ROB KEY has vowed to help England back to the pinnacle of world cricket after being named new team supremo.
Former Kent captain Key was confirmed as managing director in succession to Ashley Giles, sacked after the Ashes shambles.
Key’s first task is to appoint a Test captain to replace Joe Root with Ben Stokes the strong favourite.
Then Key must land a head coach – or probably two because the job is likely to be split between the red and white ball formats – and a chief selector.
Key, 42, who has quit his job as a Sky TV commentator, said: “It’s an absolute honour to take up this role.
“The chance to have an impact and make a difference is an opportunity given to very few and I will give it everything to try to shape the next great era of English men’s cricket.
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“Although this is a challenging time in English cricket, I also think it’s as exciting a time as I can remember.
“With an undoubted amount of talent in our game, I hope to try to bring everyone along for the ride so we can all help take English men’s cricket to new heights across all formats.”
As Key decides whether to appoint Stokes, he can consult another superstar all-rounder about the difficulties of leading England.
Key is one of Andrew Flintoff’s closest friends and, like Ian Botham before him, Flintoff struggled to combine batting, bowling and captaining.
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If Key thinks Stokes already has too much on his plate – and, don’t forget, he took a break from the game last summer to look after his mental health and he is currently injured – he might turn towards Jos Buttler or Stuart Broad as a stopgap skipper.
The job attracted few big-name applicants and the ECB interviewed at least two candidates from outside cricket.
The appointment process was led by former skipper Sir Andrew Strauss, who stands down as interim managing director.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison added: “Rob’s passion and knowledge of the game at domestic and international level is outstanding.
“He’s a proven leader and combines an approachable nature with fresh original thinking and resilience which will stand him in good stead.”
Key, who suffered a minor stroke two years ago, played 15 Tests for England and scored a double century against West Indies at Lord’s in 2004.