Two former Worcestershire players have made it on to the short-list to be the club’s new chief executive.
There was some thought that Tom Scott, the current CEO, might stay on. While he had tendered his resignation some time ago, there was some debate at the club over whether he might be persuaded to stay on once Steve Rhodes’ departure was agreed – the pair are not close – and once the constitution of the club had been changed to ensure the primacy of the CEO in the management structure. At present the club’s CEO and director of cricket are on the same level, though the changes will be put before the club’s members at the AGM in the new year.
Eventually, however, it was decided that the recruitment process had reached a point of no return and that Scott’s departure would allow the club a fresh start after one of the more tumultuous episodes in their recent history. He leaves at the end of the week.
While Rawnsley had nowhere near the cricketing career of Solanki, he has substantially more business experience. He is currently managing director at Barnes Group (a manufacturer of industrial and aerospace components) and has previous experience as sales manager for Caterpillar in North Africa, Middle East and CIS while he is also president of the UK Spring Manufacturers’ Association.
Solanki, who made two ODI centuries for England, is currently an assistant coach at Surrey and served as chairman of the PCA.
Meanwhile the search for a new director of cricket continues. While the club have reached out to Graeme Hick, currently the Australia team batting coach, he is understood not to have reacted with much enthusiasm (he declined to comment when asked about the role by ESPNcricinfo), with Kark Krikken and Nic Pothas are understood to other potential options. It may be the club decides to appoint a head coach rather than a director of cricket.
The role became vacant after Rhodes was sacked following an investigation into his failure to report the arrest of a young player in a timely manner. While Rhodes is understood to have found out about the arrest of Alex Hepburn on suspicion of rape in early April, he did not inform the club’s management until the player was charged in November. In the intervening period, Hepburn had played for the first team and agreed a new contract at the club.
Rhodes’ departure, after 33 years at the club, appears to have polarised views. While some are horrified at his actions, others point out they were consistent with a man who was committed to protecting and nurturing young cricketers and who achieved promotion in the county championship last season with a team containing, much of the time, 10 home-grown players. It might also be noted that he had nothing to gain personally from trying to protect Hepburn.
Either way, the successors of Scott and Rhodes inherit a club in a substantially better state on and off the pitch than has been the case for several years. Playing in Division One of the Championship in 2018 with a team containing some of the brightest talents in English cricket, they are also on a much more stable financial footing.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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