Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Alistair Campbell steps down as Zimbabwe's head selector to concentrate on commentary work

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Alistair Campbell resigned as Zimbabwe's head selector on Tuesday to focus more on his work as a commentator, saying there was a conflict of interest in holding both roles.

Zimbabwe Cricket said the former captain had stepped down as a selector immediately but would stay on as chairman of the national body's cricket committee.

Campbell will be replaced by former Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Wayne James, ZC said in a statement. James joins another former international, Kevin Curran, and Givemore Makoni as selectors.

The 39-year-old Campbell, a former Zimbabwe captain, said it had been "the greatest of pleasures" to pick the teams that "spearheaded Zimbabwe's return to test cricket."

Later, he told The Associated Press he felt he couldn't select teams and work for the media at the same time.

"I just thought there was a conflict of interest between commentating and selecting," Campbell said by telephone. "There was quite a lot I had to do, so I didn't have time to watch games as I should.

"I'm not walking away. I'm still very much involved as chairman of the cricket committee, which is the most important position."

Campbell played 60 tests and 188 ODIs, but as chairman of selectors since 2009 he was instrumental in guiding Zimbabwe's return to the five-day format, ending its self-imposed six-year exile.

The Zimbabweans returned with victory in a one-off test against Bangladesh in August but were then whitewashed by Pakistan in all three formats.

Despite the losses to Pakistan, and claims by wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu that players hadn't been paid some match fees, Campbell said Zimbabwe had made major progress since the destructive rift between players and administrators in 2005 that forced the country to withdraw from tests.

"Winning that first match against Bangladesh was special," Campbell said. "We've come a long way. We've started playing decent cricket again. I'm really proud of what I've done. We can only move from strength to strength."

Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Ozias Bvute said: "Alistair has done a wonderful job over the past two years. On occasion I have felt sorry for him on the basis of the many hats he has had to juggle.

"The board are indebted to Alistair for the good work he has done having come in at a difficult time."

Campbell leaves halfway through a home series against New Zealand. AP

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