MARK Taylor is keeping an “open mind” about taking on a potential new life next year as an Australian selector.
The pivotal Chairman of Selectors position is yet to be filled, and Taylor, with almost unrivalled credibility in the game, could conceivably shape as a shock heaven-sent answer to Australian cricket’s biggest conundrum.
Taylor’s position as a Cricket Australia board director is up for renewal or replacement in October and his Channel Nine commentating contract expires after next summer — with no guarantee the network will retain the rights — prompting him to seriously contemplate the fact a major career change could be on the cards.
Australia have long struggled to find contemporary cricket minds to serve as their Chairman of Selectors but at 52, Taylor has kept his finger on the pulse since his retirement as a player and his ability as a leader is also beyond question.
Taylor would refuse to combine selecting with international commentating for fear of conflicting interests, and if he decided to remain on the board, that would also rule him out.
However, the highly respected former Test captain has confirmed he is keeping his “eyes wide open” about what his future holds.
“I’d never say never on anything … I wouldn’t rule out me potentially being a selector in the future but up to March next year I’m still commentating for Nine,” said Taylor, who in his role as patron of The Primary Club, helped raise $130,000 on Thursday to assist Australians with disabilities lead a more active and inclusive life.
“As you know the TV rights are up for renewal this year. I don’t really know what I’m doing re television after that, that will depend on TV rights and all sorts of stuff.
“At this stage I’m forging ahead as a board director and a commentator.
“… But that could all change for me in the next 13 months. I could no longer be a director and could not be a cricket commentator by this time next year so if that was to happen, I’m going into it eyes wide open and ready to … make some decisions about where I might want to go.”
If CA went after Taylor it would mean delaying the appointment of a selection chairman and panel for much longer than first thought, but interim boss Trevor Hohns, with all his experience, has shown to be an extremely capable caretaker.
It’s hard to imagine a reason why CA wouldn’t hold out for a man of Taylor’s abilities should his interest in selecting continue to grow.
The past two selection chairmen, John Inverarity and Rod Marsh, served in the position in their late 60s, and whether age is a factor in the job or not, the fact Taylor has been beamed into lounge rooms around the country for the past two decades as a commentator would make him the kind of figurehead CA has been desperately searching for.
The CA board meets on Friday in Melbourne but an announcement on the new direction of the selection panel isn’t expected until after the tour of India, and perhaps as late as June or July.
Taylor says he has no problem with current selector Mark Waugh’s dual role as a commentator on Ten’s Big Bash League coverage, but he says commentating on international cricket would be something he wouldn’t feel comfortable combining with selecting.
Desperate to stay in and around the game, Taylor is not against the idea of a more hands-on role in cricket, even if that means going back on the road as a travelling selector.
“I enjoy being involved in the game. It’s something I’ve done now for 30 years or close to,” he said.
“I enjoy the game. I’ve enjoyed my time and still do as a director of Cricket Australia. A lot has changed over that time in the 12 years I’ve been a director. “
The Primary Club’s eighth annual two-day Marathon Cricket carnival continues at the SCG on Friday, with the Richie Benaud Cup to be contested by eight teams including the Tamil Asylum team, which could include Pakistan great Waqar Younis in its number.
“Raising money for people with disabilities and giving people who would not normally get the opportunity to play some sport, is a terrific thing,” said Taylor.
Mark Taylor is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.