Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dance of the Elephants at the ECB?

The admirable Stephen Brenkley is suggesting in the Indy that Giles Clarke's days as ECB chairman may at last be numbered in the light of the furore over the Indian Premier League's abortive plans to expand into England. Brenkley goes on to suggest that if Clarke is forced out (a very big if) then David Morgan might return to the ECB as his tenure as ICC President expires soon. Morgan was of course Clarke's predecessor at the ECB - which prompts thoughts of the old music hall song "The music goes 'round and around Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho…it comes out here".

Whether there will really be another dance of the elephants at the top of English cricket we must wait and see. Giles Clarke has the hide of a pachyderm himself and if Stanford didn't account for him, which many thought it should have, will the IMG and the ghost of Lalit Modi succeed? Clarke can pretty much always call upon the County Chairmen to rally to his aid in times of stress - although his power to tempt the more impoverished counties to stand by him by throwing more money at them are much more limited these days. The "IPL in England" plan, although fairly grubby (no surprise there then) had an inescapable logic to it. Based on the Indian model the idea was to create eight or so proper Twenty20 franchises based at England's largest county grounds. There was nothing at all original about this plan - this scribe, for example, has been flogging the idea for years. It makes such sense that only the terminally conservative could disagree with it.

England's triumph in the World Twenty20 surely whets the appetite for a domestic T20 competition of similar quality. In short lets have eight quality teams playing at quality venues in a focused and properly paced tournament that we will all want to go and see. Sound familiar? So if Clarke is soon to fall on his sword what we must hope is not that another friend of the poor and underprivileged shires, David Morgan, returns to succeed him but that someone with the ambition and commercial nous to see that change is necessary in cricket as well as elsewhere in our society comes forward. I'd give the estimable Keith Bradshaw the job - if MCC could spare him and if he'd relish the challenge of sorting out another bunch of Poms!