Andrew Strauss emerges as a surprise candidate to be the new ECB President

Sir Andrew Strauss has emerged as a surprise candidate to be the new chairman of England & Wales Cricket, gathering support from figures within the governing body and county network.

Telegraph Sport understands the support is growing behind Strauss’ bid as English cricket faces tough decisions over the structure of top-class cricket after another poor Ashes tour.

Strauss has the cricketing credibility to drive through change and hold tough discussions with counties over the calendar with chief executive Tom Harrison, describing the Ashes debacle this week as the perfect opportunity for a ‘reset’ that puts priority on cricket red ball.

The ECB has been without a full-time chairman since Ian Watmore was sacked last October, 13 months into a five-year contract, for his handling of the postponed Pakistan tour and his failure to lead the structure of the national calendar.

Richard Thompson, the influential chairman of Surrey, has been linked with the post and is the leading contender among the counties, but his previous opposition to the Hundred would be a tough hurdle for him given his importance to Sky and the BBC. Sky has already reopened negotiations with the ECB over the renewal of its broadcasting agreement two years earlier than expected, such has been the success for them of The Hundred in its first year. Telegraph Sport revealed this week that a ten-year contract is a possibility.

Strauss is currently chairman of the ECB’s cricket committee and attends board meetings without voting rights. Harrison admitted this week that the board needed more people with top professional cricketing experience.

The Presidency is a fully paid role worth around £150,000 a year plus expenses. Strauss resigned as England manager in 2018 to help care for his late wife. Since then, he has set up the Ruth Strauss Foundation and worked as a consultant for the Rajasthan Royals, as well as Chairman of the ECB Cricket Committee.

Strauss will review the Ashes end-of-tour report currently being compiled by Ashley Giles and performance manager Mo Bobat, and traveled to Australia to see first-hand how the tour was handled.

Harrison has traveled with the team since the start of the Test series and revealed on Saturday that he was in talks with Cricket Australia to ensure English County players are assigned to Sheffield Shield teams in the two years before a Ashes tour to give them experience. to play on Australian courts.

“The reality is that we need to spend a lot more time with players in Australian conditions. I’ve had a number of conversations with Cricket Australia and have written to Cricket Australia officially asking if they would consider allowing us to put players into Sheffield Shield cricket, for example, as a significant change that we can bring. told the BBC.

“We have had to cancel many individual player preparation plans – which would have involved time in Australia – due to the [Covid] pandemic, because effectively Australia was closed, and a number of other tours that were planned to allow us to be in better shape for this tour had to be shelved.”

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