CRICKET Australia will consult senior players before settling on Pat Howard's successor as manager of team performance - arguably the governing body's most important call as it attempts some urgent remedial work.
Debated has raged over the root cause of the nation's lack of depth and various other problems that India has clinically exposed while marching towards a maiden Test series win in Australia.
The Sheffield Shield's mid-season break for the Big Bash League and other scheduling concerns, an overall decline in the standard of the first-class competition and grade cricket, the selection process, coaching resources, development tours and junior pathways have all proven hot topics.
Those challenges, and various other cultural issues identified by an independent report that prompted Howard's sacking, form part of the high-performance puzzle that Cricket Australia must solve if the Test team is to rise up the rankings.
Belinda Clark is serving as manager of team performance in a caretaker capacity but the former national captain has no desire to take on the full-time job that had been Howard's since its inception in 2011.
Mike Hussey and Simon Katich are among the former players to have been floated as candidates despite expressing no interest, and Ben Oliver (WACA) and Brett Jones (Queensland Cricket) are some of the leading options at state level.
With a World Cup and Ashes defence plus the reintegration of Steve Smith and David Warner looming large, there is no time for CA to muck around.
"We expect by the end of January to be pretty deep in that recruitment process," CA chief executive Kevin Roberts told reporters, having previously indicated cricket experience would be part of the selection criteria.
"We'll be engaging with key people along the way, in terms of state and territory associations.
"I'll be seeking the counsel of some other highly respected people in the playing space as well.
"This role really heads up the high-performance system for Australian cricket so it's really important they work well with state and territory associations."
There has also been conjecture over how much the gig may change - many past and present players feel Howard was given too much power.