Controversial Littlejohn out the door at NZC

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 14/07/2013
Kim Littlejohn
DEAN KOZANIC/ Fairfax
TIME'S UP: Kim Littlejohn believed to have ended his tenure as a New Zealand Cricket selector.

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Controversial New Zealand Cricket selector Kim Littlejohn has been shown the door.

Fairfax Media understands Littlejohn's job will be advertised this week and his pending departure will also see two scouting roles re-established later this year.

Littlejohn acted as one of two national selectors in partnership with coach Mike Hesson. His two-year contract expired this month and it appears he has jumped, before being pushed. Fairfax Media understands he will stay on until a replacement is appointed in early September.

The former Australian lawn bowls boss and baseball administrator came on board after compatriot John Buchanan was appointed director of cricket.

While Littlejohn is sound with paperwork, he had no previous cricket experience and his appointment has always been controversial. His unpopular selection policy was based around science and left little room for intuition.

"We've reviewed the role and we're going to advertise," NZC chief executive David White said yesterday.

"I've discussed this with Kim Littlejohn. He has decided he will not be reapplying for the role. I've said to him personally I appreciate the systems and structures he's put in place. Kim is a good guy. He's worked hard in a challenging environment.

"In terms of the new person, we are looking for someone with more cricketing knowledge and experience at first-class and international level; someone with a strong knowledge of the New Zealand cricket environment. He's decided he's not going to reapply for the role."

Littlejohn arrived home from Sydney yesterday saying he disappointed not to have his contract renewed but did not want to comment further.

He later told Fairfax Media in a statement: "I have immensely enjoyed the experience and am pleased with the systems and strategies I have put in place. I believe that they will hold the Black Caps in good stead for the future."

He and Buchanan have worked closely together but White suggested this was an amicable departure that had been signed off by multiple parties.

"John has been consulted and the board has been across it. We'll be advertising the role within the next 10 days."

There has been widespread angst about the Australian influence in NZC and White confirmed he wants the new national selector to be home-grown.

"We'll get the best person but, ideally, the preference would be to have a New Zealander who has an in-depth knowledge of our game," he said.

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Last year former New Zealand internationals Martin Crowe and Glenn Turner were appointed high performance talent scouts. The dual roles involved watching domestic cricket and identifying potential Black Caps, though they didn't last long.

Crowe resigned after the ugly captaincy spat involving Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor. Turner's contract - based in Otago and Southland - finished at the end of the season in April.

"We want to continue with the model of having scouts and having consultation with the major associations. That will be in the structure that we will announce next week," White said.

"We are going to get the selector in place and then we will go through the process of appointing the scouts."

Turner indicated he would only be interested in the national selector role if the position was independent from the coach and captain. He disagreed with the current model, where Hesson has the power of veto. Turner felt that made him effectively the sole selector.

"As far as I'm concerned unless a panel is independent then it wouldn't function in a way that would work," Turner said.

"Everyone should be consulted but the coach and captain should not have, in my view, an official selection role. It's too much of a conflict of interest.

"I'd need to see the fine print before I would commit or sign anything. If you're going to be a selector you want to believe you are a selector. In the past that has not been the case."

- Sunday Star Times

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