From the CEO’s Chair

Monday 28th February 2011

Just returned from a week’s holiday in Tunisia. We timed our arrival back in the UK perfectly, arriving back home five minutes after England v France kicked off at Twickenham. What an intense game that proved to be – not much running rugby, but a full-on encounter. I shall be at Twickenham in two weeks time to, I hope, witness England see off the Scots (good for Chairman/CEO relations!).

We had a great trip to Tunisia – events in North Africa over the last six weeks certainly put life in perspective. There was a real sense of optimism and hope about the democratic system that will soon be in place. One hopes that Libya may soon be in the same position.

My Sunday was dominated by events in Bangaluru (when did it cease to be Bangalore?). What a magnificent game of cricket – great to see that the early rounds can produce a classic. I was at Lord’s for the Nat West final in 2002 and since then have always regarded the one-day contests with India as special (Ganguly’s shirt waving having something to do with it. Couple that with the wonderful atmosphere of the Indian grounds – something I have been lucky enough to experience – it really does create a sense of cricket really meaning something. It bodes well for a thrilling competition.

I have to report that Mrs Clifford will not be encouraged to enjoy it however. She hadn’t watched any of the game yesterday until the 42nd over of England’s innings, when she sat down to watch a famous victory. From then on the wheels came off! She is not a great fan, but was absolutely gripped by the final overs – once again emphasising how the one-day game can draw in the casual follower.

A key week for domestic cricket in England lies ahead. George Kennedy and I will attend a meeting at Lord’s tomorrow that is expected to shape the future fixture programme. There has been much talk about what the perfect solution might be and the truth is there probably isn’t one. The Holy Grail, of course, is a Championship that maintains its integrity; a one-day programme that provides plenty of revenue generating opportunity and a schedule that is sympathetic to the demands on players. I imagine it will not be a quick meeting.