Glamorgan will be led by Chris Cooke and David Lloyd next season after a captaincy reshuffles. Cooke continues as Championship captain while also taking charge of the T20 side, while Lloyd will step up for the Royal London Cup, when Cook will be absent at the Hundred.
Cook, 33, oversaw Glamorgan’s best Championship campaign since 2015, as the club kept alive promotion hopes until the final weeks before finishing fourth. He adds the Blast captaincy for 2020, with Colin Ingram relinquishing the role.
“It was an honour to lead the club last year and I’m delighted to continue in the role,” Cooke said. “We saw a lot of improvement in our County Championship performances last season and it’s something we want to take into the Vitality Blast.
“It’s going to be an exciting season and we can’t wait to get started and hit the ground running in April.”
Allrounder Lloyd, 27, has been a regular member of the List A side since 2014 and took charge in one Royal London Cup game last season.
“I thoroughly enjoyed stepping in as captain and it’s a really proud moment to be asked to lead the side in the Royal London Cup,” Lloyd said. “We have a great bunch of lads at the club and a lot of talent in the squad, so there is no reason why we can’t build on last season’s improvement and reach the knockout stages of the competition.”
Cooke will be absent with Birmingham Phoenix during the Hundred, which will also feature Ingram, who was signed as a ‘local icon’ by Welsh Fire.
Glamorgan’s director of cricket, Mark Wallace, said: “Chris did a fantastic job in his first season in charge and led the side with a great deal of enthusiasm and skill. He commands a lot of respect in the dressing room and deserves the opportunity to carry on his good work from last year and take the club forward.
“It’s also great news for Glamorgan that David is taking over the 50-over captaincy. He showed many leadership qualities last year and did a good job under tough circumstances when he deputised for Chris.”
New Leicestershire chief executive Sean Jarvis joins from Huddersfield Town
Leicestershire have announced that board director Sean Jarvis will become their new chief executive in June following the departure of Karen Rothery after only 12 months in the role.
Jarvis will take up his new position on June 24 after completing a 14-year stint at Huddersfield Town FC, where he was commercial director.
“The county is in my DNA and I am honoured to be becoming the chief executive officer of Leicestershire County Cricket Club,” Jarvis said. “I look forward to working with the new board and all of the staff on developing a new and exciting chapter for our cricket club.
“The challenge ahead is not going to be easy but with hard work, commitment and the continued support of our stakeholders, members, supporters and local businesses, I am sure that our future will be much brighter.”
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Rothery described 2018-19 as “another challenging year” for the club soon before her departure, having reported an operating loss of £132,000, but the club expects a return to profitability for the 2019-20 financial year, and recently secured a £1.75m loan from Leicester City Council.
On the pitch, they struggled in all formats last season, winning the County Championship’s wooden spoon and propping up the north group in both the One-Day Cup and the T20 Blast. Tellingly, the club was unable to field an overseas player throughout the T20 campaign due to financial constraints.
Jarvis was described as a “key commercial strategist” on the club’s board of directors over the past year in a press release. Huddersfield’s chairman Phil Hodgkinson thanked him for his “big contribution” at the club.
During his time at Huddersfield, Jarvis was responsible for a commercial partnership with bookmakers Paddy Power in 2019, which attracted national attention after the club wore shirts with the brand’s name in huge font in a sash design in a pre-season friendly. The stunt earned the club a £50,000 fine.
Leicestershire chair Mehmooda Duke said: “We are delighted to welcome Sean to the club as our new chief executive officer.
“Sean has a wide skillset which he has evidenced as a board director over the last 12 months; he comes with a wealth of experience in sport which I am sure will help drive Leicestershire County Cricket Club to a promising future. Sean will be an asset to us and we look forward to him starting in June.”
Dane Piedt ends South Africa career to chase American dream
Dane Piedt, the nine-times capped South African Test offspinner, still harbours hopes of playing at a 50-over World Cup, albeit not for the country of his birth.
Piedt will move to the USA in the next few months to be part of the new Minor League T20 tournament, which is due to launch this summer, ending his career at home.
And he intends to meet qualifying criteria to play for the USA national team and hopes to be part of their campaign to appear at the ICC’s flagship event.
“The USA were given ODI status last year so it’s not completely out of the question,” Piedt told ESPNcricinfo, from his home in Kenilworth in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, on the first day of a three-week nationwide lockdown aimed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
It may be far from the ideal occasion to sign an employment contract that will take Piedt thousands of kilometres away but for him the timing was right. “I just signed the deal this morning but no-one really knows when I will be able to travel. It was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up, financially and for lifestyle reasons, but it was still a tough decision to make.”
To new beginnings … pic.twitter.com/XFZIOxC7z0
— Dane Piedt (@dane_piedt63) March 27, 2020
In opting to move abroad, Piedt has not only taken himself out of contention for national selection but he has also ended a decade-long association with the Cobras franchise, where he has played throughout his career and is entering the complete unknown. He has never travelled to the USA and doesn’t even know where he will be based in the long term. “I’m a massive basketball fan, so that helps,” Piedt said. “I will have a choice of four cities – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Seattle – to live in but the rest will be a surprise.”
Piedt has been taking tips from former Warriors seamer Rusty Theron, who helped him secure the deal. Theron has been living in the USA for several years, studied teaching in Miami and made his ODI debut for the country last year. “He has given me some information, especially about the cricket scene there. It’s a decent set-up and I know they have some good cricketers like Xavier Marshall and a few Australians and Indians who played in national Under-19 teams and then moved.”
Marshall played seven Tests, 24 ODIs and six T20s for West Indies and he along with Theron is the only other former international in the American squad. All that means that Piedt has a realistic chance of pushing for a place in the American national side, something that he can no longer say with regards to South Africa. Despite leading the wickets chart in first-class cricket last summer and finishing in the top 10 in the two seasons before that, Piedt has lost ground to other spinners and sees himself quite far back in the queue.
“Shammo [Tabraiz Shamsi] has really made a mark in white-ball cricket and Keshav [Maharaj] has done exceptionally well for the Test side, he has done exactly what the team needs,” Piedt said. “And if you look at the schedule, South Africa are not due to tour the subcontinent again soon and that’s the only place where I might get a game.”
That is exactly what happened when Piedt was recalled to the South African side to tour India last September, more than three years after being dropped. Like most of the squad that were blanked 3-0, he had a tough time but returned home to captain the South Africa A side against England and was hopeful of still being in contention for the national side. “Enoch [Nkwe] was the coach at the time and he gave me a call and said I was still in the plans,” Piedt said.
Without an Mzansi Super League (MSL) deal, that was the last sliver of hope for Piedt to cling to until it became clear everything was changing. In the last two weeks of 2019, South African cricket was overhauled and it became apparent to Piedt his ship had sailed. Unlike the last time he considered walking away – three years ago when he flirted with the idea of a Kolpak contract – this time he waited for an opportunity to come to him. When it did, the Cobras management were the first people he told.
“I did it the proper way. I gave the coach [Ashwell Prince] a call and explained it to him and he was very understanding. I explained that this is an opportunity to further my cricketing career,” Piedt said. “It’s something different, a new challenge. I have always been someone who goes against the grain.”
Piedt has identified Zubayr Hamza, who led the Cobras in the domestic one-day cup this season and finished as the tournament’s top scorer, and Kyle Verreynne, who made his ODI debut for South Africa against Australia last month, as potential successors for the franchise captaincy. “I’d really like to see the younger guys step up,” he said. And although he will not be around to mentor them, he knows there are some veterans who will. “Someone like Rory Kleinveldt who retired this season, I know will still be involved in cricket here in the Cape when we start up again.”
Though the sport was about to head into its off-season in South Africa, the season was clipped right at the end, with the playoffs of the one-day cup and the last two rounds of the first-class competition canceled, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. No teams are training at the moment, leaving professional sportspeople to do “home gym,” as Piedt put until at least April 16, when the lockdown is scheduled to end.
Piedt, like millions of other South Africans, is confined to home but his period of isolation did not start too badly. He celebrated 11 months since his wedding with his wife Misha today and is taking the opportunity to enjoy some “quality time,” with her after a busy summer.
“I had a lot of commitments this season because I was also working as a commentator so I was away a lot, so now we can have some bonding time,” he said. “We’ve bought five board games and my wife beat me at Scrabble yesterday. Today, we are playing a game called Sequence and my wife thinks I will win at this one because it’s all about luck. And we are trying some new recipes, same as everyone else.”
But there’s a cruel twist in all of this. Piedt used to have a dog called Corona, a Husky, named after the beer, who was taken from him two years ago after suffering a stroke. “When I heard the name of the virus, I thought maybe she was paying me back for all the walks I didn’t take her on,” he said. “It’s sad but it’s life. You never know where it will take you next. Like a cricketer’s life. You just never know.”
Coronavirus outbreak: County cricket latest
The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic has led to the start of the English season being put back until at least May 28, and left many counties facing a potentially damaging shortfall in finances. How has your club responded to the situation? Here we will keep track of ongoing developments.
The club has been operating with a skeleton staff since first-team squad returned home early from tour of Zimbabwe. Reported record profits in 2019.
CEO Tim Bostock thinks that bigger counties are more likely to suffer significantly as a result of the crisis due to the fact a lower percentage of their income comes from the ECB, with events, conferences and hotels all contributing significantly in a typical year.
“They’ve got businesses that rely on income outside of ECB regular monthly funding – particularly I can think of Lancashire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire, the Ageas Bowl,” Bostock told talkSPORT. “They’ve done the right thing, they’ve diversified so that they can survive without ECB income, but what that has meant is… that has fallen off the edge of a cliff through no fault of their own. That is a major challenge.
“A club like Durham – a larger percentage of our income comes from the guaranteed ECB income as a result of the new television deal, and therefore we are much less exposed. I can confidently say that what’s coming in is more than what’s going out.
“We absolutely are in a position where we don’t need to lay anybody off, and we don’t need to reduce anybody’s salary. Rather than reducing headcount and making savings, we took the view that we would support [our staff].
The club have closed the Riverside to the public and non-essential staff, and also offered use of the ground to the local council and the NHS.
Executive directors have voluntarily agreed to a short-term pay cut of 20% and are in talks with local council to discuss terms of a loan repayment, among other measures.
“We feel these are exceptional circumstances,” chief executive Simon Storey told ESPNcricinfo. “We will find a way through this for Kent.”
Chief executive Daniel Gidney has issued a statement to members, signalling his intention to keep hold of staff where possible.
“We’re carrying that large staff payroll – when the turnover drops off like that and the phone just stops ringing, that has a catastrophic short-term effect on any organisation,” Gidney said. “We have some difficult measures to make, we have some cost-cutting to do, but we’re doing everything we can to protect our biggest asset which is our staff.”
The club had been due to hold its AGM on March 26 but, on legal advice, the meeting was opened and then adjourned until a later date. Staffing at Grace Road has also been reduced to “minimal levels”.
Leicestershire’s chairman, Mehmooda Duke, said: “We have an extremely hardworking group of staff and we have always built our own sense of cricket family, our own ways of working, and strong procedures over the years. Together, we have to keep the foundations of that family strong and work hard to support each other in every way we can.”
Alex Wakely‘s benefit year has been pushed back to 2021. “We’d put a lot of work into it and most of my events were ready to go and we were in a really good place,” he told the Independent. “But ultimately regardless of anything, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it.”
Head coach Jason Gillespie has flown back to Australia, and is currently in self-isolation. “I get packages of supplies dropped off by my family,” he told the Sussex website. “I hear the doorbell ring and go to the door where I see the family standing 30 feet away.”
Players have been ringing elderly members to make sure they are coping with self-isolation. “The main takeaway we both took from the conversation was that perspective at times like these is really important,” said batsman Adam Hose after one call. “You have to take a step back and be really thankful for the things you do have.”
Announced on March 26 the decision to furlough “a large proportion” of staff. The club will continue to operate with a skeleton staff during the ongoing period of lockdown.
Chief executive Mark Arthur said: “At this unprecedented time, we have taken this positive step to protect jobs at the club. By taking advantage of the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, we are able to preserve jobs at Yorkshire during such a difficult financial period.”
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