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It was meant to provide England fans with “early access” to the announcement of Ben Stokes’ first Test squad as England captain.
But a controversial scheme designed to deliver the news first to the team’s most loyal supporters backfired on Wednesday after it saw Joe Root wrongly named as skipper and omitted profiles for Stokes’ Durham team-mates Alex Lees and Matthew Potts.
The initiative was announced on Tuesday with a Twitter post on the England team’s official account that read: “See our squad before anyone else. Sign up now for early and exclusive access to our Test squad announcement tomorrow.”
Signing up for the free scheme required the submission of a name, date of birth, gender, e-mail address and postcode.
But those to receive news of the 13-strong squad shortly after 9am on Wednesday were quick to point out the embarrassing errors in it.
Telegraph Sport has been told the error that saw Root named as captain – he quit last month following England’s series defeat in the West Indies – was corrected in less than a minute.
Paywalling the big exclusive that Joe Root is back as captain pic.twitter.com/2g0oFbvgur
— Rory Macqueen (@RNMacqueen) May 18, 2022
An “early access” scheme for England’s squad announcements is controversial given the team is meant to represent the whole nation and not just hardcore fans.
It also raises questions about exactly what those fans are getting in exchange for their personal data given it is possible for them to post the squad on social media the second it is named.
The scheme, which Telegraph Sport has been told was dreamt up by the marketing division of the England & Wales Cricket Board, was announced on the same day Tom Harrison confirmed he was stepping down as the governing body’s chief executive.
The ECB has also been without a chairman since October, partly thanks to a botched recruitment process, and the “early access” initiative and its poor execution risks compounding the sense that it has become a rudderless organisation.