MARTYN MOXON will chair a special meeting of the county directors of cricket next month which will aim to shape the game’s future at a critical time.
The Yorkshire chief will join his fellow DoCs at Edgbaston on April 10 to discuss many of the key issues facing the sport, including:
Players giving up red-ball cricket to chase T20 cash, a la Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid, and the need for a county-wide strategy to tackle the problem.
The health of the County Championship and how it should be preserved and protected amid widespread fears for the red-ball format.
How best to respond to the proliferation of T20 tournaments around the world that impact on player availability at county level.
Moxon, the coaches’ representative on the England and Wales Cricket Board cricket committee, will convey his findings to the governing body after gathering the views of those “on the coalface”, as he puts it, rather than those “in an office”.
Outlining his plans at Yorkshire’s annual general meeting on Saturday, Moxon said: “At the meeting on April 10, we’ll be talking about the way forward in general.
“What is the County Championship going to look like in the future? What structure will it have? What format should it be: two divisions or a Conference system? Does every county want to play red ball, or is white-ball the priority for certain clubs? Let’s sit down and have the conversation.
“Also, how are we going to manage this 20-over situation?
“From our point of view at Yorkshire, we want players who want to play for Yorkshire first and foremost, but, at the same time, we have to accept that there is life-changing money out there for players who are good enough to go and play in these T20 competitions.
What I don’t want to see – and I’m sure the game doesn’t want to see – is a situation where the players are playing counties off against each other,Yorkshire director of cricket, Martyn Moxon
“We have to try and get that balance because what I don’t want to see – and I’m sure the game doesn’t want to see – is a situation where the players are playing counties off against each other, saying, for example, ‘Yorkshire won’t pay me that, so I’m going to play in Bangladesh and the Big Bash or whatever, but Surrey will pay me the money that I’m looking for.’
“I don’t think the game can get into that situation, and I think we have to have a common policy as counties as to how we act, and to avoid a situation where counties become the last pick, if you like; i.e., ‘I’ll play for my county if everything else fails’.”
In particular, Moxon is seeking financial consensus as to how clubs should respond if, for example, they find themselves in the same position that Yorkshire found themselves with Rashid, who has re-negotiated a white-ball only deal at a reduced salary.
“We need that financial agreement of how we’re going to tackle this,” he said.
“If you have a player who’s potentially going to play in several T20 comps, then what kind of salaries should counties pay?
“Inevitably, there’s going to be fatigue, both mental and physical, if a player is away playing T20, so what should the general parameters be when it comes to paying someone like Adil Rashid?
“If we don’t have that financial cover, if you like, then we can’t employ someone else to cover for someone who’s away playing T20, so it’s really important that we discuss all these issues.”
Rashid’s situation was a big talking point at the AGM, which was a largely tepid affair, featuring such momentous issues as the need for improved coffee in the Emerald Headingley Long Room.
Tony Vann, a Yorkshire vice-president, was particularly outspoken against Rashid’s decision to give up County Championship cricket this season, saying that he is “letting his team-mates down and letting the club down”.
Vann said that Yorkshire “held all the aces” and should have insisted that Rashid played a full part in his benefit season. “I am certain that’s what Brian Sellers would have told him,” he added, referring to the famously forthright former Yorkshire cricket chairman.
Moxon did not disagree with the broad tone of Vann’s argument, saying that he was also disappointed with Rashid’s decision.
“In my opinion, he should be playing for England in all three formats of the game with the ability he’s got, so I’m disappointed that he’s not doing that and that he’s not still putting himself forward to try and do that,” he said.
Moxon added: “Having said that, we have renegotiated his contract, so we’re not paying him by any means a full contract amount, and we still believe he has value to the club as a white-ball player.
“If Adil comes back to us determined, committed to play as well as he possibly can in white-ball cricket and wins us some games, happy days, because that’s all we’re paying him for financially.
“The situation is going to be reviewed in August, and he’s not sure himself how long this is going to be for, and it will be very interesting to see how long it is for. We will be reviewing it on what value is Adil Rashid to Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”
Richard Hutton was re-elected club president at the AGM, while Hanif Malik was elected to the board.