Lord Kamlesh Patel is the likely interim replacement, though former Yorkshire and ECB chairman Colin Graves is keen on another stint
Roger Hutton has resigned as chairman of Yorkshire with immediate effect citing a lack of support from the ECB and a lack of “care and contrition” from senior management at the club.
Hutton, who joined the club in April 2020 after Azeem had left, was the man who called for Yorkshire’s report into the issue and has remained insistent that he wanted to publish its findings. Indeed, it is believed that, in recent weeks, he became convinced that the club would have to sack most of its coaching staff and much of its management team if it was to rebuild with a more healthy culture.
But, thwarted by legal advice and a club management which insisted they had nothing to learn or regret, Hutton was unable to implement the changes he desired. Finally, with politicians blaming him for the club culture and the club management sensing him as the enemy, he stepped down with immediate effect while also calling for the club’s chief executive, Mark Arthur, and director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, to resign. A couple of non-executive directors who remained loyal to Hutton are also likely to announce their resignation today.
“For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge,” Hutton said in a statement released to ESPNcricinfo. “There has been a constant unwillingness from the Executive members of the Board [Arthur and Moxon are the executive members of the board] and senior management at the Club to apologise and to accept racism and to look forward.
“During my time as Chairman, I take responsibility for failing to persuade them to take appropriate and timely action. This frustration has been shared by all of the Non-Executive members of the Board, some of whom have also now resigned. I now call for those Executive members of the Board to resign, to make way for a new path for the Club I love so much.
“I am sorry that we could not persuade Executive members of the Board to recognise the gravity of the situation and show care and contrition. I remain disappointed that legal restrictions, including an ongoing employment tribunal, have prevented the investigation report from being published and look forward to the time that everyone can see its recommendations. I hope for it to be published as soon as possible.
Hutton departs with a swipe at the ECB, too. Early in the saga, he recognised that the club needed to undergo a significant cultural change and reached out to the ECB for help. For various reasons, the ECB declined.
“I want to be clear that when I was made aware of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations, I immediately reached out to the ECB to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust inquiry,” Hutton said. “I was saddened when they declined to help as I felt it was a matter of great importance for the game as a whole. It is a matter of record that I have continually expressed my frustration at the ECB’s reluctance to act.”
With Hutton gone, the stage might have been set for a return for Colin Graves. The former Yorkshire and ECB chairman is keen on another stint at Yorkshire and is insistent that the current management team should remain in place. His family trusts, which are owed somewhere around £18m, retain a veto upon anyone joining the Yorkshire board and are understood to have called for a vote of no-confidence against Hutton a week or so ago. The vote was defeated.
It is understood, however, that there are significant reservations at both the ECB and within the Yorkshire board about Graves’ return. Not only are the ECB increasingly committed to seeing a changing of the guard at Yorkshire, but they feel the return of Graves – who was chairman of the club for much of the period to which Azeem is referring – would do nothing to improve its tainted image.
It is also understood that, should he attempt to return, Graves would be called as a witness by the DCMS committee to answer questions about his first stint at the club and his desire to back the current management.
In that case, it looks likely that a compromise candidate could emerge. Lord Kamlesh Patel, a former ECB board member, who remains close to Graves and the ECB, looks set to be appointed in at least an interim capacity.
If Patel is appointed, it seems he will be charged with engineering a clear-out of coaching and executive staff and attempting a change of culture at the club. Hutton’s departure from the club looks certain to be the first of many.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
South Africa vs Netherlands 2021
Although Netherlands are unable to catch a flight out, it is understood the players have communicated they are not in the right mental state to play
Although Netherlands will be in South Africa for the duration of the series because they are unable to catch a flight out, ESPNcricinfo understands that the players have communicated they are not in the right mental state to play. On Friday, their coach Ryan Campbell tweeted that the team played with “unbelievable pressure hanging over their heads,” after travel restrictions began to affect the southern African region.
“We are disappointed by the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, but the comfort of all visiting teams must always be paramount,” Pholetsi Moseki, CSA’s acting CEO, said. “The mental well-being of players is one of CSA’s top priorities, and we respect our visitors’ position and point of view.
“CSA and KNCB will get into discussions around possibly rescheduling the tour within this cycle of the ICC Future Tours Programme ending in 2023.”
“We are saddened by these circumstances, but are grateful to Cricket South Africa for their assistance and understanding of our team’s position,” Jurgen Delfos, chairman of Netherlands cricket board, said. “
It must be made clear that the concerns are strictly over travel issues and how soon the team can get home and have nothing to do with the integrity of the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) that CSA has successfully hosted. Our team has been pleased with every aspect of the organisation of the tour and have been well treated by our hosts.”
The United Kingdom, United States, much of Europe, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand have all banned travel to and from countries in southern Africa, and imposed a quarantine on their own citizens returning from the region in response to Omicron.
News of a new variant was first made public on Tuesday, November 23 and cases in the Gauteng province of South Africa, where the Netherlands series is taking place, have increased severalfold since. Although South Africa is only reporting around 2,000 new cases a day, there are concerns this will rise exponentially and stricter restrictions are due to be introduced soon. South Africa is currently on Level 1 of 5 of its restrictions, the most lenient since the pandemic began, and the first ODI was the first time since March 2020 that cricket was played in front of a limited crowd, but the government is meeting on Saturday to discuss further measures.
As yet there is no indication of how this will affect the rest of the cricket calendar. India A are also in South Africa, playing first-class matches against South Africa A in Bloemfontein. So far, that series is continuing. India’s senior side is due to travel to South Africa for three Tests, three ODIs and four ODIs on December 8. India has not imposed any restrictions on southern African travelers to date, but has stricter testing measures for people from the region in place.
Last summer, South Africa’s season was severely impacted after England left the country early without playing the ODI leg of their white-ball tour and Australia pulled out of a four-Test series which was pencilled in as the marquee event of the summer. Sri Lanka and Pakistan both toured the country without incident in strict bio-bubble conditions, which Cricket South Africa will replicate for the India series.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
Recent Match Report – Scorchers Wm vs StrikersWmn Final 2021/22
The home side finished strongly with the bat and started superbly with the ball in the powerplay
Perth Scorchers 5 for 146 beat Adelaide Strikers 6 for 134 by 12 runs
The middle order did their best to keep Strikers in the match with useful hands but it proved out of reach despite Madeline Penna’s best efforts with 30 not out off 21 balls.
Kapp produced some superb deliveries to build the pressure on Strikers’ openers and it was Devine who earned the reward when Katie Mack’s extraordinary run of scoring was halted as he she drove to cover. Before this match Mack had made 332 runs in her last six innings for just one out.
Laura Wolvaardt and captain Tahlia McGrath rebuilt with a stand of 65 in eight overs which was forming a base from where Strikers could have run down the target. However, both fell within the space of six balls carving catches to the off-side ring which meant new batters had little time to get set.
The prolific Scorchers opening pair of Devine and Beth Mooney made a solid if unspectacular start after being put into bat, reaching 0 for 37 after the powerplay. They were immediately aggressive against Amanda-Jade Wellington who conceded more in her first four balls than she did the entire record-breaking Eliminator spell, although she would fight back well.
Neither opener could really cut loose and Strikers started to chip away at the top order. Mooney picked out mid-off, Devine was run out by a direct hit by Dane van Niekerk from short third and Chloe Piparo edged Darcie Brown who was rewarded for some rapid outswing bowling.
At 3 for 75 in the 12th the innings was at a tipping point and there was caution from Kapp and Heather Graham which threatened to leave Scorchers short. However, Kapp started to find the boundary and King made a dynamic late entrance with three boundaries in a five-ball stay.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2021-22 in Zimbabwe called off following concerns over new Covid-19 variant
The tournament cannot be rescheduled, as the ODI World Cup is scheduled for March-April 2022
The women’s ODI World Cup qualifying event in Zimbabwe has been called off after travel restrictions were imposed on large parts of southern Africa following the detection of a new Covid-19 variant, called Omicron, in the region. With the marquee event scheduled to take place next year in March and April, the qualifier cannot be held at a later date, and the three remaining spots will be decided according to the ICC rankings.
Hosts New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and India have already qualified for the tournament. They will now be joined by Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan.
ESPNcricinfo has learned that the cutoff date for the women’s ODI rankings taken into consideration for deciding on the final three teams for 2022 ODI World Cup was September 30. Between the start of the pandemic and August 31, 2021, Pakistan played eight ODIs, winning two, West Indies played 10, winning three and having one tied, while Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh played none. Bangladesh, however, are understood to have been well ahead of Ireland and Sri Lanka on the rankings for more than a year.
Concerns over the future of the qualifier were raised on Saturday morning when the match between Sri Lanka and West Indies was called off without a ball bowled. ESPNcricinfo understands that the fixture could not be played because a member of the Sri Lankan support staff had tested positive for Covid-19.
“We are incredibly disappointed to have to cancel the remainder of this event but with travel restrictions from a number of African countries being imposed at such short notice, there was a serious risk that teams would be unable to return home,” Chris Tetley, the ICC head of events, said.
“We have explored a number of options to allow us to complete the event but it isn’t feasible and we will fly the teams out of Zimbabwe as soon as possible. Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will now qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 by virtue of their rankings, whilst Sri Lanka and Ireland will also join them in the next cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship.”
On the whole, Zimbabwe’s caseload remains relatively low at under 135,000, with fewer than 5000 deaths. However, with travel in and out of the country becoming increasingly difficult, the qualifier had to be scrapped for logistical reasons. Emirates Airline, which flew the teams into Harare, is understood to be suspending the route in the coming days.
The variant was first discovered in Botswana and has infected several hundred people in neighbouring South Africa, which is on the brink of a fourth wave of infection. The UK, USA, much of Europe, Australia, Sri Lanka and Thailand have all suspended travel to and from countries in southern Africa, putting several international events in doubt.
India A are also in South Africa, playing first-class matches in Bloemfontein. So far, that series is known to be on schedule, since the region is regarded as safe. India’s senior side is due to travel to South Africa for three Tests, three ODIs and four ODIs on December 8. India has not imposed any restrictions on southern African travellers yet, but has installed stricter testing measures for people from the region.
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