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Andrew Strauss to leave ECB role after counties reject reform plan

Andrew Strauss rings a bell to signify the start of play
Andrew Strauss rings a bell to signify the start of play

 Andrew Strauss is to leave his position as strategic adviser to the England and Wales Cricket Board after his suggested reforms to the domestic calendar failed to gain the backing of English counties.

The former England captain was commissioned to conduct a high-performance review following the team's 2021/22 Ashes rout in Australia.

His report made 17 recommendations, notably reducing the overall number of first-class and T20 Blast matches in an English season. 

But his proposals sparked a backlash among county loyalists, angered at what they deemed another attempt to blame the domestic game for the national side's latest failure in Australia.

And with most of England's 18 first-class counties member-owned clubs, Strauss's plan failed to gain sufficient support, with the existing schedule remaining in place.

The case for a major shake-up of the county structure was also weakened as an England side that had own just one of its last 17 Tests under former captain Joe Root, went on to triumph in 10 of their next 12 under new skipper Ben Stokes and red-ball coach Brendon McCullum.

There was an administrative shake-up too, with Richard Gould succeeding Tom Harrison as ECB chief executive and Richard Thompson taking over as chairman.

Strauss, previously the ECB's director of men's cricket, had regarded his proposals as all of a piece and the 46-year-old has signalled his intention to stand down at next month's annual general meeting.

He has several commitments away from cricket, notably at the Ruth Strauss Foundation, a lung cancer charity he established in honour of his late wife.   

"I've really enjoyed my time at the ECB and am proud of having contributed to a successful period for our England teams," said the former Ashes-winning skipper in a board statement.

"With increasing commitments outside of the organisation, sadly I've decided it's time to step away from my current role. I wish the new board all the very best as it continues in its mission to grow our game."

Thompson, paying tribute to the 46-year-old ex-opener contribution, said: "Andrew has given outstanding service to English cricket over many years in a number of different roles. 

"I've greatly valued the advice and expertise he has provided in my time as chair, and have enjoyed working with him.

"We are currently implementing the vast majority of recommendations from his impressive high performance review, which I believe will help our England men's teams to sustain their success."