The founder of the Professional Cricketers’ Association has urged the organisation to “remember what they are there to do”.
Fred Rumsey, who set up the PCA (the players’ union) in 1967, has reminded the current management that their only concern should be “representing the interests of players”.
He is particularly disappointed at the prospect of an eight-team competition, which will exclude the involvement of more than half of current PCA members, and is concerned the association may be powerless to prevent the new, 100-ball-a-side competition, which he dismisses as such a “ludicrous” idea it “should be played in clowns’ clothing”.
“They’ll probably dismiss my views as those of an old fogey,” Rumsey, the former England seamer, told ESPNcricinfo. “But the PCA was founded to represent players. Not to devise new formats or even to look at the overall health of the game. Other bodies do those things. The PCA was founded to represent players.
“Yet now we’re going to have an eight-team competition that will mean most current PCA members won’t have any involvement. How can that be in their interests?
“And then we learn there is to be a ludicrous new competition – this 100-ball nonsense that sounds as if was the idea of Fred Karno [credited as the inventor of slapstick comedy] – and the PCA were hardly even consulted before it was unveiled. Well, that doesn’t sound to me as if they are taken very seriously by the ECB. It doesn’t sound as if they have much of a voice. There is no reason at all the players couldn’t have been consulted months ago.”
Rumsey, now aged 82 but as sharp as ever mentally (he is currently putting the finishing touches to an autobiography), concedes he is not party to the what happens behind the scenes at the PCA these days and says he was “encouraged” by Daryl Mitchell’s veiled warning to the ECB that they had “no competition without players”.
But he urged the PCA management to stick to their guns and ensure they continue to “look after the interests of players”.
“Mitchell was quite right to remind the ECB that they don’t have a competition without players,” Rumsey said. “But I wonder if a split has emerged in the PCA? Are the players, represented by Daryl, supported as much as they should be by the commercial side of the organisation? I’m not at all convinced they are.
“I know the PCA still do much good work but my concern, on this issue, is whether they are doing enough to look after the interests of players. I wonder if former players – who are not under contract and do not fear the consequences of their words – should now get together and form an association to ensure the players have a powerful voice once more?”
The PCA declined to comment but pointed out they continue to work hard, sometimes in private, in the best interests of their members.