Richard Gould’s arrival could mean changes for The Hundred.
Richard Gould has been named as the new chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board in a sign that the governing body is trying to rebuild bridges with the counties after the divisive Tom Harrison era.
The former Somerset and Surrey chief executive has been a critic of the Hundred and, while he will doubtless strike a conciliatory tone at the ECB, his appointment increases the likelihood that changes will ultimately be made to the franchise competition.
Gould will begin his new role in January.
The son of the former Wales football manager Bobby, he is working in football as chief executive at Bristol City but remains highly respected in the county game after his 16 years at Somerset and Surrey.
Gould’s focus will be on seeking compromise at what promises to be a turbulent period for English cricket.
The ongoing row over the men’s domestic schedule, with counties reacting strongly to the reduction in cricket proposed by Andrew Strauss, is one immediate area of concern.
It was also telling that the ECB media release highlighted Gould’s record on inclusion, as it seeks to heal the rifts and injustices exposed by the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.
While at Surrey, Gould was instrumental in launching the ACE programme, the much-lauded initiative to increase young black participation in cricket.
In Gould and the new chair, Richard Thompson, the top two roles at the ECB are occupied by two of its biggest critics.
Surrey and the ECB once enjoyed a fractious relationship, with the former chair Colin Graves threatening to strip the Oval of international fixtures in retaliation for its opposition to the Hundred.
While the competition is safe until at least 2028 because of broadcast commitments, Gould and Thompson may shorten its exclusive window in the calendar or even sell it to private investors.