Sport Management and then there is the ECB

The constant and repeated saga over KP and his right to play cricket for England comes down to one very simple thing. Something is amiss in the management of the game of cricket in England.

KP, great cricketer, legend perhaps, certainly in his own mind, but with brilliance there has to be a downside. Alas KP has a downside that the English cricket managers do not like and cannot handle. Be that as it may. How is it that an incoming Chair, can announce that the door is open for a return of someone who has already been told he wont be? Indeed, what has the Chair of the ECB got to do with selection of national teams at all? Right or wrong, the fact is he is not yet in the post so what he says until that day is actually meaningless. Equally, how is it that the new Director of Cricket can make decisions and indeed announcements on matters such as the England coach and KP, when he is not yet in the Post? On whose authority have all these announcements been made? Andrew Strauss has no legitimacy until he starts work and one would have thought that his duties would be guided by the policies and plans approved by the ECB on behalf of its members.

The governance and management of sport has many issues. The legitimacy of people to make decisions on behalf of the members of an organisation and therefore on the organisation itself is given after following an established set of procedures, ideally laid out in an administrative rule book/constitution/statutes or articles of association. The purpose of establishing a governing Board is to preserve the integrity of the organisation and derive policies to which management implements according to the resources and capabilities made available to it. The rule book is NOT there to be manipulated by cunning individuals who are only interested in getting their own way regardless of the wishes of the members. Sadly in sport, we have seen a social construct to develop that allows individuals such as the Chair of Boards or senior managers, to believe that are greater than the organisation. Not unlike the occasional athlete who believes that they are greater than the game that made them great.

Whatever way you look at the KP issue, one thing is quite clear. The ECB is neither governed or managed either correctly or effectively and gives every indication of being illegitimate in its operations, ceding to the whims of the individual over the organisation. KP may be an egotistical nightmare, but it seems that he is not the only one throughout the ranks of the ECB. Until this is sorted out, incidents like the KP saga as a whole will continue to rise, over and over again and the performance of cricket at all levels of the games in England will suffer.

As an expatriate Aussie, I cannot say that it bothers me much. For KP, go play some awesome T20, make a lot of money and let your bat do the talking.

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