Cricket-Harrison to step down as ECB chief executive next month

FILE PHOTO: England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison arrives to attend a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) meeting at Portcullis House, in London, Britain, November 16, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/

(Reuters) - England cricket chief executive Tom Harrison will step down in June after more than seven years in the role, the country's board said in a statement on Tuesday.

Clare Connor, who is currently Managing Director of England Women's Cricket, is set to take over when Harrison leaves until a permanent successor has been appointed, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) added.

"It has been a huge honour to be CEO of the ECB for the past seven years," Harrison said, adding that the last two years in the role had been challenging.

"But we have pulled together to get through the pandemic, overcome cricket's biggest financial crisis, and committed to tackling discrimination and continuing the journey towards becoming the inclusive, welcoming sport we strive to be.

"I have put everything into this role, but I believe now is the right time to bring in fresh energy to continue this work."

Harrison, who played for Northamptonshire and Derbyshire, took over as CEO in 2015 following stints at IMG and ESPN Star Sports. He oversaw the introduction of the new-format Hundred, the inaugural season of which took place in 2021.

He also helped the ECB navigate the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the racism scandal that rocked English cricket after several players, including former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq, alleged they were victims of institutional racism at their clubs.

"When the pandemic struck, it was Tom's leadership that brought the game together and saved us from the worst financial crisis the sport has ever faced," ECB interim chair Martin Darlow said.

"He has always put the interests of the game first and worked to lead important change to make our game more accessible and inclusive, though we all know there is still much more work to do."

Harrison's decision comes amid plenty of churn in English cricket in the wake of a 4-0 Ashes hammering.

All-rounder Ben Stokes has been appointed as the new captain of the test team, replacing Joe Root, and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was named head coach in the longest format.

According to reports in British and Australian media, Matthew Mott, head coach of the Australia women's team, is the front-runner to take charge of the England men's limited-overs side.

(This story corrects to change 5-0 to 4-0 in third last para)

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar, additional reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Martyn Herman)

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