WORCESTERSHIRE director of cricket Steve Rhodes said Andrew Strauss deserves credit for helping to revive 50-over cricket via the alterations to the Royal London One-Day Cup schedule.
It was not so long ago that the competition was regarded as less of a priority after the County Championship and T20 Blast with its back-end of the season slot in the fixture list.
But director of England Cricket Strauss brought it further forward in the 2016 calendar and next summer the group stages will be fought out in a three-week block in late April-mid May with the semi-finals in June and the final at Lord’s on July 1.
It is a throwback to when the Benson and Hedges Cup zonal stages were also played in the first part of a campaign and the 2017 Royal London One-Day Cup will commence after two rounds of Championship games for Worcestershire.
Rhodes said: “A lot of people worry about playing one-day cricket so early in the season but it is something we used to play when I played in the Benson and Hedges Cup and we seemed to manage it relatively well.
“I think it will be a good competition and the 2016 50-over competition was better than previous ones and, being early in the season this year, there will be a strong influence in playing your best team. Even last year, it was a lot better and Andrew Strauss deserves credit for that.
“He put together a programe that played the competition slightly earlier, he put together a programme that gave an incentive for players to try and get into a North versus South set of fixtures in Abu Dhabi in March and I think it had the desired effect on players.
“Players were keen to play, the standard of cricket was good and, whilst it is difficult to take away the enjoyment of T20 and four-day cricket for players and coaches, the 50-over competition had an uplift last year. I see no reason why it won’t uplift again this year.”