CRICKET: Pears deliver snub for Strauss plans for county game shake-up - The Worcester Observer

CRICKET: Pears deliver snub for Strauss plans for county game shake-up

Rob George 26th Oct, 2022   0

CRICKET chiefs and members at New Road have delivered an overwhelming thumbs down to Sir Andrew Strauss’s proposals to shake up the county game.

Controversial plans to revamp English cricket both domestically and internationally were tabled by the former England opener last month but have been met with hostility by a number of counties and their members.

Worcestershire have revealed they will oppose any reduction in the number of County Championship or T20 Blast fixtures and joined the list of counties calling for The Hundred to be truncated.

Counties currently play 14 four-day games, 14 Twenty20 matches and eight One-Day Cup matches before any knock-out stages.

Cutting the number of Championship games from 14 to 10 has been suggested, to improve England standards.

But in a statement on Monday (October 24), the Pears said the move was ‘not supported’ and the preference was to remain at 14 four-day games a season.

The statement from Worcestershire comes in the wake of members’ forums called to discuss the Strauss review, which was commissioned by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after a string of poor England Test performances.

The review was published after a summer in which England won six out of seven Tests, following the appointment of Ben Stokes as captain and Brendon McCullum as coach.

While the club supports the principle of improving international performance, New Road bosses have criticised many of the proposals tabled in the report.

A suggestion of three divisions of six counties has been rejected by Worcestershire who favour a ‘true meritocracy with two up and two down from each division.

Any reduction of Blast games would be ‘particularly harmful’ to counties such as Worcestershire who have no alternative games to host if the Rapids aren’t in action.

Lesser games overall would ‘harm the holistic health of cricket in our county and beyond’, according to the club.

The heavily-marketed Hundred forms part of TV contracts until 2028 but it has been criticised by county supporters for stripping their teams of leading performers to play for franchise teams.

“Our preference would be to truncate The Hundred to reduce strain on the overall schedule. There is very limited appetite amongst our members to play first-class festival cricket during this period,” the Worcestershire statement added.

“The concentration of the schedule, and in particular the switch from one type of cricket to another, is an important factor which needs improving with better scheduling of competitions rather than a per se reduction in overall games.

“Reducing the level of competition for select players (seamers, internationals) is a serious consideration properly highlighted. This can potentially be achieved for these players by other means, such as limiting their number of fixtures, as in other sports, rather than wholesale reductions for all.”

Any changes to the fixture schedule would need to be approved by two-thirds of the 18 counties, and looks certain to be rejected when county chiefs meet next month. Sussex, Glamorgan, Leicestershire and Derbyshire bosses and members have already voiced their disapproval at the proposals.


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