You wouldn’t have to sit in a laboratory wearing a long white coat, goggles, illegible scribbles on a flipped whiteboard and have a masterfully scientific mind to deduce that English cricket is a mess.
You could point to the recent white ball success and say only half of English cricket is in inexcusable disarray. That alone contributes to the overall patchwork fruitcake of an organisation that exists at the head of the nation’s cricket board.
ECB chairman Tom Harrison currently looks like a lucky man. He embodies the shameless energy of a man sweeping changes, saving his own skin whilst Chris Silverwood and Ashley Giles find themselves jobless.
Joe Root in this story mirrors Mufasa hanging off the ledge in ‘The Lion King’ and we all know how that one ends. If you’re an England fan unaware, stop watching, there’s no youngster that ‘Just can’t wait to be King’ in this England setup.
The supposed business experts in charge have gone to the well and invested heavily in the short-form money driver, white ball cricket. It’s left the Test setup in a worse position than ever and as international cricket universally struggles for money it’ll be the one-day pot of gold that funds the new head coach.
The wider grudge-stained storm cloud around the ECB isn’t just the tarnished events of the past 18-months. The inevitable bodies that lost their jobs have played a small part in a larger malaise within a seemingly never-ending existential issue within the sport.
The irony comes when the huge financial boost of The Hundred is used to help fund a blank cheque approach for the next red ball head coach. In what will surely be a specialised role as part of a fundamental reset of English cricket involving a humiliating return to split-coaches, England are in a paradoxical hole.
In creating an even shorter short-form game, the ECB has generated a profitable new face of English cricket but has left the unrecognisable remnants of a Test team that was top of the world less than a decade ago in its wake.
There are monetary positives to come from the Hundred, its impact on women’s cricket is unprecedented. But as England search for a new pair of fresh-faced overseas coaches, it’s the money raised from The Hundred that will have to fund the inevitable money splash in this expedition of self-reflecting trepidation for those at the ECB.
Elsewhere, one of the world’s fastest growing T20 tournaments is the Bangladesh Premier League involving the Chattogram Challengers. Their data analyst James Tomson, a graduate from the University of Gloucestershire, expressed the paramount necessity of splitting coaches and why England need the best in class.
That means the ECB will have to find a way to best use the money they don’t pocket. English Test cricket needs an answer and if it looks anything like Ricky Ponting, Gary Kirsten, or Mahela Jayawardene then it won’t be cheap.
That won’t bother Harrison and his friends though, because it’s the successful white ball system that’s funding it.