The England and Wales Cricket Board is to widen the range and role of Cricket Liaison Officers (CLOs) across the county game this summer.
Five more CLOs have been appointed – Tim Boon, Dean Cosker, Richard Ellison, Wayne Noon and Lloyd Tennant – all former County cricketers with extensive experience and knowledge of the First Class game.
They join the four originally appointed for the 2015 season – Graham Cowdrey, Stuart Cummings, Tony Pigott and Phil Whitticase – plus former international umpire Steve Davis, who joined the panel of CLOs last summer.
With the panel now doubled to 10, the aim is to have a CLO at every match in both divisions of the Specsavers County Championship, and both the North and South Groups of the NatWest T20 Blast and the Royal London One-Day Cup.
They will be managed by Andy Smith, a former Surrey all-rounder who re-joins the ECB in a new role as Cricket Operations Manager after eight years working as Operations Manager and High Performance Director for Hockey Australia.
Andy Smith said: “I’m delighted to be back in cricket at the ECB, in an interesting and challenging new role. The Cricket Liaison Officers were introduced to county cricket in 2015 with the twin aims of supporting groundsmen and umpires, with the capacity to attend all four days of a Championship match, unlike Pitch Liaison Officers in the past.
“After encouraging feedback following the introduction of this role two years ago, the CLO will now have more decision-making responsibility in the areas of discipline and the rating of pitches. It’s a positive step forward to support the county game and will enable us to provide coverage across all matches for the first time.”
There have also been two additions to the Reserve List of First-Class Umpires for the 2017 season: the former Derbyshire and Sussex batsman Mark Newell; and James Middlebrook, the former Essex, Northamptonshire and Yorkshire off-spinner who came out of retirement to make six appearances in Yorkshire’s Championship-winning campaign in 2015.