Cricket: Graveney to run against Gooch for the top job

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The Independent Online
David Graveney was given the all-clear yesterday to fight Graham Gooch for the most influential job in English cricket.

The 43-year-old Graveney is now a candidate for the vacant chairman of selectors post following discussions between the Professional Cricketers' Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Graveney, the former Gloucestershire and Durham captain and now general secretary of the PCA, has twice been blocked because his membership believed it would have presented a conflict of interests. But following lengthy negotiations between the association and the ECB, the parties have agreed to modify the role of chairman to exclude him from disciplining any of his membership should he be chosen for the job.

"The reservations expressed by the association in November 1996 have now been adequately resolved," Matthew Fleming, the chairman of the PCA, said.

Gooch, Graveney's fellow selector, told England in November that he would be interested in the vacant post and would retire from playing for Essex if required.

Graveney was first asked to stand by several counties last March against Raymond Illingworth, but was forced to withdraw following opposition from his membership. He again asked the association if he could stand after Illingworth's retirement. But following a poll of members, it was felt he would be unable to represent the association effectively and become chairman.

"I agreed with the reservations expressed in November and if these have been removed it will obviously be a great honour to be involved," Graveney said. "I would stress I have only been put forward as a candidate and a final decision will not be made until mid-March."

The ECB spokesman, Richard Little, said: "England want the selectors purely to select sides and not have any other responsibilities. If the chairman has the responsibility to discipline it's an added workload for him as he must be at all Test matches all the way through in case something happens.

"They will give the disciplinary role to someone else. That was the stumbling block as far as David was concerned and once they decided on that change they were happy for David to stand."