Guest Post – The Hundred – A Case of the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots”

Intro

We are always pleased to welcome new writers to our blog, to widen the perspective on cricket on this site. We do know that we do get more interest when test matches are on. But what we also know is that the county game is the pipeline that needs to flow, and the Hundred has raised lots of ire. Concerns we share.

Steve has put together his piece on the Hundred. A regular contributor to the Incider, a Somerset cricket blog, SomersetNorth (as his nom de guerre on here will be) has kindly provided this guest post on the impact The Hundred might have on non-selected counties. It’s well worth a read. (Pictures and captions are mine, not Steve’s).

Surrey v Glamorgan in the T20 Blast last July. Full house, but not enough for the ECB

 

The Hundred – A Case of the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots”

The debate about the “Hundred” continues to rumble around cricket. Hardly a day seems to go by without either another ECB briefing providing yet more surreal details of their proposed new “Hundred” competition or a respected voice adding to the landslide of criticism descending upon the heads of the ECB’s top brass.

Scyld Berry weighed in on the morning of the first test with his criticism of the Board. Writing in the Daily Telegraph Berry sets out his case that the ECB is failing in its responsibility to govern cricket’s future and is not administering the present terribly well either. It is an excellent piece but fails to examine what I believe is the real issue, the relative impact the new competition will have on the 18 first-class counties and the stark differences between those that will host the new franchises and those that won’t.

The starting point for Berry’s attack on the ECB is the latest news that the board is countenancing moving away from the concept of the over in its new competition. Yet another idea which convinces Berry, and with which many of us agree, that a large part of the cricketing summer will in the very near future be taken up by something that, literally, is not cricket.

Whichever way you look at it the England and Wales Cricket Board is at a moral crossroads. One where there is the very real prospect that the decisions it is currently taking will change the face of county cricket forever and end the existence of a number of county clubs while severely damaging many others.

More weight is added to the ECB incompetence argument by the way they handled the selection of Adil Rashid. Whatever your views on the inclusion of Yorkshire’s leggie no one can be in any doubt that the board did not handle the whole process very well. From appearing to sit on their hands while Rashid was not playing in the Roses match prior to selection, through the apparent disconnect between player, his county club and England, and on to their failure to see the damage the selection would do to an already beleaguered county championship.

Am I alone in considering it very strange that the ECB, who in the not too distant past, were commissioning reports with the aim of making the County Championship the best it could be to ensure a healthy English test side, appear now to be actively undermining and marginalising the premier county competition?

But there is a more fundamental point which needs to be addressed. One which to date seems to have received little attention from either the ECB or the media. The impact the new competition will have on those counties that will not host one of the new franchises.

Some might argue that we already have a distinction between the test and non-test playing grounds and that the new competition is merely an extension of this arrangement. Worryingly that appears not to be the case. The financial arrangements for the distribution of funds from the Hundred will almost certainly not mirror the process for test revenues. A funding stream remember which currently keeps many counties heads above water.

Cards on the table time, I am writing this from my perspective of a lifelong Somerset fan. Someone who is very very worried about the financial implications for his county club of the new competition and funding arrangements.

Somerset is a very well-run club. A county which has, over the past 10 to 15 years created a financially stable model of how county clubs should be run. A model which has allied on-field consistency (although disappointingly little silverware to show for it) with the redevelopment of the County Ground. A redevelopment which has retained the feel of a county cricket ground while modernising the facilities to a level that were unrecognisable at the turn of the century.

This development has been achieved within the existing financial structure of the county game and has been adapted to maximise the benefit from the many changes in the structure of county cricket that we have seen in the last decade. The funding model takes advantage of the excellent support the club boasts and increasingly significant off-field revenue streams to operate independent of any central hand-outs.

Based on what we know at present, the new competition is likely to occupy the mid-summer block currently taken up with the Vitality Blast. Scheduling restrictions will almost certainly mean that the Blast will be in direct competition to the new format. If this is the case the financial implications for Somerset and the other “non-Hundred” counties will be severe.

The ECB has stated that they believe the new competition will be targeted at a new audience and, by extension, will generate new cash for the game. This is I believe nonsense. There may be a short-term bounce in revenues but beyond that it is hard to see how sustainable additional revenues will be generated. More likely the devalued Blast will see falling attendances and revenues.

Some clubs, such as Somerset, with deeply loyal, regionalised, hard-core support may be fortunate in retaining numbers for the T20. But this is very unlikely to be universally true across the have-nots.

The obvious source of financial assistance for these clubs is compensation from the centre. But will those counties that are “lucky” enough to host the new competition be prepared to share their new-found riches with their competitors?

Whitgift School – An annual fixture, perhaps a site once the 100 gets up and running. But at what cost?

Clubs such as Lancashire, Yorkshire and Warwickshire will certainly see the Hundred as a solution to the debt burden they have accrued as they have re-developed their grounds. These clubs probably cannot afford to forgo the riches their new franchises will generate even if, altruistically, they want to.

Not only will the Hundred take out a significant chunk of revenue for ten counties but it will further marginalise the county game and most likely the red-ball game that those ten clubs will still be expected to run.

The championship could conceivably become even more peripheral in its scheduling than it is at present. Which in turn would make it harder for those clubs to retain its hard-core membership.

The ECB seems to be blind to how healthy the county game is at present. While the evidence of attendance levels for county championship games does not necessarily indicate a successful product the county game now operates at an entirely different level, being consumed more away from the grounds than at them. The recent developments of live-streaming and BBC local radio commentaries has seen astonishing levels of engagement with those unable to get to as many games as they would like. I cannot, in my lifetime, think of a county championship that better engages with its supporters than the current iteration. And that is despite, I would argue, the best efforts of the ECB in the opposite direction.

Somerset, for the reasons I have set out above, are probably better able to ride out the financial storm that the new competition will inevitably generate. But other clubs may not be so lucky. Counties such as Derbyshire, Kent, Leicestershire and Northants, all coincidentally close to potential franchises, will almost certainly see a drift away of support. A drift which if it is long-term will be severely damaging. If this is the case the current structure of 18 first-class counties is unlikely to survive.

But for those “non-hundred” counties that are able to keep their financial heads above water the challenge of being competitive on the field will be that much greater. Take the example of Dominic Bess. Let’s imagine this is 2021 and that Somerset’s young off-spinning all-rounder has just made his test debut and that the Hundred is up and running.

Bess is drafted to the Bristol Bashers or the Cardiff Crunchers and heads off there for a six-week contract. From a Somerset point of view, will he be selected at the end of that contract for red-ball games ahead of an alternative who has been playing championship or second eleven red-ball cricket for the county? From the player’s point of view, wouldn’t it be easier to move to the county club that hosts the Hundred for professional and logistical reasons?

It’s not a huge stretch to see that within three or four years of the new competition being set up the “haves”, having attracted and retained the cream of the player pool, will occupy division one of the championship. A have-not county will have to punch significantly above its weight in a big way to compete.

So, it is my contention that the consequences of the ECB’s new love-child will be far more far-reaching than have been debated so far. I don’t have any confidence in the ECB’s working party to come up with any solutions to any of the problems this new competition presents. Despite it being chaired by the chief executive of Leicestershire.

Chesterfield – The County Scene In All It’s Glory

Many of us who support the poor-relation non-test hosting clubs will see this as the ECB seeking a way of achieving what it hoped the two-division county championship has failed to deliver. There is no doubt in my mind that they wish to see the counties on the test circuit playing in division one and the “lesser lights” occupying the bottom tier.

It is a source of great pride to Somerset as a club that we have been the county that has remained in Division One the longest and seen all the test host counties go down in that time.

So, the question has to be, will the counties acquiesce with ECB’s plans or will they rebel?

Could we be on the verge of a Premier League style break-away where the counties decide to take control of the domestic game away from the board? It is not as far-fetched a notion as might appear at first sight. Certainly not if the ECB continues its headlong rush toward a new structure which will drive a massive wedge through the county game without consideration of the cricketing and financial implications for all 18 counties.

It will be interesting to see how the ECB wins the support of the host counties for the new structure as this may determine whether this possibility becomes a probability. If the host counties only benefit financially to the extent of the rent of their grounds (while the financial gains go to the separately owned franchises), they are less likely to be supportive. Alternatively, will the eight host counties be asked to take on the not insignificant risk of the new competition being a financial disaster as franchises?

It serves as evidence of how badly thought out this new competition is that, less than two years before it starts, there is the very real possibility that a significant number of the first-class counties will suffer significant financial damage which may irreparably damage the domestic game. As Mr Berry says the ECB is failing in its responsibility to the domestic game.

Outro

You can follow Steve on twitter @stevetancock62 and read more of his writing at www.SomersetNorth.co.uk .

He’s also a Boston Red Sox fan!

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24 thoughts on “Guest Post – The Hundred – A Case of the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots”

  1. Mark August 5, 2018 / 3:00 pm

    “Alternatively, will the eight host counties be asked to take on the not insignificant risk of the new competition being a financial disaster as franchises?”

    This is a key point. The ECB are setting up a new money making venture that if it works the profits will be creamed off by a small group, but if it goes belly up the whole game will be on the hook for the costs.

    I have long argued it was time for counties to walk away from the ECB and govern themselves in a new structure. The problem of course is that the counties have failed to be able to unite about almost anything. The big Test match venues have been itching for something like this new venture for years. In addition why have all the counties outside of this new competition capitulated so meekly in accepting the scraps in compensation from the ECB to vote it through? It appears many of them have been played like a piano.

    I for one will not attend any of these new format games nor will I watch any of it on TV. I strongly urge other cricket fans to make the same pledge. After all, the ECB keep telling existing cricket fans it’s not for you?. Ok, so you won’t want my money then either?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. stephenfh August 5, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    Sympathise completely; the game does not need speculative excess directed from the top.

    On the effect on the finances of non TMG counties http://www.bythesightscreen.com, under Finances, has some background on Somerset (and others)…..but basically county revenues from the centre changed little for a decade and more with Sky and its millions; this has changed in the last year or two and if, as must be really quite likely, the 100 does variable bounce then how sustainable is what comes after for the county game?

    Like

  3. Riverman21 August 5, 2018 / 4:08 pm

    Welcome Steve. Personally I enjoy reading about county cricket and have a lot of admiration for how Somerset has been run over recent years. They epitomise what the CC structure should be about; bringing on young players to represent England, curating pitches which allow all types of bowlers to be important in winning games and not over reliant on imports. If there was a model of how the CC can benefit England then Somerset tick most of the boxes. Yet for the supporter of 4 day cricket as you will be aware we now have vast swathes of the summer with no red ball cricket. Here at Worcestershire we host just 3 home CC matches in the months of June, July and August whilst 4 day specialists languish in the 2nd XI.

    One issue I would like to pick up on is Finance for the non franchise teams. It is enticing to think the counties could breakaway and yet without ECB money I calculate that Worcester would have made a loss of 2 million last year and Somerset 1.7 million loss. Despite being well run clubs with multiple income sources and creating possible England talent there is no way they can escape the lock and key of the ECB money hence the powerlessness of county chairmen to do anything but voice protest at the damage the new tournament will bring.

    The only hope for sanity may be the failure of such a tournament and to be fair the ECB are doing a grand job on that front. Inventing a format no-one else will play must rank as one of the most asinine decisions ever taken by them. In fact a 10/10 would have made a lot more sense as the next progression.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thebogfather August 5, 2018 / 4:09 pm

    Hi Steve, a warm welcome to you!
    Alongside Annie’s thoughts of how the County season could and maybe should exist, your post is very thought provoking, and perhaps deserves more thought from us than an immediate response.
    Thank you (and Annie) for pointing out some simple realities that the greedy simpletons at the ECB continue to ignore (probably deliberately).

    Like

  5. Rohan August 6, 2018 / 1:27 am

    Better options than the 100, that even an idiot like me can suggest, or have been mooted on here:

    1. 10/10 – 10 overs per team as suggested above
    2. T20 – but better scheduling with all games on a Friday/Saturday or in one big chunk like the IPL (again suggested on here many a time)
    3. 5/5/5/5 – two 5 over innings per team, but teams can be changed for the second innings (say upto 3 substitutes)
    4. 100 – if you really have to have a hundred, do it with ten x 10 ball overs, or 20 x 5 ball overs
    5. 1 hour or 60 minutes – team bats for 1 hour, limitless wickets, so they can just smash away, but no fielding restrictions and minimum 15 overs to be bowled (too much in favour of batsman?)
    6. 12 overs – all 11 players of a team field/can bowl, but only 6 players bat, but you still only have 10 wickets so 4 players can bat twice if need be (number of overs could go up/down depending on length of match desired)

    Just a few off the cuff, any other suggestions? I bet you guys on here can do much better than the ECB……

    Like

  6. LordCanisLupus August 6, 2018 / 10:33 am

    The complacency behind this tweet is staggering.

    Mr ECB comes along to support.

    There is a whole post on this, but let’s round up some of the common misconceptions.

    “BBC used to cut away to horse racing, as did Channel 4”.

    Channel 4 had two digital portals – Channel 4 and Film 4. When the horse racing came on they switched to Film 4. Instead of wondering why C4 went to horse racing, they omitted to say that C4 did keep the cricket on another channel, but many more people watch the horse racing on a Saturday than tests. BBC, of course, gets slaughtered for this, but their coverage pretty much dated digital TV. In the World Cup when there are two games they now use their digital channels for both games, In the Olympics they have the red button. This all predated the switch to Digital and these imbeciles know it.

    “A great documentary that BBC and Channel 4 never did”.

    Because they have a whole bloody channel to fill. And yet, with that whole channel it is endless repeats of the same Masterclass, the same classic matches, the same interviews. Ad infinitum.

    Also, who would that Nasser documentary appeal to. Cricket buffs. I’m sure it would not have the same resonance for newbies as those devoted to the game would experience. So while such stuff is good, that isn’t a game changer in the slightest. People like Newman should be demanding more for their money, not a show that will be showed 50 times before the end of the year.

    “These terrestrial channels don’t care about cricket”.

    The BBC has maintained radio coverage, Of course they bloody care about it, as much as a commercial entity might ever care about cricket. BBC also has a very limited budget, undercut all the time. As does C4. There are more profitable and popular programming options. The BBC has never had a Sport Channel and I bet my life if they did Sky would squeal about unfair competition. I’ve no doubt Sky Cricket producers and content arrangers love the game, but they also carry the biggest wallet.

    Sorry to have plonked this on to Steve’s post but this laziness pisses me off. The game, and sport in general, is stacked in Sky’s favour, which is fair enough as they took the risk to go for sport as a revenue earner. But check out when they lost the rights to the Ashes last winter. The press and the Sky acolytes screamed blue murder. All because they bid far too much for football, and had to cut to the bone. Sky has set up massive barriers to entry, and BT is now talking about cutting back on the sport channels. Sky, I think, has lost La Liga this year. The next threat is Discovery Channel branching out into sport. Sky aren’t some national treasure. Their coverage is decent enough, I don’t think any station keeping Gower on is in a place to say it isn’t complacent, but these journos just don’t want to realise the damage done to the game by sticking it behind a paywall they can easily afford.

    Liked by 3 people

    • LordCanisLupus August 6, 2018 / 10:58 am

      I missed this one. The World Cup football has just finished. Do you see that sort of common camaraderie for any other football event? It’s a fact, hide it behind a paywall and fewer people can see it. The rest is just gossip.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus August 6, 2018 / 11:05 am

        And I missed this too…

        KP was invited to Edgbaston to be introduced to the crowd as part of the best ever Test XI alongside his England enemies. However, KP, who is understood to be at his safari lodge in South Africa, working on his ‘Save the Rhino’ campaign, did not even reply to the ECB invite.

        Pietersen, who is believed to have been paid £10,000 for doing a batting masterclass session for Sky last season, has taken to calling on social media for more cricket coverage on terrestrial TV. Critics say that came after KP failed to secure a permanent role on Sky.

        They can’t help themselves.

        Like

        • Mark August 6, 2018 / 11:18 am

          Yes, and I’m sure Selveys sudden conversion to attacking the BBC has absolutely nothing to do with him being booted off the BBC as a summariser on TMS.

          And as to Newman trying to get down with the kids on their tablets. Please, please stop. Were the kids watching the World Cup live on BBC and ITV or on their tablets? Didn’t the BBC get about 20 million for one match?

          Curling at the winter olympics gets more viewers than cricket now,

          Like

        • Zephirine August 6, 2018 / 11:30 am

          That Charles Sale page is the very definition of mean-spirited, not just KP but Anderson, Root, Warne, everybody gets it. Bitch, bitch, bitch. What a worldview.

          Like

          • LordCanisLupus August 6, 2018 / 11:34 am

            Try these two from Sale…

            Certain title sponsorships are a good fit but new domestic Test backers Specsavers isn’t one of them, especially as it links elite sport with failing eyesight.

            And it’s not as if the ECB are being well remunerated. Specsavers are understood to be paying only £1m for the India series and £2m for the Ashes next summer, while previous sponsors Investec were forking out £5m a year.

            Then this:-

            The turmoil within the ECB has led to false talk inside and outside the organisation that chief executive Tom Harrison will soon be on his way.

            Harrison on Thursday dismissed that speculation as being without any substance whatsoever.

            He negotiated a remarkable £1billion TV rights deal for the ECB before the format for the new Hundred tournament has even been agreed, and he would have media agencies very interested in his services at home and in the States.

            With the Hundred unraveling by the day, it supposedly could have made sense for Harrison to move on before the toxic fallout affects his high standing from the TV deal.

            Like

    • Mark August 6, 2018 / 11:06 am

      Two suppposed cricket journalists eulogise about how great it is the game that they claim to care about is locked exclusively, and completely behind a pay wall away from the majority of the British public.

      Their hatred for free to air sport coexists with their own hypocritical ability to freeload off the same game. How many tickets to test matches do these two clowns pay for? How many tours do they go on where they pay their air fees and hotel expenses?

      Selvey did not travel to Australia this winter, and moaned about how it was the first time for many decades he would be missing out. He could have paid his own way, but chose not to. Others of his profession complained bitterly that they did not have a BT subscription, and so could not watch the Ashes live. The sense of entitlement and hypocrisy is breathtaking. Selvey also was miffed he didn’t get his annual, free front row seat at The Open golf championship the other week. Lashing out at the quality of journalism in sport from ex players. Meow

      Lord knows I complain about England football journalists, and their blatant bias to a certain club, but at least they will criticise the governing body of football from time to time. Cricket is stacked with governing body stenographers. Perhaps it might explain why the game has quite a few problems at the moment.

      Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol August 6, 2018 / 11:08 am

      Twists my melon like nothing else, this – especially the cut to horse-racing thing, as if uninterrupted coverage by itself is worth a marginal cost of £500 per year. They actively choose to be as facile and simplistic as they possibly can, and it suits them to assume that all cricket fans from the FTA era want or wanted exactly the same thing.

      Either that, or they simply never bothered thinking any deeper at any time in the last 12 years, and believe that the most nuanced sport there is deserves no nuance at all when analysing its place in the national conversation.

      Matthew Engel’s single Wisden 2006 editorial still destroys a decade’s worth of the total combined outpourings of Selvey and Newman on this subject.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus August 6, 2018 / 12:21 pm

        Matthew Engel – 2006

        “In the case of English cricket, there is now only one stakeholder worth a light: Sky TV, a company which itself is run by one dominant stakeholder. Luckily for cricket, Rupert Murdoch has other things to consider, and Vic Wakeling, the head of Sky Sports, seems a nice, sensible bloke – which is lucky, because if he wakes up one morning and thinks the leg-bye should be abolished, or the tea interval, he only has to pick up the phone.

        Let’s not go through all this again, because it is really too awful. English cricket will be shown live only on Sky Sports until at least 2010. In January 2006, a committee of MPs gave the England and Wales Cricket Board a tap with the ruler for the decision, taking the view, which I share, that this was a bad decision for which the board is primarily, but not wholly, responsible. However, it is the ECB’s job to protect English cricket’s interests, not the government’s, nor parliament’s, nor any TV company’s. Live cricket has now disappeared from the screens of more than half the homes in the country. The ECB has counted the financial gain from Sky; the damage – just when the game should be poised to reap the full rewards from 2005 – will be incalculable.

        No amount of money for the counties, even in the unlikely event of them using it wisely, can compensate for what has happened. Had the deal applied last year, and the Ashes been shown only on Sky, the great surge of interest would have been a ripple. No serious broadcasting analyst disputes this. Only the main TV channels have the reach that allows these great national obsessions to develop, whether it is sport, a breaking news story, Darren Gough reinventing himself as a ballroom dancer, or faded stars making prats of themselves on Celebrity Big Brother.

        It would help if the ECB admitted the disaster, instead of denying it. But the gung-ho gimme-de-money county chairmen who negotiated the wretched deal were in full cry even as the Ashes was proving them wrong. “People are gibbering on about wanting to retain Test cricket on terrestrial TV, but that will not exist in the digital age… if the BBC competes in 2010 it will be through a digital channel,” said Giles Clarke of Somerset. Mr Clarke is supposed to be a clever man, but he is the gibberer, a condition that seems to have been exacerbated by swallowing some first-year media studies undergraduate’s textbook.

        The word “terrestrial” is irrelevant. But in any conceivable television future, there will still be a vast difference between a free-to-air general channel and a paid-for sports service, which will be watched only by existing fans. It doesn’t matter whether the service is being received by aerial, satellite dish or a cable inserted direct into Mr Clarke’s brain. Live cricket’s presence on a general channel is essential to the game’s wellbeing.

        English cricket now thinks wistfully about the Beeb. It was like the game’s first wife: it was safe and dull and, by the 1990s, its cricket coverage was bordering on frigid. But she would never have sought a divorce had cricket not walked out for the flashy young bird down the road. Channel 4 was the classic second wife: rekindling the fires with sexiness, imagination and fun.

        There was always a commitment problem, though… so cricket is on to its third wife: a marriage it does not want. No. 3 is rich, and, after two divorces, the game needs the cash – allegedly to help bring up the kids. And it is the next generation who, as ever in these situations, will be the losers.”

        Like

          • LordCanisLupus August 6, 2018 / 12:52 pm

            It’s Barney Francis now.

            Again, according to Sale, Botham doesn’t get on with Sky’s cricket man, but does the Head of Sport. Barney Francis.

            Like

          • Mark August 6, 2018 / 3:58 pm

            Has Botham been sacked from Sky? He wasn’t at this test match. I know he is another marmite person, and some on here don’t like him, but I would prefer him to some of the politicaly correct choices they seem to be hiring.

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus August 6, 2018 / 4:01 pm

            There is a rotation because they now have so many commentators, so each one will miss at least one test. Edgbaston was Botham’s turn.

            Like

        • Zephirine August 6, 2018 / 8:21 pm

          Engel says it all.

          Like

    • metatone August 6, 2018 / 3:41 pm

      Well said. My hot take is that Sky coverage really isn’t much better than Channel 4 coverage. New tech has come along (esp. in cameras) and they spend more on rotating the commentary team and background presenters etc. but as a viewing experience, contra many claims from various journos, I don’t think they’ve added much that is fundamental.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. metatone August 6, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    Ok, so as a supporter of an evil Test ground squatting team (Yorkshire) I think the ECB actually deserves more flak than we’re giving them here. Various Test ground teams are in a hole financially, but that’s because the ECB required various ground upgrades on an unsustainable schedule (playing off e.g. Headingley and Old Trafford repeatedly this way) and then, adding an extra injury on top of existing injuries and insults, the bidding process for Internationals basically exists to rip as much money out of the host county as possible.

    I now live in London, so I don’t at some level now care whether Headingley or Old Trafford gets a particular Test match – but the ECB lost the plot, seeing Tests solely as a way to make money – and abrogating the responsibility to show off the game around major population centres…

    I’m starting to believe that the ECB have repeatedly introduced more financial instability into the game than they have ever cured – and the Hundred sits firmly in that tradition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark August 6, 2018 / 3:56 pm

      Yes, very true. In hindsight when the ECB started to play county grounds off against each other the counties should have united as one, and given the middle finger to the ECB.

      Dear ECB, good luck finding a test ground for your six or seven test matches per summer. Yours the counties.

      They should have steadfastly refused to pay out any money on development of their grounds unless the ECB finances it. After all, it was the ECB that wanted the extra seating. Sky gave the ECB a shed load of money for Test cricket so The ECB should have taken the risk.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Miami Dad's 6 August 6, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    Am I wrong in thinking that the ECB head honchos like Graves and before him Clarke were elected from the counties themselves? Or is it a bidding process? How much sway do they have up against 600k/annum Harrison?

    Like

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