County cricket January 10, 2012

ECB to accept Morgan's county review

George Dobell
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England's first-class counties will play just 14 Championship games per season as the ECB Management Board looks set to ratify the vast majority of the Morgan Review at Lord's on Thursday.

Barring a major u-turn from the ECB, the changes will be implemented ahead of the 2014 season. Other features will include a return to 50-over List A cricket, a minimum 14 Twenty20 games per county and a cut in the level of the salary cap.

While few counties are happy with the results, most seem willing to accept them. David Morgan, the former ICC and ECB chairman, consulted widely throughout 2011 and county officials have accepted, after years of prevarication, that the ECB needed to show leadership. Whether spectators, who have had little chance to put forward their views, accept the report so readily remains to be seen.

The biggest winners of the Morgan Review are Team England. They were keen that the quantity of domestic cricket be reduced and keen that domestic limited-overs cricket should mirror the international game. It will be an irony lost on few that the Morgan was initially appointed in May to lead a review into "the business of county cricket."

Though Morgan presented his interim report in November to the widespread approval of the board, his full report will not be submitted until Thursday. After ratification, an almost inevitable event, the county chief executives will be invited for a meeting at Lord's on January 23 to discuss the report's implications. David Morgan will not be present, although he may join the meeting by video conference. As Dave Brooks, the chief executive of Sussex put it: "There will be no more consultation about the domestic structure."

Fundamental to the changes is the scheduling of the Champions League. The tournament, which has been allocated its own space in the ICC's Future Tours Program, will, in most seasons, be staged from mid-September. That has created fixture congestion in the English domestic season and seen the season end almost two weeks earlier than previously.

George Dobell is senior correspondent for ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Less in the way of "Proper" Cricket, more T20 nonsense despite the bubble long since having burst on that charade. The one saving grace is the move back to 50 over OD Cricket in line with ODIs, but otherwise a shambolic decision on the part of the ECB.

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Like other posters I will seriously be considering my county membership if this proposal goes ahead. Real cricket is going to suffer to accomodate this farcical 20/20 form of the game, I note that in the proposal it says a minimum of 14 20/20 games. This year I will not be able to watch REAL CRICKET at home between June 8th and July 27th(almost 7 weeks), at what should be the best time of the year weatherwise. If we must have the 20 over game why not play it at the beginning of the season (April and May) then start the REAL CRICKET season after this and play it without a break until the end of the season, the 50 over games can be played on either a saturday or sunday during this period to encourage better attendances. I hope the counties throw out the proposed changes.

  • POSTED BY stulch on | January 12, 2012, 0:42 GMT

    I don't agree with a 14 match championship but if you where to go with it I would reduce div 1 to 8 teams with each team playing each other home & away (the 14 games) saving two rounds of fixtures on the current number and making fixtures easier to compile as each team could play each round due to the even number of teams.

    Div 2 split into 2 sections of 5 each. Each section created based on ranking previous season finishing positions. Section a: rankings 1,4,5,8 & 9. Section b: rankings 2,3,6,7 & 10. Each team plays each team in their section home & away (initial round of 8 games), followed by each team in one section playing each team in the other section either home or away (another 5 games, each team will then have played 13). The section winner with the highest points will be promoted as will be the other section winner unless the 2nd place from the other section has more points whereas there will be a promotion play-off (draw: section winner is promoted).

  • POSTED BY AcrossTheSeam01 on | January 11, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    @Sir_Freddie_Flintoff: I don't agree with RandyOz either because the county system is excellent and has produced quality players for England, in fact better than just quality players. BUT The England team is nowhere near the Aussie team of the last decade. Strauss has said that himself. Anderson is nowhere near the perfection McGrath has, Graeme Swann cannot compete with Shane Warne, in any aspect of his bowling, Ian Bell is another bad example and Alistair Cook is going through an awesome purple patch. Cook at the MOMENT can compete with any legend, in the last year and beginning of this he could easily topple Tendulkar or Lara in their primes. But in the long run he still wouldn't compete eventually. Or were you being sarcastic lol

  • POSTED BY fromthehip on | January 11, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    As usual a total cop-out to the demands of TV (SKY) with the proper cricket taking second place to the TV friendly format of 20/20 which, despite all the hype, is not cricket at all. It's what I used to play for the reserves midweek when a game had to be squeezed in between getting out of work and darkness.

    Wasn't 20Ttwenty supposed to be a way of promoting cricket in non-cricket nations and to footie fans who only have 90min attention spans? Now it takes up the valuable British Summertime just as the Championship is hotting up.

    Still, I'm sure that the remaining county fixtures will be arranged for the good weather periods.

  • POSTED BY ChewtonMendip on | January 11, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    When these ideas were first suggested a couple of months ago I thought they would be ditched as quickly as possible. I can hardly believe that such stupid ideas are now to be adopted by the counties. We have an excellent first-class competition (albeit with too many games now crammed into April) which has produced an excellent England team and now the ECB wants to undermine the very system that got England to the no. 1 test ranking. Cricketers learn to play cricket by playing cricket. The less they play the less they will learn and the less easily will they make the transition from county to international cricket. The very integrity of the county championship has been undermined too. The county championship should be the pinnacle of domestic cricket not be being side-lined and maligned at every opportunity by the very powers who should be supporting it. The money men in the city brought the economy to its knees. The money men at the ECB look like doing the same thing to English cricket

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | January 11, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    The last i heard Yorkshire were fully against the changes and would oppose any changes suggested by the ECB. In fact it said so in my members newsletter last yearso their stance must have changed.

  • POSTED BY on | January 11, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    The waste of space in the fixture list is the stupidly large number of meaningless group games in limited overs competitions.

    Spread T20 over a couple of months - played over the weekend (Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon). Champhionship fixtures on the other days. 50 over - is it worth the effort? If so play at weekends outside the T20 window.

    Either keep the Champhionship at 16 games or, if they must reduce it, bring in teams like Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands and have 3 divisions, 7 teams per division - 12 games each. Make up for the reduction in games by a divisional champhionship - 4 regional teams each selected from 4 or 5 counties (limitations on overseas players), games played over 5 days - letting England players past, present and future to show what they can do in the test format.

  • POSTED BY on | January 11, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    the problem with the domestic circuit was not with the county championship in the first place. It was in fact that there was 1) too many t20 games, and 2) too many 40 over games that meant absolutely nothing. I would only have changed 3 things about the domestic circuit. 1) 50 overs instead of 40 overs to mirror the international game, 2) add quarter finals to the 50 overs cup, to cut down on too many dead games and 3) return to the 3 group t20 cup so there's less games in the t20

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | January 11, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    and for the love of god, can we please abolish the ICC Champions Trophy?????

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Less in the way of "Proper" Cricket, more T20 nonsense despite the bubble long since having burst on that charade. The one saving grace is the move back to 50 over OD Cricket in line with ODIs, but otherwise a shambolic decision on the part of the ECB.

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Like other posters I will seriously be considering my county membership if this proposal goes ahead. Real cricket is going to suffer to accomodate this farcical 20/20 form of the game, I note that in the proposal it says a minimum of 14 20/20 games. This year I will not be able to watch REAL CRICKET at home between June 8th and July 27th(almost 7 weeks), at what should be the best time of the year weatherwise. If we must have the 20 over game why not play it at the beginning of the season (April and May) then start the REAL CRICKET season after this and play it without a break until the end of the season, the 50 over games can be played on either a saturday or sunday during this period to encourage better attendances. I hope the counties throw out the proposed changes.

  • POSTED BY stulch on | January 12, 2012, 0:42 GMT

    I don't agree with a 14 match championship but if you where to go with it I would reduce div 1 to 8 teams with each team playing each other home & away (the 14 games) saving two rounds of fixtures on the current number and making fixtures easier to compile as each team could play each round due to the even number of teams.

    Div 2 split into 2 sections of 5 each. Each section created based on ranking previous season finishing positions. Section a: rankings 1,4,5,8 & 9. Section b: rankings 2,3,6,7 & 10. Each team plays each team in their section home & away (initial round of 8 games), followed by each team in one section playing each team in the other section either home or away (another 5 games, each team will then have played 13). The section winner with the highest points will be promoted as will be the other section winner unless the 2nd place from the other section has more points whereas there will be a promotion play-off (draw: section winner is promoted).

  • POSTED BY AcrossTheSeam01 on | January 11, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    @Sir_Freddie_Flintoff: I don't agree with RandyOz either because the county system is excellent and has produced quality players for England, in fact better than just quality players. BUT The England team is nowhere near the Aussie team of the last decade. Strauss has said that himself. Anderson is nowhere near the perfection McGrath has, Graeme Swann cannot compete with Shane Warne, in any aspect of his bowling, Ian Bell is another bad example and Alistair Cook is going through an awesome purple patch. Cook at the MOMENT can compete with any legend, in the last year and beginning of this he could easily topple Tendulkar or Lara in their primes. But in the long run he still wouldn't compete eventually. Or were you being sarcastic lol

  • POSTED BY fromthehip on | January 11, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    As usual a total cop-out to the demands of TV (SKY) with the proper cricket taking second place to the TV friendly format of 20/20 which, despite all the hype, is not cricket at all. It's what I used to play for the reserves midweek when a game had to be squeezed in between getting out of work and darkness.

    Wasn't 20Ttwenty supposed to be a way of promoting cricket in non-cricket nations and to footie fans who only have 90min attention spans? Now it takes up the valuable British Summertime just as the Championship is hotting up.

    Still, I'm sure that the remaining county fixtures will be arranged for the good weather periods.

  • POSTED BY ChewtonMendip on | January 11, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    When these ideas were first suggested a couple of months ago I thought they would be ditched as quickly as possible. I can hardly believe that such stupid ideas are now to be adopted by the counties. We have an excellent first-class competition (albeit with too many games now crammed into April) which has produced an excellent England team and now the ECB wants to undermine the very system that got England to the no. 1 test ranking. Cricketers learn to play cricket by playing cricket. The less they play the less they will learn and the less easily will they make the transition from county to international cricket. The very integrity of the county championship has been undermined too. The county championship should be the pinnacle of domestic cricket not be being side-lined and maligned at every opportunity by the very powers who should be supporting it. The money men in the city brought the economy to its knees. The money men at the ECB look like doing the same thing to English cricket

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | January 11, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    The last i heard Yorkshire were fully against the changes and would oppose any changes suggested by the ECB. In fact it said so in my members newsletter last yearso their stance must have changed.

  • POSTED BY on | January 11, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    The waste of space in the fixture list is the stupidly large number of meaningless group games in limited overs competitions.

    Spread T20 over a couple of months - played over the weekend (Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon). Champhionship fixtures on the other days. 50 over - is it worth the effort? If so play at weekends outside the T20 window.

    Either keep the Champhionship at 16 games or, if they must reduce it, bring in teams like Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands and have 3 divisions, 7 teams per division - 12 games each. Make up for the reduction in games by a divisional champhionship - 4 regional teams each selected from 4 or 5 counties (limitations on overseas players), games played over 5 days - letting England players past, present and future to show what they can do in the test format.

  • POSTED BY on | January 11, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    the problem with the domestic circuit was not with the county championship in the first place. It was in fact that there was 1) too many t20 games, and 2) too many 40 over games that meant absolutely nothing. I would only have changed 3 things about the domestic circuit. 1) 50 overs instead of 40 overs to mirror the international game, 2) add quarter finals to the 50 overs cup, to cut down on too many dead games and 3) return to the 3 group t20 cup so there's less games in the t20

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | January 11, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    and for the love of god, can we please abolish the ICC Champions Trophy?????

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | January 11, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    I think more county cricket games should be played all over the county. On several occasions last season, there were sell outs for all the days in numerous places. I'd say Lancashire playing in Liverpool is what helped them win the championship. There is a real appetite for the game. There should also be a lot less one dayers and t20 matches that ultimately mean nothing. It's ridiculous having to play so many group games and have only 2 knockout matches. So more county championship, less meaningless one dayers

  • POSTED BY on | January 11, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Will each county cut membership fees with fewer home matches (I don't count T20)? The county championship will be reduced to a lottery with some teams only playing the others once. Are threy thinking with their wallets?

  • POSTED BY yorkiestu on | January 11, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    It was the Yorkshire Chairman, Colin Graves, who suggested the reduction in the first place, so he will not be fighting against it. In fact he has stated that he will do everything in his power to ensure that the reduction goes ahead. His viewpoint is not surprising though, as he knows nothing about cricket and is puely finance and profit orientated.

  • POSTED BY bexleylion on | January 11, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    Hurrah for a return to the international 50 over format for counties, congrats to Mr Morgan for that little piece of common sense...but there all sense ends, the pink gin must have kicked in! 9 counties, 14 championship matches devalues an already devalued competition. Alternatives? I don't wish to worry you fans at Lord's and Uxbridge but can anyone show me the county of Middlesex on a map these days?!! Too much cricket? I can hear 'Fiery' Fred turning in his grave, "softies, used t'bowl 25 overs a day 6 days t'week, and play for England!" I look forward to reading at least one supportive comment of all Mr Morgan's proposals?

  • POSTED BY Harvey on | January 11, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    I will expect a significant reduction in my county subscriptions or I won't be renewing. The ECB should be abandoning the dead-in-the-water Champions League, a competition (if that's what you can call it) which is not even watched by most English cricket fans I know. Then we could have a full-length cricket season with a full set of County Championship fixtures.

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | January 11, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    I am quite sure Yorkshire won't put up with this and Colin Graves, who has been outspoken in the past will be on the ECB's case straight away. we never have bowed down to the establishment and definitely are not about to start now.

  • POSTED BY AlanHarrison on | January 11, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    I can't help thinking there is some overreaction here. The county championship has been being tampered with one way another for years. First there were the changes in 1969, then they played 24 matches, then there was some four-day cricket and they played 22, then there was all four-day cricket and they played 17, then there were two divisions. 16 counties, 17 counties, and then Durham and 18 counties. There were uncovered pitches, then they were covered, then uncovered again, then covered again. Any number of overseas players, then only one overseas player, then two, then Kolpaks, then one again, then no Kolpaks, then (what is the siutation now exactly?) In, out , in , out, shake it all about, that's just what happens to county cricket. I'm not saying that this current round of changes are necessarily for the better, but I really don't think it's the end of the world.

  • POSTED BY LancsTwins on | January 11, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    I don't like this any more than anyone else, but worther remembering that playing some teams only once first came in in the late '60s to accommodate the 40 over Sunday League, reducing the 1 division 17 team championship from 32 games to ( I think) 26. One of the best things about 2 division cricket was that it instituted home and away games against everyone in the division. I suspect now as then Counties will lose a poorly attended, less profitiable fixture. This will be completely arbitrary and so will unfairly disadvante some and devalue the competition by more than the loss of the games. In short, rubbish. But the Countiles will accept it, as the majority survive on ECB money and he who pays the piper is clearly very much calling the tune.

  • POSTED BY Brosley1 on | January 11, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    Does anyone want to start a petition with me about this? if so please get in contact. This blatant destruction of county cricket cannot be allowed to happen.

    14 games each while still maintaining 2 leagues, means everyone wont play each other twice, therefore not fair!

    Test cricket is still the most exciting form of the game and if we start to dilute it and shorten it in this country then we can kiss the NO 1 spot goodbye.

  • POSTED BY davidc1984 on | January 11, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Did anyone else count the number of teams listed in the 'Related Links' box to make sure there were still 18 counties this morning?

  • POSTED BY Kcila on | January 11, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    This obsession with 20/20 will kill the game. Even in India crowds are not as they were. The odd amazing catch and a barage of sixes in a match are not enough to keep this comical game going for ever. The County Championship may not be the sexiest of competitions but it delivers a high standard of cricket and gives international players from all test nations, not just England, invaluable playing time at the longer format of the game. Competitions like the County Championship and Sheffield Shield nurture talent and give players the concentration and confidence to move up to Test level. Filling every possible gap with an avalanche of ODIs and 20/20 games doesn't help anyone and when the punters eventually turn their backs on it even the corporate bean counters will wonder what they have done!

  • POSTED BY StoneRose on | January 11, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    Oh dear, 18 first class counties and 14 games per season does not go. Is this the demise of 18 FC counties? Hope not - I don't know how you could ever decide on which to cull anyway. Surely it can only mean that a county plays most counties twice but some counties once. Ridiculous and unfair. Poor crowds showed that there is not enough appetite for T20 in so much volume as last year. I disagree (for once) with George that this is good for the England team: Strauss and Somerset is a pertinent example (reflecting Hughes and the Big Bash more recently), and England players don't play much county cricket anyway, and are more likely to play an early season Championship fixture than a meaningless T20. This is ridiculous and hopefully the counties do not allow it to happen.

  • POSTED BY jacoblrfc on | January 11, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    i agree with the 50 over change, as this gives better match practice to the international players for ODI's. But having only 14 CC games i think is a stupid idea, how is it fair that some teams will play others once, whilst some players others twice?

  • POSTED BY ncurd on | January 11, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    0-bomb has it right, how does this effect who you play? The way I see either your reduce the amount of teams by 4 or you create a third division (possibly elevating a few minor counties? I dunno). You can't reduce the teams as it wouldn't make any sense Yorkshire who are division 2 team will keep their county status while Somerset one of the most 'successful' clubs (lack of silverware I know) of the past half-decade would likely be merged with their biggest rivals. This despite being one of the few clubs reporting an operational profit the past two seasons.

  • POSTED BY Hutton364 on | January 11, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    This devalues the county championship. Presumably the nine teams in each division with play six teams twice and two teams once. Is there any other sport where this happens? It's barmy. It ruins the lovely symmetry of home and away fixtures and means some counties will play the weakest teams twice and others will play the strongest teams twice. Imagine a scenario in which Lancashire and Durham are fighting for the county championship but haven't got a fixture in the second part of the season because they only play each other once. Conversely, Yorkshire and Sussex are at the bottom and fighting to avoid relegation, but don't have to play each other in the second half of the season. And all that for the sake of saving eight days cricket! ..... Of course, this is all about milking the cash cow of T20. In such a madly neo-liberal capitalist world, as Bob Dylan said "money doesn't talk it swears".....

  • POSTED BY DustyBin on | January 11, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    how does fewer County games help "team England?" England's squad is (almost entirely) centrally contracted. England's players rest when management tell them to; they play precious little County cricket anyway i.e this change will barely affect the current England team at all. If County Cricket is meant to be a breeding ground for potential England players, how does playing fewer competitive matches make them better players? & if the science of fitness & conditioning is better today why do County players need more rest?

  • POSTED BY on | January 11, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    Really wouldn't be surprised if 2 counties merged with 2 other counties. Long overdue and plenty of candidates wholly dependent on a sky handout.

  • POSTED BY o-bomb on | January 11, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    This makes no sense. If the county championship games are being reduced to 14 rather than 16, does this also mean a reduction in the number of counties or does it mean each county will play some opponents twice and some only once during the season? I doubt the former would ever be approved and I dont see how the latter option is fair. It doesn't make sense to compromise the integrity of the county championship in order to play more T20 games.

  • POSTED BY on | January 11, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    Am I the only one who sees the irony that says, as cricketers (like other sportsmen) get fitter & fitter due to advances in medicine & sports science they will be playing less county cricket? How & why does that work? Surely, as cricketers get fitter compared to past generations, they should be playing MORE first class games?

  • POSTED BY AJ_Tiger86 on | January 11, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    @RandyOZ, LOL! This "weak" county system has just produced the greatest cricket team of all time, which makes your Australian team of last decade look pathetic. This county system has produced the likes of Jimmy Anderson who is miles ahead of Glenn McGrath; Graeme Swann -- who is twice as good as Shane Warne; Ian Bell -- who makes Ricky Ponting look like a club cricketer; and Alastair Cook -- who is ten times as good as Hayden and Langer combined.

  • POSTED BY the_flying_squad on | January 11, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    why do you people even respond to randyoz? seriously.

    @hhillbumper; Hughes didn't seem to go too poorly last time he was playing county.

  • POSTED BY Vickyc007 on | January 11, 2012, 1:18 GMT

    Is the daft acceptance of playing all the county matches in April & May included in this acceptance as if do I can't see how that helps 'Team England'? Strauss was complaining this summer that there weren't enough domestic matches & it was all ODI/T20s which is why he had to play for Somerset. This decision to reduce the no of CC matches is the most barking decision the ECB have made so far, & that's dating something given their history.

    I also reiterate the point that I doubt my membership is going to be reduced or changed to reflect the focus on limited overs matches spectatorship. If anything it's going to go up to cover the lack of funds due to reduced number of games

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | January 11, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    RandyOz- Give the appollo a ring and see if they can't get you onto a Michael McIntyre stand up show or something. You got me cracking up. You're like Lord HawHaw from WW2- propaganda all the way.Serioiusly mare, we are not in trouble so long as the likes of Morgan get given something else to play with like Lego set.

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | January 10, 2012, 23:14 GMT

    The return of the 50 over format is welcome, however, evidence in both England and India suggests that the appeal of 20/20 has already passed its peak as attendances are down on previous years. Playing more of 20/20 may appeal to Sky in the short term but when viewing figures show a decline, they will re-negoiate contracts and where will that leave England cricket?

    What is most disappointing is that county members were not consulted. There may not be that many in number, but cricket would not survive in England without them and to totally exclude their views is unacceptable.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | January 10, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    keep it as per this season, no need to change other than the odis from 40 to 50. the county champonship gets us top of the icc test league the t20 gets us top of the icc t20 league and the t20 wc champions. so logic says moving to 50 will do the same in that competition.dpk

  • POSTED BY TontonZolaMoukoko on | January 10, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    RandyOZ - your position of hijacking every single article on here with your wind-up comments would be much stronger if Australia weren't so poor at the moment. You might be beating a poor India side now, but in the last 3 months you've been skittled for under 50 by South Africa and beaten at home by New Zealand. Make sure your own house is in order before criticising others.

    Anyway, back to the actual point of the article - I don't think it makes much difference having a 14 or 16 game CC, my only problem is that all teams should play the other an equal amount of times over the season other or, as mentioned before, the league will lack integrity. So if that means an 8 team 1st division, does this mean a 10 team 2nd division and 18 game seasons for the lesser counties?

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | January 10, 2012, 22:57 GMT

    why do guys who comment have to use the stupid, haha or lol or comments on the premise that it makes their comment more likely to be true. or that if they say it we have to take their word that its is true. we have a 1000 letter limit to explain their reasoning why their comment is right. dpk

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | January 10, 2012, 22:50 GMT

    randy oz.God mate if our system is weak how does that stack up with yours.Luke wright playing 20-20 sweet lord above. Also it must be a weak system if Phil Hughes got a contract.

  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    Crazy. The County Championship has been the most exciting part of the domestic season in the last few years and they choose to strip of its integrity. Once again some useless tinkering that will be revisited in another few years. You couldn't make it up!

  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    @RandyOZ That's the weak county system that led to the thrashing of Australia and India and #1 Test and T20 status is it?

  • POSTED BY Charlie_Ellis on | January 10, 2012, 22:05 GMT

    Moving back to 50 over cricket is a good idea; how England expected to be good at ODI's when they play a different domestic format was nonsensical. A big shame that Championship games will be cut, and T20 has already saturated audiences so an increase in this seems odd. Why on earth the domestic structure here needs restructuring to accomodate the pointless Champions Trophy also eludes me. A 4-yearly World Cup and bi-annual T20 World Cup is plenty; I'd rather England pulled out and retained 16 Championship games, or at least sent a Lions side to the Champions Trophy to give them experience and expose the ICC's ridiculous over-exposure of ODIs.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | January 10, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Haha, the weak county system becomes even weaker!

  • POSTED BY yorvik on | January 10, 2012, 21:43 GMT

    Totally stupid decision to reduce the County Championship. Sixteen matches should be the bare minimum to decide the Champion County. If the major concern is the meaningless but money-laden champions league then the simple solution is to send the previous years qualifiers to the champions league and then adjust their fixture dates to free up the time in mid/late september the following season. Team England is matterless to the arguement because how many of them will actually play in the CC anyway? I like the 50 over decision because the up coming players should be playing the game as they would at international level. Minimum of fourteen 20/20 matches is at least four (and possibly more) matches too many. Bad day for traditional cricket and not sure it's a good day for anyone. Why do the authorities feel the need to tamper so much? If it's just a case of them feeling like they have to then give them all an extra little piece of Sky money and tell them to stay at home!

  • POSTED BY 200ondebut on | January 10, 2012, 21:29 GMT

    A great decision - it will cut the number of meaningless (spectator less) matches. It will make those left more meaningful. I just disappointed they didn't cut the number of first class counties to 10. It is clear the two division structure doesn't work - you only have to look at the number of the test side that play for Div2 sides and the limited number of up and coming players that move to Div 1. need the best players playing each other in meaningful games. Don't need has been kolpacks.

  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    Interesting article George. If it's not an unreasonable request - could you respond through the comments thread? I'm a little unclear how keen the counties are to do warm-up duty for the Touring teams. Counties playing second string sides - please correct me - I think it's happened more than once- suggests not very keen - I've heard elsewhere that counties bid for them. I'm a Cricket Ireland fan - and I've been trying to float the idea that touring warm-ups would make more sense against Scot/Neths/Ire (similar for other continents). I like the recent experiment (Assocs v Eng) but I think it could be used as a fop to justify fewer games for the Associate NATIONS. 3/4 day matches against Test teams is the one area still to be addressed. Maybe the winner of the assocs champ-ship - should get a couple of long games (junior tests) as part of their prize. My point is... If ECB are re-hashing maybe associate supporters should push this idea much harder and very very soon.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | January 10, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    at least we avoided the Yorskhire suggestion of 3 divisions,Is that so that they can stop being relegated?

  • POSTED BY Tigg on | January 10, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    The ECB needed to show leadership by supporting what is arguably the best domestic first class tournament in the world. This is daft. The no. of T20 and limited overs matches could both be reduced without affecting those competitions or the county championship whislt still providing space for the Champions League.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | January 10, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    hope this keeps us at the top of the test league, and still the best first class cricket structure in world cricket. but we need it not to be the finishing school for average cricket nations players. the likes of hughes from aus, this will do our game no good. these nations should be paying the counties for helping bring their players up to a decent standard. dpk

  • POSTED BY themightyfenoughtys on | January 10, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    Magnificent. the English cricket board further reduce the size of their counties' income to support the world's most unloved tournament, where the title sponsor has already exited, and the Indian broadcaster/sole funder continues to complain about their losses. Perhaps someone should consider that by 2014 whenthe English season is shortened, the souless tournament should have died a natural death with no broadcaster willing to prop it up.

  • POSTED BY Fenman on | January 10, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Finally, the money men have won. Why devalue the best first class competition in the world namely the County Championship for the sake of meaningless and instantly forgotten endless one day international tournaments ?

    More 20/20 ? How does that help to develop anything or anybody ? Any more of this and next year will be my last as a county member.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | January 10, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    This is absolutely bloody stupid.The rush to have more 20 20 matches and 50 over cricket again is an absolute farce.This is just following a cheap pound with no idea of moving the game forward.We have seen what great results the 20 20 rush has bought to Indian cricket and are we that stupid.County cricket is producing good young English players and having got rid of the huge amount of pointless kolpaks this seems a backward step.Why don't you got down some 20-20 matches as crowds aren't coming like they used to.We can,t play 50 over cricket and no one seems to care either.Well done for cutting some first class games.Stupid

  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    It's ridiculous that a Mickey Mouse money spinner such as the 'Champions Trophy' is being used as the reason for destroying the integrity of the oldest first class competition in the world and one of the main reasons for England's current standing at the top of the test match rankings. For shame ECB.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | January 10, 2012, 19:30 GMT

    Morgan's reviews are generally something to be Very Very afraid of. At the news of the coming of another Morgan review the nerves start twitiching and then the downhill slide into depression. Winter was going so well...out in the UAE etc and NOW this.....I am not clear what this achieves at all, except that it reverses previous decisions. One day they will get it right-or Mr Morgan will have gone to a better place, which will probably presage them getting it right anyway- and we will all fall down in a dead faint. I should think though that by now,early 2012, the average cricket follower is both neurotic and on the verge of schizophrenia. After all it's all change nearly every year, and we all know hopefully that by now as previous changes have not worked,NEITHER will this one. Perhaps MR M could be moved sideways or upstairs, because tinkering is really what has to stop. Mr Morgan's reviews, unlike Mr KIpling's cakes, are NOT exceedingly good.

  • POSTED BY AJ_Tiger86 on | January 10, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    Why is reducing the number of county games a good idea? They only played 16 per season anyway. Back in the days, each team used to play well over 30 first-class games per season. How will any modern player beat Wilfred Rhodes' record of playing 1110 first-class games and taking 4204 (!) first-class wickets?

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | January 10, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Do they not listen? MORE T20S DOES NOT WORK! People get bored and even the roses matches didn't sell out. Return to 50 over cricket is a good move though.

  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    What a load of rubbish. Losing two four day games fort20 rubbish. I hope my membership comes down in price.

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  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    What a load of rubbish. Losing two four day games fort20 rubbish. I hope my membership comes down in price.

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | January 10, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Do they not listen? MORE T20S DOES NOT WORK! People get bored and even the roses matches didn't sell out. Return to 50 over cricket is a good move though.

  • POSTED BY AJ_Tiger86 on | January 10, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    Why is reducing the number of county games a good idea? They only played 16 per season anyway. Back in the days, each team used to play well over 30 first-class games per season. How will any modern player beat Wilfred Rhodes' record of playing 1110 first-class games and taking 4204 (!) first-class wickets?

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | January 10, 2012, 19:30 GMT

    Morgan's reviews are generally something to be Very Very afraid of. At the news of the coming of another Morgan review the nerves start twitiching and then the downhill slide into depression. Winter was going so well...out in the UAE etc and NOW this.....I am not clear what this achieves at all, except that it reverses previous decisions. One day they will get it right-or Mr Morgan will have gone to a better place, which will probably presage them getting it right anyway- and we will all fall down in a dead faint. I should think though that by now,early 2012, the average cricket follower is both neurotic and on the verge of schizophrenia. After all it's all change nearly every year, and we all know hopefully that by now as previous changes have not worked,NEITHER will this one. Perhaps MR M could be moved sideways or upstairs, because tinkering is really what has to stop. Mr Morgan's reviews, unlike Mr KIpling's cakes, are NOT exceedingly good.

  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    It's ridiculous that a Mickey Mouse money spinner such as the 'Champions Trophy' is being used as the reason for destroying the integrity of the oldest first class competition in the world and one of the main reasons for England's current standing at the top of the test match rankings. For shame ECB.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | January 10, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    This is absolutely bloody stupid.The rush to have more 20 20 matches and 50 over cricket again is an absolute farce.This is just following a cheap pound with no idea of moving the game forward.We have seen what great results the 20 20 rush has bought to Indian cricket and are we that stupid.County cricket is producing good young English players and having got rid of the huge amount of pointless kolpaks this seems a backward step.Why don't you got down some 20-20 matches as crowds aren't coming like they used to.We can,t play 50 over cricket and no one seems to care either.Well done for cutting some first class games.Stupid

  • POSTED BY Fenman on | January 10, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Finally, the money men have won. Why devalue the best first class competition in the world namely the County Championship for the sake of meaningless and instantly forgotten endless one day international tournaments ?

    More 20/20 ? How does that help to develop anything or anybody ? Any more of this and next year will be my last as a county member.

  • POSTED BY themightyfenoughtys on | January 10, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    Magnificent. the English cricket board further reduce the size of their counties' income to support the world's most unloved tournament, where the title sponsor has already exited, and the Indian broadcaster/sole funder continues to complain about their losses. Perhaps someone should consider that by 2014 whenthe English season is shortened, the souless tournament should have died a natural death with no broadcaster willing to prop it up.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | January 10, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    hope this keeps us at the top of the test league, and still the best first class cricket structure in world cricket. but we need it not to be the finishing school for average cricket nations players. the likes of hughes from aus, this will do our game no good. these nations should be paying the counties for helping bring their players up to a decent standard. dpk

  • POSTED BY Tigg on | January 10, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    The ECB needed to show leadership by supporting what is arguably the best domestic first class tournament in the world. This is daft. The no. of T20 and limited overs matches could both be reduced without affecting those competitions or the county championship whislt still providing space for the Champions League.