Bruce Edgar’s re­turn over­due

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

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.

Photo: FAIR­FAX NZ

Valu­able as­set: Bruce Edgar’s in­volve­ment will be a boon to New Zealand Cricket.

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