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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
English cricket set for the next step
By Oliver Brett

National success is the cornerstone of the ECB's vision
National success is the cornerstone of the ECB's new vision

Like a Prime Minister taking office, new England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier shows no pity when it comes to observing the errors of what went before.

Even before he detailed his vision to improve the game in England "from playground to Test arena", he was quick to criticise past attempts to do likewise.

"Ill-defined roles and responsibilities, plans which were not costed in detail...planning was based on wish-lists and a series of well-intentioned projects which were not part of any unified strategy," Collier said at the unveiling of the ECB's new strategic plan.

Collier is in a fortunate position, in that by 2009 the ECB will have 75.6 million to spend during the course of the year, 14 million more than it can this year.

The result is that he does not need to rob Peter to pay Paul.

Although counties, for example, will only get 43% of the pot in 2009 as opposed to 49.5% of it now, they will actually earn 2 million extra.

And the areas getting a bigger slice of the pie - youth initiatives and the England team - get a real shot in the arm.

It is at youth level where cricket really misses out at present.

David Collier
We will enhance the strength and vitality of cricket
David Collier

Only a handful of state secondary schools currently provide any sort of cricket coaching, and the growth of football means the national game is rapidly marginalising all other sports.

This situation will be further undermined next year, when live cricket is banished from homes showing terrestrial television.

The ECB, however, would argue that it would not gain the extra distribution funds without the BSkyB deal.

Schools cannot be forced to provide cricket coaching, but the 20,000 extra coaching sessions the ECB will offer schools may at least inspire a few more youngsters to take up the game.

Michael Vaughan was on board to spread the good news
Michael Vaughan was on board to spread the good news

Collier is also challenging third party organisations, like Sport England and the Government, for more input - and why wouldn't he?

In other European countries, the public sector typically provides around 7 per head of funding for sport, whereas in the UK it is down at 3 per head.

Another group being challenged are the first-class counties themselves.

On one hand, they will be richer for every England-qualified player they include on their contracted squad list - a plan which seeks to end their reliance on the Kolpak law and EU passports.

On the other, they will also be asked to provide some players who average in excess of 45 and others who take in excess of 40 wickets a season.

Not only this, but the First Class Forum - which gave every county a vote on domestic cricket - has been disbanded, and the creation of a 25-player development squad means counties get even less say on which English players they can actually use in matches.

Despite these changes, the ECB wants a 15% increase in spectators at county matches and a similar rise in the number of county members.

Unless the Twenty20 Cup gets many more fixtures, that could be the hardest target of all to achieve.



SEE ALSO
Vaughan supports ECB initiative
19 Apr 05 |  England
England focus for strategic plan
19 Apr 05 |  England


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