As the blueprint for the glittering future of English cricket was unveiled there was the hint of long-ago familiarity. It could have been a presentation of the Emperor's New Clothes. The audience and the public have been invited to accept that there is abundant substance in the Schofield Review. What finery we have been asked to behold. But in essence it is walking through town naked.
Six good men and true have spent the best part of five months seeking a formula, with due respect to West Indies, to ensure that the dastardly Aussies are beaten in the Ashes and the World Cup is won (almost certainly involving the further defeat of the Aussies). They emerged with a weighty 19-point plan. People were almost afraid to laugh or point out what was actually in front of them. It could have been a fairy tale.
There are two big headline recommendations in Schofield. The first is that he and his men want to have a managing director overseeing the England team, a national selector and a director of county cricket. All of these will be full-time posts. The managing director will stand or fall by the performance of the England team. But he will not be a selector.
The second is a reduction in the amount of cricket played: the loss of at least a Test in the English summer and the scrapping of the domestic 40-over competition, which has been so moribund for so long that most people assumed it had been abolished long ago.
In the first of these instances flesh is to be put on the bones served up from Ken Schofield, the chairman of the review, by David Collier, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board. This will take the form of detailed job specifications before advertisements are placed. As to the second instance, there appears to be a resolute stubbornness to address this crucial point immediately.
Nobody knows or nobody is saying where it leaves David Graveney, the current chairman of selectors, or whether he will have a role to play. His job might be upgraded to have the authority the public have always imagined it to possess, he might be out on his ear. That would be unfair. Graveney can be guilty of playing politics, of trying to be all things to all men, but that is partly because he has been so often a marginalised figure.
Criticism of Schofield, and more pertinently the way in which it has been presented, is made difficult by the fact that the ECB have declined to release the report, which apparently runs to 90 pages. Instead, only a limp summation of the 19 points it contains has been released.
This is a reflection on what the ECB said they were setting out to do five months ago. Then, Collier talked long and meaningfully about transparency and said that of course the report would be published. That was the point: to let the public know what had gone wrong and where - if indeed anything had after a 5-0 …