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Professional approach key to ECB’s ‘bold and ambitious’ review after Ashes debacle

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Andrew Strauss has confirmed the England and Wales Cricket Board is carrying out a review of high performance in the men’s game which he hopes will be ‘bold and ambitious’ due to the belief that cricket needs ‘more professionalism’.

Men’s football in England is experiencing a new period of soul-searching following its latest debacle with Ashes in Australia and it is likely that significant changes could be made to the national structure as early as the 2023 season.

Former captain Strauss is a powerful figure in his roles as adviser to the ECB board and acting chief executive of Cricket. He has now been tasked with putting together an overhaul that could see major changes to the game.

A consultation period will take place until September this year, with recommendations – expected to be approved by the ECB’s board and first-class county chairmen – coming into effect for the 2023 domestic season. Strauss admits first-class approval could be tricky, but said “hopefully we’ll get them through then”.

“For England to have a chance of being the best team in the world, we need a high performance system that is aligned and includes England at the highest level, our international background and the domestic game as well,” did he declare.

Strauss wants an “aligned system” in the professional game, and doesn’t believe there needs to be a split on how this is achieved, like there was around the birth of the Hundred in recent years.

“I think we have to be prepared to be quite bold and ambitious,” he said. “I think that incremental adjustments will not bring us the radical change that we are looking for. This is the ambition at the start of this project.

“For England to have a chance of being the best team in the world, we need a high performance system that is aligned and includes England at the highest level, our international background and the domestic game as well. I don’t think from a starting point anyone can argue with having a system aligned.

“What people might argue is how many league games we play and who plays where etc. But if we take a broader view, perhaps the structure of the competition will emerge. It’s just one strand of a number of different strands, but my hunch is that there will be a lot more that unites us than divides us through this process. We have to see how it goes.

Strauss believes cricket can become “more professional” and look to other sports for clues.

“If you ask for my assessment, I think there are a lot of areas where the game of cricket can improve professionalism,” he said. “That doesn’t mean it’s unprofessional. It’s just that if you start comparing yourself to other sports and their approach, there are certain areas.

“Cricket is a unique game and so elements of that can’t just confer what happens in other sports to cricket, but there are areas where you can. I think we could just show some more professionalism.


standard Sport

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