English cricket overhauls leadership, as executive leaves
LONDON (AP) — England managing director Paul Downton lost his job on Wednesday as an overhaul of the national team leadership is instigated after a dismal Cricket World Cup.
Downton succeeded Hugh Morris at the England and Wales Cricket Board in February 2014 and was under pressure from the start as star batsman Kevin Pietersen was sacked.
The appointment of Peter Moores as head coach was contentious, and the decision to back Alastair Cook as one-day captain before ditching him on the eve of the World Cup also provoked criticism.
England was eliminated from the World Cup last month in the group stage.
Now chief executive Tom Harrison has abolished the managing director job and the ECB said a director of English cricket will be hired with a “clear focus on delivering 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,” Harrison said in a statement. “The new role we are putting in place will deliver an environment where world class performance is at the heart of everything we do.”
Downton’s exit came hours after English cricket’s leadership received stinging criticism in the 2015 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, the sport’s most prestigious publication. Wisden editor Lawrence Booth said the ECB had lost touch “with the basic idea that the national team belongs to us all”.
Booth wrote: “A few wins might have deflected attention from a charge sheet that would include the mishandling of the Kevin Pietersen affair, worrying test attendances outside London, a head-in-the-sand attitude to the one-day team, and — not yet a decade after the 2005 Ashes had presented English cricket with a golden chance to attract a new generation to the sport — a fall in the number of recreational players.”