County news August 9, 2012

Fans surveyed on future of county game

ESPNcricinfo staff

The long-awaited restructuring of county cricket has been delayed for a further year, until 2014, while the ECB embarks upon the biggest survey of cricket supporters ever undertaken.

The ECB has commissioned the independent research company, Populus, to distribute the survey to hundreds of thousands of cricket fans recorded on the databases of the 18 first-class counties and MCC. Users of the ECB website and their official fan community of English cricket, Twelfth Man, will also be invited to respond.

ESPNcricinfo, as the largest cricket website in the world, is also committed to providing maximum publicity for the survey and urges every follower of first-class cricket in England to commit half-an-hour to completing the form.

David Hopps, UK editor of ESPNcricinfo, said: "The ECB deserves credit for finally awakening to the desperate need for them to carry out an extensive survey of cricket supporters to discover what they really want the future of cricket in England to look like.

"I believe that readers of ESPNcricinfo in the UK are some of the most committed, knowledgeable and forward-thinking cricket followers around. We see from our readership figures on a daily basis how much you care about our coverage of the county game. I strongly urge you to take this opportunity to make your voice heard and ensure county cricket resonates as a valued part of our sporting summer for many years to come."

The future structure of the county game was thrown into confusion when the Morgan Review, a consultation process undertaken last summer by the former ECB chairman, David Morgan, received a lukewarm reception from the counties.

In seeking to balance many diverging views, Morgan's proposals, which included a reduction in the amount of championship cricket, were widely seen as an unappealing compromise that failed to provide a convincing new direction for the game.

Morgan had an unenviable task in trying to balance many diverging views about the future of the county game. He recommended a reduction in championship matches from 16 to 14, a return to 50-over cricket and 14 Twenty20 matches, played throughout the summer. His proposals were shelved by the ECB Board in March.

County chief executives, coaches and the Professional Cricketers' Association had all lobbied the ECB in the belief that in his urge for compromise Morgan, a former chairman of ECB and ICC, had failed to provide an inspirational blueprint for the game.

One of the wettest summers since records began have added to the confusion as counties brace themselves for heavy losses after the Friends Life t20 tournament, already overshadowed by high-profile tournaments such as IPL, was severely disrupted.

An ECB statement said: "The results of the survey will be reviewed by the ECB Board this winter and incorporated into planning for the 2014 county season and beyond.

"The survey will also be offered to people who are less attached to the game - for example, people who have never attended a county match before or have done, but not in the last few years.

"The results will be considered by the ECB Board alongside findings from the Morgan Review, which consulted a wide range of the sport's stakeholders, including commentators, officials, current and former players, counties, supporters and other sporting bodies in 2011."

England's first-class structure survives primarily because of additional revenue from England matches, but David Collier, chief executive of the ECB, claimed: "Approximately 1.5 million fans attend county cricket every season and we are intent on getting more people through the gates into our county grounds.

"Along with the Morgan Review, this piece of research is essential to our planning for the future of county cricket, and we are committed to listening to the opinions of fans."

The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and will be available until August 28.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robert on August 11, 2012, 1:19 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with the county championship they do not need to do anything to it what they do need to change is the t20 competition there are far to many matches we have to put up with and also the cb40 need changing so it resembles the international one day game

  • Cricinfouser on August 10, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    @the_wallster - the county hit list is a bit arbitrary. Why are Kent and Essex allowed to survive? By your criteria they are no better than the ones you want to abolish. What about Hampshire or Glamorgan? What have they won? How many England cricketers do they produce? The argument is pretty futile in any case - it isn't going to happen.

  • Colin on August 10, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    This survey is complete rubbish. My views are pretty much the same as stocky699 but there is no way you could get this or any other opinion across by answering the questions as presented.

  • Luke on August 10, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    @ davefromluton - Yes those three teams along with Worcestershire, Glos and Kent. Those clubs should they chose to remain afterwards would indeed be feeder clubs to the professionals, much as the minor counties and clubs do at the moment. Their failure to produce talented cricketers on a regular basis, England internationals and sporting success make them a laughing stock to be honest. While Leics have prouced Taylor and Broad and won the t20 a couple of times, their achievements this year have proved what a dirth of quality they have. And the talent they would provided in the future would be passed on to Notts or Warwickshire. You're not seriously saying low-performing counties such as Northants and Worcs should take precedent above Test match ground are you?

  • David on August 10, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    So wallster, you want to abolish Northants/Derby/Leicester. Thanks for writing off my team!. And if you did, who would be the developer for talent poached by Notts. They seem incapable of developing their own.

  • Benny on August 10, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    Nothing about venues and facilities. Any chance the ECB may notice that it rains in England now and then? No cricket = no attendance. On/off rain = spectators get soaked (while the teams shelter) and the seats get wet too. Sussex (and others too) have just spent millions revamping their ground and it still has seating at the mercy of the elements let alone the pitch itself. Maybe someone with a little imagination could address this.

  • Peter on August 10, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    @the_wallster - Fair point but ... I couldn't get to the end of the survey without answering a lot of pretty irrelevent (in my case) questions of the form "Choose your preferred colour A or B" but being colour blind. No option to skip/ignore questions which basically means (knowing the way that politicians work) that had I answered them, they would have used my answers as part of an argument in favour of their particular manifesto. I would love to pass on my opinions to them but not if it results in them having ammo to perpetuate the current arrangements.

  • Mark on August 10, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    Oh my days that was long. Did they really need to ask which games you would go to so many times? Weekend/Evening games as I have a bloody job. Not hard.

  • Baundule on August 10, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    Good idea to attract hits to the ECB website.

  • David on August 10, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    ECB cricket changes that should come...1) 5ives cricket format for CB40 (5ivescricket dot com) would improve head-to-head nature of these games and even out the influence of winning toss, changing light (floodlights) and weather conditions over 6 hrs affecting pitch, etc. This format is still normal cricket of 10 wkts aside but less boring and predictable. 2) For t20 extend these games to all season with a fixed day in week for these games. 3) For LV=County champs build on success of 2 divisions by introducing a 3rd division with promotion and relegation and therefore 6 games home and away and subsequent rest and practice time between matches to improve standards further. Have playoffs for each division. Bring back 2 overseas 'stars' per side too.

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