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Bob Willis
Cricket Expert & Columnist

Bob Willis sad to see Geoff Miller exit after successful period

Miller: set to leave England post on New Year's Day

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Bob Willis is sad to see the back of Geoff Miller and says he can take much of the credit for England's surge over the last decade.

The 61-year-old has confirmed he is to stand down as Chairman of Selectors and National Selector on January 1 with James Whitaker set to replace him in the role that he has held since David Graveney's departure six years ago.

In that period, England have won three Test series against Australia, climbed to number one in the world Test rankings and claimed the ICC World Twenty20 trophy.

And former Test bowler Willis says much of that success can be attributed to Miller's efforts within the ECB.

"I was surprised and disappointed to hear that Geoff Miller was going as National Selector," said the Sky Sports expert.

"He's done an absolutely fantastic job. He's been on that selection committee for over a decade, first of all under David Graveney and then in his own right as National Selector.

"We've seen England go from rock bottom to top of the tree; three Ashes victories in a row and getting to number one in the Test rankings. That's a testament to all his hard work.

"He's a great guy and did it all with a smile on his face. He was very conscientious and he'll be sorely missed."

Change

Miller's announcement comes at a time of significant change for the ECB after former wicketkeeper Paul Downton was this week confirmed as the new managing director of England Cricket.

Downton to succeed Morris

The 56-year-old has worked for major companies such as HSBC and JP Morgan since retiring from cricket due to a freak eye injury playing in the Sunday League in 1991.

And Willis says his experiences on and off the cricket field make him and ideal successor to Hugh Morris

"Paul Dowton is an excellent choice," he added.

"Paul has got a degree in law and has been in finance since he had to retire from cricket with an eye injury when he was keeping wicket.

"He's kept wicket for England, Kent and Middlesex and just about ticks every box going for that job.

"The man-management skills that he's learned in the real commercial world will stand him in great stead when he takes over from Hugh."