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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Lamb's exit leaves big gap
Tim Lamb
His legacy will be that he brought cricket into the 21st century
Mike Soper on Tim Lamb

Replacing Tim Lamb as chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board will not be easy, according to deputy chairman Mike Soper.

Lamb is expected to confirm his resignation on Thursday after seven years in charge of English cricket.

Soper hailed Lamb as a moderniser and said the ECB had to be prepared to pay "top whack" for a suitable successor.

"You don't want someone on the way down from industry who thinks it's going to be a comfort zone," he told BBC Sport.

One man tipped to replace Lamb is the current ECB director of operations John Carr.

But Soper warned: "It can't just be [an appointment] from within unless the man has a good background in industry.

"You want somebody who has run a medium size company and is about to launch himself up.

"It is one of the top two or three sports [in this country] and it is a high profile thing to be involved in cricket, especially at the moment as we've been very successful."

Lamb has endured a difficult few months due to controversy over England's tour to Zimbabwe, scheduled for later this year, and opposition from county chairman to plans to restructure the domestic game.

"Over Zimbabwe, apart from eight or nine days when we rather lost the plot, I think Tim handled it very well and I said that to him.

"It's a very difficult situation. Greater men than him have made a cock-up over Zimbabwe. The present government haven't exactly helped us over this," said Soper.

"I think his legacy has been to see a great increase in cricket watching and we've got a modern ECB. Yes, there are things you can criticise it for but his legacy will be that he brought cricket into the 21st century."

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