I was pleased to hear the announcement today that the County Championship is to be preserved in its current 2 divison format, with teams playing 16 games each.
I know it’s at the expense of T20 cricket, and that it’s a harsh decision on the the counties who rely on T20 for the main bulk of their income, but personally I think it’s the right decision.
A credible County Championship is essential. It’s the bedrock of English cricket and I’m sure to start undermining it would have been disasterous.
What has surprised me though, is that ECB are reported to have listened to the counties. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the counties were that worried about losing members, that they didn’t want the 4 day Championship tampered with.
I didn’t realise that the members annual subscriptions were that substantial, compared to the TV money.
The other part of this that caught my eye, is the fact that now the new TV deal is not expected to be as lucrative, due to the cut in the number of limited overs matches.
Just how did the counties get Giles to agree to that? They must have something on him, lol.
But seriously, there is no ideal solution to these problems. There is serious fixture congestion, counties need money from T20’s, they also need to be careful not to over do the T20 cash cow, ECB need a product to sell to Sky, etc, etc.
So just what can be done? I don’t know and I’m glad it’s a problem I don’t have to attempt to solve.
I’m also not over confident that ECB will be the long term guardians of the County Championship either, but at least for the time being, they seem to have made the right call.