Rudderless ECB could make stand-out candidate Thompson as new chairman

Rudderless ECB could appoint Richard Thompson as its new chair… as the Surrey chief ponders putting himself forward to replace Ian Watmore in a move that could bring radical approach to English cricket

  • The ECB has been without a chairman since Ian Watmore left the role in October
  • Surrey boss Richard Thompson is considering putting himself forward for the job
  • Ron Kalifa was widely expected to be given the position but has now withdrawn

Richard Thompson could step in to end the ECB’s tortuous search for a new chairman.

The Surrey chief has long been the outstanding candidate for a position that has been vacant since October when Ian Watmore carried the can for England’s decision not to tour Pakistan.

But the extensive business interests of Thompson, group chairman of the M&C Saatchi entertainment company, had appeared to be an obstacle to him taking over at the troubled governing body.

Radical Surrey chief Richard Thompson could step in to become the new chairman of the ECB

Ian Watmore left the role in October and Ron Kalifa was set to replace him before withdrawing

Now, with the ECB administration rudderless and the position of chief executive Tom Harrison in jeopardy, Thompson is believed to be considering putting himself forward for the crucial role and if appointed, can be expected to bring a radical approach to English cricket at a pivotal time in its history.

The agonising hunt for a new chairman reached a nadir on Monday when Ron Kalifa, who was widely expected to be offered the job, pulled out amid suggestions of a stitch-up to enable him to take the role.

Sportsmail revealed last month that the ECB’s nominations committee, chaired by Kalifa, had rejected all three candidates on their shortlist, leaving the man who conducted the search free to put himself forward.

New managing director Rob Key is one of the figures carrying out interviews for Test coach

That caused disquiet among the counties, who would support a bid by Thompson, 54, a forward-thinking chairman during Surrey’s rise to become the most powerful county in cricket.

Meanwhile, Rob Key, the new managing director, Harrison and Sir Andrew Strauss on Monday conducted the first interviews for the roles of England Test and white-ball coach, with Gary Kirsten expected to land the red-ball job this week.

There could also be roles in the white-ball set-up for Nick Knight and Mark Alleyne, while the intriguing figure of New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum is also on Key’s radar.

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