Lord’s upheaval could pave way for return of KP

Frank Dalleres
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FORMER Test captains Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan and Alec Stewart last night emerged as the leading candidates to take up a new high-powered role in English cricket following Paul Downton’s sacking.

Downton’s position of managing director at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was dissolved yesterday just 15 months into his tenure following a review into the team’s failure at the World Cup.

The upheaval could help to clear the way for outcast batsman Kevin Pietersen to complete a dramatic return to the England set-up.

Former City broker Downton’s first significant act in the job was to terminate Pietersen’s central contract. National selector James Whitaker, who has also been vocal in his opposition to Pietersen’s return, is being tipped to follow Downton out of Lord’s.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “The England cricket department needs to deliver performance at the highest level and our structure needs to be accountable for reaching the standards we aspire to.”

Strauss, 38, and Vaughan, 40, have focused on broadcasting since retiring from cricket in 2012 and 2009 respectively, while Stewart, 52, has combined media work with being Surrey’s director of Surrey.

England seamer Stuart Broad, meanwhile, suffered an injury scare ahead of Monday’s first Test against the West Indies after slipping in his delivery stride on the opening day of yesterday’s warm-up clash with a St Kitts & Nevis XI. Broad injured his ankle but returned to the field after an hour of ice treatment. The teams were mixed in a bid to give the England attack a substantial test. The hosts finished on 303-9.