Dear Members and Supporters,
Over the last few months, led by Sir Andrew Strauss, on behalf of the ECB, the High Performance Review (‘HPR’) has focussed on assessing possible scenarios for cricket in an effort to improve England Men’s performance over a sustained period. During this review, there has been vast media attention about possible outcomes, leading to understandable concerns and anxiety amongst members of a lack of consultation with a fear of a potential marginalisation and reductions of certain aspects of the game.
I have consistently stated to members and supporters directly and indirectly in national interviews (click here) that when there are substantive proposals rather than merely scenarios, they would be discussed and consulted. I believed some of the commentary surrounding the culling of clubs and other scenarios to be unsubstantiated and, at times, unnecessarily alarmist. I think the elongated process of appointing a new ECB Chair, now thankfully resolved, has created an information vacuum which has not helped anxiety levels.
Despite being a member of the Representative Board of First Class Chairs, a group that is working effectively, in my view, on behalf of the whole game, I had not seen any concrete proposals, so there was nothing worth sharing beyond conceptual ideas of what may be required to achieve improvement – of which the vast majority relate to England Men’s performance and not per se the domestic structures.
Today, Sir Andrew Strauss wrote in his ECB blog (click here): “It will be important the first-class counties have the appropriate time to consider the final recommendations and to properly engage with their stakeholders. The First-Class County Chairs Representative Board has therefore proposed the 2023 LV= Insurance County Championship remains at 14 matches for each county.”
I think this is an important first step in ensuring that whilst change may be required, this needs appropriate time to reflect everyone’s views, which of course, include those of members and all other stakeholders. This commitment with appropriate timing for proper engagement is an approach that makes great sense to me, rather than a possibly rushed approach as indicated by the reported ‘deadlines of 20th September 2022’. The debate will focus on the best long-term structure from 2024 onwards. Whilst consultations are now beginning amongst the ECB and First Class counties, we have adequate time with forums and other representation methods to hear your views in a measured manner over the coming months. Please find attached today’s update from the ECB –(click here), which we will continue to share as updated.
Cricket, and society face considerable hurdles over the coming years (financial, economic and competitive), the post-pandemic hangover is likely to be long and acute, and the path at times will be rocky. Every sport will feel acute pressure. I am confident with proper engagement and strategic focus, we can navigate an appropriate course.
Thank you for your support of our Club.
With best wishes
Worcestershire County Cricket Club