James Whitaker replaces Geoff Miller as England's chariman of selectors

Geoff Miller (left) was in charge of selection since 2008. Hugh Morris (right) has been replaced by Paul Downton as managing director by ECB © Getty Images

London: Oct 17, 2013

Two former England cricketers were given key posts on Wednesday, with James Whitaker named chairman of selectors and Paul Downton managing director by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Whitaker, who has been a selector since 2008, takes over from current national selector Geoff Miller, who at 61 is a decade older than his successor, after the former Test off-spinner indicated he wanted to step down during the recent Ashes series win.

Miller, in charge since 2008, presided over three succesive Ashes series wins and helped pick the squad that will travel to Australia next week seeking a fourth successive Test campaign triumph against England’s arch-rivals.

Whitaker will take up his new post on January 1, when the Ashes tour of Australia will still be in progress.
Downton, who will start his job on February 1, succeeds fellow former England international Hugh Morris, who has accepted the combined position of chief executive and director of cricket with Glamorgan, the county he served as a player.

Former Leicestershire batsman Whitaker, who played his lone Test against Australia in 1986, said he was proud to have been offered the job. “I am honoured to have been invited to be national selector and greatly look forward to working with the newly appointed managing director of England cricket, my fellow selectors — England team director Andy Flower and one-day coach Ashley Giles — as we seek to build on the recent success of England teams.

“I wish to thank Geoff Miller for his leadership of the Selectors since 2008. Geoff’s contribution cannot be overstated and I hope that I shall prove to be a worthy successor to a man who has brought stability, diligence and great judgement to our selection process in the last five years.”

Miller said that he would be departing with a tinge of sadness. “The last six years have been as enjoyable as any time in my cricketing career and it will be sad to step down after a 14-year period as first an England selector and then the national selector.

“However I feel that this is the perfect time to hand over the reins and I cannot think of anyone more suitable than James Whitaker to assume control of the selection panel,” added Miller, who played 36 Tests for England from 1976-1984.

Downton, commenting on his new job, said: “I am honoured to have been offered this position and the trust which the ECB has placed in me to lead our national teams.

“Since retiring from the game I have taken a close interest in both county and international cricket and I am excited by the challenge of building on the success which England teams have enjoyed at all levels in recent years,” added the 56-year-old, who played in 31 Tests.

Recently retired England captain Andrew Strauss and his predecessor, Nasser Hussain, were both linked with Downton’s post but the duo have opted instead to continue with their lucrative broadcast careers.

Downton’s former county colleague Angus Fraser, the ex-England seamer, decided not to apply and stays on as Middlesex’s cricket chief. Since retiring from cricket, Downton has pursued a business career in the City of London, most recently with investment bankers JP Morgan Cazenove.

“Paul’s record of success both on and off the field made him the outstanding candidate to replace Hugh Morris,” said ECB chief executive David Collier.