The Legacy of Paul Russell

In so far as Sunday announcements go, this admittedly wasn’t one that was going to have BBC News reaching for flashing red graphics or 24-point type declaring a piece of “Newyddion Breaking”. But the departure of Paul Russell as chairman of Glamorgan County Cricket Club comes as a bit of a bolt from the blue.

It had been the initial intent that Russell’s tenure would end with a handing over to Nigel Roberts at some point in the future. The fact that Roberts will remain as deputy chair suggests that it wasn’t something immediately on the horizon. Barry O’Brien steps into the interim role, and at a pretty crucial time for the club.

According to the Western Mail, a Glamorgan delegation will be heading to Lord’s in an effort to secure an Ashes Test match in 2013. That trip – in itself – is already an example of the legacy that Paul Russell leaves the club. After all, it was he who spearheaded the determination to bring international cricket to Cardiff.

And despite some negative offerings, Cardiff excelled in delivering the 2009 epic between England and Australia. To be sat in the grandstand on day five is still an unequivocal personal favourite of mine – in terms of sporting events attended. If you need further context, I was also at the Oval on the day we nabbed the Urn.

Fingers might start pointing at a pretty dismal Test match featuring Sri Lanka in the early part of this summer, but somewhat unfairly in my opinion. It was a Test that didn’t had the allure of Australia, nor India. And the rain just made it worse. But that’s South Wales in early summer for you. It’s been lush since…

And hopefully that will extend until the Indians come to town for a one day game later this summer. You’ll see the SWALEC at its best – a raucous atmosphere and another fantastic tie, we hope. By then, we’ll also know – or at least be a lot closer to knowing – who will host an Ashes Test in 2013 (and other games to 2015).

I’ve not always agreed with some of the decisions that have been taken under the leadership of Paul Russell. The fall-out of last winter’s resignations, sackings and general confusion still rankles. And it appears as if the ends will not be justifying the means, in terms of the on-field performances this year.

But it would be harsh – amid the bitter taste left by those various departures – not to accept that there is a certain debt of gratitude owed to Paul Russell. The future of domestic cricket is far from being rosy, but if Glamorgan secure an Ashes Test in 2013, it’ll be as much down to Russell as it is to the delegation tomorrow.


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