Mark Arthur began life as Yorkshire’s chief executive yesterday with the long-term aim of re-establishing the county as one of the premier names in world cricket.
The 54-year-old former chief executive of Nottinghamshire, wants to position Yorkshire as a leading contender for the big Test matches when the time comes to renegiotiate the staging agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Yorkshire are guaranteed Test and one-day international cricket each year until 2019 as part of their current staging agreement, but no Ashes Tests either this summer or in two years’ time.
And with 10 clubs effectively competing for seven Tests and 10 one-day internationals in the average year, Arthur is adamant that Yorkshire must raise their game.
Before that, he wants to gradually reduce Yorkshire’s debt of around £20m while also embracing the vast network of cricket within the White Rose county.
“I want to get involved in the community,” said Arthur.
“The future of Yorkshire cricket is going to be at school level, so we have to get close to them and help the future generations learn to love cricket.
“The history and tradition behind Yorkshire cricket is second to none. Yorkshire cricket is special, it’s unique. I’m a marketing person, and we talk about brands and Yorkshire is unique in the world of cricket.
“If we can work together and develop Yorkshire cricket in totality, hopefully when we come to renegotiate the staging agreement with the ECB after 2019, we’re going to be in a very strong position.
“We’ve got to pay down our debts, get more people involved in cricket and make sure that Headingley, as an international venue, is right up there with the very best. But that’s going to take time.”
The first three weeks of Arthur’s tenure will be all about selling tickets for the upcoming England Test match with New Zealand, starting on Friday, May 24.
The club have sold around 10,000 tickets for each of the first three days at the 17,000 capacity stadium.
Inclement weather prior to the Bank Holiday weekend has had a negative impact on sales so far, but with the prospect of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow being in an England Test team at Headingley, Arthur is hoping for a response from the public.
“It’s obviously a fantastic boost to us that Joe and Jonny are very much in the frame for the Headingley Test,” said Arthur. “We would hope that a lot of Yorkshire cricket lovers would like to see those two lads make their first appearance in England colours at Headingley.
“Having the second Test match in the season so early doesn’t give you much time to get tickets sold, and that’s what we’re working very hard on.”