Cricket: Veto for Graveney defeated by counties

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The Independent Online
England were yesterday denied the right to withdraw selected players from matches for international duty by the first-class counties in yesterday's executive meeting.

The motion to give the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, a veto to decide whether to withdraw a player was defeated by a majority of 10 to 8 by the First Class Forum . The ECB chief executive, Tim Lamb, put a brave face on this setback, however, saying: "I am confident that by means of the current `voluntary code' the first class counties will be happy to give the England management team the increased flexibility to influence the activities of the top players that they are looking for."

The FCF did, however, approve a recommendation to reduce the number of registered cricketers per county from 35 to 30 - a move which is bound to anger the bigger clubs on the English circuit, who are protective of their developing youth structure. But the proposal was supported by two- thirds of the counties, and was backed by the Professional Cricketers' Association. It was one of the key proposals in the ECB's "Raising the Standard" document.

Yorkshire yesterday ruled out further negotiations with Headingley's owners in their long-running dispute. The two sides had been examining the possibility of developing the Test venue.

Preliminary discussions into an application for Lottery funding to upgrade Headingley broke down on Wednesday night. The secret meeting had led to reports that Yorkshire were prepared to shelve their ambitious plans to relocate to a purpose-built stadium at Durkar near Wakefield.

Northamptonshire and Worcestershire yesterday stepped up their efforts to sign Devon Malcolm following his announcement yesterday that he had rejected Derbyshire's offer of a new contract.

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