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England's T20 'old fashioned' says Murali

ESPNcricinfo staff

June 13, 2012

Comments: 59 | Text size: A | A

Muttiah Muralitharan smiles during his spell of 2 for 15, Auckland v Wellington, HRV Cup, December 18, 2011
Muttiah Muralitharan has become a globetrotting T20 specialist in his dotage, such as his spell at Wellington, and he has seen enough to conclude that England's set-up is old fashioned © Getty Images
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Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka's record-breaking spin bowler, has dismissed England's Twenty20 format as "old fashioned" and called for it to adopt the franchise format favoured by the IPL.

Muralitharan is about to begin his second season with Gloucestershire in Friends Life t20 and as the competition begins he has risked a storm by suggesting that they should merge with their fiercest rivals Somerset.

"That would be good as they are close counties and they would benefit financially," he said. The ECB insists that the 18-county system is sacrosanct yet England players play little, if any, domestic T20 cricket because of an international programme that dominates the entire summer. England's T20 tournament was an innovative product when it launched in 2003, but Muralitharan argued that it has now fallen behind rival tournaments around the world.

"They introduced it worldwide but now England is old-fashioned," he told BBC Points West. "They need to change and become franchised teams and each county would benefit financially. If it happens like that it would be huge in England. I think the market is there, and the TV rights will come."

Muralitharan, 40, has a wealth of experience on his side. As well as Sri Lanka his clubs include Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kochi Tuskers, Chittagong Kings, Kandurata, Lancashire and Wellington.

Since its inception in 2003, the game has been adapted worldwide, taking on several different guises. But the FLt20 will struggle to make impact this summer, not just competing against England's unrelenting schedule but the European football championships and London's hosting of the Olympics.

Debate is still going on about the structure of England's T20 tournament in 2013, but this season the 18 counties, restricted to a maximum of two overseas players, play 10 matches in three groups of six before reaching the quarterfinal stages.

Muralitharan even suggested that England's T20 competition was lagging behind Bangladesh, a competition that has been characterised by a stand off between FICA, the international players' association, and the BCB over owed player payments.

"Bangladesh launched it big and their crowds have been 30-40,000 for every match," he said. "Australia has merged into eight franchises so I think England should also do that and it could equal IPL."

Muralitharan starts his second spell with Gloucestershire on Thursday against local rivals Somerset, and believes merging the two counties to become a T20 franchise would be a good move.

"At the end of the day the public will see good cricket and enjoy it," he said. "Money will be spinning from the competition and they can sustain the other forms of the game within county cricket. It would be one of the best things to happen if they do that. It will make sure the competition is more successful than what it is now."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 2929paul on (June 15, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Reasons it won't work and won't happen: 1. The counties won't agree to it and won't let it happen. 2. There's not enough money in a recession hit country to support it. 3. What grounds would you play it at to get these "massive crowds"? Lords, The Oval, Edgbaston, Headingley, Old Trafford, Southampton are the only ones with capacities over 20,000 and none reach 30,000. Where would Murali's West Countryshire United play and squeeze in 30,000 spectators? 4. The spectators won't support it. The mentality of sports watchers in England is generally that we are ridiculously loyal to the team we were brought up support due to parental pressures (tradition), birth place, some strange affinity as a youngster that is totally illogical but ties you to them for life etc. Had the T20 concept started with franchises, as it did with the IPL, then it might have worked. However you have to remember how risky it was in the first instance. Nobody knew what would happen in that first season.

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Posted by gunnerr4life on (June 14, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

friends life t20 league is way more entertaining than any other 20/20 league .. It's pure cricket and not a business or entertainment industry .. The spectators there comes to see cricket , unlike , IPL where most of the people come to see cheerleaders and movie stars !

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 14, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

@thesau, but this is what Murali is doing, hes trying to say that a franchise system would work here, when it wouldnt, also the counties wouldnt get a look in, besides it would reduce the pool of England qualified T20 players as you would be moving from 162 (18*11-(18*2)) to 99 (9*15-(9*4)) England qualified players. Also the EU would then get involved and you wouldnt be able to restrict the number of Overseas players allowed, a Problem other countries dont have.

Posted by exiledtyke on (June 14, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

@johnathonjosephs: WSC in the late 70s tried something like this with the Australia/West Indies (the two best test sides at the time) and a World XI.

Posted by the_wallster on (June 14, 2012, 12:22 GMT)

@ reyme - to conclude, how on earth can a prospective EPL compete as a respectable competition like the IPL, with a population of 60 million, TV audiences at a peak of 20million, and the sport being a distant 2nd or 3rd behind soccer in terms of national favouritsm?

And regarding Muralidaran, he took 11 wickets in 9 games in the recent IPL. Wasn't the favoured choice, and was part of an extremely talented team, which FAILED to reach the top 4. His record for Gloucestershire last season was equally similar, in which they finished BOTTOM of their division. Not to mention he was average in the World Cup final last year.

Posted by the_wallster on (June 14, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

@reyme - What planet am I living on? I say the BPL couldn't even afford to pay its players, and you back my point by noting that up to 20% haven't been paid. So yours by the looks of things. My point on the IPL's success, which you have seemed to have missed, was not due to performances. IPL's success is based on the notion that it attracts the world's best players, due to its guarantees of financial reward. The guarantees are reinforced by maximising TV revenue domestically, as a the number one sport in a phenomenally large population, and through its global audience as a consequence of the big names the competition attracts. How many of the Indian superstars played in the BPL or the Big Bash? Where was Pietersen and Dhoni? The top-scorer in the Big Bash was Luke Wright, someone who wouldn't get into England's second-string eleven. Hardly Kieron Pollard or Suresh Raina is it?

Posted by SRPP on (June 14, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

@ All English fans, Look I don't care about county cricket and i understand same feeling for u guys about IPL. I am not big fan of IPL compare to our national team. I was upset because in article the guy saying Conty system should chage to franchise system is SRILANKAN. So please don't drag us. We love our cricket, our cricketers and everything that related to india. For me if i watch IPL because i want to see our players. I don't care what is happening in England. Same feeling you alos feel for us. So waht it is OK. But here all bashing should agaisnt Murlidharan if you don't like his idea. That's it.

Posted by thesau on (June 14, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

@yorkshire pudding that exactly why I gave example of usa . When there is no need to involve usa's public interest here , then why the subcontinent public is being drawn here and being humiliated because we love cricket more than football. The so called FACT which you gave is also no business of interest to us whatever the british public like that is non of our concern. I just wanted to prove that there is no sport superior or inferior neither any sport is associated with a superior class of people nor inferior class of people so stop treating the sub continent people as they were in early 19th and twentieth century.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 14, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

@thesau, its not pride, ITS fact, and its generally someting that goes back through generations, most families all support the same team, because thier parents supported them, and so on, theres the odd schism. Also What has what people watch in the USA got to do with what people watch in the UK? Sports fans are sports fans, and most prioritise what they watch, and if given the choice between a Cricket match and a Football match most fans would watch the Football. In the US Football (or Soccer over there) is not even second, its marginalised behind, American Football, Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey, and college Athletics.

Posted by thesau on (June 14, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

For all those english people who are criticising that we asian(specially sub continent people) are over fanatic with cricket and don't like football much. And they are showing so much pride that they love football more than cricket (i don't know how one sport can be superior to other when motto of any sport is the same amusement of players and public.) it is a shame for english who talk like this because cricket did not originate in subcontinent it is an english sport so you are blaming yourself. And even football is second string game in usa and people hardly see your rubbish league here. So please don't talk nonsense.

Posted by 9ST9 on (June 14, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

@AnthonyJ - true even I watch the IPL to see the performances of some of my Fave. players and I really don't care who wins at the end of the day. I agree that County cricket being what it was for centuries, is all about classic rivalry, and what better rivalry than with your own neighbours? Merging is ok for teams where there was no real competitive domestic cricket with following, but meaningless for a system like in England where it was all based on classic rivalries.

Posted by Tigg on (June 14, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

@SRPP That's the difference between Indian cricket fans and English ones. You worship your players. We support our team.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 14, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

@venkatesh018, so which counties should merge? can you see Lancashire and Yorkshire ever merging? or Surrey and Middlesex? Or Yorks & Notts? Or Essex and Kent? It would be like suggesting Man Utd and Man City merge, or Liverpool and Everton, Or Arsenal and tottenham.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 14, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

@cricfan17, thats because Cricket is one of many sports here in the UK, with football (soccer) being the most popular, followed by Rugby, Cricket I think is about 4th/5th on the list behind athletics and motorsport. So anytime theres a major Soccer competition that England (sometimes even without England being in it) then people will watch that over cricket even T20. Even under a franchise system, it wouldnt be popular amongst the general population.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 14, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

The big problem with the Franchise system is that it would reduce the T20 player pool, where as at the moment England has around 100 players to choose from for the T20 games under a franchise system that would be reduced to around half that, this would then impact the International team. If Murali is saying that hes not getting paid enough then no one's twisting his arm to play in the FLT20 competition. He Also doesnt unserstadn British sports, where Major Football competitions will always draw people away from the T20 competition, we arnt like India and SL where Cricket is the Number one sport.

Posted by veerakannadiga on (June 14, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

I for one, disagree with Murali. Old fashioned or not, the county system is the best.Under this system, you are loyal to the team you support, unlike the IPL. In IPL, you are more loyal to the cricketer you like, you just can't relate with any one particular team.Though I am from Bangalore, I do not care whether RCB wins or looses, as I am more interested in Rahul Dravid's individual performance.My loyalities goes where Dravid goes.I think I have made my point. AMEN.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (June 14, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

I am not fond of private Franchisees taking over any cricket, even if its T20. But Murali has a point. At least, England can merge the counties based on geography and reduce the teams in their league from 18 to 10. The 18 county system sucks !

Posted by jb633 on (June 13, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

@SRPP, Yeah but realistically are you getting ahead. I feel sorry for Indian fans, as the BCCI are ruining their beloved cricket side. As the IPL becomes more and more lucrative, the national side diminshes in importance. Surely you must be able to see the inherent flaws in such a system. Players like Sehwag should have rested before Eng series but chose to play the IPL instead, the net result; a dismal pair on his return. I have a huge issue with the BCCI not Indian fans. I used to be a massive fan of India, but can't stand what they are doing to the game. The IPL is not bringing any young players on only destroying them. The likes of Yadav and Aaron will get ruined by the IPL mark my words. We do not want any franchise based system in England. We still care about which side actually wins. Watching a load of imports play each other does not appeal to us.

Posted by reyme on (June 13, 2012, 21:03 GMT)

@the_wallster: Not sure what planet are you living in. The maestro played in the BPL and enjoyed it thoroughly. The BPL started with a bang (see cricinfo articles) by an amazing century by Chris Gayle. Shahid Afridi and Ajmal ended the tournamant in style. In which tournamant a playrers get $700K for playing just 12 matches? No other tournamant pays this much. And the players are pretty much all paid, maybe 15%-20% are due (see cricinfo article). Before making silly comments please read the news or watch the games, its all right here in cricinfo.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (June 13, 2012, 20:25 GMT)

I agree with murali. Cricket is a great sport all the formats, however its a struggling sport globally except maybe in south asia in terms of popularity especially in the last 10 years. There are many reasons times have changed and cricket just doesn't have the big stars that interest people like it used to in the past .Actually India and the IPL and South Asia teams is what is giving cricket its impetus and keeping the sport going at the moment. IPL and other south asian 20/20 tournaments. Murali is saying they are ahead in South Asia and he is right! There is a reason why Football is the most popular sport in the world. Look at the passionate crowds at the Euros, only in South Asia does cricket get such an interest and that only at 20/20 and one day never at test. I like test cricket as my handlename says but I accept it has had its time in the past and cricket is moving on with IPL and WC etc.My other favourite sport other than cricket is football so I really like the Euro 2012.

Posted by Dilmah82 on (June 13, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

Whether you like it or not T20 is here to stay. Murali has a valid point about England initiating things and falling behind. England struggled in the Test arena when there were too many county teams and matches the same is now happening here. The First class county system is now been fixed with two tiers and they are reaping the rewards. From 92 onwards England fell behind in ODIs and have never recovered and at this. Look at the 96 WC quarter final against SL. 8 SLs had played 100+ games, and only one Englishman the same. Now the ECB is trying to compensate by playing all these extra meaningless ODIs. A similar thing will end up happening in T20. Reduced the number of teams and matches and allow the English internationals to play some games! Btw the suggestion to play the games in winter is odd unless it is under a roof. Ice, rain or snow isn't very compatible with this game!

Posted by Sehwag_Is_Ordinary on (June 13, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

coming from the greates spinner of all time, must be true!

Posted by charlesandrewbudge on (June 13, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

@bigdhonifan - Of course only English supporters watch it, considering it's the English domestic competition. I think Murali is absolute correct; Twenty20 as a format has become stale in recent seasons because of the sheer amount of it and by adopting a franchise system the English T20 competition could be streamlined, creating fewer but more meaningful matches.

Posted by ElBeeDubya on (June 13, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

Both Murali and ECB are looking backwards than forward. T20 can and shoul be separated from county cricket. It also should stop being intrusive so... ECB MUST promote WINTER EVENING CRICKET! (I don't think there is much overlap between Cricket fans and Football fans so it can work.) Have about half a dozen CITY BASED franchises which would play two games against each other so each team could play ten games each over four or five weeks. Choose a few big city centers with large INDOOR facilities. Bring in artificial pitches and cheerleaders. Play in January and UNLIKE BCCI, RESPECT INTERNATIONAL CRICKET and only the players who are not playing in an international series should be allowed to play. This means, the summer season can be dedicated to longer forms without the T20 intrusion and players would still get a rest of couple of months between the summer and T20 league so they won't be completely fatigued. ECB can contact me via cricinfo if they want to hear more...

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (June 13, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

You don't really have to think about this. What do fans want to see? They want to see a bunch of international players playing T20. The next question should be how to get so many international players to play for you? The simple answer to that is: Money. Money gives many great players, which gives huge crowd turnouts which generates even more money. What I want to see is English First Class County Cricket to do something similar. Imagine if Sangakkara, Tendulkar, Kallis, Murali, Pietersen, Steyn, and Ponting all played in a single first class match against each other. Who wouldn't turn up to see that kind of a match? Imagine if Afridi, Mahela, Hayden, Lee, Warne, and Vaas played against each other in another game. There's huge potential for something like that, but somebody needs to be brave

Posted by SRPP on (June 13, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

@ jb633 on (June 13 2012, 16:32 PM GMT, man what pride u taking about. You mean we indians don't pride on our nation or our cricket team. We worship our cricketers and nation heroes. we celebrate our victories in our style. We love everything which related to india. Your national team grab 5 players from south africa and Ireland and your english players keep waiting. Stop day dreaming about your Pride. I am not saying U don't have pride in your nationalism but please don't drag us for everything bad happen to your country. Even players who says your league is out dated is Srilankan. It is became fashin now a days to bashing on India. We love it just hate us because we are getting ahed of you in all fields.

Posted by Kennington on (June 13, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

Why not have a two division t20, if counties with the big grounds end up in top flight then so be it, but at least then everyone gets chance to get promoted and win it. Maybe have 2 finals days for each division (top 4 from division 1 play to decide t20 champions, bottom 2 get relegated, top 4 from division 2 play off to decide two promoted teams and they also play final to decide division 2 champions.)

Posted by jb633 on (June 13, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

Complete garabe Murali. The difference to India and England is that we have pride in our national team, and think the role of county cricket is to develop players that can one day play for England. However much people go on about the IPL, it has no place in England.

Posted by bigdhonifan on (June 13, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

FLT20 is the boring ever tournament. Its only watched by British and too in lesser amount. Scrap this meaningless tournament.

Posted by MysterySpin on (June 13, 2012, 15:51 GMT)

The biggest problem for any English T20 competition for a domestic audience is that England's top players don't play in it. Top international players like Murali are quiet rightly a big draw for avid cricket followers but casual fans more readily recognise the names of England's top players from following the news. They want to see top England players without paying Test match ticket prices. There's a reason why many quality international players go unsold at the IPL whilst a number of Indian players attract prices greater than their performances suggest they deserve.

Rather than allow a gap in the schedule for England players to play T20 for their counties the ECB now look to plug any gaps with what is frankly meaningless ODI only tours like the one against Australia coming up. England should at most have two home series of Tests, ODIs and T20Is a year.

It doesn't matter whether its the traditional or franchise format if the crowds don't see the likes of Swann and Anderson play.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (June 13, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

The meaning has already been ripped out of the middle of the cricket season by the t20 competition that is- 6+ weeks of Mickey Mouse Parade and no sign of a proper game anywhere beyond ODI's. I doubt I am alone in feeling this.What used to be an easy to follow pleasant adjunct to summer-ie the season- is now a stop start incomprehensible disjointed affair for five months. Enough is enough. Take Mickey Mouse to Hollywood and leave us alone. a plague on IPL and all who support it!!!

Posted by Noball_Specialist on (June 13, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Simple as that. That's valuable advice for free. ECB wake up.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (June 13, 2012, 14:55 GMT)

It wouldn't work. The traditions of county cricket are too deep, fortunately. Add to that the sheer number of county cricket clubs, and it would be completely unfeasible.

Posted by Third_Gear on (June 13, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

I totally agree with Murli, just after IPL, BPL is the best in the world , we have enjoyed a lot during BPL tournament. hope alongwith IPL,BPL do continue its successful journey.

Posted by TontonZolaMoukoko on (June 13, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

While I don't agree with Murali - franchises, a worldwide TV audience and money isn't the solution to everything - I do agree that changes need to be made to ensure it's popularity both with the Sky TV market and, more importantly, getting people to the grounds to watch. Adding games, which seems to have been the ploy in recent years, won't cut it. However ensuring England have no games and making the top players available, along with a slightly shorter competition where the matches have more meaning will help. At the moment it's just quantity over quality which detracts from the tournament.

Posted by colinham on (June 13, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Maybe we should adopt a modern system which has all the England players playing cricket for their counties in the T20 tournament, plus perhaps a maximum of 2 or 3 established international cricketers. You never know, Hampshire might have a South African / West Indian opening partnership with a West Indian quick bowler, Gloucestershire a Pakistani middle order bat with a South African quickie, Lancashire the West Indian skipper, Notts New Zealander & South African allrounders, with England batters backing them up. Yorkshire of course would chose to play only English cricketers? Sound familiar to anybody over 50?

The crowds would come if they knew the best players were playing, and when the games were. The county system works fine - the IPL was tedious in that you kept seeing the same average players again & again, the "franchise" argument is spurious.

Posted by the_wallster on (June 13, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

I think Murali is too old-fashioned. He should have retired long ago - before the 2011 World Cup. His performances as a t20 journeyman have been ordinary at best. The county system will never adopt a franchise system, because the counties are far too tribal. People seem to forget why the IPL works. Primarily because it is the most followed sport in India, with a population of a billion people. And that is why the players get paid fortunes. No other nation can compete with these facts. The Big Bash paid their players a pittance in comparison. And the BPL was an absolute failure. The players still haven't been paid from that competition! EPL wouldn't and won't ever work in England.

Posted by liaqathussain on (June 13, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

murli is right, scrap the fpt20 and give all 16 counties licence to call in new players and all them to be franchised . but only the t20 team,

could be huge in the uk,, and also great fun,hin

Posted by cricfan17 on (June 13, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

I also see where Murali is coming from, but even as a non-Englishman I see and highly respect the tradition and meaning behind county cricket as a whole, not just in T20, which, as a form of the game, has problems of its own and seems to be far more popular in the Subcontinent. There is a different cricketing/cricket viewing culture in the UK compared to India, Pakistan, BDesh, and SL and County cricket not only survives but thrives off of that. I actually think the more the non-IPL teams try to mimic the IPL the worse -> cheerleaders...just no place in cricket. Also combining counties is preposterous. That would be like just combining the Boston RedSox with the NY Yankees because New England is right above NY. New marketing of a well set foundation is my recommendation.

Posted by Juiceoftheapple on (June 13, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

As a Somerset supporter who resides across the Avon in Bristol I think Gloucs - Somerset should merge. All the games should be played at the biggest ground, with the most supporters, best facilities, best atmosphere, i.e.Taunton, and all the best players should comprise the starting XI, so that will be 10 from Somerset and Murali and the team re-branded as err Somerset. I'm sure this'll be fine with Gloucs! In all seriousness, Neville Rd is not exactly heaving and a rebranding of Somerset and Gloucs as the 'West Country Rebels' might be necessary if the ECB or whoever forced the amalgamation upon us - something neither of us want. I assume the likes of Surrey, Yorks, Glam, Hants, Middx, Durham, Lancs, Warks wont be forced to lose out and will absorb smaller neighbours. I support Tigg's comments, and I think perhaps a 2 Div format might allow the bigger clubs what they want, plus 3 overseas players. And perhaps winner from div 2 into finals day and promotion. Revenge for last year....

Posted by jrichards01 on (June 13, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

Totally agree Tigg. The Somerset vs Gloucs matches generate agruably the best atmosphere amongst the domestic fixtures and that would be lost for the sake of a TV audience.

I would have real misgivings about the financial benefits as well. Granted it will produce more income for the 'franchises' in TV rights, but that will undoubtably be swallowed up by paying wages to international players of varying quality. Also, how would it work in terms of where the matches are hosted? Half in Taunton and half in Bristol? That would mean less cricket for the respective county followers to watch.

There is too much empahsis placed on financials when debating the merits of these tournaments, which I find very sad. There is far more to life (and cricket) than money. England (and Somerset in the Champions league) have proved that they can compete on the world stage without the need to take part in such a circus, and I hope that this is kept in mind if any such proposals are considered by the ECB.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (June 13, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

They will not listen Murali.. Let them be happy with their methods on 1960

Posted by Yevghenny on (June 13, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

As much as I would like to argue with Murali, he is right that 8 teams filled with big players would probably generate big crowds, loads of excitement for new fans of the game to come along to. Unfortunately the ticket prices will be slapped up to International levels, so we'd never see sell outs and would be burdened with loads of big name players waiting for their million dollar cheques to clear, and there will be about 80 meaningless games in the tournament, all building up to one semi and one final. At least with the counties there is still some traditional affinity and they are real teams with genuine traditions you are supporting, as opposed to some fantasy cricket team that cost 5 million to put together

Posted by Meety on (June 13, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

@Tigg - fair call, I too see where Murali is coming from, & I think he has a good point if a Franchise model was adopted for the T20 format ONLY. I would imagine a large chunk of the crowds that attend T20 cricket are not overly concerned with the County Championship. I would imagine that unless the ECB lift the quota of foreign players per franchise, the standard of this comp will fall behind other Leagues. The other arguement AGAINST what Murali says - is that Englanddespite having an "old fashioned" format, are still the #1 team & defending W/C champs, so atm it can't be that bad!

Posted by pjackson on (June 13, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

I don't see what the advantage of franchises would be. Why would people go to watch them? If you are only going to watch a few games then test matches would still be the best choice. If you are keener than that then playing club criket would be the next choice, or maybe for a works team iafter work). You don't have to be any good (I wasn't). Going to watch you own county side when they play at home on a Sunday afternoon is also a good choice, but the crowds are not that great.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (June 13, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

Nope, too many problems. For a big franchise based system to work in this country, I think the season would have to be longer, the reason I lose interest in the IPL is because there are 2 games per day for weeks! A better system would be games at the weekend, one game per week per team (like football), this would attract more crowds and people wouldn't get bored of it so easily, T20 season is packed enough as it is, I check a few scores but basically only follow Somerset. With these weekend fixtures however, attendance would go up and the stadia aren't particularly big, you would lose revenue as games would easily sell out. Also, losing the Counties would lose a lot of the appeal, I have been following Somerset all my life, I couldn't care less about a merged Somerset/Gloucestershire side (It would be all Somerset players anyway :P). I think I would just go back to the old days of only following the County Championship and limited overs cup.

Posted by Paul_JT on (June 13, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

Couldn't disagree with Murali more. The ECB should expand the number of teams by including Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland. An essential change is a clearer schedule. Regular days for early fixtures (excluding TV games), followed by a window for the knockout phase (best-of-three game quarters) when England players are available. Pietersen is nearer the mark - The one-day format is dying. In the future domestic cricket will be four-day and T20 only. IPL should be the IPL, County Cricket should be County Cricket.

Posted by CavemanX on (June 13, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

TIGG- spon on mate. Murali is a great player and an ambassador to cricket but he has forgotten the history and meaning of county cricket.

Posted by Hammond7249 on (June 13, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

County cricket is one of the few things that still preserves our traditional counties. A franchise system will be the first step in destroying that. Besides, if we start doing that it will begin to be more about the money than the cricket. I'm tired of hearing about players who already make more than most of us saying that the big money is hard to turn down. Stop trying to force IPL type cricket on us.

Posted by AnthonyJ on (June 13, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

I'm in agreement with Tigg. The only interest I have in the IPL is of the individual performances of the players. I couldn't care less about what team wins. Whereas when I go to watch domestic T20, it is all about the teams and winning games.

Posted by whatawicket on (June 13, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

with 18 counties in england they will never agree to it. murli talks as a cricketer who travels the world playing T20. franchise will never happen in the uk. The Premier league in england is of 20 club sides and seems to work fine. which is sold throughout the world, for 10 month of the year. with wages far exceeding the ipl so why franchise. the wage bill of Chelsea alone is over £ 120+ million and they are not the highest in england.

Posted by Gizza on (June 13, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

Australia didn't "merge' into 8 franchises. There were originally 6 states and two states (NSW and Vic) split into two franchises. With the IPL there was no real merger or split. Only the 8 main cities were chosen and the rest were ignored. With England they would never do that so they do have to merge and they ever want to start a franchise-based T20 comp. No point starting it this year since as the article states, much bigger things are happening in English sport (Euros and London soon hosting the 2012 Olympics).

Posted by ncurd on (June 13, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

@Tigg absolutely agree.

Merging Gloucestershire and Somerset? I think he needs a trip down the County Ground again and remember the reception they got. I seam to remember his hat-trick of wides last season very vividly.

Posted by asithaSL on (June 13, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

Well said Murali....!! England, have no chance in this t20 WC, even I dnt think, India will perform well. Aus, SA , SL n PAK will be the best competitors in 2012 t20 WC.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 13, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

This talk of "old-fashioned" is a bit stupid. As far as I can see, moving to a franchised-based competition means mainly three things. 1) Fewer teams so fewer players so fewer opportunities for players. If Murali means that there are too many sub-standard players in the FLt20 then that's what he should say. 2) The end of player loyalty. Players don't really represent a city or whatever in the IPL. They just work for the franchise. Other franchise-based competitions will become more and more like that. Players move between counties now but it's not quite the same thing. 3) Get businesses to pay big money to own a franchise so that they can market the hell out it. If the primary objective is money then I guess that's the way to go. If we just end up with the same players travelling round the world playing in T20 tournaments at each stop, is that really a benefit to cricket? What's the point of international T20 cricket if every country has basically its own international tournament?

Posted by Manee94 on (June 13, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

He speaks sense to be fair

Posted by   on (June 13, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

he better think about his own bowling now this season!!

Posted by randomwaffle12 on (June 13, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

But it will become yet another stale franchise based type. Boring... #Overkill

Posted by Tigg on (June 13, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

While I can see where Murali is coming from it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of one of the things that makes county cricket what it is. The fans don't follow the plays, they support the club. If you lose the county rivalries you lose a lot of the product. Next you'd suggest that Lancashire and Yorkshire or Hampshire and Sussex or Middlesex and Surrey merge. The historical rivalries give matches and competitions a meaning they would otherwise lack.

Creating 'super teams' would kill the competition in the country. If that means the FLPT20 doesn't draw international players in the same way as the Big Bash or the IPL then so be it.

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County Results
Hampshire v Warwickshire at Lord's - Sep 15, 2012
Hampshire won (lost fewer wickets)
Derbyshire v Hampshire at Derby - Sep 11-14, 2012
Derbyshire won by 6 wickets
Essex v Yorkshire at Chelmsford - Sep 11-14, 2012
Yorkshire won by 239 runs
Lancashire v Surrey at Liverpool - Sep 11-14, 2012
Match drawn
Leics v Gloucs at Leicester - Sep 11-14, 2012
Leics won by 2 wickets
Notts v Warwickshire at Nottingham - Sep 11-14, 2012
Match drawn
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