Review requires shake-up of English home cricket

Domestic cricket in England may see a serious shake-up if county sides vote via proposals that might create a six-team high division and scale back the quantity of video games performed throughout codecs.

Former England take a look at captain Andrew Strauss spent the final six months overseeing a excessive efficiency overview for the England and Wales Cricket Board, launched within the aftermath of the 4-0 loss in Australia within the Ashes. The overview offered 17 suggestions, 15 of which fall underneath the remit of the ECB and have already got the required backing. Two key proposals contain a wholesale reorganization of the county calendar and want the assist of not less than 12 of the 18 first-class counties to go forward.

Strauss’ panel advocates a discount from 14 matches per staff within the County Championship to 10, with a six-team high division sitting above two secondary conferences who would play off for one annual promotion. Games could be performed extra evenly all through the season on this four-day format, moderately than the present mannequin that sees matches crammed into the beginning and the tip of the marketing campaign — both facet of the brand new Hundred match.

The Blast, a Twenty20 match and a preferred money cow for a number of counties, would even be pared again from 14 group video games to 10, with the 50-over Royal London Cup moved to April as a curtain-raising knockout match. The general discount in days is meant to create time for extra relaxation, teaching and evaluation, creating extra intense competitors.

While that’s prone to go down properly with a big proportions of gamers, a lot of whom have discovered the 2022 mannequin an unsatisfactory mish-mash of competitions and codecs, there’s a clear monetary implication at stake. Fewer matches will imply much less income, not solely on the gate but additionally among the many membership, who will successfully see much less cricket for his or her cash.


Strauss, whose mission assertion is to make England the most effective cross-format staff on the earth inside 5 years, mentioned he believes the “status quo is not an option.” “Everyone in the game is telling us this. We have listened, we must now act,” Strauss mentioned.

“I honestly feel this set of proposals can make a massive difference to the game. Of course, anything in our domestic structure is very contentious and it’s for the game to go away, talk and debate. We can still do a lot of good without the final two recommendations, but I think they’re a good demonstration of the hard decisions we need to make as a game, and how serious we are in trying to achieve this ambition.” Strauss mentioned he desires to have a “coherent schedule.”

“The answer to quality is not quantity. A higher standard, more intense red-ball competition should be a great thing for members, for players, for ground staff, for coaches. We need to understand it’s not all about volume,” he mentioned. “We think it’s a very complete package but there are going to be elements of it that certain people feel are not in their interest, and we understand that. That’s the reality of the domestic structure. You can’t solve one thing without unsolving another.”

A remaining determination on the structural modifications ought to come by the tip of November, however the earliest they could possibly be adopted is the 2024 season — which means yet another yr of a construction that Strauss’ staff has successfully discredited. “We’ve been in a race against time to get these recommendations out there so that the counties can vote on it for the 2023 season, but I think we’ve run out of time,” he mentioned.

“But these are difficult conversations and important decisions. Sometimes you’ve got to look at the bigger picture and understand that it’s better to walk to the right solution than jump off the edge of a cliff.”

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