Cricket: The Lord's electorate: Rob Steen reveals the men who will decide on English cricket's future at Tuesday's TCCB meeting

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The Independent Online
STRANGE as it may seem, for all the endless sub-committees and working parties, any decisions undertaken by the Test and County Cricket Board Board boil down to a mere 19 votes.

Of these, one is wielded by each of the 18 county chairmen (or their deputies) and half by both the MCC and Minor Counties Cricket Association representatives. Along with sundry other county personnel, emissaries from the Scottish Cricket Union, National Cricket Association and the Oxbridge clubs are entitled to join the debate; none, though, can influence any resolution directly.

Even when a significant vote is is due, these spokesmen are seldom given a mandate by their respective clubs. 'There is a certain amount of democracy,' Bob Bennett, the Lancashire chairman, emphasises, 'but voting is up to the chairman's discretion.'

Nevertheless, the fact that the Gloucestershire committee, for one, has not convened prior to Tuesday's conflab at Lord's infers that no immediate ruling on the identity of Ted Dexter's successor can be expected. Almost to a man, those whose opinions count are adamant that a redefinition of the job should take precedence.

Word has it that one decision will be taken, namely a reversion to 40 overs per side in the Sunday League. This would constitute a sizeable climbdown, since the increase to 50 overs was one of the props of the Murray Report, whose recommendations were accepted last season on the basis of a three-year trial.

Cricketing prowess is far from a pre-requisite for any putative chairman. Only four played at county level with any regularity, and just one has worn an England cap. Among their number are a knight of the realm, an OBE, a multi-millionaire, a magistrate and an erstwhile headmaster of a prominent prep school. The majority are mediocre club players and successful businessmen with eyes peeled more for bottom lines than traditional aesthetics.

THE COUNTY CHAIRMEN

CHRIS MIDDLETON

Derbyshire

Age: 45. Solicitor.

Youngest of the county chairmen. By own admission an 'absolutely useless' player. Circulated letter to fellow chairmen a couple of weeks ago calling for Dexter's head.

DON ROBSON

Durham

Age: 59. Businessman.

Director of several firms. Chairman of National Cricket Association; vice-chairman of Cricket Council. Played in the Tyneside Senior League. One of seven chairmen to vote against the Murray Report. Cites Ray Illingworth as ideal heir to Dexter.

DAVID ACFIELD

Essex

Age: 46. Investment Sales Manager.

Off-spinner who helped Essex break their County Championship duck in 1979. Despite being most prosperous in country, club voted against the Murray Report.

DAVID MORGAN

Glamorgan

Age: 55. Commercial director.

Club member for 40 years. Sat on TCCB marketing committee 1987- 92. Played 'a bit' at school and club level.

DICKIE ROSSITER

Gloucestershire

Age: 55. Accountant.

Former 2nd XI batsman and club treasurer. Member of TCCB finance committee. Club were against the ending of the Benson and Hedges zonal rounds because of revenue loss.

DONALD RICH

Hampshire

Age: 63. Accountant.

TCCB Cricket Council representative. Lancastrian who joined county committee in 1961, he describes his cricketing background as 'club 3rd XI'.

BILL SALE

Kent

Age: 60. Retired headmaster.

Former club president and one of four new chairmen this season alongside Acfield, Mike Sturt (Middlesex) and Maurice Youdell (Notts). Played for Oxford Authentics.

BOB BENNETT

Lancashire

Age: 53. Ran road haulage business before moving to Isle of Man.

Amiable, good-humoured realist who opened for county 1962-66. England tour manager for past two winters.

JOHN JOSEPHS

Leicestershire

Age: 69. Retired.

Chairman of local magistrate's bench. Turned out for county as an all-rounder from 1946 to 1953, then joined committee. 'There's no vast hurry to replace Dexter.'

MIKE STURT

Middlesex

Age: 52. Owns printing firm.

Wicketkeeper who spent career in shadow of J T Murray. Former chairman of county cricket committee.

LYN WILSON

Northamptonshire

Age: 53. Owns construction company.

Named in Sunday Times poll of Britain's Top 100 Earners. Member of the Structure Working Party, which put together the Murrary Report.

MAURICE YOUDELL

Nottinghamshire

Age: 59. Building contractor and developer.

House and Test Match chairman at club for 17 years. Vice-chairman of the National Association of Boys' Clubs.

RICHARD PARSONS

Somerset

Age: 49. Transport contractor.

Elected in 1988. Played for North Somerset Nomads. 'Tuesday represents a good opportunity to examine the way ahead.'

DEREK NEWTON

Surrey

Age: 60. Insurance broker and former company chairman.

Played for the Army and Surrey Young Amateurs. Set up marketing committee at The Oval in the 1960s. Chaired a working party on four-day cricket in 1979.

A W CAFFYN

Sussex

Age: 60. Chairman and chief executive of motor traders.

Former president. Kept wicket for Eastbourne CC.

MIKE SMITH

Warwickshire

Age: 60. Recently sold country club.

OBE, Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1960, ex-selector and only Test player among the 18. Likely to leave the room when votes are cast. The short-priced favourite to succeed Dexter; England's tour manager in the West Indies in the New Year.

DUNCAN FEARNLEY

Worcestershire

Age: 53. Owns bat-making company.

Played extensively for county as a batsman in the 1960s. Entrepreneurial instincts led to signings of Ian Botham, Graeme Hick and Graham Dilley.

SIR LAWRENCE

BYFORD

Yorkshire

Age: 68. Former Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service 1974, CBE 1979, knight bachelor 1984. Chairman of Royal Overseas League. Yorkshire president and TCCB Cricket Council representative.

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