Cricketfan, great post. I think you have highlighted a very important area.
I disagree somewaht on nitty-gritty specifics. A 5:1 success ratio may be just about accurate, but i think the percentage gets steeper as you go up the pyramid. Ie. success rates between groups/levels might be someting like: 25%->15%->5%
Anyhow, that doesnt take away from the original point.
IanW, the system may be a bit different, but the point is, there are at least 3 levels of qualification. In our system, there is vitually only two. A talent is spotted, he plays in the league for a bit and soon moves into the national team. This is surely a bad system and a recipe for many future dissapointments.