ECB puts Centres of Excellence plans on hold

Women's CricZone Staff
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England eye whitewash to end tour on high

England celebrate a wicket. © PCB

The England Cricket Board's (ECB) plan to restructure women's domestic cricket in the country by introducing eight new regional Centres of Excellence has been put on hold as the board continues to assess the situation in the country. With the fast-spreading coronavirus having brought the world to a standstill, and the start of the English season being indefinitely postponed, the ECB have been mulling over the feasibility of starting these Centres - which were meant to be launched in September - at this point.

Despite this uncertainty, CRICKETHer reported that the 20 million pound investment in women's and girls' cricket promised in ECB's new strategy remains secure.

“The ECB remains committed to the transforming women’s and girls’ cricket action plan, despite the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic,” an ECB spokesperson told CRICKETHer. “The Board’s initial two-year investment into this long-term plan remains unaffected and close discussions with our Regional Hosts will continue as the situation becomes clearer."

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With only two of the eight regional women's cricket directors needing to be appointed, the ECB have put all staff and coaching appointments on hold until there is more clarity about how the season will unfold. The six directors already appointed are Lisa Pagett for South West & Wales, Adam Carty for South Central, Laura Macleod for West Midlands, Richard Bedbrook for London & South East, and David Thorley for North West.

In addition, it also appears that the player allocation process for the centres, which was scheduled to begin in June, has also been put on the back burner. This could also mean than the 40 new domestic contracts - five per centre - that were meant to be handed out will also be delayed. This could potentially hurt players who put off seeking more lucrative employment opportunities in the expectation of earning these contracts.

CRICKETHer further reported that with the domestic season likely to be delayed (and reduced), it is possible that the regional 50-over competition proceeds are normal.