The 130th Scarborough Cricket Festival has bowled over the game’s national leader.
Colin Graves, chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board, paid glowing tribute to event at the festival dinner.
He told the 200 guests including Dickie Bird, Sir Gary Verity and club chairman Bill Mustoe: “Every county cricket club looks at the fixture list at the beginning of the season and hopes to see Scarborough on there.
“It’s as good as any test wicket. I think it’s the best wicket and that’s a tribute to the people here.”
He added: “Players to love to play here. It’s the best festival in the world.”
Mr Graves, who founded the Costcutter chain of convenience stores, was speaking after thousands of people from throughout the county and some who had travelled from abroad, had watched the Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire match drama at North Marine Road.
He revealed links with Scarborough, which started nearly 58 yearswhen he was 10 and came to the festival. He later worked as awaiter for three years at a Scarborough cafe.
Mr Graves said he had gone through “a baptism of fire” since taking on his national role 16 months ago but added “it’s the best job in the whole of English sport”.
He said the biggest challenge was ensure the prosperity of Test cricket, particularly in light of Twenty20, retain young and upcoming players and to see the game survive a digital age in which more and more people were watching the game via their iphones rather than TV, which had led to reduced broadcast funding.
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The Scarborough Cricket Festival is one of the best celebrations of the game in Yorkshire.
“The town is seeing a renaissance with huge investment in the harbour, Open Air Theatre and Spa, not to mention the new waterpark, Alpamare, and I know locals and visitors alike are really reaping the benefits.”