(Reuters) – Ian Watmore has left his role as chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) by mutual consent after 13 months in charge, it was announced on Thursday.

Watmore was appointed in September 2020 on a five-year term, replacing Colin Graves. Deputy Chair Barry O’Brien will take over as interim chair.

“It is with regret that I step down as Chair of the ECB, but I do so in mindfulness of my own wellbeing and that of the game which I love,” said Watmore.

“I was appointed to the post in a pre-pandemic era, but COVID has meant the role and its demands on time are dramatically different to all our original expectations, which has taken a personal toll on me. Given this, the Board and I feel the ECB will be better served by a new Chair to take it forward post pandemic.”

The ECB said in a statement: “He has reached a mutual agreement with the Board to stand down following the end of the domestic season and after helping to steer the game through the challenges of COVID over the past year.

“The decision follows a successful summer of domestic and international men’s and women’s cricket, the launch of The Hundred and record numbers playing the game recreationally.”

Watmore, a former chief executive of the Football Association, was under pressure since making the decision to cancel England’s tour to Pakistan — scheduled for later this month — due to security concerns.

He later apologised for cancelling the tour and admitted that the decision was taken by him and the board rather than in consultation with the England players.

The ECB added that it would shortly begin a process to appoint a new chairman.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)



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