England news September 13, 2009

Most English players unhappy with ECB

Cricinfo staff

The ECB has got a big thumbs down from professional cricketers in the country after a poll conducted by the Sunday Telegraph revealed that only 11% of them had confidence in the Giles Clarke-led board. Many felt that the recent decisions and actions taken by the ECB, like its alliance with Sir Allen Stanford, were more commercially driven and not in the best interests of the game.

Vikram Solanki, the England batsman and chairman of the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA), has said the organisation is planning to start a new wing known as the Professional Game Board, which will facilitate easier communication with the ECB.

Players are also reportedly unhappy with the ECB's move to scrap the domestic 50-over competition and replace it with a 40-over tournament for the sake of drawing crowds. A massive 83% want the Friends Provident Trophy to be restored, more so in the current scenario with England losing four consecutive ODIs and the series to Australia. Voices from across the globe have suggested measures to tweak the 50-over game, from reducing the volume of matches to splitting the game into four batches of 25 overs.

"It is obvious that the demands of trying to govern the whole gamut of our sport from the England team down to the smallest grassroots operation is too much for the current structure and personnel," Solanki told the Sunday Telegraph. "The PCA propose the formation of a powerful and genuinely representative Professional Game Board to act as the consultation body for all decisions affecting the professional game, so that confidence in the governance of our sport can be restored among all stakeholders.

"In the interim, the PCA would encourage the ECB to consult more widely and in good time and with an open mind about the vital issues facing our game and to swing the balance back towards cricket, rather than taking a purely commercial approach to every decision."

The PCA claims that the players were also not consulted about a second Twenty20 tournament, England's answer to the IPL. The competition was planned for three weeks in June 2010 but was ditched earlier this year due to funding issues.

The PCA has also termed the ECB's alliance with Stanford - now arrested on charges of fraud - as "ill-advised, embarrassing and damaging to English cricket".

"Without losing sight of the difficulty of finding the correct balance," Solanki said, "the PCA are concerned that recent decisions and processes have not been in the best long-term interest of English cricket, but have been made for short-term economic gain and to cover deficiencies in the ECB's ability to operate effectively at the top table at the ICC."