New Yorkshire Chair elect Harry Chathli says his decision to apply for the role was an “obvious thing to do”.
Chathli was present at Headingley yesterday for the first day of the ongoing LV= Insurance County Championship match against Gloucestershire and spoke about his appointment.
An Indian-born, London-based cricket enthusiast for half a century, Chathli is both a member of Yorkshire and Surrey, while his daughter Kira plays for the South East Stars in regional cricket.
“Yorkshire is one of the jewels in the crown as far as cricket is concerned,” he said.
“If you want to do anything in cricket, this is the place you would come to.
“There aren’t many other clubs with the rich history that Yorkshire has. It was pretty much obvious to combine two of my favourite loves – business and cricket.
“I’ve got friends in the county, and they certainly encouraged me to apply.”
“You can’t underestimate the amount of work that still needs to be done here. But, as a cricket enthusiast, why wouldn’t you want to do it? You would walk in with a smile and pinch themselves.”
Chathli was speaking at the start of a week which will see Yorkshire go in front of the Cricket Discipline Commission tomorrow, the county soon set to discover the sanctions imposed on them following the racism case brought against the Club by Azeem Rafiq with the ICEC (Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket) report coming out on the same day.
“Once we get through those, the focus should come onto cricket. But it’s how quickly we can turn the focus back onto the game that will create the narrative.
“If we dwell on the past, we’ll be stuck in the past. If we can move forward to talk about cricket excellence and how we achieve it, that’s where the conversation should be.
“We can’t control the CDC. We’ve made the changes, now we have to build on them and focus on how we win on the pitch.
“I’ll be there as an observer because I’ve not been fully appointed and there’s a process to go through for my appointment to be ratified by the board and the members.”
He continued: “English Cricket is at an inflection point.
“Azeem has opened up the floodgates for English Cricket to look at itself in the mirror and say, ‘What are we going to be?’
“Yorkshire has to play its part because we’re already 18 months ahead of everyone else given the work that’s been done to move things forward. It’s a good time for me to join.
“It’s a club ahead of its time and is going to be the blueprint for what all English counties have to do.”
Chathli’s appointment means he has clearly impressed through the interview process. But what was is it about the club that impressed him?
“There is a huge amount of talent in Yorkshire,” he added.
“And with Yorkshire having gone through all the things it has, it was essential that real changes had to be made.
“It was obvious to me, the significant changes that the board had made, and the weight they’ve thrown behind it.
“That told me Yorkshire has changed and turned a corner. It is the perfect time to come in.
“We want to bring the focus back onto cricket.
“If I look back three years from now, I will say, ‘Cricket excellence has returned to this county’.”