Leicestershire have been warned that they face a challenging financial year despite announcing a record profit of £294,022 last year.
County chairman Paul Haywood told Leicestershire members at this week that he was an expecting a £300,000 shortfall in central funding from the ECB and that a break-even budget for this year would prove difficult to achieve.
“We have a break-even budget,” Haywood said. “That is very challenging but all the staff at the club have worked really hard over the last 12 months and without their efforts we would not be where we are today.
“We have had a lot of money in from donations – a lot of people have put their hands in their pockets to help this club.
“We went to talk to different people and the donations we have got are nearly £200,000. That has made a big difference to this year and we are very appreciative of everyone who has helped us.”
While Leicestershire batten down the hatches on the financial front they are also expecting a tough year on the pitch having lost James Taylor to Nottinghamshire and lost veteran wicketkeeper and ‘Mr Perpetual Motion’ Paul Nixon to retirement.
“We have a difficult year ahead,” Haywood said. “But we are up for the challenge. We have put more money into the cricket budget and hope that Phil Whitticase and Matthew Hoggard will build on the success we had last year.
“I don’t think this time last year we thought that we would win a major trophy. It might have made a few of us squirm but we got there and the players performed.”
Former player Robin Matthews and Philip Bland, who had been co-opted members of Leicestershire’s board, have now been elected as directors.
* Meanwhile, Leicestershire’s promising young batsman Shiv Thakor is among a Midlands trio also including Shozair Ali and Aneesh Kapil who have won selection in the England Under-19 squad for a quadrangular one-day series in Australia next month where they will play the host nation, India and New Zealand.
The tournament will help England acclimatise for the ICC Under-19 World Cup which will be staged in Australia later in the summer and which will limit the availability of Ali, Kapil and Thakor for county cricket.
Warwickshire seamer Ali made his debut for England Under-19s on their recent tour to Bangladesh having missed much of last season because of injury.
Worcestershire all-rounder Kapil also toured Bangladesh with Ali having made his England Under-19 debut against South Africa last summer.
Thakor made a century on his first-class debut against Loughborough MCCU at Grace Road last season but missed the Bangladesh tour and will return for the quadrangular series in a side that will be captained by Adam Ball of Kent.
All matches during the tour will be played in Townsville in Queensland where England will take on Australia on April 5, New Zealand on April 7 and India on April 9. The semi-finals are scheduled for April 13 and the final for April 15.