The ECB has expanded its group of Cricket Liaison Officers (CLOs) for 2017, with a plan to have one present at every match. Andy Smith, the former Surrey allrounder, has been appointed to the new role of Cricket Operations Manager to oversee the CLOs.
Five new CLOs, all with extensive experience of the county game, have been recruited: Tim Boon, Dean Cosker, Richard Ellison, Wayne Noon and Lloyd Tennant. They join the four appointed in 2015 - Graham Cowdrey, Stuart Cummings, Tony Pigott and Phil Whitticase - plus former international umpire Steve Davis, who joined the panel last year.
"I'm delighted to be back in cricket at the ECB, in an interesting and challenging new role," Smith said. "The Cricket Liaison Officers were introduced to county cricket in 2015 with the twin aims of supporting groundsmen and umpires, with the capacity to attend all four days of a Championship match, unlike Pitch Liaison Officers in the past.
"After encouraging feedback following the introduction of this role two years ago, the CLO will now have more decision-making responsibility in the areas of discipline and the rating of pitches. It's a positive step forward to support the county game and will enable us to provide coverage across all matches for the first time."
The ECB has also added former Derbyshire and Sussex batsman Mark Newell and James Middlebrook, who played for Yorkshire, Essex and Northamptonshire, to its reserve list of first-class umpires for 2017.