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Thread: County Championship format change

  1. #1
    International Regular chris.hinton's Avatar
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    County Championship format change

    Ok this may be older news now, But the County Championship is set for another format change

    Yorkshire’s fabulous start to the county season has paved the way for them being the last winners of the County Championship as we know it.

    There is a heck of a long way to go before Andrew Gale is lifting the pot at the end of September, but three wins in their first five matches has given the White Rose county a chance nobody ever dreamed they would have.

    We do have a lot of cricket but that’s only because the one-day competitions have expanded

    Steve Patterson
    Good early season weather combined with a points change and no use of the heavy roller on pitches after the toss has made for an exciting start to the LV= Division One season.

    Why, then, are the England and Wales Cricket Board so keen to change it?

    Consultation papers have been sent to the 18 counties, with five options for change to the 120-year competition.

    The options are as follows: l An elite division of eight counties playing each other home and away. The other ten counties would form a regionalised division.

    * Three conferences of six counties with play-offs.

    * Three divisions of six counties with games played over five days.

    * Two divisions of nine counties playing 12 or 14 games.

    * Three divisions of seven counties, including three minor counties.

    There is an acceptance from players, officials and supporters that there is too much cricket in our domestic season.

    But there is also an acceptance that it is not the Championship that needs changing. There is too much Twenty20.

    If they do not want to alter the Twenty20 due to financial reasons, then they should look at the 40-over competition.

    There are some fabulous 40-over matches but it is not as enjoyable as Championship cricket.

    The players have been sent information on all possible changes and are currently considering the options ahead of June 4, when counties need to make their preferences clear.

    Pace bowler Steve Patterson is Yorkshire’s Professional Cricketer’s Association representative, and he said: “My personal thoughts are that there’s nothing wrong with the Championship as it is. We do have a lot of cricket but that’s only because the one-day competitions have expanded.”

    Patterson’s thoughts will be music to the ears of a lot of avid county cricket followers.

    He continued: “Since the two-divisional structure has come in, it’s produced some very competitive cricket.

    “Since we’ve been in Division One, it’s been very strong. I see no reason why we should change.

    “In an ideal world I suppose 12 or 14 games would work better in the schedule we have, with the one-day competitions the way they are, because it would give more time for rest and preparation.

    “But you’ve got to find a way of reducing games without jeopardizing the quality of the cricket. And, as a squad, we don’t feel the options that have been come up with are good enough.

    “It’s important that whoever wins the Championship has to be playing against the best teams. It has to be fair.

    “If somebody wins the Championship you have to be able to say that they’ve deserved it. The problem with the new models on the table is that it is not necessarily going to be the case.

    “Since the two-divisional structure, the best sides have generally got into and stayed in the top division. If you win that league, you are worthy county champions.

    “The problem with the conference system, for example, is that you are not always going to play the best sides. It then means that the Championship loses some of its integrity in our opinion.”

    But Patterson says the thoughts of the players count for very little with the ECB.

    He continued: “My role as PCA rep means that I pass on our squad’s opinions to the PCA. They then pass them onto the ECB, but effectively we don’t have any say. It’s up to them what they do.

    “We said last year that we weren’t sure about the 40-over competition. We said that we wanted the one-day competition to mirror international cricket.

    “It was said that 40-over cricket was more lucrative, so the 50-overs was brushed aside. It doesn’t always go the way we want it to. We just give our opinion.”

    There was talk earlier this week that the Test match counties who are so in favour of a franchise system in Twenty20 rather than the current format will spoil their ballot papers regarding Championship change early next month.

    Patterson added: “It’s worrying. This season we are playing four home Twenty20 games in the space of eight or nine days. It’s a big ask for people to come three or four times in a week.

    “Crowds will then go down and, although there’s more games, you aren’t going to make as much money.”

    The way things are currently structured, there is a real danger of killing the golden goose. But, for all avid county cricket lovers, the Championship is the real golden goose.

    I personally think it is ok as it is, 2 Division of 9 is the best format


    What do you think

  2. #2
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Furball's Avatar
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    The only change I'd be in favour of, assuming changing the current number of counties is a no-go area, is reducing the First Division to 8 teams, and only promoting 1 side from Division 2 every season.

    That reduces the number of Championship games to 14 for the top division, and if the First Division continues to become the elite division, then fewer games, with more time between games to prepare and refine technique between games would be the way to go. It would allow batsmen to work on their flaws outwith a game situation, and would reduce the load on the system's elite fast bowlers.

    Twenty20 needs protecting as well though. It is the major revenue driver for the counties, and condensing the schedule into a period where you're asking fans to fork out 4 times in 8 or 9 days is utterly stupid. The Twenty20 Cup also needs to be scheduled at a time where as many of the England players are available to play. As it stands, of Hampshire's 16 games, Kevin Pietersen will only be available for 4 of them, which is useless if you're trying to promote a domestic competition.
    ​63*

  3. #3
    Cricket Web Staff Member stumpski's Avatar
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    That, though, would mean 10 teams in Division Two, with each side playing 18 games - and you'd have to find another 8 days of cricket for them to play their additional Championship matches.

    My own feeling is that 16 twenty20 matches is too many. The counties will be playing almost nothing else from next week until the middle of July, alienating core supporters who may not be able to or wish to attend these games. However, if genuine county fans are concerned at Twenty20 overload, they need to stop filling the grounds for each match. Otherwise there'll be even more next season.

  4. #4
    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    In the past I've always been happy that the CC would remain the primary domestic competition but I fear that the first class game is on its way out. If this extended 20/20 works this season the end is in sight.

    What has changed is the financial viability - as long as Test cricket stays popular then the revenue from that plus what 20/20, with the world's finest jetting in for a few days at a time, can produce means that 18 counties are probably viable - in years gone by half the problem has been they weren't - if they dont have to play 64 days of cricket in front of crowds where they are doing well if they count the spectators in hundreds rather than tens then I suspect as business model's they'll be fine.

    I don't think the age old "producing Test cricketers argument" looks too good any more either - when did KP last play a CC game? and Morgan's elevation to Test status has been on the back of his limited overs record.

    It will go down to three divisions of six next, I don't think the play off/conference idea will work, so that will be 10 games a season - but I fear in a decade's time there will just be a smattering of First Class fixtures to go with Tests and the CC as we know it will just be something that haunts the pages of Wisden


  5. #5
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Furball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpski View Post
    My own feeling is that 16 twenty20 matches is too many. The counties will be playing almost nothing else from next week until the middle of July, alienating core supporters who may not be able to or wish to attend these games. However, if genuine county fans are concerned at Twenty20 overload, they need to stop filling the grounds for each match. Otherwise there'll be even more next season.
    It's not the number of games that's the problem, it's the ******** scheduling that will probably ensure that this season's competition isn't the success it should be.

    With England being the World Champions, it should be a marketing open goal to sell the T20 Cup to your audience. However, having 6 weeks of pretty much exclusive T20 cricket domestically is a dreadful idea for 2 reasons:

    1. Most cricket fans are probably suffering from T20 overkill. For 3 months pretty much the only high level cricket that's been played is the IPL, followed by the T20 World Cup. While I've enjoyed both tournaments, as a TV fan I've been desperate for some Test cricket. I even tuned in to see Rob Key's double hundred vs Durham, and it was really refreshing to see players in whites, with a red ball. Now that we've just got back into the swing of Test cricket, the last thing I want is 6 straight weeks of T20 cricket.

    2. The scheduling clashes too much with England's internationals - while I appreciate that this is a problem that can't really be avoided, at the end of the day the vast majority of the T20 squad will feature heavily in the ODIs that England play, which essentially relegates the T20 Cup to a "players not good enough for England plus a couple of overseas players" competition.

    8 Franchises, playing 1 T20 game a week throughout the season, would both space out the season more which reduces the chances of overkill and is easier on the pockets of the fans, and would allow for teams of a higher quality to take part, which would raise the quality of cricket played and make it more watchable. I appreciate it is easier for me to say this as a Scotsman who has no natural affinity to the County game, but I have absolutely zero interest in watching the likes of Gloucestershire take on Northants.

  6. #6
    Cricket Web Staff Member stumpski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    In the past I've always been happy that the CC would remain the primary domestic competition but I fear that the first class game is on its way out. If this extended 20/20 works this season the end is in sight.

    What has changed is the financial viability - as long as Test cricket stays popular then the revenue from that plus what 20/20, with the world's finest jetting in for a few days at a time, can produce means that 18 counties are probably viable - in years gone by half the problem has been they weren't - if they dont have to play 64 days of cricket in front of crowds where they are doing well if they count the spectators in hundreds rather than tens then I suspect as business model's they'll be fine.

    I don't think the age old "producing Test cricketers argument" looks too good any more either - when did KP last play a CC game? and Morgan's elevation to Test status has been on the back of his limited overs record.

    It will go down to three divisions of six next, I don't think the play off/conference idea will work, so that will be 10 games a season - but I fear in a decade's time there will just be a smattering of First Class fixtures to go with Tests and the CC as we know it will just be something that haunts the pages of Wisden
    That's true of course, but Pietersen and most of the others in the England team played plenty of Championship cricket before being picked for England - Finn is a rare example of a player fast-tracked from the under-19 side. As a rule we don't give Test debuts to 20 and 21-year-olds. I could just about cope with the idea of three divisions and each county playing ten matches - and it would satisfy those who think the English system should replicate Australia's in every detail - but it would become something of a lottery if one or two of those matches were badly rain-affected.

  7. #7
    International Regular chris.hinton's Avatar
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    Sorry to up an old thread

    But there is a meeting tomorrow to discuss ways of changing the format of the game

  8. #8
    Cricket Web Staff Member stumpski's Avatar
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    I read that 14 out of 18 county chairmen are in favour of reducing the number of Twenty20s - which at least offers some hope. Somerset are one of the most enthusiastic for retaining this year's system, they're talking about laying off players and staff if the group stage is reduced.

  9. #9
    Cricket Web Staff Member Woodster's Avatar
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    A lot of counties have already budgeted for next season, so that's why Somerset, Sussex and Essex are all for the the T20 to remain, because the format worked for these three sides the most last season. Can't remember the exacxt figure but think they said for each home league match that would be cut, Somerset would lose £80,000 per fixture.

    What we need is a more structured, less cramped, fixture list. There is in my opinion little wrong with the CC as it stands, let's have a little consistency so the supporters can get a grip on how it's all working. Less T20 for me, let's not continue with the overkill, and I also believe we should have a 50 over cup, to run in line with the international game, and get rid of the 40 over stuff.

  10. #10
    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodster View Post
    A lot of counties have already budgeted for next season, so that's why Somerset, Sussex and Essex are all for the the T20 to remain, because the format worked for these three sides the most last season. Can't remember the exacxt figure but think they said for each home league match that would be cut, Somerset would lose £80,000 per fixture.

    What we need is a more structured, less cramped, fixture list. There is in my opinion little wrong with the CC as it stands, let's have a little consistency so the supporters can get a grip on how it's all working. Less T20 for me, let's not continue with the overkill, and I also believe we should have a 50 over cup, to run in line with the international game, and get rid of the 40 over stuff.
    Indeed. Its really ridiculous that ENG along with SA have domestic 40/45 over competitions while internationally we have 50 over cricket. Thats like in football we have 5-a-side domestically in the premiership/La Liga, but 11-a-side internatioanlly. Just another example of the broken ICC.

  11. #11
    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    So much fail in one post.

    The difference between 40/45 over cricket and 50 over cricket is negligible.

    The difference between 5-a-side football and 11-a-side is massive.

    Also, how the hell is it the ICC's fault?
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  12. #12
    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc71178 View Post
    So much fail in one post.

    The difference between 40/45 over cricket and 50 over cricket is negligible.

    The difference between 5-a-side football and 11-a-side is massive.

    Also, how the hell is it the ICC's fault?
    The comparison between the two sports fomrats wasn't meant to compare the obvious different between. But rather to show why their should be continuity from domestic right through to international level, as it is in football. Also you can that new 45 over competition that will start in AUS next season in which the format includes:

    - A maximum of 12 overs by any one bowler

    - 10 wickets per team and 12 players per team - teams can bat any 11 of the 12 and field any 11 of the 12

    - A maximum of two bouncers per over

    - A new ball from each end at the start of the innings and no replacement new balls
    No Powerplays

    - Fielding restrictions: Overs 1-5 = 2 fielders outside the circle; 6-20 = 4 outside; 21-25 = 2 outside, 26-45 = 4 outside

    Thats for example is totally different from anything you experience in a 50 over game @ international level.


    Its certainly the ICCs fault, since if they where a proper governing body, they would have never allowed the boards of SA, ENG & AUS to make that adjustment in their domestic structures. The main reason why this is been done by those boards is because of the talk among many that 50 over cricket is dead/dying, so they are experimenting by themseleves. That shouldn't be the case, unless the ICC make changes @ the international level first to 50 over cricket - international boards shouldn't.

  13. #13
    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    No, it's got absolutely nothing to do with the ICC - they rule INTERNATIONAL cricket, not DOMESTIC cricket.

    By your logic domestic first class cricket should be 5 days long and T20 would never have come into play because it wasn't being played internationally when the ECB introduced it.

  14. #14
    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc71178 View Post
    No, it's got absolutely nothing to do with the ICC - they rule INTERNATIONAL cricket, not DOMESTIC cricket.
    Of course the ICC rules international cricket & doesn't/shouldn't have a say in how national boads conduct their local set-up. In the same way as in football, FIFA controls int'l stuff - but doesn't have a say in how national boards run their local club competitions.

    But it is the role of a sporting governing body to set out universal standards & structures as to how the game should be played from junior, domestic & international level. Any experimenting of those fundamentals should be authorized from the sporting governing body before national boards do anything.



    Quote Originally Posted by marc71178 View Post
    By your logic domestic first class cricket should be 5 days long and T20 would never have come into play because it wasn't being played internationally when the ECB introduced it.
    Firslty cricket compared to other sports is obviously unique given we have the many different formats. In cricket proper domestic FC cricket is universally understood to be 4-days.

    Secondly, no, even if the ICC was a proper governing body when T20 was first introduced in ENG in 03, that wouldn't have been an issue at all. Given that would have just been seen as experimental competition on the side, given the main 50 over cricket was still being played domestically ATT.

    We have a situation where 50 over cricket is being scrapped domestically by 3 of the major domestic boards, when 50 over cricket is still being played internationally - which is ridiculous.
    Last edited by aussie; 30-09-2010 at 02:54 AM.

  15. #15
    International Regular chris.hinton's Avatar
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    English cricket format should be this

    County Championship remains the same
    40 over competition to be scrapped and replaced by a League and cup 50 over comp
    Twenty20 to include 3 overseas domestic teams and have 3 groups of 7 (12 matches), teams would play overseas teams twice at home



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