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Thatscricket - News - Crawley fails in bid against Lancashire despite Mrs Blair

Published: Saturday, February 16, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London: John Crawley was still a Lancashire player on Friday after an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) panel rejected his claims that the county had breached his contract.[an error occurred while processing this directive]The key question that the three-man ECB contracts appeal panel at Lord's was asked to rule on was whether Lancashire were "guilty of serious or persistent breach" of Crawley's contract. But even though Crawley had Cherie Booth - a leading employment lawyer and wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair - pressing his case, the panel found for Lancashire after some eight hours of argument.Crawley now has 14 days in which to appeal to the ECB discipline standing committee against Friday's verdict. Should that fail he could take Lancashire to an employment appeal tribunal and he also has the option to buy out the remainder of his contract.Former England batsman Crawley, 30, 'resigned' and insisted he would never play for Lancashire again after being stripped of the captaincy at the end of last season, even though he had three years remaining on his four-year contract."As far as I'm concerned I am no longer a Lancashire player, and in fact coach Mike Watkinson has told me not to attend any training sessions involving the playing staff," he said at that time.Both he and Lancashire refused to comment following Friday's decision. Earlier Friday ECB chairman Ian MacLaurin said cricketers should honour their contracts."I really think that if you sign yourself up to a contract it should be seen to be fulfilled," he told BBC Radio 5 Live, before adding "unless it is something which is really untoward and can be accepted by both sides that is. A contract to me is a contract, and in sport today they are too easily broken in my view."Crawley, began his bid to leave Lancashire after the team only narrowly avoided relegation to the second division of the County Championship last season.Since then he has repeatedly been linked in the British Press with a move to Lancashire's newly-promoted rival Hampshire.But, a week ago Lancashire chairman Jack Simmons, speaking at the county's annual general meeting at Old Trafford, said: "We still regarded John as a contracted player of this club, he still has three years of his contract to run."We want him as a player and we're hoping for a solution," former Lancashire off-spinner Simmons added.Crawley was once hailed as the natural successor to county and England stalwart Mike Atherton. Crawley too attended Manchester Grammar School and captained Cambridge University before joining Lancashire.But Crawley could not emulate Atherton's Test record. Crawley made his Test debut in 1994 and played the last of his 29 Tests five years later having scored 1,329 runs at a modest 31.64.However, Crawley has been a consistent performer at county level, although 898 first-class runs at 40.81 last season was not up to his usual standard.

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

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