Chief executive stands down after tumultuous fortnight for the club
Mark Arthur has become the second senior official at Yorkshire to pay the price for the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal, as it was confirmed he has vacated his role as chief executive with immediate effect.
Arthur, who is due to give testimony at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee hearing next Monday, joins chairman Roger Hutton in vacating his position as the full consequences of the club’s botched investigation into Rafiq’s allegations of institution racism became clear.
“Today the board at Yorkshire County Cricket Club has accepted the resignation of Mark Arthur as CEO,” Lord Kamlesh Patel, the new chairman, said in a press release. “We thank him for his tenure.
“This is an important moment for the club which is ready to move forward with new leadership, which will be vital in driving the change we urgently need.
“We know there is still much work to be done and more difficult decisions to be made. We need to rebuild the trust of the fans, the cricketing world and the public”.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Patel had hinted that Arthur’s position had become untenable after a torrid week for Yorkshire, adding that he would make “the right decisions in the coming days”.
Arthur’s departure comes after loss of a raft of key club sponsors including Emerald, Nike and Yorkshire Tea; an ECB suspension from hosting major matches, including next year’s Test against New Zealand; and a wave of allegations of racist behaviour from past and present players, including Gary Ballance, Michael Vaughan, and the current coach Andrew Gale.
It was also confirmed that Yorkshire had settled their long-running employment tribunal with Rafiq, who was awarded a six-figure sum and offered an unreserved apology from Patel, both for the treatment he had received in his time at the club, and for their previous attempts to impose a gagging order in return for a settlement.
Arthur, who took over as chief executive in 2013 after 13 years at Nottingham Forest, oversaw a period of on-field success for Yorkshire, which peaked with back-to-back County Championships in 2014 and 2015, and also signed off the successful rebuilding of the Football Stand End of the ground in a £45 million redevelopment that was completed in 2019.
He oversaw a number of community projects within the county, including the redevelopment of Bradford Park Avenue cricket ground, and six years of progress with the club’s South Asian engagement programme.
However, he has been a repeated target of Rafiq’s frustration given Yorkshire’s inaction in the racism case. On Monday, Rafiq repeated his call for Arthur to step down, along with the director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, whose position – along with that of Gale as head coach – also appears untenable.
“I’ve had eight fantastic years at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, working alongside an outstanding group of people, and together achieving many highlights,” Arthur said. “I would like to thank the members for their support over this period and wish the club all the very best in the years to come.”
The news comes as it was confirmed that Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, and Barry O’Brien, the interim chair, have been added to the list of witnesses at next week’s DCMS hearing.
Harrison, who is currently in the UAE for the ICC’s first in-person chief executives’ meeting since the pandemic, spent the early part of the week in Pakistan, where he met with the PCB chairman, Ramiz Raja, to reaffirm England’s commitment to next year’s multi-format tour of the country.
Ban vs Pak 1st Test
Nurul Hasan was named as Yasir’s concussion substitute, although he won’t be allowed to keep wicket
The incident occurred at the end of the 30th over when Yasir ducked into a Shaheen Shah Afridi bouncer. Yasir briefly took his eye away from the delivery while getting under the ball, and was hit on the helmet.
Bangladesh’s physio Bayejidul Islam checked Yasir immediately, and he went back to batting. But an over later, Bayejid came back to check on Yasir during the drinks break, after which he walked off.
The team director Khaled Mahmud confirmed a few minutes later that Yasir was out of the Test match, with Nurul as his replacement. Yasir has been taken to Imperial Hospital for a CT scan. A BCB statement said later that “he is medically stable. However, as a precaution, he will be observed for 24 hours at the hospital.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2nd Test 2021/22
Roston Chase dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne late in the day, but not before another century opening stand
Sri Lanka 113 for 1 (Nissanka 61*, Karunaratne 42, Chase 1-33) vs West Indies
Nissanka was positive almost from the outset. He drilled a full Jason Holder ball down the ground for four to begin the second over, carved Roach past the slip cordon soon after, and although occasionally beaten by deliveries that jagged past his outside edge, was on a constant hunt for runs, moving to 20 off his first 30 balls. Karunaratne was typically conservative by comparison – defending and leaving the majority of deliveries he faced from the seamers, making just 4 from his first 30 deliveries.
Eventually though, Holder and Roach wrapped up their spells, and batting seemed to get easier. Kyle Mayers was hit for three fours – twice through the leg side by Karunaratne – in his first two overs, the only two he bowled on the first day. Nissanka attempted to dominate the left-arm spin of Veerasammy Permaul, who was playing his first Test since 2015, coming down the track in Permaul’s second over to launch him into the sightscreen.
Soon, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite had spinners bowling from both ends, and although they prompted the occasional mistake, the batters largely settled into a rhythm against them, with Nissanka scoring primarily through the off side, and Karunaratne favouring the leg side, as he often does. Nissanka got to fifty – his third in Tests, and second in the series – off the 74th ball he faced.
Karunaratne’s dismissal came against the run of play. Earlier in that Chase over, he had played a late cut and a flick through midwicket, both of which went for four. But Chase found some rip off the last delivery of that over, and turned a ball more than the batter expected, which produced a return catch off the inside half of the bat as Karunaratne attempted to drive him down the ground.
If he had got to fifty, Karunaratne would have made seven Test half-centuries in as many innings, a feat only six batters had accomplished. In any case, his last seven scores read 42, 83, 147, 66, 118, 244 and 75.
Oshada Fernando survived ten balls before the players went off for bad light. Nissanka was 61 not out off 109 balls, his scoring rate having slowed as the light faded.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
Ray Illingworth reveals cancer diagnosis amid support for assisted dying
Former England captain wants law changed to prevent the suffering of terminally ill patients
Illingworth, who captained England to victory in Australia in 1970-71 and went on to become English cricket’s most powerful figure in the mid-1990s, says that he has undergone two rounds of radiotherapy and hopes to hear a positive prognosis when his condition is reassessed next month.
“They got rid of a lot of the tumour but there were still two centimetres left, originally it was eight,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “They are just hoping to get rid of the last bit with extra double doses. I will see how these next two doses go, keep my fingers crossed and hope I have a bit of luck.”
However, having cared for his wife for the final years of her life, prior to her death in March, Illingworth has lent his support to the Assisted Dying Bill, which received its second reading in the House of Lords in October, and would enable mentally competent adults to make the decision to end their own lives.
At present, the 1961 Suicide Act states that anyone who is found to have assisted a person to take their own life could face up to 14 years’ imprisonment. However, earlier this month, Jersey became the first British parliament to approve assisted dying, with the prospect for a draft law by 2023.
“I don’t want to have the last 12 months that my wife had. She had a terrible time going from hospital to hospital and in pain. I don’t want that,” Illingworth said. “I would rather go peacefully. I believe in assisted dying. The way my wife was, there was no pleasure in life in the last 12 months and I don’t see the point of living like that, to be honest.
“But we don’t have assisted dying in England yet so you don’t have the option do you? They are debating it and I think it will come eventually. A lot of doctors are against it but if they had to live like my wife did in her last 12 months they might change their minds.”
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