On the Front Foot: Can life ever be the same for spurned Lord's chief Collier?


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The Independent Online

Life at ECB Towers can return to normal. After weeks of uncertainty, nods, winks and, late in the day, actual interviews, it is now known that David Collier, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board based at Lord's, will not be the new head of the International Cricket Council. Pipped at the post after the selection panel was split, Collier will now return to running English cricket, at which he has been extremely adept, rather than trying to sort out world cricket, which would have been to enter a nest of vipers. It will be intriguing to see, however, if life really can return to normal.

From the start, when Haroon Lorgat announced his resignation as ICC chief executive, Collier made his intentions clear. He publicly set out his stall for the job and was often to be seen lately in Dubai, where lie the ICC headquarters in the middle of nowhere.

Collier's hand was still on the ECB tiller but he had made pretty clear his intention to jump ship. Cricket folk were feverishly discussing who might follow him in guiding English cricket through the stormy waters ahead. Having made his desires so clear it may not be easy either for Collier or his staff to pretend that nothing has changed. Collier will be fighting for and protecting the ECB's interests frequently at the ICC. And having been thwarted, can he ever genuinely believe that the ECB is where his heart still lies?

The man who has received the ICC nod is Dave Richardson, lawyer, former South Africa wicketkeeper and for 10 years the ICC's general manager for cricket. Collier will be understandably disappointed having immersed himself in cricket administration – he worked at Essex, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire – around stints in big business. But he can console himself with the thought that going to Lord's to work every day sure beats the heck out of working at a headquarters building which stands amid a building site in the middle of the desert, less the throbbing hub of a world sport than an outbuilding on a forgotten industrial estate.

No Marks for effort

England's most senior cricketer, Mark Ramprakash, bagged a pair on Friday – only the third of his 25-year career.

Since Ramprakash was capped by Middlesex in 1990, three seasons after making his county debut, there have been 694 pairs in English cricket, but this was a rare instance of scoring 0 in both innings on the same day.

But in 1964, Northamptonshire opener Mick Norman was out twice for 0 to the first ball of the innings playing against Glamorgan in Swansea.

Sri Lanka's learning curve

Mixed messages are emerging from Sri Lanka about Twenty20 cricket. On the one hand, the cricket board has announced the establishment of the Sri Lanka Premier League, to which it hopes to attract world stars. On the other, the Ministry of Education is recommending the banning of Twenty20 in schools where cricket is on a par with sport in American colleges.

Thousands attend every weekend but head of the institute of sports medicine Arjuna De Silva, said: "If we start this in schools are we sending a message that the IPL is the main aim for kids and that Test cricket is useless? Senior players and coaches have told me that if players don't learn the basics and learn improvised shots from the start, it will be detrimental to the game in general and to Test cricket in particular."

Wise words but the elephant has already run amok in the room.

Out with old, in with Newell?

It was widely publicised that Mick Newell, the Nottinghamshire coach, was on verge of becoming coach of Bangladesh. No surprise there for Newell has an accomplished, innovative cricket brain.

The first he knew of any link whatever with the job, since he never dreamed of applying, was when Bangladesh announced he was on the short list.