City v city format would appeal to new markets June 14, 2005

Barry Richards envisages global Twenty20 league

Cricinfo staff

Barry Richards: forward looking © Getty Images
Barry Richards, the former South African batsman, has said that Twenty20 should become a global competition featuring teams from a number of cities.

"If you had 16 or 20 sides you could float it around the world and you could sell it into America and Canada," Richards told BBC Sport. "You could have a team from Toronto, a team from Miami, teams from Cape Town and London. You could have the best players, not representing a country but a town.

"It would be the 200 or 300 best players in the world and it's up to the franchise-holders to decide who are the best players. You always associate Test cricket with the best players but it's not the case anymore. If you've got 15 in each side then we can see all the Australians that are not playing that are good enough to play Test cricket."

Richards comments are hardly likely to be warmly received by the authorities in some countries, but the rapid growth and remarkable popularity of the format where it has been tried means that his ideas are not as far-fetched as they might have been even a year ago.

Richards has been at the forefront in recognising the need for the game to appeal to new markets and audiences if it is to prosper. At the Cowdrey Lecture in 2003, he urged the authorties to consider where cricket would be in 20 years, and said that it had to revise traditional thinking in favour of new concepts that stimulated the young.