John Emburey has been given a clear run to succeed Ray Illingworth as England team manager next summer.
The 42-year-old Middlesex spinner was yesterday confirmed as cricket manager for this winter's A tour of Pakistan.
And, instead of appointing another coach and possible rival to serve as Illingworth's right-hand man in South Africa and through the World Cup, England have gone for John Barclay, an administrative specialist.
Barclay, the 41-year-old former Sussex captain, will be Illingworth's assistant manager this winter, leaving the chairman of selectors to concentrate on playing matters.
Barclay performed the administrative role during last winter's successful A tour of India.
Emburey, recalled to the Test team at Old Trafford against the West Indies, has made no secret of his desire to become a full-time coach after retirement.
Now he is in a prime position to follow Illingworth as England team manager next year, even if yesterday's appointment means Emburey has effectively been discounted as a player for this winter's tours.
Phil Neale, the 41-year-old former Worcestershire captain who Emburey has replaced, said: ''I'm very disappointed because I have enjoyed the last two winters and I don't feel I have done anything wrong.
"I am very happy with my record and I hope it will stand me in good stead. I very much hope I get another chance of contributing at England level as soon as possible.''
England have also decided to take a doctor - yet to be appointed - on both the Test tour and to the World Cup in India and Pakistan early next year. Illness and injury were constant themes of last winter's Ashes trip.
"What happened in Australia did have a bearing on our decision to take a doctor this time," admitted Little. "He will work closely with the physiotherapist Dave Roberts."
Meanwhile, Graham Saville (manager) and David Lloyd (coach) will lead the Under-19 party to Zimbabwe after Christmas.Reuse content