The role, which covers many of the duties previously carried out by the former national selector, Ed Smith, will see Wright sharing responsibility for the selection of England’s red- and white-ball teams, alongside the coaches and captains of the respective squads, as well as England Men’s Managing Director Rob Key, Performance Director Mo Bobat and Player ID Lead David Court.
He will also give his input into the selection of England’s Lions and Young Lions squads, and – much like Smith’s former head scout James Taylor – will be responsible for being across all domestic cricket in the summer, including talent identification. His input will be factored into decisions on ECB central contracts, and he will also work with the ECB science and medicine team on player availability and programming.
“It’s a huge honour and privilege to take on this role, one that I am incredibly excited about,” Wright said. “With the Ashes and ICC Men’s 50-over World Cup next year, I can’t wait to get started and try to contribute after what has been a fantastic year for England men’s cricket.”
He played in over 400 matches for Sussex across all formats, and bows out as the highest scorer in T20 Blast history with 5026 runs for Sussex, including the Twenty20 Cup in 2009, and consecutive Pro40 titles in 2008 and 2009.
“A huge thank you to Sussex for the most incredible 19 seasons at the club,” Wright added. “I am very proud of what I achieved individually and as a team during my time. I gave my everything and I hope that showed on the pitch. I will always be a Sussex fan.”
All told, Wright played 101 times for England in white-ball cricket – 50 ODIs and 51 T20Is. He made his debut in England’s maiden World T20 fixture, against Zimbabwe in Cape Town in 2007, and featured in each of the first four such global tournaments, with a highest score of 99 not out against Afghanistan in Colombo in 2012.
His hard-hitting batting and energetic seam bowling could have made him a contender to fill Andrew Flintoff’s shoes as a Test allrounder, but despite a handy record in first-class cricket – 7622 runs at 38.11 and 120 wickets at 40.51, with a career-best 226 not out against Worcestershire in 2015 – his priority was always the white-ball game.
As one of the first county cricketers to commit to the globe-trotting T20 franchise circuit, Wright has played a total of 344 T20 fixtures – the fourth-most among English players – with stints in the Pakistan Super League, Australia’s Big Bash, the Bangladesh Premier League and the Abu Dhabi T20s, among others.
And it is this status as one of the pioneers of England’s new approach to white-ball cricket that has earned Wright the chance to help shape the identity of the future national squads.
His appointment is the latest left-field appointment from Key, whose choice of Brendon McCullum as Test coach – in spite of his lack of explicit red-ball experience – was rewarded with six Test wins out of seven last summer, while Matthew Mott’s recruitment from the Australia Women set-up reaped rich rewards last week with victory in the World T20 final against Pakistan in Melbourne.
“Off the back of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup win and a successful summer for our men’s Test team, I’m delighted that Luke will be joining as England Selector,” Key said. “With his significant experience of playing in England and overseas as well as his in-depth knowledge of county cricket, he will be an important voice in squad selection while also helping to identify the next generation of England stars.
“It’s an exciting time for England men’s cricket, but with the Ashes and the ICC Men’s 50-over World Cup next year there is a lot of hard work ahead if we are to build upon what has been an exciting year.”
Wright has spent the past two winters in New Zealand, coaching Auckland and playing a role in the national squad’s limited-overs set-up, and will finish his time there before starting his selector role at the end of March, in time for the start of the English season.