How will Ed Smith, England national selector, be remembered? We’ll tell you how Ed Smith, England national selector, will be remembered

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“How can ideas have a positive and elevating effect on a practical sphere?” said Ed Smith when we played a Financial Times video about him from an entirely random starting point just now.

It turned out that, when he said that, Smith was talking about an article he’d read by someone else. Nevertheless, this is what you expect and unfailingly get from Smith: very earnest and verbose talking that conveys a sense that whatever it is he is currently talking about, it is an incredibly important thing and that Smith is the only person who has actually thought about it properly.

Team selection is an area where you can potentially do a lot of harm. There is also a very definite ceiling on the good that you can do, because your efforts are unavoidably limited by the pool of players from which you can choose.

Overall, we don’t believe Smith did enormous harm. Squad selection in all formats has been broadly consistent and it’s worth emphasising the success of the white ball teams.

Set against that, this winter’s squad rotation policy was questionably executed, even it was necessary. The treatment of Moeen Ali was a particular low point with Smith pleading for the all-rounder to renounce his leave at the last minute – a bit of an ask when you were the guy who failed to renew his central contact after he’d been the top wicket-taker in the world over the previous 12 months.

But you’d be doing well to get through three years as national selector without serving up a decent helping of fuck-ups. Overall, Smith has made some good decisions and some bad decisions. What he will almost certainly be remembered for is making all of these decisions in a faintly-annoying self-important way.

13 comments

  1. I will mostly remember him for attempting to bring back circular sunglasses in a way reminding me of Jim Carey appearing as Dr Robotnik in the most recent Sonic film.

    1. Yeah, we were going to go with that for a lead image, but then quite liked the ‘telling-off from an ordinarily benevolent headmaster’ vibe of the one we used.

  2. The Moeen Ali link seems to be bust.

    I note this not because I’m a pedant, but because that’s the defining thing I’ll remember him for. It’s hard to be remembered as a selector for good things unless you have 1990s Australia to pick from, but Moe’s one of my very favourite players and he got messed around no end.

    Oh all right, it’s also because I’m a pedant.

    1. ‘Bust’ is a polite way of saying ‘you’ve put in completely the wrong link’.

  3. I saw Ed Smith in the media centre at Lord’s once. He glided through the place as if surrounded by a funk of his own self-importance. I can confirm he was wearing those funny round glasses. He had a lady with him. He did not, in my presence, eat any of the complimentary lunch.

    Match report ends.

  4. Daisy’s nickname for Ed Smith is Peter Perfect, which is in part born of the characteristics drawn out in KC’s article above, in part born of Ed’s overblown smile, reminiscent of that cartoon character.

    Ed’s young lady, now wife, named Vicky if I recall correctly, is a charming young woman. Daisy says it’s just that I am a sucker for a pretty girl. But then Daisy would say that, wouldn’t she?

    When the Smith couple lived around the corner from me, Vicky frequented Big Al de Large’s food emporium. Big Al de Large was most smitten with young Mrs Smith, I recall him telling me. KC met Big Al on this occasion:

    https://ianlouisharris.com/2016/06/09/england-v-sri-lanka-3rd-test-day-one-lords-9-june-2016/

    Now we learn that Sam has met The Smiths.

    It’s all starting to sound almost as nepotistic as the Government, for goodness sake. Except that no-one in this Government ever seems to get sacked, however much they screw up and however much harm they do.

  5. I generally think he did a reasonable job and his selection of Jos Buttler and then Foakes in my eyes was a good thing.

  6. I feel like some wild speculation today. My guess would be that this is all a precursor to creating two completely separate white ball and red ball teams. Players would be allowed to switch between the two once in a while but only be on one team at a time. This would allow the two teams to manage issues with busy schedules, conflicts with IPL, player rotations etc.

  7. Ed knows what he’s talking about. Have you ever tried to elevate yourself or your friends while on those impractical spheres? It’s a total bitch.

  8. Didn’t we discuss his earnest advertisements for blue shirts a while ago? Seem to recall posting a link.

    1. Vaguely rings a bell, but people’s memories aren’t what they used to be. Always worth discussing things at least twice in our opinion.

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