England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday informed that ECB Chairman Ian Watmore would be stepping down from his role with immediate effect. With this, Watmore pruned his five-year term only after serving the role for 13 months after taking charge.
Watmore took over the role of the previous chairman Colin Graves on December 1, 2020. He became the first paid ECB chairman of the national cricket governing body. However, he mutually agreed with ECB to leave his position at the end of the domestic season. The current deputy chairman Barry O’Brien will now serve the role as the interim chairman until Watmore’s successor is decided.
Watmore cited that events happening due to the Covid-19 pandemic were unexpectedly demanding and taking a toll on him.
“It is with regret that I step down as chair of the ECB, but I do so in mindfulness of my own wellbeing and that of the game which I love,” said Watmore. “I was appointed to the post in a pre-pandemic era, but Covid has meant the role and its demands on time are dramatically different to all our original expectations, which has taken a personal toll on me.
“Given this, the Board and I feel the ECB will be better served by a new Chair to take it forward post-pandemic. Leaving now, at the end of the season, gives the Board time to find a new Chair to support cricket through the challenges of the 2022 season and beyond.
“On a personal level, I also retired last month after five years at the Civil Service Commission and recently became a grandfather. I would now like to retire completely from work and enjoy our great game as a spectator.”
During his tenure, the nation had a successful domestic and international season in terms of both men and women cricket. The country also launched their very own and one of a kind 100-ball tournament, The Hundred, which turned out to be a successful affair. However, Watmore’s final weeks weren’t as plain sailing as it might be expected. The relations between ECB and the Pakistan Cricket Board became strenuous when the former decided to cancel their men’s tour.
“We will shortly begin a process to appoint a new Chair to lead the ECB, as the organisation continues to deliver on its ambitions to grow the game and create an increasingly inclusive and welcoming sport for all.”
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