PAUL NEWMAN: Richard Thompson is just the ticket for English cricket

PAUL NEWMAN: Richard Thompson is just the ticket for English cricket… the ECB needs leadership like never before and as the best and most dynamic administrator in the game, the Surrey chief can provide it

  • I can’t help be a bit optimistic about the developments of last couple of weeks 
  • To be at Rob Key’s unveiling at Lord’s was to listen to cricketing common sense 
  • I felt reassured about Ben Stokes’ mental readiness for England Test captaincy
  • Richard Thompson standing as ECB chair could be as significant a development 
  • He has been the key figure behind the on and off pitch success at Surrey

Perhaps it is a case of wishful thinking from an old hack who has been around the block a few times and seen so many England captains, coaches and administrators come and go.

But I can’t help be a little optimistic after the developments of the last couple of weeks because it is a case now, as Ian Dury might have put it, of reasons to be cheerful, part three.

To be at Lord’s for the unveiling of Rob Key as managing director, and then to sit in while Nasser Hussain conducted an interview with him for Sportsmail last week, was to listen to cricketing common sense which has been lacking by the bucketful in recent times.


Richard Thompson (R) is planning to stand as ECB chair after a long search for a replacement for Ian Watmore (L)

To be at for the Rob Key’s unveiling as managing director was to listen to common sense

Then to be at Durham for the first media appearance by Ben Stokes as captain was to be both reassured about his mental readiness for the job and excited about what he could do in charge of a talented but woefully under-performing Test team.

And to hear afterwards that Stokes enjoyed talking to the TV and radio crews and then the written press was encouraging, too, as it is the part of the job he perhaps would not be expected to relish the most.

Now comes what could be just as significant a development with the news that, as revealed by Sportsmail on Monday, Richard Thompson is planning to stand as ECB chair after an embarrassingly long and error-ridden search for Ian Watmore’s replacement.

To be at Ben Stokes’ first media appearance as captain was to be excited about what he could do in charge

Thompson may not be as well-known to cricket supporters as Stokes and Key are, but he is the best, most forward-thinking and dynamic administrator in the game and has been the key figure behind the on and off pitch success of the Surrey juggernaut.

The ECB needs leadership like never before and Thompson can provide it. The word is he plans to be radical, too, at a pivotal time in the game’s history. 

He could be just as important to the health of English cricket as anyone on the field in the coming years.

The word is Thompson plans to be radical, too, at a pivotal time in the game’s history

https://bigsportsnews.com/esports/mccullum-emerges-as-shock-candidate-to-become-englands-new-test-coach/

There is an opener making mountains of runs in the Championship who could almost certainly do a better job than incumbents Zak Crawley and Alex Lees and anyone else Key and Stokes will consider for the first Test against New Zealand on June 2. 

His name is Sir Alastair Cook and in five matches for Essex this season he has scored 481 runs at 60 with three centuries, two of them coming in the same match against Yorkshire last week.

It won’t happen, of course. And nor should it. Cook’s England race was run by the time he bowed out in 2018 and not many get the chance to have a perfect Test farewell – as he did against India at the Oval.

Far better for Cook, at 37, to carry on doing what his mentor Graham Gooch did, giving back to Essex by scoring thousands of runs for the county for some time yet.

He is good enough and fit enough to emulate the great Gooch by doing it into his 40s, without worrying about coming to his country’s rescue yet again as they begin another new era.

Sir Alastair Cook is good and fit enough to emulate Graham Gooch and play into his 40s

Jason Roy will return to action next week – probably for Surrey’s second XI – before making his first-team comeback in the Vitality Blast and then possibly playing a Championship game. 

He will then play for England against Holland in the ODI series next month.

Usually this wouldn’t be newsworthy, just a case of a high-profile player returning after an understandable break. But there is extra attention on Roy because of the ECB’s decision to ban him for two matches, suspended, but failing to reveal what he did.

Sportsmail understands it is lawyers rather than communications people at the ECB who are responsible for the cover up but, with respect to Roy’s right for privacy, it doesn’t do him or the game any favours.

As soon as Jason Roy returns to the big stage his suspension will become an issue again

It will become an issue again and he will be asked about it as soon as he scores runs for England and is put up in front of the media.

Better to come clean than to risk exaggerating what he did by failing to disclose it.

Graham Thorpe was not only one of England’s great batters but he was also a great fighter, as he displayed so often in a brilliant career that came during a turbulent era for the national team. 

Thorpe needs all those fighting qualities now as he battles serious illness in hospital. Our thoughts are with him and wife Amanda.

Graham Thorpe needs all his fighting qualities now as he battles serious illness in hospital




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