May 10, 2012

LV= County Championship, Thursday May 10

6.30pm: Alan Gardner wraps up the day
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6.30pm: Alan Gardner wraps up the day

Not that there's much to wrap. Away from the soggy shires, England Lions tore into the touring West Indians to dismiss them for 147. You can catch up on the first day's play from Northampton with Andrew McGlashan's report, then head over to the county homepage for the latest news - including Lasith Malinga's signing for Middlesex.

5pm: Alex Winter at Gloucestershire v Yorkshire

It’s brightened up nicely here and we should be set fair for the rest of the match. Yorkshire undoubtedly bowled because of the earlier conditions but as things have turned out it has been very amicable to bat. An inevitable slow surface but one that’s played pretty well – this is the first day of Championship cricket at Bristol this year remember.

Kane Williamson has been quite sublime. He’s improved his game since last year. He defends with the most delicate of hands, runs the ball around nicely and plays quite perfectly off the back or front foot straight and through the off side. He’s looking the real deal at the moment. Excellent support from Chris Dent too – another whose promise is starting to produce more regular runs. Good day for the Glaws so far.

4.30pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Rain has ended the day's play -- a near wash-out at Chelmsford after only 10 balls bowled. During the sunshine there was no play; during the rain there was no play. Frustrating for everyone.

4.15pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Middlesex

Michael Lumb's luck ran out on 162 when, seeking to up the pace after six and a half hours at the crease, he drove straight to Tim Murtagh at mid-off. Murtagh, you will remember, had dropped Lumb on 86, which was the first of four lives for the former Hampshire batsman.

He was dropped twice by the current England captain on 95 and 99 and could have been stumped as well off Neil Dexter. He had also bisected two short extra-covers when on 83. He did hit 23 fours, though, so to call it a streaky 162 would probably be a little unfair.

It was Lumb's second century since he moved to Nottinghamshire over the winter, following a match-winning ton at Chester-le-Street last month. Not his first at Trent Bridge, however. That came in August 2009 when he made 219 in a Hampshire total of 654-8 declared.

Notts won't make that many but they could just about snatch a fifth batting point from 362-4 with six overs left. Mullaney, who benefited from a third drop by Andrew Strauss on 34, has raced on to 59 with a couple of sixes, one of them hooked OVER the Bridgford Road stand off Gareth Berg, which is some blow.

4pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Hardly any point in firing off rain dispatches when the weather is so changeable. After almost an hour since the last brief session the players emerged, David Masters prepared to run in for the first ball and torrential rain drove everyone off again. A couple of Essex members even marched off into the distance muttering: "That's it this time." A large number of spectators seemed determined to hang on. Unfortunately, after such a soaking from last night's cloudburst, the outfield cannot take much more. Kent 24 for five.

3.35pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Surrey

We have had a rain break at New Road, but we’re about to resume after tea with a 45-over final session.

The tea break did provide a chance for the BBC London Surrey commentators Johnny Barran and Mark Church to discuss their plans for ‘Ashes ’81 - The Musical. It sounds like a fine plan to me.

They’re hoping Hugh Jackman can play Dennis Lillee, James Cordon can play Botham, Rolf Harris can play Ray Bright and Cliff Richard can play Brearley. I’ve suggested that Kylie Minogue could play Kim Hughes. Other suggestions welcome.

2.55pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Rain. The players are off to the pavilion after 10 balls, with Kent's score 24 for 5. Groundstaff are waiting by the covers, and play might continue soon.

2.50pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Middlesex

After the comparative mayhem of the last overs of the morning session -- three dropped catches and a suicidal run-out -- everything has settled down again. Nottinghamshire have a second first-innings batting point for the first time in six matches.

Michael Lumb's century is his second in four first-class innings against Middlesex. The other one he made for Yorkshire at Southgate in 2006.

Six years is not a long time but what is noticeable about the scorecard is that none of the Middlesex line-up on that day is even at the club now. Odd that, in a sport that tends to be associated with conservatism and continuity.

The Yorkshire side had a few more familiar names. Gale, McGrath, Bresnan and Brophy played, as did their current coach, Jason Gillespie.

Lumb has moved on to 143 -- one short of his Southgate score -- and Notts are closing in on a third batting point at 298-3. Middlesex have had 10 overs with the new ball but not taken a wicket with it.

2.45pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Play has started in gloom under floodlights, and Geraint Jones played no stroke to the first ball, a wicked inswinger from Charl Willoughby. Huge shout, not out (too high). What is going on out there? As David Masters starts his first over, there are spots of rain.

2.40pm: David Lloyd at Hampshire v Derbyshire

That’s it, I’m through with optimism. I’ve tried it for a good few hours today and, clearly, it doesn’t work. The weather has worsened, rather than improved, and the umpires abandoned all hope of play a short time ago.

So two days gone, two to go. Could we still get a positive result? Well, there is always the forfeiture route. Then again, when the covers were removed for a few minutes this morning, the pitch – even after the mower had done its best – still looked very green..

But maybe I'm just being optimistic again.

2.05pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

In a carbon copy of yesterday it has been announced at Chelmsford that play will start at 2.45pm, again with 55 overs scheduled. Kent will want to dismiss any notion of a Groundhog Day repetition when they resume batting at 17 for 5.

I checked youtube a minute ago and noticed that the hits for Justin Bieber's rather weak song Baby have just topped 735 million. This is nothing to do with cricket, except that one wonders how many potential website hits there would be for a Tendulkar-Bieber duet. Or maybe KP and young Justin. Many a true word is spoken in jest...

2pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Surrey

We’re off for rain at New Road. The delivery before they came off Jon Lewis found a tiny gap between Solanki’s bat and pad - the bowler had already gone up for a lbw shout - when the ball rolled back and knocked off the bails.

As I write, the players are coming back out….

1.50pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Surrey

Worcestershire have just achieved their highest first innings total of the season, surpassing the modest 157 they made against Nottinghamshire. Moeen Ali has also just recorded his second championship half-century of the season and his partnership with Vikram Solanki is worth 102.

Solanki is out of contract at the end of this season. He has already informed the club he would like to continue playing but, in this economic climate, it is likely he will have to accept a hefty pay cut if he is to remain at New Road.

1.15pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Middlesex

Andrew Strauss may not be fretting about his batting form but his mind is clearly on something other than taking slip catches. The England captain has put down two this morning. What's more they were off consecutive balls.

They allowed Michael Lumb to complete his second century of the season in circumstances he would have to admit have been slightly fortunate, given that he had already been given a life on 86 when Tim Murtagh, fielding at mid-on to the left-hander, put down an absolutely sitter off Ollie Rayner, the off-spinner.

Lumb was on 95 when Strauss, the only slip to the medium pace of Neil Dexter, let him off again, failing to hold a fairly routine chance to his left, instead pushing the ball along the ground for four. Astonishingly, the next delivery produced the same outcome, albeit to a more difficult chance for which Strauss had to stretch. He has held plenty of those in the past, however.

Lumb scampered through for a single to reach 100. Not surprisingly, his celebration was somewhat restrained.

Not that all the giveaways have been to Nottinghamshire's benefit. Slightly redressing the balance, Riki Wessels surrendered his wicket just before lunch, run out by Chris Rogers from mid-on attempting a silly single. That ended the third-wicket partnership on 83, to which Wessels had contributed 41.

Lumb's century came off 213 balls with 14 fours. Notts are 234-3 at lunch.

1pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Surrey

There was some hostility shown by spectators towards Gareth Batty on his last appearance at New Road. He received quite a barracking where he played here for Surrey in 2010, having left Worcestershire at the end of 2009. There was no repeat when he came on to bowl this time, but he still found the batsmen far from welcoming. Moeen Ali slog-swept Batty’s fourth ball for six, while Solanki cover drove - a perfect shot - his sixth delivery. The pair have now added 80 runs and put Worcestershire well on their way to picking up their first batting bonus point of the season.

Fascinating conversation with Percy Price, the chairman here at Worcestershire. He was showing me the plans for the new development. Building will start a week after the end of the season with the club’s new facilities - new offices, a bar etc - ready for the 2013 season. The building of a hotel on the site will take a little longer. The area currently containing the executive club and the club offices will be demolished in September.

12.55pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Inspection at 2pm. It is a forlorn sight at Chelmsford, with the ground staff mopping up excess outfield water and a couple of players wandering around with hands in their pocket waiting for lunch-time.

12.45pm: Kenny Shovel on the power of the county cricket marketing budget

The county game has always felt like it had a marketing budget that was in danger of running out if Giles Clarke started taking two sugars in his tea... a problem highlighted during the week when this season’s CB40 competition bust into life with a fanfare, which in true English domestic cricket style, was less London Philharmonic Orchestra and more a recorder being played by an asthmatic.

It's worth clicking the link.

Kenny Shovel's baleful humour is winning more fans than a wet day at Grace Road. County Cricket Matters can be found here.

12.30pm: Alex Winter at Gloucestershire v Yorkshire

£440! Goodness, George where on earth did you park!?! Did you leave it in the Priory overnight?

Hello from Bristol. Somehow play started at midday. I say somehow because the amount of rain that fell around the area in the past 24 hours made anything but water sports an impossibility. Roads turned into rivers around the shire; the local public school rowing team training on their first XI rugby pitch.

The outfield quite clearly drains superbly. It was re-laid two winters ago and an the outfield was left looking like an athletics track after poor weather meant the works hadn’t bedded in properly. But we’re now seeing the rewards of that work. The main problem was just off the square where water had ran off the covers but extra sheets and a timber-yard’s-worth of sawdust has got the ground in shape.

But given the light which was appalling and now improved to poor and the chance of rain still lingering I’m far from confident of anywhere near the 88 overs scheduled being sent down. I digress, Yorkshire are bowling and Tim Bresnan has struck...

12.25pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Surrey

Hello from New Road. Apologies for the delayed update: I’m £440 worse off after a brush with a car-clamping firm.

Batting has looked far more difficult today. The groundstaff have performed wonderfully well to ensure a prompt start but the pitch seems to have freshened up under the covers. Worcestershire lost both openers within five balls in the fifth over of the day - Mitchell bowled off the glove having been caught on the crease and Klinger leg before to one that nipped back. Tim Linley was the bowler.

Moeen Ali and Vikram Solanki are batting well, though. Moeen has just received one that kept horribly low but, apart from one ill-judged swish outside off stump, has looked well disciplined, while Solanki has pulled well. The pair have just brought up their 50 partnership in 14 overs.

11.30am: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

The sun is blazing at Chelmsford. That's the good news; the bad news is that there will be no play until lunch, thanks to overnight rain.

11.30am: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Middlesex

Alex Hales says that the good behaviour of the pitch so far conforms with the characteristics encountered in previous matches played on the Bridgford Road side of the Trent Bridge square, in that it does not give the bowlers the unhealthy advantage they sometimes appear to hold here.

Nonetheless, Hales argued that with swing still a factor there is a good deal of work to do if Nottinghamshire are to get anywhere near the full complement of batting points they have targeted, which might be seen as a tall order given that they managed only one in their first five matches.

The opening batsman says he is disappointed to have been overlooked for the England Lions match against the West Indies today after playing a part at home and away during the last 12 months. Then again, his form has not necessarily warranted his selection.

He still has a tendency to let his concentration lapse just as all seems well. As if the illustrate the point, he is first man out this morning for 79, having hit 14 fours in a style that has been pleasant to watch but then hung his bat out a little to a ball from Tim Murtagh and been caught at first slip.

The drainage system did its job to allow an on-time start despite a night of continuous heavy rain. Dark clouds are scudding across but they are being driven by a brisk wind, which suggests that the thundery showers forecast should at least pass through quickly. Notts are 154-2.

11.20am: David Lloyd at Hampshire v Derbyshire

Well, apart from slate grey sky, low mist, thin drizzle and a wet outfield, Hampshire’s home at West End was looking a picture this morning. We are not, as you may have guessed from that, going to start any time soon but the optimist in me predicts we will see play later today.

If – no, when – action gets under way there is fair chance Hampshire will give a first team team debut to Bilal Shafayat, the 27-year-old former Notts and England Under 19 batsman who played some second XI games for the county last season and again during the early stages of this ‘summer’.

Shafayat’s main claim to fame in recent years was ‘won’ while on England 12th man duty at Cardiff during the first Test of the 2009 Ashes series. With last pair Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar battling for a draw, Shafayat was called on to the field two or three times in the last few overs to deliver fresh gloves and cooling drinks – much to the fury of Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who didn’t much care for England’s tactics and treated the blameless Bilal to the rough edge of his tongue.

As a player, Shafayat’s career has stalled badly but few doubt his talent.

10.00am: David Hopps with the Rise and Shine

Morning all. It's another glorious English spring day. You think not? I have just watched Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris and it's all about having the artistic imagination and fondness for life to recognise that rain is a beautiful thing. At least some of it is.

So cast off that mournful look and, if you are staring at nothing in particular on a wet county ground, and wondering whether to resort to another bacon sandwich, just drink in the beauty all around you. It's time to give that electronic scoreboard another, more lingering, glance. It might not be midnight in Paris, but hey, 10am at Northampton can't be that bad. At least that's the gist of what Woody says. We are just passing it on.

As ever ESPNcricinfo introduces a host of new cricket stories at the start of a new day.

The Australian squads for their summer one-day tour of England and Ireland in June and July are out - and there is a return for Mitchell Johnson. Durham, who have signed him up for Twenty20, will feel that the season is conspiring against them.

Kevin Pietersen tells George Dobell that he is sick and tired of apologising for playing in IPL. It's a great tournament, he says, and it's about time everybody woke up to the fact. If it tipples down in Worcester today, one fancies he might need Woody Allen on the phone with an uplifting word or two.

And the old fox, Misbah-ul-Haq has stepped down as Pakistan's T20 captain, but still plans to be available for the format. More will follow on this as the morning progresses.

There are reports from all yesterday's matches over on our county homepage.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sam K on May 11, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    AnusMcGuigan you've got it so so wrong! KP was angry at the quota system in SA because it was reverse discrimination, it meant that there was UNFAIR discrimination and there are very few people who do not think it was absolute tripe. KP would have never played international cricket if he had stayed in SA because of the quota system and because Graeme Smith was the captain and they detest each other. No one is angry at the IPL quota system because almost every single team sport has a similar system in place. It is designed to make it so that a team still has home-grown talent and rich teams cannot overload their playing XI with international players whilst the poorer teams have to make do. That is in the interest of FAIRNESS. Hopefully you're not going to make any more ignorant comments.

  • Luke on May 10, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    I just cannot even understand how can people compare county cricket or test cricket to IPL. There is no comparison, IPL is far better. I have been an avid follower of the game for more than 30 years, and have tried my best to watch test matches, however its futile. I realised long ago that test or first class cricket is not designed for people to watch it, its there just to help the ego and bank balance of people who play it or manage it.

    Only people who have no job e.g. pensioners, people on benefits or people who have inherited free money can afford to take out 5 days to watch a test match or 3-4 days for a county game. People like me have jobs and taking 4-5 days off from work to watch a game is not good enough reason to give to boss. Its useless to watch a few hours at a time, its like reading only a few random pages from the middle of a book. An avid follower could not watch a single match in 30 years of trying, so its the game's fault, not the follower's. I can watch IPL easily!

  • Luke on May 10, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    I have decided to come out of the closet - IPL is great!!

    The first few seasons I watched it and got hooked on to the quality of cricket. No other tournament offers such closes finishes so regularly. There is no other sport that matches this at this moment.

    Until recently I watched it secretly as office folks slated me when they found out that I had watched it. Eventually I realised that its their problem if they have any problems me watching IPL instead of football or county cricket.

    I chose Delhi simply because of Pietersen and Sehwag. Boy, did I choose well!!

  • Martin on May 10, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    @David It's not possible to play a Sir Geoffrey-approved textbook forward defensive stroke when your footwork is being hampered by your waistband hanging somewhere South of your genitalia.

  • Maxgate on May 10, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    Regarding changes to the County Championship might I suggest 6 divisions of 3 counties with teams playing each other home and away. There would be promotion and relegation between each division with 3 up and 3 down thus allowing each county to play for the crown of County Champions once every six years!

    The season would run over 12 days thus filling the void between one soccer season and the next!

    I recommend this idea to the House

  • David Hopps on May 10, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    Haha. That made me laugh. That's all I wanted to say really. Shouldn't all Yorkshire's Kanes be about 16 by now? Two years from debut maybe? Or are they all skateboarding?

  • Martin on May 10, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    The worst part about being a Yorkshire fan today is having someone called "Kane" making runs against us. "Kane" is one of those ridiculous, and made-up, antipodean names... the like of which permeates our shores (but hopefully never our shires) through what I like to call the Jeremy Kyle classes.

  • George Dobell on May 10, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Backwater: I love that you picked out that one and not the Kim Hughes casting...

  • Backwater on May 10, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Anybody read George ATL?

    James Corden as Ian Botham? Gentle and overweight and trying not to be so full of himself? Surely not good casting.

  • Backwater on May 10, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    I'm with you, Asif, about questioning whether batting and bowling bonus points are worth bothering with. And partly because this is the worst weather I can ever remember for county cricket, I've even been consoling myself with IPL on the tv.... thought Deccan were actually going to win a game earlier.... should have known better. It's perfectly possible to love both forms of the game.

  • Sam K on May 11, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    AnusMcGuigan you've got it so so wrong! KP was angry at the quota system in SA because it was reverse discrimination, it meant that there was UNFAIR discrimination and there are very few people who do not think it was absolute tripe. KP would have never played international cricket if he had stayed in SA because of the quota system and because Graeme Smith was the captain and they detest each other. No one is angry at the IPL quota system because almost every single team sport has a similar system in place. It is designed to make it so that a team still has home-grown talent and rich teams cannot overload their playing XI with international players whilst the poorer teams have to make do. That is in the interest of FAIRNESS. Hopefully you're not going to make any more ignorant comments.

  • Luke on May 10, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    I just cannot even understand how can people compare county cricket or test cricket to IPL. There is no comparison, IPL is far better. I have been an avid follower of the game for more than 30 years, and have tried my best to watch test matches, however its futile. I realised long ago that test or first class cricket is not designed for people to watch it, its there just to help the ego and bank balance of people who play it or manage it.

    Only people who have no job e.g. pensioners, people on benefits or people who have inherited free money can afford to take out 5 days to watch a test match or 3-4 days for a county game. People like me have jobs and taking 4-5 days off from work to watch a game is not good enough reason to give to boss. Its useless to watch a few hours at a time, its like reading only a few random pages from the middle of a book. An avid follower could not watch a single match in 30 years of trying, so its the game's fault, not the follower's. I can watch IPL easily!

  • Luke on May 10, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    I have decided to come out of the closet - IPL is great!!

    The first few seasons I watched it and got hooked on to the quality of cricket. No other tournament offers such closes finishes so regularly. There is no other sport that matches this at this moment.

    Until recently I watched it secretly as office folks slated me when they found out that I had watched it. Eventually I realised that its their problem if they have any problems me watching IPL instead of football or county cricket.

    I chose Delhi simply because of Pietersen and Sehwag. Boy, did I choose well!!

  • Martin on May 10, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    @David It's not possible to play a Sir Geoffrey-approved textbook forward defensive stroke when your footwork is being hampered by your waistband hanging somewhere South of your genitalia.

  • Maxgate on May 10, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    Regarding changes to the County Championship might I suggest 6 divisions of 3 counties with teams playing each other home and away. There would be promotion and relegation between each division with 3 up and 3 down thus allowing each county to play for the crown of County Champions once every six years!

    The season would run over 12 days thus filling the void between one soccer season and the next!

    I recommend this idea to the House

  • David Hopps on May 10, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    Haha. That made me laugh. That's all I wanted to say really. Shouldn't all Yorkshire's Kanes be about 16 by now? Two years from debut maybe? Or are they all skateboarding?

  • Martin on May 10, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    The worst part about being a Yorkshire fan today is having someone called "Kane" making runs against us. "Kane" is one of those ridiculous, and made-up, antipodean names... the like of which permeates our shores (but hopefully never our shires) through what I like to call the Jeremy Kyle classes.

  • George Dobell on May 10, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Backwater: I love that you picked out that one and not the Kim Hughes casting...

  • Backwater on May 10, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Anybody read George ATL?

    James Corden as Ian Botham? Gentle and overweight and trying not to be so full of himself? Surely not good casting.

  • Backwater on May 10, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    I'm with you, Asif, about questioning whether batting and bowling bonus points are worth bothering with. And partly because this is the worst weather I can ever remember for county cricket, I've even been consoling myself with IPL on the tv.... thought Deccan were actually going to win a game earlier.... should have known better. It's perfectly possible to love both forms of the game.

  • lizzy on May 10, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    I watch the IPL. It is a mixture of fantastic entertainment, great skill, deeply annoying and terrible cricket. But I will never be able to have an emotional attachment to any of the teams. The players change to regularly, the franchises spring up and then can go away just as quickly and I have no affiliation to any of the teams.

    It's fun to watch with a mixture of great and distinctly average players on display but I couldn't give a flying one who wins. Like I say I have no emotional response to it in the way I do county cricket with all its history, romanticism and tradition.

  • Asif on May 10, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Thanks for the explanation guys...!

    I take it you guys do not watch the IPL...!

  • Lizzy on May 10, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    It's a valid point to think about how County Cricket (the championship) seems to the casual fan. There isn't much logic to it and it's quite hard to explain the significance of certain matches. The points system equally is not that penentrable for the casual fan.

    But equally, we cannot pitch county cricket to the lowest common denominator. I quite like that County Cricket requirs a bit of brain work. And that we have to make our decisions about what's going on during a day's play rather than being told in a slightly patronising way like we are in T20. Not that I don't love T20 cos I do. I'm no cricket snob.

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    Batting and Bowling points are mainly there to deal with a season tie-break situation. The team with the best win/loss ratio still tends to win overall (now they've reduced the points for a draw by 5). It also stop a side batting out the first innings forever as you want to take 10 wickets within 110 over but want to score at a rate 3.63. So it induces the end of the first innings hopefully by 2.5 days.

    Now there is an argument about draws and games hugely effected by weather sides have been clear winning positions on a few occasions and instead of getting 16 points they got 3. Possibly 3 points for a draw but a bonus point for every day (3 sessions) lost to weather in a drawn game? Too complex to enforce probably.

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    Asif - you get bonus points for reaching certain targets with bat and ball. You get 5 for batting and 3 for bowling; you get a bonus point with the bat every 50 runs from 200 to 400 - so 200, 250 etc... and you get one every 3 wickets you take; 3 wickets, 6 wickets, 9 wickets. You have to get them within 110 overs. Hope this helps!

  • Asif on May 10, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    I actually enjoy all forms of the game... And my attention span is totally fine!

    I am a keen player and attend most Surrey matches because the Oval is just down the road!

    It's just the changes that are made every year are frustrating!

    And batting and bowling points... Can somebody explain that to me...!

  • Richard G on May 10, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    Add me to the 'county cricket is exciting' brigade. Its problems - if you can view them as such - are that the games have to be played in good weather over a number of days. Divisions and rules can be rejigged all you want, but you'll never escape from those facts. All that those in charge can do is give what games there are as good a chance as possible of being played (so therefore fewer games in early April might be helpful) and promote it better.

    Nick C - in response to your queries, yes, adding two teams would be an ideal solution. I appreciate there are holes in my theory, but I just worry that we get T20 overkill in June, and it disrupts the County Championship season too much. Two shorter competitions may well be worth looking at.

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Mari - the point of changing it would be to avoid starts like this! Most teams playing a huge chunk of their season with the majority of games being wet and rained off. The fact is the IPL and the Champions League, the reason that the season starts are getting ever earlier, are here to stay for now, and you can't refuse both players and counties the money on offer from them with the financial state the game is in. Fewer first class games might not be everyone's choice, but it would give counties more time to concentrate on all forms of the game whilst also actually playing games in better weather, as well as leaving time for those that want to play in the CL.

  • Mari Foster on May 10, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    Asif-county cricket is exciting. (Hampshire beating Glamorgan on the penultimate ball a few weeks ago is an example.) I have to wonder if you've ever actually bothered going to any matches? Some of us actually appreciate the subtleties of the longer form of the game. We can't always bow to the whims of those with shorter attention spans.

    I don't see any point to changing the structure of the County Championship. There should actually be more consideration made to bringing back a 50 over competition.

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Asif I have no idea what your point is....move on to what exactly? England to keep test status has to have a first-class structure this is it, why shouldn't they try to improve it?

  • Asif on May 10, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    I'm sorry... But how desperate do these proposals for the County season sound...!

    I think ECB has to move on with the times...!

    It's almost embarrassing how they are trying to hype it up and make it sound exciting!

    If it was not for Sky Sports funding... County Cricket would be all but over by now!

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Richard, which counties are going to opt for 1 less T20 home game per season (brining their minimum to 3)? Think you 2 extra sides for it to work. Somerset has a fairly small homeground but good weather provided will sell-out any T20 game. If you limit their amount of home games from 5 to 3 you severely limit their potential turnover for the year unless they raise prices. I don't feel the amount of T20 games is the problem with the larger Counties getting the bodies in but the condensed nature of the tournament and then long gaps between playoff games. Playing 10 games in 3.5 weeks is too much followed by a 2 week gap before QF's and then there's a month before Finals Day. The group stage games need spreading out and the gap between QF and Final's day needs shortening. They create fatigue by playing so much at once not because there are too many games.

    If I went't a member I couldn't afford 5 home T20 games in that short time on my own let alone if I had a wife and kids to take

  • Richard G on May 10, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    Regarding the county set-up, would there be an appetite for two T20 competitions shorter than what we have now?

    - In June, four leagues (two fours, two fives) with the top two going into QFs, in early September a straight-forward knockout tournament (with preliminary round) played over two weeks or so. Keeps the number of dead rubbers to an absolute minimum, and hopefully prevents overkill in breaking the T20 stuff up a bit rather than getting to that stage in late June where you physically can't take any more.

    I'd leave the divisions as they are with regards to the County Championship. I rather suspect it works better than we're inclined to believe.

  • Gary on May 10, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    Anyone else enjoying the retro county game on Sky at the moment - 1996 Natwest final between Essex and Lancs? Peter Martin and Ian Austin enjoying themselves with the new ball as Essex chase 186 in 60 overs. Glen Chapple into the attack now!

  • jon filby on May 10, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    Just do away with county cricket and put the IPL on Sky 24/7 with an occasional international T20 match against Mars or the Moon.

    It makes as much sense as fiddling around with the competition which develops the best test cricketers in the world.

  • Kenny Shovel on May 10, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    Nuke all the counties from orbit and let God sort it out.

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    It would have to be a random process - hardly ideal. The three division idea is the simpler and better of the two, but I'm thinking more of the counties that would be shunted into the third division-they're hardly going to vote for a proposal that forces them even further from the big prize, and it was more a way of keeping them interested. 10 championship games also leaves plenty of time for the proposed IPL-esque leage in midsummer and a switch back to 50 over cricket from the CB40. Is there any way we can send this to the ECB? They should give some of us a job!

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Your proposal is good too but how do you decide which division the bottom 2 are relegated to? Equally in Div2A and Div2B I worry about only one place for glory and the other 5 being worth nothing (except money).

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    After that you make those the groups for T20 and List A(adding in Netherlands, Scotland and Unicorns randomly) so scheduling is easier. Entire season can be reduced to 10 weeks (although I'd use May-August 18 weeksish)

    QF's for T20 and LA = top 2 from each division + 2 best 3rd place.

    Relegation/Promotion Top/Bottom 2 teams making div 2 hard fought, div 1 top 4 should be gunning for title and div 3 bottom well you can't help that.

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    I'm just not sure the counties being forced into the third division would really want to go for it, so that's why I thought about the two split divisions beneath the top one. 12 teams have a chance of promotion that way as well, meaning sides are more likely to play attacking cricket to get up into that top division, improving the quality overall. Of course, if anything, ideas like this just make too much sense, meaning that the ECB will never listen!

  • Backwater on May 10, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    You could cut the championship down to 6 games a season and England players still wouldn't play in it if the England international season is as packed as it is now. Well, not apart from a couple of early-season warm-up games anyway. The problem is that there is so much international cricket, county cricket is suffocated.

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    It's best proposal I've heard and I prefer it to reducing the amount of Counties as decisions on mergers won't be based on current success or financial viability and the loss of Somerset as a distinct County.

    Deciding the teams is simple top 6 make division 1, bottom six make division 3 everyone else is division 2. So if last year was the cut off it would like as follows and it look right as well.

    Div1 Lancashire Warwickshire Durham Somerset Sussex Nottinghamshire

    Div2 Worcestershire Yorkshire Hampshire Middlesex Surrey Northamptonshire

    Div3 Gloucestershire Derbyshire Glamorgan Essex Kent Leicestershire

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Following on from my last point, how about the top division is made up of the six best teams in the country, and the two below are equal but randomly drawn from the rest to make up the other two. The bottom two of the top division get relegated, the winners of each of the bottom ones go up. Any thoughts anyone? Is it workable, or sheer madness?

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Interesting proposition from Atherton and Willis on Sky - three divisions of six, ten first class games each. It would cut down the amount of cricket enormously and allow time for preparation for all formats, and give time for the England players to also play for their counties. How do you decide on the three divisions though? I'm pretty sure no county is going to volunteer to make up the third division...

  • Anus McGuigan on May 10, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    For "IPL is the best tournament"

    Read: "IPL is the best paying tournament"

    For "KP"

    Read: "Mercenary"

    I have no problem with any of the above - each to their own and good luck to him etc.

    But as a footnote, and with his SA career in mind, I'd say it's interesting how he doesn't object to the IPL's quota system when he's being picked and being paid a bucketload.

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    Already off for the day at Hove apparently. So much for Sussex being the sunniest county in the UK!

  • coo on May 10, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    I enjoy wathcing the IPL but as Nick said there is a distinct lack of representation from the previous two world champions.... and it does seem the IPL has took over from the County Championship from a few yrs ago as being the playground for anyone with an Australian accent and a bat/ball in their hand looking for a game

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    As I said yesterday it's a Indian Domestic Tournament I have no interest in because of that as I have perfectly adequate English one which the team I support plays in. Yes it has arguably the best players in the world playing (although there is distinct lack of representation from the previous two World Champions). We would be better served if the CLT20 was taken over by the ICC and it stopped being a joke heavily weighted in the Indians Teams favour.

    I don't blame Pietersen for playing but it doesn't make interested in watching it.

  • NikShah on May 10, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    IPL is one of the best touraments of the year but i feel it needs a little bit of tweaking. Reduce the number of teams and therefore games. But those who slate the IPL when would you have ever seen the best players in the world playing together in tournament with great batrles like Steyn vs Devilliers.

  • Dan on May 10, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    No play at Durham today or tomorrow.

    Can Somerset win it on the last day?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Dan on May 10, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    No play at Durham today or tomorrow.

    Can Somerset win it on the last day?

  • NikShah on May 10, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    IPL is one of the best touraments of the year but i feel it needs a little bit of tweaking. Reduce the number of teams and therefore games. But those who slate the IPL when would you have ever seen the best players in the world playing together in tournament with great batrles like Steyn vs Devilliers.

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    As I said yesterday it's a Indian Domestic Tournament I have no interest in because of that as I have perfectly adequate English one which the team I support plays in. Yes it has arguably the best players in the world playing (although there is distinct lack of representation from the previous two World Champions). We would be better served if the CLT20 was taken over by the ICC and it stopped being a joke heavily weighted in the Indians Teams favour.

    I don't blame Pietersen for playing but it doesn't make interested in watching it.

  • coo on May 10, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    I enjoy wathcing the IPL but as Nick said there is a distinct lack of representation from the previous two world champions.... and it does seem the IPL has took over from the County Championship from a few yrs ago as being the playground for anyone with an Australian accent and a bat/ball in their hand looking for a game

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    Already off for the day at Hove apparently. So much for Sussex being the sunniest county in the UK!

  • Anus McGuigan on May 10, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    For "IPL is the best tournament"

    Read: "IPL is the best paying tournament"

    For "KP"

    Read: "Mercenary"

    I have no problem with any of the above - each to their own and good luck to him etc.

    But as a footnote, and with his SA career in mind, I'd say it's interesting how he doesn't object to the IPL's quota system when he's being picked and being paid a bucketload.

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Interesting proposition from Atherton and Willis on Sky - three divisions of six, ten first class games each. It would cut down the amount of cricket enormously and allow time for preparation for all formats, and give time for the England players to also play for their counties. How do you decide on the three divisions though? I'm pretty sure no county is going to volunteer to make up the third division...

  • Samuel on May 10, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Following on from my last point, how about the top division is made up of the six best teams in the country, and the two below are equal but randomly drawn from the rest to make up the other two. The bottom two of the top division get relegated, the winners of each of the bottom ones go up. Any thoughts anyone? Is it workable, or sheer madness?

  • Nick C on May 10, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    It's best proposal I've heard and I prefer it to reducing the amount of Counties as decisions on mergers won't be based on current success or financial viability and the loss of Somerset as a distinct County.

    Deciding the teams is simple top 6 make division 1, bottom six make division 3 everyone else is division 2. So if last year was the cut off it would like as follows and it look right as well.

    Div1 Lancashire Warwickshire Durham Somerset Sussex Nottinghamshire

    Div2 Worcestershire Yorkshire Hampshire Middlesex Surrey Northamptonshire

    Div3 Gloucestershire Derbyshire Glamorgan Essex Kent Leicestershire

  • Backwater on May 10, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    You could cut the championship down to 6 games a season and England players still wouldn't play in it if the England international season is as packed as it is now. Well, not apart from a couple of early-season warm-up games anyway. The problem is that there is so much international cricket, county cricket is suffocated.