Looking at the various reports into this today has led me to the conclusion that it really is an almost impossible task to find a formula that suits everyone. The common sense view is that far too much cricket is played and a reduction of sorts is needed to avoid overkill for the fans and player fatigue.
The ECB rather surprisingly listened to this opinion and proposed cutting the T20 matches down to 10 a county, but the smaller counties had a different view. When the ECB is faced with the likes of Essex, Somerset, Sussex and Kent claiming they will struggle to survive if they lose the revenue from these extra T20 games, what are they supposed to do?
It’s a tricky decision whichever way they go. In leaving the structure as it is, they are risky overkill with the fans. If they change it, there is an immeadiate financial hit for the smaller counties – although the hit will be there in the long run if they continue to flog the arse out of it.
This leads me to believe that the T20 competition in it’s current format is here to stay for the foreseeable future. With a reduction of 8-12 playing days been recommended for the 2012 season, I do now worry about the future of the county championship.
If the ECB decide to implement the working party recommendation to reduce the season by 8-12 playing days, then where are those days going to come from? When it comes to the crunch money will talk, the CB40 and T20 bring in bigger crowds, so it is hard to see them being reduced too much, if at all.
That leaves the county championship looking very vulnerable. I do hope that this format is not messed around with, but if it is, the changes are minimal and don’t devalue or undermine the competition. It is the bedrock of cricket in this country and should not be compromised if at all possible.
I do except that the county championship would be compromised if one or two counties went bust, this is why it is so important that the ECB get it right for 2012.
It’s a difficult one. I’d look at the CB40 personally. What we are beginning to see though is counties use more players, younger ones in particular, because there are so many matches. This I think is the one positive to come from such a hectic schedule. Players who would otherwise spend their time in the 2nd team get thrust into the limelight. If I was a youngster at a county, I’d be loving it. Plus it pushes clinger-ons like Shaun Udal off the edge. That cannot be a bad thing 🙂
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It is hard to get the balance right, as I said it’s one thing reducing the games, but if taking some Limited Overs matches away causes counties financial trouble, it is counter productive.
Thats a great point you make about counties giving younger players a chance due to the hectic schedule, one I hadn’t thought about.
You’re right as well, more and more youngsters getting 1st team exposure is no bad thing.
The more I think about this though, the more I worry about the county championship. That’s the place where youngsters learn their trade, if they start to dismantle that, then we are going to be in trouble.
I’m sure it can be tinkered with a touch, but it must not get out of hand and go too far.