Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears A Crown

The ECB chair, Ian Watmore, resigned today. It was something of a shock, as it was just over a year since he was hired in 2020. He came into the role at one of the worst times imaginable, with the ECB in an unimaginably poor financial position, The Hundred launch, and the continued spectre of COVID. This should have been the time when these pressures were easing on Watmore, but instead things seemed to unravel in quick succession. The shambolic cancellation of England’s tours to Pakistan, a disastrous meeting with county chiefs, and the lethargic response to Yorkshire’s racism report have meant that he had seemingly lost friends and allies in every sector of English cricket. Ultimately, as Michael Atherton puts it, he lost the dressing room and had to go.

Who takes over the position of ECB chair, and how they choose to approach the role, will have a significant effect on English cricket in the next few years and beyond. There are some huge challenges ahead, and here are some thoughts on a few of them:

The Ashes

The ECB are due to announce their decision tomorrow, but it seems increasingly likely that England’s tour of Australia will broadly go ahead as planned. This was expected, if only because of a cynical appraisal of how important Cricket Australia is to the ECB relative to the Pakistan Cricket Board. It’s certainly difficult to understand the logic behind a declaration that a four-day tour of Pakistan would be onerous on the players and staff whilst a three-month tour of Australia (including over a week just in quarantine) is fine.

But there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, and the past year or so should teach us not to take anything for granted. A spike in Australian infections before or during the tour could put the spotlight back on the England team’s continued involvement. I personally have little sympathy with Cricket Australia, who have only played ODIs and T20Is away from home in the last eighteen months and can’t really understand the toll taken on England’s Test cricketers over that time.

I also think that the England team will have a lot less patience with Australia’s typical tactic of ‘mental disintegration’, both on the field and in the media, which is part of almost every antipodean Ashes. Joe Root is no doubt mindful of the huge financial pressure Cricket Australia are under, with up to $200m riding on the series going ahead, and might well consider taking his team home rather than copping a ton of abuse from people he is doing a huge favour for.

All of which is to say that the incoming chair will have an important and difficult task to handle, straight out of the gate (assuming they are appointed this year). Ensuring the series goes ahead as planned, holding Cricket Australia to their promises, and backing the players if they pull the plug on the whole thing. Whoever gets the job will have to hit the ground running, so to speak.

Pakistan/West Indies

One of the things which precipitated Watmore’s resignation appears to be the fallout from the cancellation of England’s tours of Pakistan. It would therefore be a good move from his successor to repair relations between the two countries as quickly as possible. Announcing a new tour, or an extension of the already-scheduled tour in 2022, would be a good way to go about this. The 2022 tour to the West Indies was expanded by three games as a similar show of gratitude for CWI touring England in 2020, and the chair should reiterate the ECB’s commitment to fulfilling their promises at the earliest opportunity.

On a broader level, it would be nice if the ECB spent more time touring the less financially or politically powerful cricketing nations. England last played an away Test against Bangladesh in 2016, Zimbabwe in 1996, and have never done so against Ireland. We love Test cricket in this country, but its continued survival depends on it being financially viable around the world. If we could find a way to visit these countries, even with weakened and rotated teams, it would go a long way to rebuilding relationships with cricketing nations outside the ‘Big 3’.

The Hundred

It seemed like it cast a vast, dark shadow over English cricket in the months and years leading up to its launch, but the end result felt decidedly unimpressive. Neither a triumphant success nor an unmitigated disaster. Just ‘meh’. Which might be considered a victory for its proponents, if not for the colossal price tag. All told, it’s likely that the true cost of that first season (including the development, design, and other costs in the years before) amounts to well over £100m. If I were to ever spend that kind of money on something, I’d expect nothing less than perfection.

The new ECB chair will undoubtedly want to make some changes for The Hundred’s sophomore season. Cutting the costs might be a good place to start. If the ECB could slice £13m from its £63m annual spend on the competition, it would at least break even. Cut a little more and it could actually start making the profit that Tom Harrison and others have already claimed. There’s certainly a lot of extraneous things which could be removed with little obvious impact to ticket sales, such as the musical guests at every game.

There will be those of you who would love to see The Hundred disappear altogether, but I can’t see that happening before 2025 (the beginning of the next TV deal). It’s in the Sky and BBC contracts, and there’s no backing out of that now. Aside from anything else, I really don’t like people or organisations who renege on their agreements. Polishing the turd is likely the order of the day, before it can be flushed away altogether in the next round of broadcast rights.

Sky TV Deal

Speaking of broadcast rights, the preparation for the next auction will likely be beginning soon. For all their faults, Colin Graves and Tom Harrison did oversee the first English cricket being shown on free-to-air TV since 2005 (even if it was just T20Is and The Hundred). The new ECB chair will have the opportunity to surpass that by some margin, if they choose to prioritise the growth of the game over the accumulation of money. In other words: Put live Test cricket back on Channel 4.

It might sound like a great idea to us fans, but it’s worth remembering that the ECB chair is elected by the counties who all rely on the cash they receive from the central TV contracts. A debt-ridden club, of which there are a few, might well prioritise getting an extra £2m every year over the exposure that Freeview provides. If the chair can’t persuade the counties to accept a bit less money, their tenure in the job could be as short as Ian Watmore’s.

The decision may not be as clear cut as this. BT has seemingly losing interest in their sports division whilst streaming giants like Amazon have launched their own coverage for events like the US Open in tennis. It’s a different world, which could lead to the value of English cricket’s coverage climbing or plummeting. Given this uncertainty, the ECB chair’s responsibility of ensuring maximum exposure for the game whilst keeping it solvent is not one I envy.

Yorkshire

It’s been three years since Azeem Rafiq first made his complaints known to several people at Yorkshire CCC, thirteen months since the county finally launched an investigation into the matter, and almost two months since they received the finished report. In all that time, the ECB have done nothing. It stinks, especially when you compare it to the high-profile and instant reaction to Ollie Robinson’s old tweets earlier this year. It would be nice to think that the new ECB chair could finally get things moving, although the cynical side of me has its doubts.

To become chair of the ECB, you have to be voted in by a majority of forty county representatives (both the major and minor counties). That includes Yorkshire, as well as any other counties who have their own skeletons in the closet. Quite simply: It would be difficult to see someone getting the job if they were committed to investigating and punishing racism at the counties. This is a short-sighted approach, as allowing the issue to continue unabated will only cause more problems for the clubs later on, but none of the county chairs seem particularly inclined to see it from this viewpoint.

County Cricket

The meeting which reportedly brought Ian Watmore’s tenure as ECB chair to an end was in large part about the future shape of English domestic cricket. There is also considerable tension between the counties which host The Hundred teams and those who don’t. With four domestic competitions and a packed international calendar, it will be no easy feat for his successor to keep everyone happy. In fact, it may well be impossible.

Given that the counties elect the ECB chair, whoever gets the job will have to be persuasive in getting everyone to compromise. It’s something of a tightrope, balancing the interests of all 18 counties, and I don’t have much hope for the outcome being particularly welcomed by county cricket fans.

Women’s Cricket

If the Hundred had one almost undeniable success, it was in the performance and popularity of the women’s competition. It had attendance and viewing figures not far removed from that of the men’s games, which begs the question: What next?

One obvious issue which could be quickly addressed is that of pay: The women were paid less than a sixth of what the men received on average. There is certainly a case for that imbalance to be at least partly remedied. The new chair might also see an opportunity to increase the value to the ECB of these likeable and talented cricketers by encouraging Sky to broadcast women’s domestic games outside of The Hundred.

On a personal note, I would also love to see women’s Test cricket on a regular basis. It baffles me that the women’s team play almost no matches in the format which is by far the most popular and profitable for their male counterparts. If the ECB could see their way to persuading every touring team to play at least one Test, I think it would go a long way towards ‘traditional’ (ie old) cricket fans fully embracing women’s cricket.

Participation

As people often seem to forget, the ECB is responsible for amateur cricket in England and Wales as well as the professional game. Cricket clubs seem to get very little support from their governing body, and are rarely listened to. Volunteers are taken for granted, monolithic schemes such as All Stars or Dynamos are thrust upon clubs, and hours of bureaucratic admin and tech support are inflicted on club secretaries through ClubSpark and PlayCricket.

It would be incredible if the new ECB chair could do something about this. There are two key themes which I think need to be addressed: Simplicity and flexibility. The first is easy: Running a local cricket club should not have to be a full-time (unpaid) job. It should not require expertise in computers, social media and finances as well as (you would hope) some knowledge of cricket. It shouldn’t take months to adapt to the software you use for scoring. These are all long-standing issues which the ECB never seem inclined to tackle.

The second fundamental change I would love to see from the ECB is to recognise the enormous diversity of clubs in English cricket. Some have hundreds of members, some barely have eleven. Some have pavillions, and some don’t. Some are in affluent areas, and some aren’t. Some teams are focused on winning at all costs, some are more social clubs. Whenever a new scheme is released by the ECB, it always seems like it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Thats fine if your club fits (like, I would guess, most ECB Premier League teams), but it leaves a lot more on the outside looking in. A more flexible, attentive attitude towards club cricket could really help boost participation (or at least slow its decline) across the country.

Restructuring

As I have said several times now through this post, the ECB chair is elected essentially by the counties. This means that the counties’ needs (mostly money) are prioritised over the interests of every other ‘stakeholder’ in English cricket; The players, proponents of the women’s game, people involved in local clubs, and of course the fans. This is just the fundamental structure of the ECB.

In order to break the cycle of counties pressuring the ECB to maximise revenues to prop up their own mismanaged clubs at the expense of every other aspect of the sport, the long term solution is to introduce representatives of everyone the ECB holds sway over as members and decisionmakers of equal importance to the counties. Organisations such as the Professional Cricketers Association, the Cricket Supporters’ Association and the assorted club cricket organisations absolutely deserve to have some say over who makes decisions on their behalf.

It would undoubtedly be a hard sell to persuade the counties to cede some of their power, but it’s difficult to see the ECB becoming a functioning governing body whilst the people running it are beholden to just one interest group.

Conclusion

The more I wrote of this post, the more I felt sorry for Ian Watmore. It’s clear that it’s a virtually impossible job, which explains why no one seems to have particularly fond memories of any ECB (or TCCB) chairman in the history of the sport.

There is, of course, one outstanding candidate: George Dobell. Well liked by many involved in running county cricket, a founder of the Cricket Supporters’ Association and a known proponent for reforming the game. He’s also currently between jobs and presumably available to take over at short notice. If there is one person who can address all of the points in this post, and basically save English cricket, it’s George Dobell.

Otherwise, we’re screwed.

If you want to comment on this post, or any of the dozens of things happening in cricket right now, please write your comments below.

55 thoughts on “Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears A Crown

  1. Marek Oct 7, 2021 / 10:49 pm

    Re Pakistan: one interim solution (I can’t see the test or ODI teams going there till 2023, for lack of time) which would actually bring considerable benefit to English cricket, would be to offer to take the Lions there in the new year.

    Re Yorkshire: I wonder if we may be in for some fireworks shortly. If reports I’ve read are correct, Yorks have until tomorrow to relase the report (unredacted) to Rafiq, under an order in his employment tribunal case. I suspect it would not stay under wraps for very long–and, reading between the lines of Rafiq’s tweets, the reported evidence and Dobell’s various articles, I suspect that it could put a pride of lions among the pigeons at Yorks…and at least a cat at ECB central too.

    Btw, I do like your Dobell suggestion. I take it you’ve heard this recent conversation with him, but I very much liked it: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5idXp6c3Byb3V0LmNvbS85ODg1NTgucnNz

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    • dannycricket Oct 7, 2021 / 11:01 pm

      Yep, in fact it’s in that podcast that he said that Yorkshire CCC have to release the report to Rafiq by tomorrow (Friday). He also described being essentially forced into becoming chair of the Cricket Writer’s Club, so I’m pretty confident we can do the same with the ECB whether he wants the job or not.

      Regarding the report, I’d be tempted to hold onto the it for now if I was Rafiq. The ECB has leaked that it would consider punishing Yorkshire CCC for not showing them the unredacted report. If Rafiq gave it to them, or shared the report publicly, then that lets both Yorkshire CCC and the ECB off the hook. Why not keep it to himself, whilst still critiquing it, and keep the pressure on the ECB and Yorkshire to act?

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    • dArthez Oct 9, 2021 / 7:28 am

      Why would Pakistan accept an additional Lions Tour? Would the ECB be happy if for the next tour of England Pakistan send their U13 team?

      As for the Yorkshire case, let’s see how much teeth the employment tribunal actually has. For Rafiq (if he actually gets the report). The smart thing is to keep the report under wraps. Releasing it would possibly not be looked too kindly upon by the tribunal / for his case.

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      • dArthez Oct 9, 2021 / 2:17 pm

        My point with regards to the U-13 team: what would the value of the rights be? How often does Sky for instance broadcast the Lions games? So sending the Lions is a method of repaying them by offering something next to useless. Yeah PCB would not accept that – and why would they?

        Realistic as the IPL-excuse may be, was it not many an English person blaming the IPL for India not bothering with the 5th Test? Again, that might be truthful, but then those people also should drop their holy than thou attitude.

        Also, the IPL had been rescheduled quite some time before then. If that was not acceptable for whatever reason, there had been plenty of time to actually cancel the Pakistan series, in a far more constructive manner than what actually transpired – but I suppose doing so would have threatened the bonuses for some suits.

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        • dArthez Oct 10, 2021 / 8:17 am

          Costs were made by the PCB. None of that will be refunded. A Lions tour will mean additional costs to the PCB (as hosts), and no hard cash to show for it – because the rights are useless. So it is not only income not made, but also the associated costs for the aborted tour, plus whatever the Lions get to play.

          As for the scheduling excuse – the ECB did not have to agree to it when it did, did they? But that does not mean such games are without financial value to the host board. Also, there is an issue of reputational damage to Pakistan as a whole as a result of this fracas. And well the costs of that may well be beyond the ECB – and they’re just looking for ways to avoid taking responsibility for that.

          If the ECB are that interested in making up for it, wire a few million to the PCB for costs made, plus a penalty fee. And then play the additional games; that is stop looking for ways to take advantage of (deliberately?) screwing up. Honestly, it appears racism is completely acceptable to the ECB, thus I cannot even rule out the deliberate part in the previous sentence.

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      • Marek Oct 9, 2021 / 9:56 pm

        I think you’re misunderstanding the point I’m making.

        I’m not suggesting that a Lions tour would be a substitute for the T20s–that’s why I was talking about it as an interim solution and why I stressed in my later post that the T20s should be added onto the tour next winter. So they wouldn’t be repayment for anything in a financial sense (I’m not sure what the implications about TV rights are with the games anyway, given that they wouldn’t have been in the PCB’s original rights package for 2021).

        But it might be a way for the ECB to try and re-establish some goodwill–amongst other things by providing some concrete action to support their words when they said that the matches hadn’t been called off for security reasons.

        Regarding the holier than thou attitiude, the ECB and the players also seem to have forgotten that Australia were also one of the teams that came to the UK at considerable risk and more than usual hassle to save the summer of 2020 for them.

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    • Marek Oct 9, 2021 / 12:16 pm

      I don’t understand the point about the U13s–there’s obviously a world of difference between sending the A team of a mid-ranking side and a bunch of pubescent kids!–but the short answer is that Pakistan might well not accept, and might not even accept the full side next winter.

      But from the ECB’s point of view it might be important to offer, just to start to try and rectify a situation of mistrust that was very largely caused by the attitude of either the ECB, England players or both.

      And yes, the two extra T20Is that the full team were going to play (which were not in the FTP, so it wouldn’t be like substituting an A tour for a full FTP tour, although that’s been done in the past–hello Australia) should absolutely be included in next winter’s tour. I just don’t think it’s realistic to be playing them this winter, given that the schedule is already packed to the point of mental health withdrawals, player retirements and diplomatic issues (see this weeks’s suggestion that England could be playing two matches on the same day in the same country, quite possibly for the first time ever, next summer).

      And realistically, given the nature of the UAE’s quarantine regulations, it was probably doomed from at least the point at which the Bangladesh tour was postponed if not from the point when the IPL was rescheduled to early October.

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  2. Marek Oct 9, 2021 / 10:14 pm

    Random statistics of the day: if England were to select their Ashes team purely by taking the seven batters who have the highest averages since the winter of 2017-8 and who haven’t retired since, their second opener would be…Joe Denly.

    And apart from Root, the highest-averaging batter at no’s 5-7 since the summer of 2012 is…Chris Woakes (his strike rate is also more than 10% higher than anyone else’s there).

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    • dArthez Oct 10, 2021 / 8:04 am

      What would the bowling attack look like? (with a reasonable qualification mark for number of wickets taken in the FC season).

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    • Marek Oct 10, 2021 / 1:02 pm

      Using the metric I used above (best test average since the winter of 2018-9, min 5 wickets, assuming that one of them is a spinner), it would be Robinson, Woakes, Anderson, Broad and Leach. If they were available, Stone would get in above Broad and Ali over Leach.

      Incidentally, the other top seven batters by that metric would be Burns, Root, Pope, Stokes (if he’s available for any of the series), Buttler and Foakes. If Stokes isn’t available then Denly would be the no.3 not the opener, and the second opener would be Sibley.

      Using the metric that I think that you’re talking about, based on the 2021 Championship season, the bowlers would be (min 10 wickets, again assuming one spinner) Anderson, Cook, Fletcher, Craig Overton and Matt Parkinson (Broad instead of Anderson if you raise the bar to 20 wickets).

      The batters (min 250 runs) would be Libby, Bohannon, Lawrence, Pope, Chris Cooke (assuming he qualifies for England), Ben Brown and Barnard (van Buuren instead of Barnard if he’s got his citizenship sorted out). If neither Cooke nor van Buuren qualifies, then Carlson gets in. The highest averaging other opener is Jennings.

      If you just go on wickets and runs in the Championship then the bowlers would be Fletcher, Rushworth, Cook, Bamber and Callum Parkinson, and the batters Haines, Libby, Robson, Carlson, Lewis Hill, Crichley and Ben Brown.

      (Yes I know that gives you a squad of twelve not an XI!)

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  3. Miami Dad's Six Oct 11, 2021 / 1:46 pm

    No shocks in the Test squad.

    No shocks in the administrative mess at the ECB.

    My XI to open at the Gabba:

    Burns
    Hameed
    Malan
    Root
    Lawrence
    Pope
    Buttler
    Woakes
    Overton
    Robinson
    Leach

    God it looks crap minus Archer and Stokes – even with them the batting would be frighteningly weak. My instinct is that the Australia side might not be great either though, so picking a tail that reduces the chance of Root being stranded on 80* might see us sneak a win somewhere. Jimmy is unlucky but averages over 35 in Australia, Broad 37. You’d probably chuck Jimmy in for the day-nighter at Adelaide, maybe for Melbourne too.

    I actually like the Ashes Down Under, in a morbid kind of way.

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    • dannycricket Oct 11, 2021 / 6:08 pm

      This is my XI:
      Leach
      Burns
      Hameed
      Crawley
      Root
      Bairstow
      Malan
      Lawrence
      Pope
      Buttler
      Woakes

      Bat for three days on a flat road, then bowl the tired Aussies out with Woakes and a varied spin attack.

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    • Marek Oct 11, 2021 / 9:06 pm

      Pointing out for a friend that if you take away each of their highest scores, Dom Bess has a higher test batting average than Zak Crawley…and he’s got almost 200 more f-c wickets.

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  4. Marek Oct 12, 2021 / 2:17 pm

    Well, without wishing to outdo the good journalism of the paper which gave half of the purported Lions squad (pauses to throw up hands in despair if they really are thinking of picking an uncapped 30-year-old fast-medium bowler)–here’s another XII, of LIons to accompany the main sqaud and play in the warm-up games:

    Robson, Sibley, Haines, Yates, Bohannon, Jamie Smth, Foakes, Higgins, Matt Parkinson, Mahmood, Carse, Cook.

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  5. Miami Dad's Six Oct 26, 2021 / 3:25 pm

    ALL HAIL BEN STOKES OUR SAVIOUR!

    I mean, picking players struggling with their mental health for a tour of Australia has always worked out excellently, hasn’t it?

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    • dArthez Oct 28, 2021 / 11:51 am

      To be fair, mental disintegration worked wonders on Vaughan.

      Last went on tour to Australia 2002/03, and but few people will say that there is no evidence of mental disintegration. Strangely enough it started roughly 10 years since that tour, but still …

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  6. Miami Dad's Six Oct 28, 2021 / 3:09 pm

    “Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire will not take disciplinary action over allegations of racism by former player”.

    Quelle surprise, Rodders.

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    • dArthez Oct 28, 2021 / 3:49 pm

      Can the ECB be forced to liquidate itself for bringing the game in disrepute for its awful handling of the case? The only thing missing is a press conference from YCCC in BUF-uniforms. Outdated? Yes. But so is the handling of the case, which reeks more of 18th century standards than anything remotely modern.

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    • Marek Oct 28, 2021 / 9:52 pm

      I’m not sure I quite see the point in relation to the ECB in this particular case–they are after all launching disciplinary proceedings against Yorkshire for bringing the game into disrepute and they’re launching their own investigation into the case, implicitly because they don’t trust the conclusions Yorkshire have come to.

      But I hope they don’t cling too much to superficial notions of politeness! After all, two things they could do now they have a copy of the report are send an unredacted copy of it (if that’s what they have!) it to Rafiq, which I suspect would put the cat among the pigeons by itself; and run it by their own lawyers and then publish it themselves.

      For the rest–moves like suspending Headingley as an international ground, suspending Yorks as a f-c county or ordering them to remove certain postholders–we’ll probably have to wait for a verdict that they’ve brought the game into disrepute!

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      • dArthez Oct 29, 2021 / 3:44 am

        A quick investigation was promised. Fair enough, and I don’t mind the ECB waiting for a bit. But fifteen months in something that was supposed to last a few weeks, is not a quick investigation. They’re only stepping in after 15 months or so. Before then, it was basically more or less a polite notice here or there. When pretty much everything that could have happened to obstruct the investigations or delay them by YCCC, has happened. The ECB has proven toothless up to now, and that too in effect has brought the game in disrepute.

        Swifter action was required. Several breaches of agreement, such as timely releases and or updates seem to have occurred. This, in a summer which saw Robinson suspended for a bit for bad jokes on Twitter he made 10 years ago (there is obviously a racism angle, but then again he was not on a cricket field or contracted by the ECB, and I somehow doubt that people he was engaging with have all been heard either – context matters). I am not sure how much was spent on the anti-racism campaign, but effectively YCCC has rendered that a completely fruitless expenditure, with its active attempts to undermine it with its sheer inaction and obfuscation.

        You can’t have a national board doing the square root of nothing, as the offending club tries to ride out the storm. Lots of inaction is also an action. Considering how quick they moved on the Robinson case, they could and should have moved far more forcefully on YCCC.

        If racially abusing a player is enough to be considered as “bringing the game in disrepute” (and obviously it is), then structurally racially abusing a player or a group of players, and then seemingly deliberately stopping short of offering any remedy to those affected, is in effect celebrating racial privilege by a bunch of white dudes. For that, one hardly even needs much of a report. I don’t see how structurally trying to deny Rafiq justice can escape harsher censure – YCCC are basically saying: “Yes we abused Rafiq racially. Yes we tried to ignore it. Yes, we tried to do as much as we could to obfuscate and avoid the spotlight on this. But no one will be held responsible, because that is justice.” This is before we even get to the actual abuse Rafiq and others have suffered at the hands of YCCC in the charges brought by Rafiq against YCCC.

        Obviously, I can’t vouch for the quality of the report either. For that it probably has to get in the public domain, so that it can stand the test of scrutiny. Have witnesses been heard? Are they fairly represented in the report? Was there a reasonable standard of evidence required, before a complaint was upheld? Were complaints not upheld on lack of evidence, lack of trying to get evidence, or because YCCC had basically done nothing on a matter for a decade, so that the evidence had become of a “he said / she said”-nature (which may well be the case in some of the charges), and thus charges had been rendered unprovable due to lack of paper trail, due to systemic racism in the structures of YCCC; an issue that is replicated in ‘justice systems’ worldwide (or at least that is the impression I am getting here).

        Was there sufficient independence by the consulting firm (appointed by YCCC), or were they effectively trying to cover up as much as possible as a favour to personal friend(s)? My biggest fear would be that the report is trying to cover up as much as possible, and thus rendering it qualitatively useless for the grievances brought by Rafiq, which would effectively require a new investigation, due to lacking independence from the consulting firm.

        Liked by 1 person

        • dArthez Oct 29, 2021 / 5:42 am

          And I hate to say it, but from the upheld charges that have been admitted to by YCCC, the impression is that the only charges that were upheld have paper trails (ie. catering contracts for the halal food for instance). Thus that this report is probably nothing short of an attempted whitewash by YCCC.

          I’d say relegation to minor county status would be too good for YCCC.

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          • dArthez Oct 29, 2021 / 3:05 pm

            Contracts for food are probably stored in archives. So, relatively straightforward to prove. Even if Yokel County Cricket Club set fire to their offices, if the contractor is not out of business, chances are the contractor still has the details. Hell, even a player can have taken a photo of one of the hundreds of menus on offer, have them stored somewhere. So risky to deny. Probably safer to admit.

            Coach using racist language? Probably reported in a newspaper. So hard to argue against that.

            Yokel County Cricket Club doing no investigation in 2018? That is the source of the current saga, so very obvious that that has to be admitted to.

            And I can easily fill in the other upheld charges. You get my point here. These charges are easy to prove, and have lots of witnesses outside of immediate control of Yokel County Cricket Club.

            Also, if there was no substance to Rafiq’s claims, it would not have taken 15 months to produce anything. It appears that Rafiq himself was not even asked to give testimony. This report appears to be as credible as North Korea’s official statements on the well-being of their citizens.

            If I was a UK citizen, I’d demand from my MP to get a hand on a copy of the report. And if the report is as bad as it is, forward it whatever authority is in place to have the legal consultancy firm investigated for extremely pathetic work (and thus forced out of business).

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        • Marek Oct 29, 2021 / 8:51 am

          I’d be surprsed if there was a “paper trail” for any of it, including the details of the catering: I don’t think that’s how everyday racism (especially structural everyday racism, which is often not consciously intended) works!

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          • dArthez Oct 29, 2021 / 3:07 pm

            For most of the other charges there will not be a paper trail. But if you then refuse to interview witnesses, you have not disproven anything. You have just been on a 15-month whitewashing operation. Well done to the sods in the consulting firm. Hope they all get disbarred from practicing ever again.

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    • dArthez Nov 1, 2021 / 8:15 am

      Copied from Cricinfo, with a few select comments between brackets from me.

      At least one Yorkshire player admitted to regularly using the term ‘P**i’ when talking to Azeem Rafiq, according to the report into racism at the club. But he was cleared of wrongdoing on the basis that it was perceived as, what the report says was, friendly, good-natured “banter” between the two players.

      The player also admitted to telling other people “don’t talk to him [Rafiq], he’s a P**i”, asking “is that your uncle?” when they saw bearded Asian men and saying “does your dad own those?” in reference to corner shops.

      [So I suppose if I call the top brass in YCCC a oversized misshaped c*m stains who are an affront to the human race, I can get away with the banter defence as well. Right?]

      Despite admitting recalling that Rafiq broke down in tears at one point, the player insisted he had no idea he was causing offence and would have stopped if Rafiq had asked.

      [Probably time for Yorkshire to claim some government benefits, for having employed a professional retard. If I offended retards with my comments, I do apologise for comparing you to that utter waste of oxygen that is on the payroll of YCCC. Again, if anyone at YCCC takes offense, I’ll call it banter.]

      The individual concerned, who ESPNcricinfo have chosen not to name, is a current senior player at the club.

      While the investigating team (the lawyers who were charged with gathering evidence for the report) found such comments to be “capable of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment…” and accepted Rafiq’s “evidence that he was offended, degraded or humiliated and that this amounted to harassment under the Equality Act and the Club’s Equal Opportunities policy”, the panel (who were charged with making conclusions and recommendations and which included a non-executive member of the Yorkshire board) disagreed.

      [So the panel also consisted of oversized misshaped c*m stains who are affronts to the the human race.]

      Their conclusions state “The Panel does not accept that Azeem was offended by [the other player’s] comments, either at the time they were made or subsequently.”

      [No, because clearly even interviewing him would have been too much of a hassle for us, so let us professional c*m stains decide for him whether or not he was offended, because that is White people’s prerogative: to decide for others how they feel.]

      They go on to say that, in the context of “banter between friends” Rafiq might be “expected to take such comments in the spirit in which they were intended (i.e. good natured banter between friends)… [so] it was not reasonable for Azeem to have been offended by [the other player] directing equally offensive or derogatory comments back at him in the same spirit of friendly banter.”

      [So come on professional cum stains, s*e me. This is after all merely banter. I get to decide whether or not you are offended by being called so, after all].

      Indeed, the panel accuses Rafiq of using “offensive, racially derogatory comments” when referring to a player of Zimbabwean heritage as “Zimbo from Zimbabwe”. The panel viewed this as “a racist, derogatory term” and recommends that, were Rafiq still a Yorkshire player, he should face disciplinary action for using it.

      [Zimbo is not racially offensive. The surprising bit in this paragraph is that the professional cum stains refer to Zimbabwe, rather than to Rhodesia.]

      The revelation, which comes days after Yorkshire announced that none of their players, coaches or executives would face disciplinary action as a result of the investigation, may increase doubts over the process and the report that has produced. In particular, equating the terms ‘P**i’, which is a long-established derogatory term with a history of racist usage, and ‘Zimbo’, which is generally held to be an abbreviation akin to Aussie or Kiwi without pejorative association, is likely to raise eyebrows.

      [Don’t bet on it. A dead sea slug probably has more emotional intelligence than anyone involved in whitewashing YCCC dealings and shenanigans; they will be surprised by the backlash they will be facing, because clearly these colonials should just shut their traps].

      Like

      • Marek Nov 1, 2021 / 12:27 pm

        Strap yourselves in, I suspect that this will be the first in a series from Dobell if Yorks continue to do nothing!

        As someone on another thread posted simply, wow. More than bigoted (I’ll get to that–that seems to be a more complicated question than you’re giving it credit for, d’A), this strikes me as astoundingly incompetent in its blindness. That starts with the point that, however it started out, something that reduces one participant to tears is clearly no longer banter if it ever was..

        As an aside, I kinow you’re trying to be satirical, but a lot of your insults in response to it just come across as rather childish to me: I’m not sure descending to the level of Rafiq’s “banterer” really helps.

        It also means you’ve missed some points of fact in your haste to respond in kind: it’s at the very least not as simple as “White people’s prerogative” to decide whether non-white people are offended given that three of the five-person panel are themselves not white (and two of them appear to be of Muslim heritage). It’s also not as simple as “colonials shutt[ing] their traps” given that the “banterer” is also a “colonial”–in fact much more literally so than Rafiq!

        Although scarecly believable in some ways, I also found it fascinating as a window into the process of what’s been going on. Essentially the panel (only one of whom appears to be a lawyer), have contradicted the findings of the team of lawyers set up to investigate this, who found clearly both that Rafiq had (as a matter of fact) been offended and that the “banter” contravened both national race discrimination legislation and Yorks’ own equal opportunities policy.

        It’s also fascinating to me in terms of Yorkshire’s response. Does it mean that the panel were picked intentionally as a group of people to whitewash the whole affair, knowing that they had the wonderful dual qualities of being a panel of different ethnic heritages but who were unlikely to be sympathetic to Rafiq? Or did Yorks feel they were stuck between a rock and a hard place because if they upheld the findings of the investigating lawyers over the heads of the panel that they had themselves appointed to make final findings, they would have been doing exactly what many have accused them of–namely being white people deciding what constiututes racial abuse when an Asian-majority panel had decided it wasn’t? (Not to mention what the “senior player”‘s lawyers would have made of that….!)

        But it makes it even more of a mess than it already was, especially since the player concerned is clearly one of Yorkshire’s current format captains. I wonder if that’s at least partly why Yorks have responded so insensitively and so stupidly–that they’re afraid that they’d have to clear out half their staff if they really came clean, and that they might spend the next five years in employment tribunals if they did.

        At the least, there are two other key cricket-related people who have been personally named by Rafiq as being implicated. It’s also difficult for me to see how Gale’s position is tenable even if he isn’t directly implicated (and Dobell seemed to suggest at one point that he isn’t), given that he was either captain or coach during almost the whole of Rafiq’s career. (If the rather vague insinuations in Dobell’s reports are correct, Yorks aren’t the only ones either: they seem to point to a man in a key England coaching role who was appojnted after Rafiq’s allegations had been made public)

        Yorks really need to grow a spine and do something–and tell us all what they’re doing. The ECB have an easy starting point into their dealings with the case now–they can simply open a disciplinary case against the player concerned on the basis of this account..

        Like

      • dArthez Nov 1, 2021 / 1:28 pm

        Of course I am blinded by anger. Because there is no way that anyone with a modicum of emotional intelligence could have signed off on this. It takes breath-taking arrogance and stupidity to do so.

        I am not trying to be satirical. If such outrageously stupid defences are even remotely viable, the UK should scrap libel and defamation laws – let alone your anti-discrimination legislation (whether on religious, gender, ableist, or ageist grounds).

        I would not even rule out that some members of the panel were (deliberately) side-lined or just token appointments (having lived in South Africa, and following cricket from there, that is sadly not an unusual process). If not, the members of the panel have basically ruined their reputation on this.

        If Yorkshire were interested in damage limitation, they should have upheld at least some of the provable charges, especially when already supported by the allegedly independent investigation. Now they have wasted money on an investigation, and in their clumsy attempts to deny any accountability whatsoever, will basically force much harsher sanctions. If not from the ECB, then from the general public.

        Like

        • Miami Dad's Six Nov 1, 2021 / 3:41 pm

          Crikey, it is a real mess – and sadly very predictable.

          Over to you, ECB. I said at the time of the Robinson suspension that it was the ECB seeing an opportunity to loudly and proudly show how anti-racist they are, without actually doing anything about actual racism.

          It’s a bit like the FA being super keen on getting players to wear “Kick it out” t-shirts once a season but not seeing an issue with there being practically zero black managers or coaches in the football league, or not caring that there aren’t any English/asian players in spite of it being such a large ethnic diaspora in the country.

          Like

        • Rob Nov 1, 2021 / 3:48 pm

          There is the possibility that some people on the panel might not have even read the report – even now – if experience with other panels is any guide.

          Good practice would be for the lawyer member to have composed it – though Dobell’s report does not indicate if there was a chair to the panel .

          But good practice in Yorkshire CC? It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the panel did not even write this report, rather this was done by Yorkshire CC themselves. Afterall, they did pay for this process – and all those boxes for the panel members during the tests do not come free.

          Like

        • Rob Nov 1, 2021 / 4:27 pm

          Dobell’s report is even more surprising given a quick look up on the panel members.

          Stephen Willis appears to be the non exec in charge.

          Rehana Azeb of 2 Temple Gardens and a Bencher appears to be the lawyer. “Her attention to detail is excellent” – as the blahs on their website goes. Her bio even mentions this panel membership.

          Dr Samir Pathak appears to be a general surgeon and involved with a cricket charity running out of Mumbai with links to the Yorkshire leagues.

          It is not clear to me who Mesba Ahmed is – there is a London Tigers charity with someone with the same name associated; nor who Helen Hyde is – she might be a Jewish academic educated in South Africa.

          But if George Dobell’s report is even correct on the few details he gave; this rather shows up a rather good panel, albeit not a blue riband one.

          Like

        • Rob Nov 1, 2021 / 5:06 pm

          I correct some errors. How ever Dmitri and Co manage to write so effortlessly…

          The chair of the panel was Dr Pathak – though his charity links to Yorkshire CC might be perceived as a conflict.

          The Helen Hyde was involved with Waitrose and not the academic I thought.

          Looking back at the articles from October, the report was supposed to have been completed within three months and “shared with everyone”. So said Yorkshire CC and so said Rehana Azeb.

          I wonder why they changed their minds.

          Like

        • Marek Nov 1, 2021 / 6:06 pm

          Not wishing too much to make light of a serious situation, but this (copied from Twitter) made me laugh:

          “Banter is like sex. It is a two way process based on mutual respect and understanding. If youre doing it on your own, what you are is a wanker”.

          Like

          • pktroll (@pktroll) Nov 2, 2021 / 10:40 am

            Lol!

            I can’t help wondering if the most sordid aspects of this are going to blow up in YCCC’s face even more seriously as they already have.

            Like

  7. dArthez Oct 30, 2021 / 5:21 pm

    There is just one competitive side in the group of England. And that is England. The rest are at best also-rans. The annoying thing is, that at least one of these will qualify for the semis.

    Like

    • Miami Dad's Six Nov 1, 2021 / 3:45 pm

      If the ECB were all about producing white ball elite cricket teams, they’d be doing an amazing job to be fair to them.

      Sadly they are also responsible for the Test, First Class, List A and the recreational games.

      Oh, and providing good structural governance, ideally free of racism.

      Like

  8. Marek Nov 4, 2021 / 11:06 am

    My God, how big is English cricket’s ability to go around in self-defeating circles? Reports now that it’s being at least considered that Roger Hutton will be replaced by Colin Graves.

    Not only, with the ECB, the man who came up with the most financially ruinous vanity project that the ECB have ever dreamed up, and oversaw some pretty dishonest accounting to try to obscure that fact; who completely shafted one of England’s best recent players by encouraging him to try to return to the England side whilst at the very same time appointing a man whose mission seemed to be to destroy the player’s international career; and who launched what appeared from afar to be a vendetta against the neighbouring county club of the one that his family have been financially supporting for years (no conflict of interest there then!)

    But the man who, as has already been pointed out in the press this very week, was Yorks chair at the time many of the Rafiq incidents were taking place and who used EXACTLY the same banter excuse as has been proffered with Ballance to excuse another of his players being disciplined by the ICC for calling an opponent a black cunt.

    If Graves is the answer, you can be absolutely sure they haven’t understood the question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Nov 5, 2021 / 6:36 am

      Yes, but without him Yorkshire will be bankrupt (financially) within a year. They will have no internationals and almost no sponsors next season, by the looks of it.

      Like

    • Marek Nov 5, 2021 / 8:49 pm

      …and now we learn that Graves’s remit was to save Moxon and Arthur–essentially to ignore the entire scandal. Wow, the man is toxic.

      Worrying too that we learn that the Graves family trust has a right of veto over anybody being appointed to the Yorks boards–that too surely needs to go. And if Graves and his money go with it, then so be it. Better to be financially bankrupt than taking pride in rolling around in a moral cesspit.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Miami Dad's Six Nov 5, 2021 / 8:57 am

    Shiny Toy seems to have been implicated in this, and has offered a denial.

    The denial included:

    “The Yorkshire I love is a club that only wants to produce the best players and win games of cricket. Clearly there are issues in English cricket, spread wider than Yorkshire, about why so many young Asian players are not graduating through to the professional game.”

    Is that a particularly rank example of whataboutery, or am I just grouchy this Friday?

    Like

    • dArthez Nov 5, 2021 / 10:27 am

      Of course whataboutery. Basically one can read it: yes we’re blatantly racist, but other counties are not doing enough either, so let Yokel County Cricket Club please walk scot free.

      More accusations from another former player – and given the wonderful way Yokel County Cricket Club have handled Rafiq’s accusations, I am considering them credible, albeit the player is anonymous.

      Probably the origins of pissing on the pitch after the 2013 Ashes uncovered. Albeit the origin was p*ssing on a player. Literally. Really classy, those Yokels.

      Like

      • Miami Dad's Six Nov 5, 2021 / 1:49 pm

        The account re: Vaughan has been corroborated by a second player.

        “I fully support what Azeem said and this has been the case with me as well.

        “I never spoke about it because, as foreigners, we were temporary and somehow I managed to accept the way it is. So I just focused on playing cricket. I never wanted to jeopardise my contracts.

        “At times I used to feel bad, but I decided to ignore it because I knew I was not going to live there permanently. But I know what Azeem went through.”

        Like

      • Borderer Nov 5, 2021 / 7:36 pm

        Before posting “Yokel” engage your brain before making such a supercilious, condescending remark.

        Like

        • Miami Dad's Six Nov 5, 2021 / 10:17 pm

          Hi, I didn’t use the term myself, but hadn’t really clocked it as anything particularly unusual to use in this instance, even ignoring the similarities between Yorkshire/Yokel.

          However I am happy to be educated on why you think it’s wrong to condescend the county who have been caught out so badly here?

          Like

        • dArthez Nov 6, 2021 / 1:54 am

          So, yokel is condescending, but we should all happily accept the shoddy way YCCC have handled the investigation, and at least two decades worth of racist treatment of minority players and all that? Sounds like a Yorkshire-man who decided that YCCC has not been dealing with Rafiq and others HARSHLY enough, rather than you know, acknowledge that such behaviours by YCCC players, coaches, and management are wholly unacceptable.

          On the part of YCCC, other than Hutton resigning (and since he was not the chairman at the time that Rafiq was a YCCC-player, that is hardly the most responsible person in the whole sorry saga; apparently people in power in YCCC did not see even much trouble with Graves returning, even though his chairmanship coincided with many of the incidents reported).

          Thus far, YCCC have received zero punishment; the only thing they need to do is provide some PowerPoint presentation on how they’re going to address the issue in about 5 months time. And we all know how ‘real’ PowerPoint is, over you know, actually addressing the core issues. Institutional change will take many years to accomplish. If you want pointers on that, read up on the SJN hearings in South African cricket. Probably no coincidence that YCCC staff thought the k-word, in its South African usage, would be acceptable at YCCC – in fact evidence suggests that it WAS acceptable at YCCC.

          This after bringing the game in great disrepute. The same holds for the ECB – they too have brought the game in disrepute by sheer inaction on the matter. Oh, and for the record, I am of the opinion that the Ollie Robinson case was handled poorly by the ECB, and that the punishment meted out to him was harsh, lest you think that I am some overzealous bigot. I am also of the opinion that someone at the ECB should have been fired for sleeping on the job: if you employ that many people, for all kinds of non-jobs, someone should have gone through the relevant timelines / posts on social media before Robinson made his debut, just to avoid things blowing up the way they did, especially as that particular Test was also the launch of some anti-racist campaign.

          Contrast that with say Durham, who were severely punished for doing what the ECB had demanded of them to begin with. If it were up to me, YCCC would be relegated to minor county status over this. I am actually starting to think, that such punishment would be LENIENT. Then they would be able to apply for full county status again in 2032, if there is actual evidence that they are functioning as an organisation that treats non-white people as real people too.

          If YCCC-people have a problem with being called yokels, then they need to start acting in ways to disprove that they are yokels. Yes, I am well aware that there are many YCCC that are appalled (in the right way, see above for the wrong way) by the whole sorry situation. But until they actually organise themselves (and have the required numbers – I am not sure that they do, sadly) to change things around through resolving the issue as per membership rights, they will be tainted by association. Not by anything I or anyone else write about the shenanigans at YCCC. But by the actions and inactions of the top brass at YCCC, that is their own representatives in office.

          Like

          • Borderer Nov 6, 2021 / 9:15 am

            YCC is like any other club in any sport in that it is made up of committee/officials, players, staff, members and supporters. All neanderthal yokels eh? Ergo, all white south africans are racist. Use your brain before making sweeping generalisations.

            Like

          • dArthez Nov 6, 2021 / 9:31 am

            If you insist on being a proud yokel, that is your right. I am not going to dissuade you, you insult to imbecility.

            Like

          • dArthez Nov 6, 2021 / 11:41 am

            Oh, you mean like any other club, where the membership has no say whatsoever – whether that is running the club, giving money to the club, or support its activities in whatever shape one chooses / not chooses to do? Does membership of YCCC make it impossible for members of YCCC to take a stand on issues affecting the club, its reputation and whatnot? Does membership of YCCC make it legally or morally impossible for one to end one’s membership, if one has good reason to be critical of how the club is run?

            Are you suggesting that members of YCCC, like members of any other club are utterly incapable of anything like that? Funny, I have interacted with members of many other clubs, to which none of the above applies.

            Do I want to see YCCC as a thing of the past? No. But it will have to be a thing of the past, if the people running the show in Yorkshire and supporting the show there can’t even get to a 20th century mindset with regards to human civility, courtesy and decency. I have no say in that, and my view on the matter is wholly irrelevant. Other people get to decide that. And depending on how YCCC’s management handle it (and to a lesser extent YCCC’s membership), it might still be mostly decided by YCCC itself. Despite all the stuff-ups in the last decade. But the longer this pig-headedness from management goes on, the more likely it becomes that the hard decisions will be made by external parties: the ECB, sponsors (who have already withdrawn in droves, due to brand toxicity – that is due the cackhandedness with which YCCC have handled the whole saga, not due to some idiot posting on some small cricket blog how appalling YCCC have been on this), or effectively by national government.

            And if you are so mightily offended by one ‘y’ word, then maybe you can:
            1) imagine how such structurally condoned (and effectively supported) behaviour by team mates, coaches, and management towards minority players, might reflect poorly on YCCC.
            I don’t employ you, but I can well imagine that if that were the case, and all of your colleagues and management fully condoned calling you names, mock you, and generally behave in an abusive manner towards you, and whatnot, that well, you might not be in the best space to give it your best shot, especially if you know that if you fail to do so, it will be blamed on you, rather than all the toxic influences that are celebrating such callous behaviour towards you. Any report of behaviour that does not sit well with decent-looking HR policies will naturally be swept under the carpet, but such reports will be held against you.
            Unfair? You bet. And yet that is the structural reality many minority players, spectators, and (recreational) cricketers are subject to. This is not unique to YCCC, but the pig-headed conviction that nothing needs to change by the powers that be in YCCC, does not reflect well on YCCC. And with that, increasingly also on the membership.

            2) Actually try and do something about it. Thus far the only morally ‘courageous’ action you have undertaken thus far is taken offence at YCCC being called “Yokel County Cricket Club” on a small cricket blog. Surely, that will resolve all YCCC’s moral integrity issues, its appalling treatment of Rafiq and others and whatnot.

            You have not displayed any outrage at the treatment of minority players such as Rafiq here. Now, you may have in some other capacity, even gone to an AGM (if you are / were a member) and raise some of these concerns; which would be commendable of course, even if you get completely ignored by all the other people attending. But even if you did, and were actually outraged by the way YCCC have handled Rafiq, or the report saga (more than a year of waiting, for something that was supposed to be done in weeks), your continued association with YCCC would then reflect poorly on you – at some point one has to take a stand, that the indefensible is in fact indefensible, and thus that one should not be associated with such an organisation. If since then, you have terminated your membership, you would probably not be offended by YCCC being referred to as Yokel County Cricket Club, as you would be hurting because of the appalling way YCCC have handled this.

            Likewise, if YCCC take responsibility, and seriously try to make amends, it will be indefensible for me to keep referring to them as Yokel County Cricket Club – and I will not then. But as long as the executive of the club see no problem with using racially derogatory names and remarks to players, spectators, or minorities in general, then I am not bound to extend similar courtesies to YCCC or its membership. If you don’t like the association, do something to improve the club, or abandon ship. But don’t put yourself in the position that you are (monetarily and otherwise) supporting people who have no problem defending the indefensible.

            Changing institutions and cultures is hard, I will give you that. I already referred to the South African SJN hearings. Which were held more than 25 years into democracy (as opposed to the bastardised version that existed before 1994); most of the details from the hearings are utterly shocking and do not reflect well on the people involved, but considering the awful base, one senses that despite all the challenges still present in South Africa, progress is being made, albeit far too slowly. However, it is unreasonable to hold CSA responsible for the socio-economic realities of the country as a whole, just as it would be ridiculous to hold say Glamorgan County Cricket Club responsible for economic marginalisation in Wales, or YCCC for the same in Yorkshire. However, you cannot tell me that socio-economic and cultural marginalisation within Yorkshire (county, not the club) is more severe than it has been anywhere in South Africa. If so, that would be a massive indictment on the UK government (if you can back up such a claim of course).

            And obviously, it does not help that a lot of this stuff is hushed up, kept secret, and undoubtedly to some extent the membership is in the dark, or did / does not have vital details to relevant information on such matters. But ignorance is no excuse, that absolves one of one’s responsibility. Especially not when such ignorance is deliberate, or simply a refusal to engage with other voices – and you can’t tell me that nothing of the sort was ever said in public, or written about YCCC before this whole saga blew up. That would make YCCC even more monolithic than say the North Korean regime.

            It may well take years of organising, engaging with people, and whatnot to get there.
            However, burying one’s head in the sand, and hope that structural issues disappear (eventually) has never changed anything for the better. Anywhere. People need to take responsibility and put in the hard yakka. Inaction too is a (moral) stand – and well, let’s just say the management of YCCC have made it clear that they prefer inaction over anything substantive; hell, even a symbolic gesture was beyond anyone but Hutton (who was given an impossible hand in this – he made mistakes, for sure, but at least he took political responsibility for the actions and inactions of others). That is their right, of course.

            But then it is also others’ right to call such inaction out as morally repugnant, in any way they see fit (and is legal, lest you think I am all for blowing Headingley up).

            Liked by 1 person

          • Borderer Nov 6, 2021 / 9:55 pm

            Aside from your gratuitous insult I’m old enough to know that your views and mine, and those expressed on this website make no difference whatsoever.

            Like

    • dArthez Nov 5, 2021 / 3:21 pm

      Has he denied the denial yet? If not, it must be a personal record for him.

      Like

  10. Marek Nov 5, 2021 / 9:12 pm

    A penny for the thoughts of any Durham fans given that Yorks have been given till around March to avoid losing their international matches. I don’t seem to remember this kind of leeway being allowed to Durham in 2016 .Interesting too that no penalties have yet been applied to the Yorks team although this is–at the moment at least–almost entirely a scandal about the treatment of players.

    The ECB need to make sure that they’re not giving the impression that racism is less of a crime than insolvency.

    There’s one other area in which the ECB surely need to act. As far as I’m aware, they are the owners of the Hundred franchises–so it’s in their power surely to do something about the fact that the Yorkshire-based franchise is currently coached by one man who was supended for racially abusing an opponent and another who has been in a position of power at Yorks for a large part of the period under the spotlight. That can hardly be attractive to the North’s non-white citizens.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dArthez Nov 6, 2021 / 2:01 am

      Just to add to that. The insolvency of Durham was in no small part caused by the ECB’s demands to begin with. And the fact that they did not have a sugar daddy to bankroll them, unlike say Yorkshire.

      Like

  11. man in a barrel Nov 6, 2021 / 12:24 am

    A few years ago I reported on the ownership of YCC and the Graves family and the blatant conflicts of interest with the ECB, which were never addressed. What will have changed? I guess Graves and his family trusts still own the club but now they have no ability to control the use that the ECB will make of Headingley. It is likely to be a putrid mess. So I imagine the financial statements of YCC will not be publicly available

    Like

    • Marek Nov 6, 2021 / 12:59 pm

      I hope that the middle part of this is right but I rather wonder! One thing that has become (even more!) clear in this to me is the interlocking network of interests and contacts that run all these entities–supported by the vile language that they speak, this semi-literate, jargon-filled, platitudinous, wittering nothingness that seems to have infected everyone in business and politics now (and of course this is business, not sport), which enables them to give the impression of caring and action when they’re actually often doing almost nothing.

      So now we have Kamlesh Patel, who in some ways is an obvious appointment–Asian, victim of racism, respected, man of great achievement. But on the other he’s still close friends with Colin Graves–probably the most toxic and destructive figure in English cricket, quite possibly in its entire history, whose stated aim has apparently been to keep Arthur and Moxon in post (that is, to ignore the whole issue) who was in charge of Yorkshire for most of the period being complained about, and who oversaw a years-long acceptance there of casual racism. And of course the man who controls Yorks both legally (through his veto over board appointments) and financially. We’re told that Patel is a good compromise for precisely that reason–that he won’t offend the Graves faction…who are the very people who have overseen this racist culture. So is he really going to change anything or is he going to be more of the establishment same with a browner face?–that’s his challenge.

      And the ECB? Headed up de facto by another of Graves’s “close friends”, Tom Harrison, who was bigging up Graves’s qualities as a possible new chair at Yorks this week. Is he really going to be the man who says to Graves “all your allies need to be purged ruthlessly in order to save the reputation of county cricket and that’s ultimately more important than your financial benefaction?” Because, let’s face it, Yorks certainly need a new CEO, director of cricket and one captain, very possibly a second captain and head coach, and within the bounds of possibility almost an entirely new coaching, senior playing and senior admin set-up.

      Although I can understand the Patel appointment (not least that he’s actively involved in club cricket), in some ways I would rather have seen it as a reason to start sweeping away this entire apparatchik class from positions like chairs of clubs, to reestablish the link between cricket organisations and…well, cricket. To reestablish passion for the game rather over passion for money and for common, decent human values over smooth platitudes. (Specifically, given that they need to be a figurehead of sorts, I was wondering about approaching Darren Gough).

      And it would be good to see that at ECB level too–and the ECB currently have an opportunity to do that. it’s why I liked the idea of Atheron–but why Danny’s suggestion of George Dobell is also a very good one i think.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Marek Nov 7, 2021 / 5:57 pm

    Random statistic of the day:

    Zero–the number of times the name Azeem Rafiq appears in any of the four news stories posted to Yorkshire CCC’s website in the last week. (A fifth post is, strictly speaking, not a news story but a press release on behalf of one of their players. Here, the zero is the number of appearances of the phrase “I apologise to Azeem Rafiq” or anything similar).

    Like

  13. Marek Nov 12, 2021 / 9:21 am

    …and the Ben Stokes award for ill-timed equipment abuse goes to…..

    Like

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