ECB waves goodbye to Vodafone

On January 23, 2009 by

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is currently bracing itself for a very difficult year after Vodafone decided to pull the plug on its sponsorship of the England cricket team. Test sponsor, Npower, and major international backer, NatWest, have also threatened to turn their back on the nation’s most prestigious sport should the economic climate remain frosty.

It is admittedly an unlikely pairing: the second-largest mobile network operator in the world and the governing body of an age-old sport, but Vodafone and the ECB have enjoyed a long and illustrious partnership over the years.

Vodafone, who also sponsors the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team, has been an instrumental part of English cricket for almost twelve years now. The company has ploughed £16 million into the sport in the last four years alone.

The consumer director of Vodafone has stated that his company wishes to maintain its relationship with English cricket: “We are working with the ECB to develop a legacy programme at grassroots level which builds on the long-term investment we have made in the success of cricket across England and Wales."

A recent slump in annual profits has been blamed for Vodafone’s speedy departure from the sport. Recession has laid siege to much of the globe and the operator has been forced to look to redundancy as a quick-fire solution to its woes. An extensive restructuring of its marketing strategies is also on the cards.

The American billionaire, Sir Allen Stanford, has also expressed concerns about his future sponsorship of the sport after a number of PR experiments failed to produce positive results. English cricket has cost Mr. Stanford an estimated £40 million to date and the American may attempt to save face by terminating his contract with the ECB.

Pietersen keen to resolve Moores conflict

On January 6, 2009 by

The conflict between England cricket captain, Kevin Pietersen, and coach, Peter Moores, will hopefully be resolved in the near future. The pair have clashed for over a year and the England captain apparently believes that the coach has contributed towards the run of poor results experienced by the England national cricket team.

Pietersen wants the issues resolved as soon as possible, since the “situation is not healthy” and is certainly not helping the stability of the team.

The captain is keen to sort everything out before the team flies out to the West Indies. During recent months, it has certainly seemed as if the England team has been divided and Pietersen has been quick to point out his desire for everybody involved with England to have the “same aims”.

David Gower, the former England captain, has spoken out about the issue which is threatening the long-term success of the national team. Gower believes that Peter Moores could be sacked, since the views of Pietersen will take priority over those of the coach. He believes that the current England captain has a big personality and will not be happy to compromise on the issues currently affecting the team.

However, this option, seen as likely by several former cricket players and sports pundits, will surely prove detrimental to the team in the long-term. It is not a healthy situation for the captain of a sports team to have such a major influence upon the coaching set-up and Pietersen’s influence may put others off applying for the job.

India’s tour to Pakistan cancelled amid security fears

On January 5, 2009 by

The world of cricket has already been disrupted by the horrendous terrorist attacks seen in the city of Mumbai last month, with England contemplating whether or not to complete their Test series.

It has now been revealed that India’s own plans have been interfered with, as their tour of Pakistan, scheduled for early next year, has been cancelled.

This decision was taken by cricketing officials after government advice was given on the matter, with Indian government officials stating that the tour would be unwise given the current instability in the region.

A spokesman for the Indian Cricket Board revealed that “it is not feasible to tour Pakistan” after the events of the last few weeks, particularly after the government had already cancelled a junior hockey team’s tour to Pakistan.

The Indian cricket team had been planning on taking part in three Tests, a Twenty20 international, along with five one-day matches in Pakistan, starting on the fourth of January, but the decision by the government has brought an end to these plans. Instead, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sent out an invitation to the Sri Lankan cricket team.

The PCB has been left extremely unhappy at the recent decision by Indian officials, since severe financial losses are now a likely result. They will undoubtedly lose money which would have been granted by television bosses, since their recent deal with Ten Sports, apparently worth over 140 million dollars, stipulated that no payment will be made following the cancellation of a series.