Graves saddened by leak of document

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Published: Thursday 26th February 2015 by The News Editor

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New England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves has spoken of his ‘personal disappointment and sadness’ that a document drafted by chief executive Tom Harrison was leaked.

Graves, who insists there is still a “blank sheet of paper” on which to formulate any wide-reaching changes to the structure of his sport, regrets that the ‘Strategy Conversation Summary’ – merely a starting point for a planned review – has found its way into the press.

The document covers a raft of possible ECB proposals, for the shortening of Test matches and one-day internationals – among other measures to be considered.

The ECB responded initially on Wednesday by issuing a statement in which it was made clear the paper was intended as an attempt to begin by including all feasible policy changes as part of an extensive review.

Hopes to find a home in the domestic calendar for an ‘English Premier League’ franchise-based Twenty20 tournament are popular with many.

Some of the suggestions are unlikely to win universal approval, however.

Graves told Sky Sports: “It’s very disappointing for me personally – and I’m especially disappointed for our new chief exec Tom Harrison, who sent that out last week to the county chief execs just on views and discussions that we’ve been building up over the last four or five months, on away days that we’ve built with the board with the county chairmen and the execs in here.

“There’s nothing sinister behind it – there’s no hidden agenda behind it.

“The counties wanted transparency. For the first time ever we’ve had a chief exec who’s been transparent, and it’s backfired on him – which I feel a bit sad about.”

In a separate interview, Graves stressed to the Guardian that the ECB is still at the beginning of an important process.

“It’s just something where everyone has thrown into the pot – there’s nothing to read into it.

“Nothing has been pre-empted, and nothing is cast in stone.

“It was just a discussion document put together by the new ECB chief executive.

“This is where we’re starting from. We’ve got a blank sheet of paper and we want to discuss everything. Nothing will be swept under the carpet.

“Nobody wants to say afterwards ‘Why didn’t we think of that?’ [or] ‘Why didn’t we discuss this?’.

“We’ll discuss everything – and if it gets thrown into the long grass, it gets thrown into the long grass.”

It is understood the review is likely to be concluded by early next year.

But Graves points out nothing will be rushed through.

“There’s no timescale – we want to do it openly and properly.

“We’re trying to do the right thing for what spectators want and the right thing for cricket.

“I’m prepared to put my head on the chopping block.

“We’ve got a massive opportunity to make a difference.”

Graves’ election as successor to Giles Clarke, for a five-year term, was confirmed on Tuesday.

The 67-year-old will step aside from his role as Yorkshire chairman, once he takes up his new position at the ECB annual general meeting in May, and Clarke is expected to be named the national governing body’s first president.

Published: Thursday 26th February 2015 by The News Editor

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