Can we please dissolve the ECB?

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< 1 minute read

We support the England cricket team. We will always support the England cricket team. It’s just that it would be so, so, so much easier to support the England cricket team if it weren’t being run by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The Pakistan Cricket Board is mental, the West Indies Cricket Board is incompetent, but the England and Wales Cricket Board is some kind of Machiavellian old boys’ club. No-one within it really has much of a clue about international sport. They don’t know what makes it good, they don’t know what it takes to be successful and worst of all they think the sport of cricket and the England team that plays it are theirs to do with as they please.

It appears to be an organisation almost tailor-made to antagonise us. It hates individuals, tries to exercise almost complete control over its workers, loathes anyone who disagrees with its methods and has some weird, very specific notion of the kind of person it wants in key positions. We sometimes feel like English cricket is being annexed by this weird group of buffoons and we don’t know where they came from, who gave them power or how they’re still around.

Watching them trip over each other, set fire to things and fling pies in each other’s faces while trying to deal with this Pietersen book, all we can think is that someone should put them out of their misery. We don’t mean stringing them up by their ECB ties. We just mean drawing a line under the floundering and manipulation. Why don’t we just change the code to get into the office and then hire some grown-ups to replace them?


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. I have been antipathetic to the ECB in the past. I have accused them of malice, incompetence, illiteracy and performing inappropriate acts with livestock. Yet somehow I spent today wondering if I was damning them with faint praise.

    Giles Clarke is the man who pimped the England team out to Allan Stanford and when that went tits up ended England’s pageant of victory in 2011 by bringing the West Indies over for some utterly forgettable T20s.

    Downton sacked KP because he looked disinterested at fine leg in a single match that England were losing. It”s odd because he’s an ex-cricketer who ought to know that everyone looks disinterested at fine leg. It’ said job where your main role is to stop the ball hitting a discarded helmet and costing the team 5 penalty runs.

    The egg-and-bacon tie brigade still regard Europe as a place we have to go to every 50 years to stop some tin-pot dictator and India as a literal gift from God. Most of them never got round to mourning for Thatcher because they’re still weeping over the sad passing of Queen Victoria.

    All in all our sport is being run by a group of men who have never had anything to do with their lives because theirs is a class that was bred to run overseas territories. As such, they’ve tried their hands at other things, mostly ruining the economy and our favoured passtimes. And they’re going nowhere because any time someone dares show a smidgen of independent thought they are driven out for fear of upsetting the apple cart (or gravy-train if we’re being more honest).

    If the ECB wanted to weather the KP thing all they had to do was nothing. It need not even have been a dignified silence because the sight of their top brass all tied up and gimp-masked would have been less of an embarrassment than their current attempts at damage limitation.

    1. This cat appears to have a suggestion.

      Pedants’ note: not all Alcohol is technically a solution, but single malt is, and gin (without the tonic) is.

  2. No, this is rubbish, KC.

    All too easy to take pot shots at the ECB during slow news month with the Pietersen book dominating the cricket/Cricinfo headlines.

    We know the ECB are not very good – none of the cricket boards are. Indeed, it is a rarity for the national board for any sport to be any use at all. Look how hopeless the ACB looked when we were pummelling them.

    Some people are simply unmanageable and divisive. Pietersen is one such. I don’t believe that anyone could have managed him for long.

    Alex Paton raises the Allan Stanford affair and on that subject I agree wholeheartedly that the ECB hit historic lows of probity and highs of dissemblance. Metaphorical heads should have rolled for that and I find it a constant sore that Giles Clarke remains Chairman after such a cock up.

    But the Pietersen business is different – my take on the little I have read (but that little is supposedly the juiciest stuff) is that, based on his own words, Pietersen was utterly unmanageable.

    Shit happens and occasionally you need fecal bacteriotherapy:

    I think I have inadvertently discovered a new nickname for Giles Clarke – “C. difficile”.

    1. It’s not that they decided to sack him. Set that aside and it’s how they went about it and how they’re following that up. That’s probably what offends us more.

    2. It’s not that they decided to sack him, it’s that they decided to sack him and then went about finding reasons for doing it.

      I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Choose the better of these two options for the England team:

      1. On field success and all the team hate each other
      2. On field failure and all the team get on famously

      There is no doubt in my mind that the ECB, basing things on their public school / city firm ethos of happiness = chappiness, thinks that #2 is better. They are wrong. We had #1, and it was good. We now have #2, and it is bad.

      And yes, KP is a twat. The dossier is true, and is a good enough reason to sack someone. So why stop with KP? Prior sounds like a twat. Did they compile a dossier on him? Swann? Flower? Broad and his fake Twitter mates? Giles Clarke and his association with massive criminals who sold the entire game into ridicule?

      In the end, we know the answer as sure as eggs is eggs. The ECB, Clarke in particular, HATED Pietersen with a passion. So he was singled out for special treatment, which while possibly justified in itself can only be properly justified if it is applied across the board.

    3. The ECB has enriched KP beyond his wildest dreams – they made him captain, indulged his pitiful whims and sad-sack me-me-me mentality, for nine years, gave him all he needed, and he comes out with this lamentable stuff about bowlers wanting apologies from fielders and the such, picking on Prior (er bullying anyone?) etc etc. He played some great innings but they never disguised the fact that he was a colossal bell-end. Lots of teams dump players they think are disruptive – Cipriani in Rugby, Gazza eventually before the 98 World Cup, and hundreds more. But KP is somehow different. The ECB like Ged says is probably no better no worse than a lot of sports boards and Giles Clarke is the bigger bell-end next to KP but it’s a close run thing. I blame the Scottish referendum – anything London based is now apparently the cause of all the ills of our fair nation including its sporting travails. It’s very simplistic and childish, really people should grow up – KP is a total bell-end, his time had come, his form in the IPL this year was lamentable and he proved again he’s a useless captain, being far too self-regarding. Prior may be the big cheese but KP is so mawkish he’s positively covered in the stuff. So KP, please f**k off now we’ve had enough of you – yes and Giles Clarke too if he would be so kind.

  3. Is there ANY national sports board/association/confederation which has a reputation for being well run?

    Also, “being annexed by this weird group of buffoons” was the basis of the British Empire, wasn’t it?

    1. I hear the Tuvalese Tinky-Winks Association has managed to avoid scandal for the last 37 years. Following fraud accusations they fired the entire board. Into the sun.

      Since then they’ve been runs by a flock of sea gull and while the board room is a little noisy and extremely disgusting it has at least managed not to annoy players and fans alike.

  4. The description of the new CEO Tom Harrison seems to say everything about where the ECB’s priorities lie:

    “Tom’s commercial experience of working on some of the biggest sponsorship and broadcast deals completed in sport, means that he is exceptionally well qualified to help to drive more revenue into the whole game whilst his excellent network in Asia and at the ICC will be critically important as we look to continue to play a central role in the growth of the game internationally in the years ahead.”

    Could we not just sack them all and put Mike Atherton in charge?

    1. That’s actually a pretty reasonable set of priorities if in ten years time you still want to see county championship cricket being played (or more realistically for those of us below retirement age, watch the cricinfo scorecards, or whatever else has replaced Ceefax by then).

      Sad but true.

  5. A random thing which I found really interesting is that apparently psychometric tests called KP an introvert. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether such tests actually work, but it sounds to me like we’ve got another case of the Jimmies: quiet player develops outspoken persona, outspoken persona is a bit of a twit.

    1. We get the impression that the management of an international sports team doesn’t really cater for the introvert. Time on your own? Doing things your own way? No, not allowed. We have to do everything as a team.

    2. KP is not an introvert.

      You either have a case of phoney answers to a fairly reasonable psychometric test or a phoney psychometric test.

      Given that a good psychometric test can spot phoney answers and get to the truth, I’d sack the dodgy psychometric test.

    3. Well maybe, but it seems a weird thing to lie about to us, so we’re not going to disregard it out of hand.

    4. “Introvert vs Extrovert” is a fairly meaningless binary divide. Pretty much everybody (I’m tempted to say absolutely everybody) will have elements of the ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ in their psychological makeup.

      Having been through psychometric testing at work in the past, I think that a ‘dodgy’ test is very likely but that doesn’t necessarily mean that KP is lying about seeing himself as an introvert.

      Ultimately, though, I don’t much like the idea of classifying people as ‘X’ or ‘Y’ – putting people into boxes, or even plotting them on a continuum, is typical of the modern ‘management’ approach that seems to pervade the ECB as much as it does, say, banking.

    5. There are two types of manager: categorisers and non-categorisers.

      You, A P Webster, are clearly a non-categoriser.

      As am I.

      I don’t think KP is/was lying with regard to this matter either. Self-delusional more likely. Hence my reference to the Hard To Be Humble lyrics.

    6. I should also say, apropos to A P Webster’s dislike of binary divides, that in our business we recognise that there are 10 categories of employee…

      …those who understand binary and those who don’t.

    7. There are 10 types of people in the world – those who understand ternary, those who don’t, and those who do but often confuse it for binary.

      There are 1.999… types of people in the world – those who understand infinite decimal expansions and those who don’t.

  6. You say “… easier to support the England cricket team if it weren’t being run by the England and Wales Cricket Board.”

    Not quite.

    It’s not being ‘run’ because that would indicate a level of competence that I’m not seeing. Instead, it’s being ‘ruined’ would have been neater.

    Nurse! Where’s me pills … ?

  7. You only have to look at the fixture schedule for the season just gone to see that the ECB does most things badly and occasionally some things well.

    The womens game is run by Clare Connor and seems to do things well – I would guess due to the rest of the ECB leaving her alone (or possibly not really caring enough to interfere depending on your viewpoint).

    As for the rest the idea seems to be to play so much cricket that everyone is knackered years before their time. The England men’s team schedule for 2015 is completely barking.

    1. Aussies and Indis’s 2015 are fairly loony too but that’s because the BIG THREE have decided it’s really open season on making money.

    2. If they all stopped caring about making money and started caring about making sure the team plays the best cricket they can then they might actually be doing their jobs

  8. Why does anyone who isn’t actually in the team care about all this team spirit/ culture stuff? KP doing that backwards batting thing is more interesting than Andy Flower and Alistair Cook getting on with each other. That’s enough for me.

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