<
>

Downton departs as England managing director

Paul Downton and Peter Moores will oversee England's fortunes Getty Images

Paul Downton has left his job as managing director of England cricket after 15 months in the job and leaves after a disastrous World Cup campaign where England failed to make the knockout stage.

As revealed by ESPNcricinfo, Downton's position was under scrutiny with meetings taking place last month to discuss the fallout from the World Cup. But his role has now been made redundant by the ECB with a new Director of England Cricket set to be appointed, a more cricket-focussed role with the remit to "deliver a world class performance environment for all formats".

"The England cricket department needs to deliver performance at the highest level and our structure needs to be accountable for reaching the standards we aspire to," ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said. "The new role we are putting in place will deliver an environment where world class performance is at the heart of everything we do. The process for appointing the new role, with sole responsibility for the England set-up, will begin immediately."

Harrison, who took up his role in January, has previously spoken of streamlining the ECB with incoming chairman Colin Graves also voicing his desire for change. Downton's departure could be the first move in a restructuring process that is aimed at "putting a plan in place for 2019 and beyond".

Downton took over from Hugh Morris in October 2013 and endured a turbulent reign, beginning with the Ashes whitewash and replacing Andy Flower as head coach with Peter Moores, who he described as the "outstanding coach of his generation". But defeat to Sri Lanka in a home Test series followed.

More damning for Downton was his personal backing of Alastair Cook as one-day captain shortly before Cook was sacked before Christmas. England then beat only Scotland and Afghanistan at the World Cup as they crashed out at the group stage.

Downton was also responsible for the sacking of Kevin Pietersen and the public-relations battle that followed and caused some embarrassment for the ECB. He was then undermined by Graves who appeared to open the door for Pietersen to return for England.

But Harrison denied this decision had any bearing on the Pietersen situation, telling Sky Sports: "Today is about the future and where this organisation is going over four to five years. We have a fantastic opportunity to take English cricket to a different level moving forward, we've got some outstanding lines in the sand to build out strategy around with the Champions Trophy in 2017 and World Cup in 2019. Delivering high performance over the next five years is absolutely paramount to our planning."

Harrison also said the decision has no bearing on the immediate futures of both head coach Peter Moores and Test captain Alastair Cook: "This decision is not on the field it's about the management structure. This is not a short term fix."