Colin Graves is keen to make a comeback as Yorkshire chair but has made it clear any return “will be on my terms”.
Lord Kamlesh Patel, who has led the club’s attempts to emerge from the fallout of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal, recently announced he would be stepping down in March and the familiar face of Graves is eager to fill the void.
The businessman helped save Yorkshire from financial oblivion in 2002 and served as chair between 2012 and 2015 before embarking on a five-year stint in the same role at the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Money is once again tight at Headingley, with compensation payouts to Rafiq and others, legal settlements and commercial losses all contributing to projected losses of over £2million. The Graves Family Trust, which now operates independently from Graves, is also owed around £16m.
The 74-year-old believes he has the expertise to stabilise things but, given the damaging revelations and allegations against the club in the recent past, many may feel the time is ripe for fresh leadership.
Graves, formalising his interest in the role in typically robust terms, told the Yorkshire Post: “The club knows my views. If I come back, it will be on my terms.
“I’ll work with the board. I’ll work with everybody who’s there. But I’ll run it how I want to run it and I know I can turn it around in three years basically. I’m keen to do it. I don’t want money for it. I don’t want to be paid. I will give it my all and if it’s seven days a week, it’s seven days a week to get the thing back to where it needs to be. There’s a lot to be done.
“I know I can bring to the table what Yorkshire want at this point in time, which is healing all the wounds, getting the members back on side to being a members’ club, working with the board to get them in the right position going forward and to sort out the financial situation that they’re looking at.”
Whether Graves’ insistence on full autonomy chimes with the views of chief executive Stephen Vaughan, who was appointed in November and has his own ideas about the way forward, remains to be seen but Graves is reported to enjoy some support on the Yorkshire board.
A statement in response from the White Rose said: “Lord Patel will step down as Chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club at the next AGM.
“A new chair will be appointed following a thorough, fair and robust recruitment process, to ensure that the right individual is in place and continue the significant progress which the club has made in his tenure.”