So just to be clear from the off. The title is a little misleading as really there obviously are changes needed to English cricket. But I'm basing this thread on the fact that every time there is a poor performance from England, we look to county cricket as the problem, and that fixing it will solve everything.
What would it really achieve?
Go back four years in time. We had a mare in the World Cup but were about to rise to #1 in Tests. This was built around a team that had been carefully structured and blended together. Whereas in my youth the England team was never settled, this side was, probably moreso than most counties.
We did actually hit top spot in ODIs, through mainly good results at home. We were a joke in the 2011 WC, a joke away to Australia, a joke away to India after beating them at home and away in the longer format. The reason for this? Not, I'd argue, because of any perceived weaknesses in the county system, but a failure within the top of the English system to fully get to grips with the modern one day game. We saw 280 as a good total to aim for. And in England, it often is.
Since then, in Tests we have fallen away significantly as the team broke apart and a settled side hasn't really been reached. You can look at the county system for failing to produce the required talent if you want, but then, most players who wind up playing for England these days go through the performance squad, they go on Lions tours. They are a product of that system as much as anything. Shaking up county cricket would not change that.
I put it to you, the good people of CW (& Jono), that we could revolutionise county cricket all we like, it would not make us a competitive ODI outfit, it would not particularly change our fortunes in Tests. To compete in ODIs, we need the people at the very top recognising what is required. To achieve our goals in Tests? Honestly, I think it's about waiting it out now, for the right team to come together. The players who debuted last summer all by and large acquitted themselves well - but because we have declined overall since 2011, it's county cricket where the finger is pointed.
I'm not saying don't change county cricket. The domestic game needs to be accessible to young people because otherwise you will lose a generation. So in the long term it could well have a detrimental impact on the England team if participation was to fall. But realistically we can look to the domestic structure all we like. It's not the issue now, and hasn't been for a good little while IMO.