I for one have been critical of the ECB in the past for their financial management of English cricket, but when they do something (I believe to be) right, I am happy to praise them.
I obviously don’t know the true economics of the counties involved, but it seems fairly obvious that the blind auction system was a recipe for disaster in the long run.
Counties couldn’t continue to invest in their grounds in the way Edgbaston, Old Trafford, etc, have done recently, without knowing if their efforts would be rewarded with a test match. I would imagine that the other option was to try to ensure you had a test match by making a massive bid that could put the whole financial future of the county at risk.
What good would it have done to carry on like that? None.
So it’s good to see that apparently the ECB have listened to the counties and changed the process. It dosen’t go into great detail and say how a potential stalemate would be resolved if there is 2 or 3 bids for a test, but that is for another day.
The future of cricket as we know it could have been at stake if the previous blind auction had continued (bloody hell, I’m starting to sound like Giles Clarke!).
The article also says that the ECB board is likely to discuss market research results into restructuring the county game. If I remember rightly, there was a recommendation last year that said the T20 group games should be cut down on, if this is one of the issues on the agenda, I would welcome this too.
I know it’s hard for some of the smaller counties, as they rely on the T20 competition – and I’m not suggesting hanging them out to dry, as they are equally as important as the bigger counties are.
The counties already rely on ECB handouts, so surely they need to look at the structure of the handouts and rehash them to ensure that the counties that do rely on T20 aren’t left short. Surely they must recognise that there is a risk of overkill with T20, so it is an issue that needs to be resolved for the long term good.
All this sounds to me that the ECB are listening to what the counties are saying and heading in the right direction, for this I applaud them.