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Move to put cricket back on free-to-air TV a tacit admission ECB got it wrong

Leaked documents suggest the ECB wants some cricket back on free-to-air television but this feels like attempting to squeeze toothpaste back into the tube

Do not expect a mighty mea culpa from the England and Wales Cricket Board but now we have an implicit acknowledgement that the decision, taken more than a decade ago, not to insist upon some cricket remaining on free-to-air television was contrary to the best interests of the game.

Alongside the promise of more money came assurances in 2005 that viewing habits were changing so rapidly that cricket’s removal from terrestrial television would not be damaging to the sport. As indicated by the viewing figures for rugby’s home internationals, which were available to all in the winter, those habits have not changed quite so rapidly as anticipated. Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the ECB, has said: “We have no ambition to be the richest, most irrelevant sport in this country.” Amen to that.

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