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‘Putting Test cricket on unfastened-to-air tv could bankrupt the sport,’ warns ECB chairman Colin Graves

Colin Graves has commenced his very last 12 months as chairman of the England & Wales Cricket with a stark caution to the following authorities approximately the danger of list Test cricket on free-to-air tv.

Graves has informed Telegraph Sport that forcing the ECB to place Test cricket on terrestrial television might bankrupt the game at every level.

The House of Lords communication and virtual committee final month known as for the Ashes to be proven on terrestrial television and back to indexed popularity which means it can not be offered to satellite broadcasters. Ian Lucas, the MP for Wrexham, referred to as at the ECB to no longer take Test cricket off unfastened-to-air tv once more when Graves and Tom Harrison, the leader executive of the ECB, regarded at a government pick committee listening to in October.

Now Graves, who ends his five-12 months time period as chairman in November 2020, has warned the following authorities no longer to interfere in how the game sells its rights and believes the eight fits within the Hundred and two England Twenty20 fits a good way to be shown stay every yr by means of the BBC from next summer time is enough.

“One of the primary matters I said as chairman changed into we want cricket lower back on terrestrial tv. We have carried out it however Test cricket on terrestrial television is a completely one of a kind ball sport,” he stated. “If you speak to broadcasters, none of them need it. It does no longer in shape into their schedules. The price to do a Test in shape is astronomical from a broadcasting point of view. For a five-day Test you’re speakme production cost of a million quid so there isn’t going to be a queue although they push it that way.

“If any authorities starts pushing loose to air and says it has got to appear, they may be going to take a bit of money out of English cricket. That is not simply professional cricket. It will take a chunk of cash out of recreational cricket, ladies’s cricket, faculties, the entire capturing match so we have to be very, very cautious when we speak to governments and make sure they may be aware about the conditions they might want to get in to.”

Graves’s legacy can be described by way of the fulfillment of the Hundred subsequent 12 months and he has admitted the ECB can be glad if they promote best 60 to sixty five per cent of tickets. He denied the tournament is a chance and believes it’ll pay off ultimately with the ECB decided not to make the same mistake with the Hundred as they did with Twenty20 by way of letting other countries take the format on and depart England in the back of. It is why the board have trademarked the Hundred.

“That is the purpose and what we can be judged on,” he stated while asked if the grounds could be full next year. “All our budgets are setting out at 60-65 in line with cent in 12 months one. If we can reap that it is going to be a exquisite fulfillment. Some of the suits we can now not have any troubles with. The big headers Manchester, Leeds, two in London. But a number of the others we’d have to paintings harder however 60-sixty five in step with cent is what we’re setting out with. If we get above that, which I’m pretty certain we are able to, it will likely be a fulfillment.

The properly and the bad from Colin Graves’ reign
Three excellent
New TV deal – Landing a 4-12 months deal with Sky and the BBC really worth £1.2bn exceeded expectancies as cricket correctly exploited the anxiety within the market created via the appearance of BT Sport.
Winning the World Cup – Players win trophies, no longer directors, but Graves and Harrison reacted unexpectedly to the dismal 2015 World Cup by way of putting Andrew Strauss in price and backing him up via setting white ball cricket at the pinnacle of the concern listing.
The Hundred – It enrages a few however anything you consider the Hundred it changed into pretty an achievement to make the very conservative world of county cricket buy into a event that doesn’t contain them. Turkeys can put an X in the container next to Christmas.
The no longer so precise
The Hundred – The other aspect of the argument. It will marginalise county cricket, and push the championship in addition to the margins hence weakening England’s Test crew.


England’s Test form – England have didn’t win a Test series in 2019, the primary time they have no longer executed so in a calendar 12 months this millennium. If you are taking credit score for the World Cup win, then you have to take delivery of the blame for England’s bad Test cricket.
Standard of county cricket – Clearly the championship is in problem, pitches are poor thus bowlers and batsmen aren’t ready for the step as much as Test cricket. The process of the new chairman is to stability this with the boom of the Hundred in which a lot has been invested.

“How can it’s a chance when you have the cash banked from the broadcasters for five years? If I become jogging my very own business, 5 years is a long time. If I became strolling Costcutter and I ought to bank that profits for five years I would be doing somersaults. That is a splendid function to be in. I do not see that as a threat one iota. We launched T20 however we missed a large opportunity. We gave it away to the relaxation of the arena and did no longer do too much with it due to the fact once more there were numerous soothsayers obtainable calling it Mickey Mouse cricket. Look what has passed off to T20. That is why we’ve finished what we have executed. We are not going to fall in the same lure two times.”

The next chairman might be the first to be paid a salary, within the area of £one hundred fifty,000, and the board have reduced in size headhunters, Odgers, to locate Graves’s replacement. Sources have indicated Hugh Robertson, the former Sports Minister, may be a candidate and he already has the backing of several counties. But the chairman is now not elected by means of a ballot of the counties and will instead be selected through a nominations committee. Graves has stood down as chairman of the nominations committee and been changed through former England cricketer Lucy Pearson. Lord Patel, the present day deputy chairman, is the maximum likely inner candidate.

As for Graves, his time in cricket is unlikely to be over. He is anticipated to go back to his old membership Yorkshire where his circle of relatives agree with has invested extra than £20m in Headingley.

Before he is going he would love to peer a redrawing of the ECB’s drug policy after the Alex Hales case in advance this year. Hales became banned for failing a 2nd test for recreational tablets. Under contemporary tips agreed with the Professional Cricketers’ Association, counties and the ECB are best knowledgeable while a player fails a second take a look at. Graves would love it tightened up so counties and the ECB are advised after a first fine test.

“We have been having discussions with PCA on that,” he stated. “I think if every person is examined superb, each the county and ECB must recognise without delay so we are able to work with them, no longer crucify them, but to be there to assist and help. If you don’t understand after the primary time then you definitely are within the desert.”

Graves helps the Test championship however believes extra money desires to be on provide to encourage countries to stick with Test cricket, which struggles to draw audiences around the arena.

“We had been the ones who have driven the Test championship off the floor at ICC due to the fact Test cricket needs some thing to hold all of it collectively. The worrying issue is you examine Test cricket round the world and maximum of the grounds are empty and this is the sad bit,” he said. “Fortunately we don’t see that in England however ICC has to get its act collectively and ensure Test championship is advertised nicely.

“They ought to put price range in the back of it. I don’t suppose new participants coming to the ICC have to play Test cricket for the first five years. They should simply play white ball cricket until they could make certain they are sustainable financially because they could lose a fortune. We realize if you don’t have complete grounds you will struggle to make sales from a Test in shape. Time will inform.”

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