Saturday 21 April 2018 10:51, UK
England batting coach Mark Ramprakash says new national selector Ed Smith will bring a "different flavour" to picking the national team.
Former England batsman Smith, 40, succeeds James Whitaker as part of the England and Wales Cricket Board's bid to bring a "new approach to scouting, assessing and selecting players for the senior men's Test, T20 and one-day sides."
Smith will choose another independent selector to work alongside him in a three-man panel with England coach Trevor Bayliss - and Ramprakash told Sky Sports Cricket it is a good appointment.
"Ed has a good history in the game - he played county cricket with Kent and Middlesex, he's played Test matches and he has followed the game very closely in a media capacity as well," said Ramprakash.
"I think he's got some really good credentials; he knows what international cricket is about, he is familiar with the first-class structure and the players in it and, from a media point of view, he's been detached somewhat so he can give an objective view from the outside.
"He will bring a different flavour to selection, which is what Andrew Strauss has wanted. But, of course, he'll be consulting closely with those people around him."
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Smith, who has a first-class history degree from Cambridge University, has written approvingly of the 'Moneyball' approach to recruitment that has revolutionised the process of talent identification in major North American sports and suggested that selection could be more statistically-driven.
"Stats are important and they can tell trends," said Ramprakash. "When selecting players the ECB has been very keen to make it a robust history of the players, with evidence of why they are selecting.
"Sometimes that's not always easy when you are looking at character but certainly on performances - and on what type of surfaces against what type of attacks - that sort of evidence is very important."
The ECB also plans to bring in a scouting system with "designated discipline-specific scouts" who will provide information to the selection panel.
Former England ODI batsman Michael Lumb says it's an approach that could offer Smith maximum flexibility.
"I agree with the scouts. You can't have three or four selectors at every game so they can spread that and have scouts in different formats. I think they will see more cricket, which is better for the selection of the team."