The news that Geoff Miller has been appointed National Selector is, in truth, pretty underwhelming. Miller and David Graveney, the outgoing Chairman of Selectors, have both had their jobs tinkered with a little, creating the suspicion of the new roles created by the Schofield Report merely being 'jobs for the boys'.
The two part-time selectors, James Whittaker and Ashley Giles, come as something of a surprise. Whittaker has had a distinguished involvement with cricket and may be able to provide a slightly 'fresh' perspective. Giles has been chosen for his proximity to the game, having played his last Test only 13 months ago, which in theory makes good sense. However, there are a few potential problems with his appointment. Will his role as Warwickshire's Director of Cricket create scope for a conflict of interest? And, perhaps more significantly, is he too close to the side? An amiable man who is particularly close to the skipper Michael Vaughan, will Giles have the gumption to advocate the dropping of an Ashes 2005 team-mate?
After the appointments of Mike Gatting and Hugh Morris in other roles created by the Schofield report, England look to have assembled a fairly sound team to help them avert their slump. Graveney did a reasonable job but, after 11 years and with many believing him to be too easily influenced by Ian Botham, the time is right for a change, although the decision to retain him in some capacity smacks of indecision and a lack of ruthlessness. It is also a great shame that, owing to the extra money and comfort provided by jobs in the media, Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain, two strong-willed men who should be at the forefront of England's attempts to close the gap on Australia, are nowhere to be seen. Competing with other countries is hard enough; but competing with Sky is near-impossible.