Richard Gould emerges as frontrunner for ECB chief executive role

GEORGE DOBELL - EXCLUSIVE: Gould's main rival for the position would appear to be Tim Bostock, who is currently CEO of Durham. With a background in banking, he has made a strong impression since joining Durham in 2018

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Richard Gould could be on the brink of a remarkable return to cricket as the ECB's CEO.

Gould, who served as Somerset's CEO (from 2005 to 2011) and Surrey's (from 2011 to 2021), left the sport in May 2021 for the role of chief executive of Bristol City. By then, he had emerged as a fierce critic of the ECB and the implementation of The Hundred in particular. At that time, it seemed his ascent in the sport was over. 

Gould, now aged 52, was also runner-up for the role when Tom Harrison was appointed at the end of 2014.

But it has now emerged that Gould's name is on a shortlist of candidates still being considered for the role. With other strong contenders - the likes of Johnny Grave, Clare Connor, Wasim Khan and Daniel Gidney - having either dropped out or declined to apply, he would appear to have a strong chance. It is further understood that all candidates without experience working within the sport have been discounted. 

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Richard Gould is leading the race to become ECB chief executive [Getty Images]

Gould's main rival for the position would appear to be Tim Bostock, who is currently CEO of Durham. With a background in banking (he was formerly with National Australia Bank), he has made a strong impression since joining Durham in 2018 and, like Gould, was a key part of the Professional Game Group which ensured meaningful domestic cricket was played during the pandemic.

A good enough cricketer to play for Cheshire, including at List A level, he is widely respected for his combination of playing, financial and administrative experience across the sport. 

It is unclear if there are other names on the shortlist though ECB chair, Richard Thompson, has intimated that he has a preferred candidate. 

Thompson and Gould worked closely together at Surrey, with the club developing into a financial powerhouse while also developing players, winning trophies and attracting large crowds for domestic and international cricket. 

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