Spotlight on the ECB as CEO Harrison defends the agency’s goal amid a racial crisis
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om Harrison faces two defining days during his seven-year tenure as Managing Director of the England and Wales Cricket Council as the fallout from Azeem Rafiq’s exposure to racism in Yorkshire and in the game more broadly continue.
Former Yorkshire President Roger Hutton was joined by his replacement Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford, being questioned by MPs, before an ECB delegation, led by Harrison, was questioned.
Harrison has claimed he believes the ECB is fit to fulfill its role of both a regular and a promoter of the game in this country. It will be under the microscope again when Harrison has two important meetings over the next two days.
On Thursday, the ECB’s board of directors meets, before an “all game” meeting at the Kia Oval on Friday. There, the 41 members of the ECB – the 18 first-class counties, the national counties and the MCC – will discuss the matter.
It was only last month that a crisis of country confidence forced on ECB President Ian Watmore. He had been in the post for just over a year and has yet to be replaced permanently, which would leave a leadership vacuum at the ECB should Harrison resign or be ousted.
Yorkshire are set to sack head coach Andrew Gale, who has been accused of being racist by Rafiq and is currently suspended pending an investigation into the anti-Semitic tweets he sent in 2010, and Martyn Moxon, the director of cricket, who is currently absent with a stress-related illness.
Both have been accused by Rafiq of lack of compassion in the workplace following the death of the bowler’s son in 2018. Neither has commented on the allegations.
Hutton and Mark Arthur, the beleaguered general manager, have already resigned to begin what is shaping a full cleanup at the club. Rafiq said on Wednesday he believed there was a way to get back into the game for Gary Ballance, whom he accused of widespread racism.
The ripple effect is felt throughout the game. Somerset is investigating tweets sent by sewing veteran Jack Brooks from 2012, when he was a Yorkshire player.
The tweets, sent to England pitcher Tymal Mills and fellow cricketer Stewart Laudat included the word “n *** o”.
“I recognize that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it,” a statement from Brooks read. “I wholeheartedly apologize for any offense caused to anyone who may have seen these tweets.”
Brooks is said to be the creator of the nickname “Steve” for Cheteshwar Pujara during his stint as a foreign player for Yorkshire, due to the players’ inability to pronounce the Indian batter’s first name.
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