Melbourne : Former cricketer Ian Bell has flayed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for its policy of having Chris Silverwood as the sole selector, saying that the practice should be discontinued immediately and a panel headed by the chairman of selectors appointed.England’s unusual model, implemented in April to “put clearer lines of accountability” has been criticised by several former cricketers and commentators, and the call to revert back to the old model has become shriller following the Ashes debacle.Australia retained the Ashes by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five Test series, defeating the tourists by nine wickets in the opening Test at Brisbane, followed by a 275-run drubbing in the Adelaide and now an innings and 14 run thrashing in the Boxing Day Test at MCG. The second-innings collapse for 68 in Melbourne was England’s lowest innings score in Australia since 1904.Bell, who played 118 Tests for England with a batting average of almost 43, said that the “single selector” policy was a damp squib.”One of the hardest things, and I was very shocked if I’m honest with you, was when we went away from the chairman of selectors thing,” Bell told Sportsday on sen.com.au.
“Even looking at it from a player’s point of view… you’re not stupid enough to think (Chris Silverwood) is not part of selection, but since he is head selector, how would you have the honest conversations with the head coach and say, ‘I might be struggling a little bit here’, because he is the man who’s making all the decisions.”I think you need a chairman of selectors who sits outside of the dressing room sometimes, who’s not attached to all the players emotionally or what’s going on a daily basis and can actually see things from a different set of eyes, which I think is really important,” opined Bell.Among the selection calls that caught critics off-guard was the omission of pace bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad from the playing XI on a bowler-friendly Gabba pitch in the first Test. Silverwood then dropped fast bowler Mark Wood and spinner Jack Leach on a dry Adelaide track.In a bid to turn things around and avoid a 3-0 verdict, Silverwood effected four changes for the Boxing Day Test, but the team suffered an innings defeat.”When you look at it now, you look at some of the selections we’ve had and decisions we’ve made at the toss, it’s been very internal, there’s not been a lot of advice from those outside who aren’t in those day-to-day training sessions and in the bubble and it all becomes a bit emotional.”They (ECB) need another set of eyes helping them to make these decisions,” said Bell.
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