach Mike Hesson, who will retain the final say on selection.
The coach should not be a selector – it can prevent players confiding in him, and will therefore mean he is less effective as a coach.
What makes the situation sillier is that Edgar and his assistants will all have vastly more cricket knowledge and experience than Hesson.
Another Australian, John Buchanan, has just been ditched by New Zealand Cricket. He was director of cricket, with a $300,000-plus salary.
If that role is retained, it would be a better fit for Edgar.
During his international career from 1978 till 1986, Edgar earned huge respect, not only as a brave opening batsman, but also as the consummate team man.
At Rongotai College, he was a brilliant left-handed batsman, Wellington’s equivalent of Martin Crowe, who emerged in Auckland a year or two later.
But Edgar was thrust into the role of opening batsman for Wellington and New Zealand and stifled his natural attacking flair for the sake of his team.
Thus he took on a generation of fast bowlers, including Chris Old, Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Safraz Nawaz, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Kapil Dev, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson. and Bob Willis.
He faced them resolutely and courageously, intent on blunting them so the New Zealand middle-order could prosper.
Team-mates never questioned ‘‘Bootsie’s’’ integrity or ability.
For the best part of a decade, Edgar, a financial services consultant, has lived in Sydney, but he has just moved to Auckland.
While in Australia he was in demand as a batting coach in New South Wales. Clearly he has retained his love of cricket.
New Zealand Cricket is fortunate to have a person of his calibre keen to help.
Yes, he’ll be a good selector, fair and knowledgeable. But he has a lot more to offer than that.
Valuable asset: Bruce Edgar’s involvement will be a boon to New Zealand Cricket.