YORKSHIRE today face a grilling from their members over the controversy surrounding Adil Rashid’s decision to give up red-ball cricket.
Some supporters are unhappy that Rashid has turned his back on County Championship/Test cricket this summer and that Yorkshire have allowed him to renegotiate a white ball-only deal.
Former Yorkshire and England fast bowler Darren Gough said that the club should have offloaded the player rather than agree to his demands.
Others, however, believe that players should be free to choose which forms of the game they are best suited to and which are more financially lucrative, with Notts’ Alex Hales another to have followed the white-ball path.
The issue is set to be a major talking point at the club’s annual general meeting at Emerald Headingley today (10am start).
In response to any dissenting voices, Yorkshire will argue that although they were disappointed with Rashid’s decision (announced just before the start of the new season), they respect it and have no wish to lose his skills in the white-ball formats.
The club are without a white-ball trophy for 16 years despite having made good strides in those areas in recent times.
Whether that will satisfy an audience mainly comprised of cricketing traditionalists remains to be seen, with the issue among the more divisive at present in the cricketing world.
Instances of players specialising in red- or white-ball cricket are only likely to increase due to the proliferation of money-spinning T20 franchise competitions, with Rashid hoping to land money-spinning deals rather than purvey his craft in the first-class game.
Yorkshire feel that one way to combat this threat to the sport is to make Test cricket – accessed, of course, via the pathway of the County Championship – more financially rewarding, thereby forcing players to think twice before taking the T20 route.
In response to any dissenting voices, Yorkshire will argue that although they were disappointed with Rashid’s decision (announced just before the start of the new season), that they respect it and have no wish to lose his skills in the white-ball formats.Chris Waters
The club have called for a game-wide debate on the subject and have made their feelings known to the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Other issues that could be discussed at today’s meeting include ECB compensation payments to Test-hosting counties such as Yorkshire amid fears that it could create a county elite that puts non-international counties at risk.
Andy Nash, the former Somerset chairman, resigned from the ECB board over proposed compensation payments of £500,000 a year to Test grounds that do not hold a Test in any given year from 2020 to 2024, arguing that it could further chip away at the 18 county system by giving payouts to the chosen few.
Hampshire stand to make £2.5m as they do host a Test in any of those years, while Yorkshire do not stage a Test in 2020 or 2024.
Now Glamorgan have admitted to receiving £2.5m from the ECB in return for not bidding for a Test during that five-season period, with ECB chairman and former Yorkshire supremo Colin Graves set to meet the first-class counties next week in an effort to quell mounting unrest.
Yorkshire will today tell their members that the club’s turnover has risen from £6.7m in 2013 to £9.7m last year, highlighting the work taking place off the field.
The club have circa £25m of historic debt, but chief executive Mark Arthur is confident that they will clear that on the back of the international games they have been awarded for 2020 to 2024, the centrepiece of which is an Ashes Test in 2023, worth up to £5m alone.
Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon are set to be re-elected to the club’s board, having retired by rotation, while Hanif Malik is set to become a board member.
Former Yorkshire and England all-rounder Richard Hutton is set to be re-elected club president.
The AGM will also feature a tribute to Dave Callaghan, “the voice of Yorkshire cricket”, who died earlier this month, aged 63.
Hundreds of mourners packed St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Wetherby yesterday for the funeral of the BBC Radio Leeds cricket commentator, including numerous Yorkshire players, officials and staff.
BBC’s Harry Gration delivered a poignant tribute to one of the most popular figures in the cricketing world.
Martyn Moxon read a touching poem, The Last Boundary, written by Callaghan’s niece, Sophie, while many of Callaghan’s friends and broadcasting colleagues flocked to the town to pay their respects to a wonderful man.