London, April 17 (IANS) The England Cricket Board (ECB) on Sunday appointed Rob Key as the new Managing Director of England men’s cricket.
The 42-year-old Key will take over from Andrew Strauss, who held the role on an interim basis after the departure of Ashley Giles. Giles left the position after three years, following the debacle of the Ashes, where England lost 4-0 away in Australia.
The former England batter will take up the position on an immediate basis and also relinquish his role as one of Sky Sports’ commentators.
“Key will be responsible for the strategy behind the England Men’s cricket teams and the performance pathways leading into them. He will also take a key role as part of the High-Performance Review which will begin shortly,” the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement.
The batter played 21 internationals for England across all three formats including making a Test double hundred against the West Indies at Lord’s in 2004 which led to him being named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2005. He also had a long and storied career with Kent on the domestic circuit.
“It is an absolute honour to take up this role. The chance to have an impact and make a difference is an opportunity given to very few and I will give it everything I have to try to shape the next great era of English Men’s cricket,” Key said.
“I have absolutely loved my time at Sky and I could never have imagined leaving were it not for this incredible opportunity. I’d like to personally thank Bryan Henderson and everyone in the team for their help and support.
“Although at this current moment it has been a challenging time in English cricket, I also think it’s as exciting a time as I can remember. With two of our teams near or at the top of the world rankings and an undoubted amount of talent in our game, I hope to try and bring everyone along for the ride so we can all help take English Men’s cricket to new heights across all formats,” he added.
During a playing career that spanned three decades (1998-2015), Key amassed over 28,000 runs with 60 centuries. He captained Kent twice from 2006 to 2012 and then again from 2014 to 15. During his time as captain, the side won the County Championship Second Division title in 2010 and reached three white ball domestic finals.
He was also part of the England side that won the Under-19 World Cup for the first and only time in 1998. After announcing his retirement in 2016, Key became a successful commentator for Sky Sports
“Following a thorough recruitment process, Rob stood out in a very competitive field. His passion and knowledge of the game at the domestic and international level is outstanding. He is a proven leader and combines an approachable nature with fresh original thinking and resilience which will stand him in good stead. He will bring a lot to the role and I am sure players and staff alike will enjoy working with Rob. I have no doubt he will relish the challenge before us,” Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer said.
“I’d like to thank Andrew for agreeing to step back into the role on an interim basis. To have someone with his experience and skill set during the transition and recruitment process was invaluable. He remains a huge asset to English and Welsh Cricket,” he added.
One of the first tasks ahead for Key will be the appointment of a permanent Test skipper after Joe Root decided to step down from the position. England are currently languishing at the bottom of the World Test Championship table.