Illingworth to quit after summer

Stephen Fay hears the chairman of selectors say why he has had enough

In a sudden outburst at Headingley yesterday Ray Illingworth said that he would not stay on as chairman of selectors after the summer even if England won all six Tests.

"What has been happening has made me determined to walk away from this job and from cricket totally and completely, at the end of the summer," he said. "If you were in my position you would say the same. But I can hold my head up and say I have tried my best for England. Not everyone can say that."

Illingworth talks like a man who scents a conspiracy designed to squeeze him out of his job. And that is not as daft as it sounds. The evidence appeared in yesterday's Daily Telegraph, where Christopher Martin- Jenkins speculated that next week Illingworth "may yet decide that he has had enough of intrigue, and resign". The assertion, unsupported by hard evidence, provided a bizarre climax to a week with so much rain about that there had been plenty of time to gossip about the publication of Illingworth's account of his reign so far.

Illingworth did not appear in the press box at Headingley until England's innings was well under way, and the conversations that preceded his appearance failed to dispel the speculation. One of the selectors, David Graveney - who had been willing to run for the chairman's job two months ago - said: "That's for him to decide. I haven't seen any sign of it yet." Not exactly a ringing endorsement. But while the chairman himself was absent, the story was like Hamlet without Claudius.

Claudius arrived at tea-time, and declared that he had only just learned of the Telegraph article, and that he had not read it because he had not bought his reading glasses with him. I offered him mine, and he pored over the article silently. When he had finished, he peered through the spectacles and announced: "They didn't get it from me." Any speculation about his thoughts had been put into his mind, as it were, by people who might not be sorry to see him go.

Illingworth's long-term position is now clearer but the confusion of the past week raises a question: is there something rotten in the state of English cricket, or has it all been just a storm in a pint pot?

Although Illingworth's book - robustly titled One Man Committee - is not published until 13 June, he would have preferred that Hodder Headline had waited until Christmas, but he had a contract, and they said they wanted it out in the summer.

Serialisation, which began last week, has given his opponents a chance to strike. The attack was led by Derbyshire, followed up by Lancashire, with Surrey and Warwickshire willing to pepper him if he weakened.

Devon Malcolm is the catalyst. Illingworth is especially hard on the Derbyshire fast bowler, blaming him for England's disintegration on the second day of the Cape Town test in January.

Derbyshire have asked the TCCB to investigate but, unlike the players he selects, Illingworth is not contractually obliged to submit his manuscript to the Board. It would be hard to persuade a jury made up of English cricket-watchers that there should be one rule for the players and another for the selectors. But Illingworth is not likely to be moved - either by natural justice or the enmity of a small group of conspirators.

Derbyshire protest, page 28

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This growing digital marketing ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable