England have ‘brilliant opportunity’ to reset red-ball cricket after Ashes thumping, says ECB chief Tom Harrison | Cricket News

Tom Harrison says that English cricket must strike the right balance between red and white ball cricket, given when the games are played and which ball is used in the county game; ECB CEO says crowded international calendar must be addressed in order to successfully manage player workload

Last update: 14/1/22/8:55 AM

European Central Bank chief executive Tom Harrison says Ashes strike has given English cricket a ‘fantastic opportunity’ to ‘reset’ the red ball game

Tom Harrison says the English game has a “fantastic opportunity” to “reset” red ball cricket in the wake of the Ashes’ defeat of the national team.

England were defeated in the first three Tests in Australia this winter as they lost the series after only 12 days of cricket.

Joe Root lost nine out of 15 Tests in 2021 and was thrown out for fewer than 200 Tests on 13 occasions last year.

A focus on white-ball cricket has helped England win the 2019 World Cup over 50 years at home, but European Central Bank chief executive Harrison says it is time to fix the balance of formats.

He said: “Our priority is test cricket. We want to be successful in white ball cricket, of course we do, but we absolutely need to be successful in test cricket.

Joe Root's England lost the Ashes series in just 12 days

Joe Root’s England lost the Ashes series in just 12 days

“This appears to be a moment to re-important red ball cricket in our domestic schedule, for us to reset the way we play top-class cricket in the UK.

Harrison: The Ashes Tour is very difficult

“It’s a great opportunity for us to come together as a game and sort it out once and for all. Sometimes it’s the ability to make a difference to something as complex as our schedule when you have a performance issue, and we have one now.”

“This has been a very difficult tour. I don’t think we can get away with the fact that it was another very disappointing episode in our ongoing attempt to win the Ashes in Australia.

“We really have to get to the gist of this once and for all now and make sure the discussion answers the questions we ask. We shouldn’t be afraid of some of those questions.

“Let’s get the right balance between red and white ball, let’s look when we play red ball cricket, the courts we play on, the ball we use.”

Harrison: The way we manage players' workloads is obviously going to be a huge concern as we go into 2022.

Harrison: The way we manage players’ workloads is obviously going to be a huge concern as we go into 2022.

“Player workload is an excellent concern”

On England’s packed international calendar, Harrison added: “We have to look at the schedule – everyone knows that.

“Obviously the way we manage players’ workloads is going to be a huge concern as we move forward into 2022.

“Internationally, as we emerge from the immediate fallout in the wake of Covid, we have to look at how to manage fixture workloads.

“This is something the ICC Chief Executives Committee needs to address on the tour. It is a tough challenge for global cricket.”

Harrison also suggested that there was a “strong argument” for more cricket knowledge on the ECB’s Governing Council and gave full support for Root’s continuation as a test leader.

However, he was less keen to get involved in the subject of his bonus scheme, with Harrison and other top ECB executives sharing an amount of more than £2m.

Asked whether it would be appropriate to accept payment at a time when performance is under a microscope and finances are stretched due to the pandemic, Harrison added: “This is a question about an employment contract.

“The council has set the criteria by which we are judged, and that’s their matter.”


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