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Are England's cricket administrators falling behind?

Concern in the ranks at insufficient greed, venality and all-round bad behaviour being displayed

Alan Tyers
23-Mar-2015
Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards with ECB chairman Giles Clarke, first Test, England v Australia, Nottingham, July 10, 2013

"I know what I'm going to do. Have a seance and call up old Percy Sonn"  •  Getty Images

Disappointing recent results have convinced key figures in English cricket that their administrators are not matching up to their foreign counterparts.
While the men who run English cricket are solid in the traditional skill areas of waffling, having long lunches, and making money, there is concern that the greater flair for corruption, wild accusations and hunger for bribes shown by some leading suits in other countries are leaving England behind.
The recent remarks of Bangladeshi bigwig Mustafa Kamal, in which he questioned whether an umpiring decision against his side had been "deliberate", have left England wondering if they can match this sort of explosive, exciting bad behaviour.
One English official noted: "Sure, our men in blazers are coming out with some good traditional guff, but is our system producing these really special administrators? Are we developing bureaucrats who can take a press conference by the scruff of the neck and say something absolutely mental? Where is England's Mustafa Kamal? Where are our game changers like Allen Stanford? Why is the county game not producing a Lalit Modi?"
England have adopted a numbers-based approach to cricket administration in recent years and have worked hard on creating as many jobs as possible within cricket management. The establishment of roles including Chairman, CEO, MD, CFO, COO, C3P0 and Chief Wonk has led to a really strong unit of interchangeable white guys in their fifties able to make a bland or confusing statement at a moment's notice, but the sense is growing that England are not creating truly awful, corrupt and greedy technocrats at the top level.
Senior English figures have called for a root-and-branch review into themselves in a bid to keep up.
"We need to learn from other countries," admitted a senior English figure. "You look at a Pakistan, a Bangladesh, and the talent they are producing. We're just playing a different game here, with our fondness for the old school tie and a pink gin when we could be looking for modern appalling administration. It's possibly because we are losing a lot of the worst people in sport to the football Premier League, whose riches we cannot compete with.
"Really we should be looking to build up from the grass roots, so we are developing genuinely terrible people and promoting them into the top jobs. At the moment we have the quantity - the ECB is now the largest employer in Britain, with more than one in four adults working for it in some capacity - but we are not delivering the lowest of low quality."
There is cause for optimism, though, with the handling of the Kevin Pietersen affair.
"There's a lot of positives we can take from this," insisted the official. "The way we have allowed this situation to fester and then mushroom - for example by having senior figures issue contradictory statements on consecutive days - shows that we can still pull off a really world-class fiasco if we put our minds to it. If we could mismanage all areas of the English game this drastically, there's still a lot of hope that we could become one of the world's worst-run sporting bodies."

More absurd figures in WG Grace Ate My Pedalo and CrickiLeaks here