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Thursday, May 24, 2007

English cricket report advocates more muscular approach

The Independent comments on the Schofield report on English international cricket, and summarises its main recommendations:

* A managing director to be appointed oversee all aspects of England team.

* National selector to replace chairman of selectors, heading panel of coach and director of county cricket at home and coach and captain on tour.

* County cricket director to forge closer links with counties and England team, and report to coach on player performances.

* Coach Peter Moores to retain selection duties but with less power than predecessor Duncan Fletcher.

* Reduction in home Tests from seven to six.

* Reduction in county programme from four competitions to three, scrapping the Pro40 league.

* Contracted England players to be given bigger performance incentives.

Some of the recommendations, such as reducing the number of home tests, are unlikely to be implemented, but IMO this one has considerable merit:

They concluded that the England team management structure should be headed by a full-time professional managing director, ideally with high-level business experience as well as cricket knowledge, to whom selectors and coach would be answerable but who would also be expected to give England a more muscular influence in shaping a currently congested international calendar.

The last four words are code for "the Asian cricket playing countries have too much influence", a sentiment with which I agree. Cricket Australia would do well to think about this, and what Malcolm Conn said in today's Australian:

India is the worst offender, with a board that seems to believe the amount of money generated is somehow more important than success on the field or the long-term well-being of its players....

The ICC's future tours program dictates that each Test country must play every other Test nation at home and away at least once in a six-year cycle, with a minimum two Tests and three one-day matches. Massive television rights for matches involving India in particular have seen broadcasters pay staggering sums to the Indian board and the International Cricket Council.
However, industry experts believe they are unsustainable deals, particularly with Indian government restrictions now severely limiting how much subscription television can charge.

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