England coach Mark Robinson has spoken about the decision to drop Tash Farrant and Beth Langston from the England squad, admitting it was tough on the players, who unlike the men have no professional county game to fall back on.
Acknowledging it wasn’t an easy decision, Robinson described Farrant as a “model pro [who] does everything right and gives herself every opportunity”, and he admitted that the decision was partly an economic as well as a cricketing one:
“You’ve got to create financial room for other players and room for opportunity on the pitch for Freya Davies and others.”
Going forwards, along with the support they get from the Professional Cricketers’ Association, Farrant and Langston will get 3 months of full support from England, including their salary package and medical insurance, but after that things get tough.
“That is the sad bit,” admitted Robinson. “It is the same as a [male] county cricketer being released – if he doesn’t get another job or doesn’t get another county that’s it. That is the unfortunate place we are in.”
However, Robinson’s take is that sometimes you have to be “cruel to be kind” to players on the fringes.
“With young players, you don’t want to string people on – it’s difficult – you have to be fair to them as well – you don’t want to release them at 26 and you’ve messed up their whole life.”
“I think at some point you’ve got to say ‘we can’t actually see you coming through’.”
But Robinson stresses that there is potentially a way back.
“Tash might re-invent herself – she could be a major player.”
“So for Beth and Tash their decision now is: do I play KSL and county cricket, then the year after, when hopefully semi-professionalism comes in, they do that; or do they go on to a different career?”
That, indeed, is the question…!!
I am afraid the statement of MR seems somewhat bizarre! Tash Farrant has been a stalwart since her inclusion in the England set up 5 years ago? (May need correction)
However, inclusion has not allowed enough appearances, she has not been given a chance. “Cruel to be kind” falls on very deaf ears I am afraid. Beth Langston is a much similar case, not enough opportunity given.
The newcomers will be closely scrutinised to see if they offer more than a disposed Farrant or Langston.
I’m all for building resilience in sportspeople but why dump talent when you know there is no safety net and in a years time the ECB will be throwing cash at the development squad again?
These are not the first to lose a contract – remember Rebecca Grundy, and they won’t be the last. Its professional sport I’m afraid.
As far as I know, Becks is now working in cricket in Perth (Australia, not Scotland!) so let’s hope things go well for Beth and Tash.
Those blasted economic and financial reasons! Seriously though, it does pose a question as to the effectiveness of the contracts system as it is, if some players are viewed to be more likely to push their place in the side from outside the group, rather than in it. That is what MR seems to be suggesting to me. That almost seems to be an argument for “only pay the players when they take to the field”. Seems a bit worrying when it’s put like that.
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All these ECB employees seem to be instructed to caveat their comments with, it will all be different in 2020 we will have money!
The thing is, we have what we have at the moment. 12 months from now the landscape may be very different based on the ECB’s proposals, but that changes nothing as at today.
Unfortunately, whilst funding (rightly or wrongly) is tightly controlled, there will always be tough decisions. If Robinson feels a young player warrants a central contract at this stage of her development then room has to be made at the other end of the spectrum by “ditching” another player.
Neither Farrant nor Langston has done much wrong so far as I can see, but equally one might say that they haven’t made a compelling case that they are going to become stalwart members of the set-up. If they haven’t had chances, is that because Robinson feels they haven’t quite come up to the standards he is looking for? It’s a judgment call, I guess, and one that he’s (a) employed to make, and (b) better placed than anybody else to do so.
It’s tough on the players, no doubt about that, but it is a reality of professional sport. Players dropped from the England men’s set-up have a professional county game to go back to, whereas these two don’t. But on the other hand, is it that different from players who are released by counties in the men’s game and are left to “fend for themselves”?
None of this is meant to be blunt, but I’m afraid we do live in the real world, not the nice fluffy one that would be a lot easier to stomach in these circumstances.
The problem is the effect this will have on future players, will they choose another career rather than take the risk of being dumped mid twenties.