Smile, Eng­land play­ers told

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LONDON: Eng­land’s new Test cap­tain Joe Root and One Day coun­ter­part Eoin Mor­gan must pro­vide crowd pleas­ing cricket and bear a sunny dis­po­si­tion so as to at­tract new play­ers to the game, the Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Mon­day.

The ECB are tak­ing steps to sig­nif­i­cantly boost the num­ber of play­ers at grass­roots level — which has stag­nated over the past five years — and the Eng­land cricket team are seen as a use­ful weapon in that re­gard.

Tom Har­ri­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the ECB, said the Eng­land crick­eters and their di­rec­tor of cricket, for­mer Eng­land skip­per An­drew Strauss knew what was ex­pected of them.

“An­drew Strauss and the Eng­land team are very clear that part of their re­spon­si­bil­ity is play­ing brave cricket — this com­mit­ment to play­ing an ex­cit­ing for­mula of cricket ev­ery time they go on the park is linked to (the par­tic­i­pa­tion strat­egy).

“Joe Root and Eoin Mor­gan un­der­stand their re­spon­si­bil­ity to play ex­cit­ing cricket for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to con­nect with and for fans to get be­hind.”

Har­ri­son, who has been in the post since Jan­uary 2015 and in­stalled Strauss at the ex­pense of Paul Down­ton, said even if Eng­land were to lose if they went down fight­ing the re­ac­tion would be kinder.

“It’s a very de­lib­er­ate strat­egy,” said Har­ri­son.

“It doesn’t work ev­ery time but we un­der­stand you’re more likely to be for­given for hav­ing a bad day if you’ve tried ev­ery­thing to win a game as op­posed to try­ing not to lose it, which is a key dif­fer­ence.

“Ever since An­drew took the job as di­rec­tor of cricket he saw the link be­tween suc­cess­ful Eng­land teams, and I mean suc­cess­ful by ap­proach as much as re­sults, was key.”

Har­ri­son, who played cricket for Der­byshire and Northamp­ton­shire, said the days of Eng­land try­ing to grind out a one-off Test vic­tory are over.

“Peo­ple like the fact the team is tak­ing cal­cu­lated risks, at very com­pet­i­tive lim­its, but also with a smile on their faces,” he said. AFP

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