Uncertainty at Essex as questions are raised over Alastair Cook's future amid backroom tensions

It is understood that the senior players have been infuriated by Irani entering the dressing room during matches to voice opinions

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Reports that Alastair Cook is thinking of calling time on his Essex career are troubling, but it sounds as if there are ructions behind the scenes.

When Ronnie Irani stood down as chairman of the playing committee, it looked as if his influence was waning at Chelmsford.

It seems he is eyeing the club chairman’s role which will be vacated by John Faragher this winter, however.

It is understood that the senior players have been infuriated by Irani entering the dressing room during matches to voice opinions, undermining the coaching staff led by Anthony McGrath.

Cook, 36, is believed to be considering closing his career once his three-year deal expires, which is a great shame for the fans. His 165 against Surrey at The Oval this week, three years after he signed off from Tests with a century against India at the same venue, shows he still has plenty to offer. Ryan ten Doeschate has already announced this season will be his last after a marathon stint at the club.

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Alastair Cook's future at Essex is in question this week

A more sensible chairman might be Derek Bowden, who left a year ago as chief executive after seven successful years.

In that time the club were promoted in the County Championship in 2016, before becoming red-ball champions three times in four years, and T20 victors in 2019.

A former chief executive of Ipswich Town FC, he kept the various big personalities onside, and ran the finances sensibly, helping to negotiate the pandemic.

Irani runs a sports insole business, Orthosole, but clearly feels he has a role to play at the club with his abrasive style.

David Acfield is currently filling in as temporary chair of the playing committee, which also features club legends Graham Gooch and Keith Fletcher.

Former allrounder John Stephenson had recently joined as chief executive after leaving the MCC head of cricket role.

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