County news June 3, 2013

County season could begin overseas

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County cricket could be played overseas as the ECB seek a radical solution to ease fixture congestion during the English season.

ESPNcricinfo understands that, among a raft of proposals under consideration, the ECB has floated the idea of playing the first two rounds of the County Championship overseas, possibly as early as March, in a move that is designed to ease fixture congestion and avoid some of the early-season issues with the weather. This season started on painfully slow pitches and in uncomfortably cold conditions that did little for players or spectators.

The Caribbean is one potential venue. Six teams travelled to Barbados this March for pre-season training and warm-up games and it is understood that several Caribbean nations would be delighted to host the counties and their travelling supporters. The UAE, where the MCC Champion County match has taken place for the last four seasons, and South Africa are other potential destinations.

While the initial signs are that several counties are supportive of the idea, others are concerned about open rebellion from their members. It is probable that the value of a county membership would be reduced if counties offered fewer matches as part of the package. While subsidised travel to the overseas games may placate a few, for many it may prove too expensive. Whether the idea of better scheduling in more comfortable weather for the rest of the domestic season is adequate mitigation remains to be seen.

Cost is an issue for the counties, too. But it is understood that the trips could be subsidised by sponsorship and possibly even host tourist boards.

Apart from allowing more time for rest, recovery and practice, the longer county season might also bring other benefits. It might, for example, also allow counties to participate in the Champions League - no counties are appearing in the 2013 competition as it clashes with the end of the county season - and it might create room for a second T20 competition, played in a small window in mid-season.

The ECB are keen to encourage radical debate on the future of the county game as they seek to improve the standard of cricketers emerging through the system and help the counties gain more financial independence. While many of the proposals are not likely to progress beyond conversation stage, this one - while in an embryonic phase at present - appears viable.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 4, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    This is a terrible idea! How about we just boycott the Champions League etc. and focus our attention on what has been the producer of some excellent home-grown talent! People want to see matches at their home ground! I would never go abroad to watch a County Championship match but love to pop to Trent Bridge, or Chester-le-Street depending where I am, to catch a game!

  • Nutcutlet on June 3, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    Given that a great many county members (the majority, I suspect) are of a certain age (and, in consequence, generally have spare income), I can see good sense in the first fixture or two of the season (now absurdly in the second week of Apr when people here in Lancs could still build snowmen this year!) being played in sane cricketing climate, in, say, Barbados or Antigua, or even the Bahamas. I'm quite sure that many members would get themselves organised, make a block flight/hotel booking (in combi with the other teams' supporters) to keep the costs down & have the time of their lives among like-minded folk on a sun-drenched holiday island, cricket assured. This would benefit the local tourist industry & provide plenty of atmosphere from an appreciative (& knowledgeable!) crowd for the fixtures. Talk about win-win! How anyone cannot see the sense in this is beyond me (unless you have a morbid fear of flying). Or would you rather wrap up & watch the rain, snow & hail come down? Eh?

  • on June 7, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    This seems like a crazy idea to me - it is hard enough to get people to go to county cricket games when they are played locally. If people aren't willing to put on an extra few layers to watch a game on a cold April day, what makes the ECB think they will pay to fly to another country to watch the match? There may be one or two people who have the combination of time, money and interest to attend a match in the caribean, but I can't imagine the numbers will be higher than currently attend county championship matches.

  • on June 5, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    Great idea but strangely enough some of the selfish County members don't care about the state of English cricket as long as they get to watch some County Cricket!

  • on June 4, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    Why don't we just move the whole of the UK to the Caribbean? Maybe we could rig up some sort of towing device.

  • on June 4, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    Given the increasingly poor standard of most days I've seen at the Ageas Bowl this year, and the negative mentality displayed in matches such as the recent Hampshire v Lancashire match, it's fast reaching the stage where I wouldn't bother crossing the street to watch most of the matches, let alone whisk out my passport. Just when I thought nothing would surprise me about county cricket, this proposal shows how badly out of touch with reality it has become.

  • 2.14istherunrate on June 4, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Would it not be easier,cheaper and more valid just to section the ECB board?

  • SirViv1973 on June 4, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    @Dr Vindaloo, Thanks for your witty reply, which by the way contained no points to back up your original suggestions or to question my counter argument. Ps I have been unable to watch my local county Glos over the last few days as they have not be in action!

  • on June 4, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    Make more sense to play the first 2 rounds in Spain. It's cheaper and quicker to get to and already has a large ex-pat community to bolster crowds. With regards to membership refunds, how on earth can you refund something that nobody watches anyway? It's laughable the counties try and charge £15-20 a day for a county championship match.

  • yorkshirematt on June 4, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    @Aditya Anchuri you know nothing about county cricket and It should be of no concern to you as most county followers especially here in yorks take more interest than yorks than eng so we have nowt against India. Just out of interest though how many bother turning up for domestic cricket in India (proper cricket not ipl) Anyway ridiculous idea

  • on June 4, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    This is a terrible idea! How about we just boycott the Champions League etc. and focus our attention on what has been the producer of some excellent home-grown talent! People want to see matches at their home ground! I would never go abroad to watch a County Championship match but love to pop to Trent Bridge, or Chester-le-Street depending where I am, to catch a game!

  • Nutcutlet on June 3, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    Given that a great many county members (the majority, I suspect) are of a certain age (and, in consequence, generally have spare income), I can see good sense in the first fixture or two of the season (now absurdly in the second week of Apr when people here in Lancs could still build snowmen this year!) being played in sane cricketing climate, in, say, Barbados or Antigua, or even the Bahamas. I'm quite sure that many members would get themselves organised, make a block flight/hotel booking (in combi with the other teams' supporters) to keep the costs down & have the time of their lives among like-minded folk on a sun-drenched holiday island, cricket assured. This would benefit the local tourist industry & provide plenty of atmosphere from an appreciative (& knowledgeable!) crowd for the fixtures. Talk about win-win! How anyone cannot see the sense in this is beyond me (unless you have a morbid fear of flying). Or would you rather wrap up & watch the rain, snow & hail come down? Eh?

  • on June 7, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    This seems like a crazy idea to me - it is hard enough to get people to go to county cricket games when they are played locally. If people aren't willing to put on an extra few layers to watch a game on a cold April day, what makes the ECB think they will pay to fly to another country to watch the match? There may be one or two people who have the combination of time, money and interest to attend a match in the caribean, but I can't imagine the numbers will be higher than currently attend county championship matches.

  • on June 5, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    Great idea but strangely enough some of the selfish County members don't care about the state of English cricket as long as they get to watch some County Cricket!

  • on June 4, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    Why don't we just move the whole of the UK to the Caribbean? Maybe we could rig up some sort of towing device.

  • on June 4, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    Given the increasingly poor standard of most days I've seen at the Ageas Bowl this year, and the negative mentality displayed in matches such as the recent Hampshire v Lancashire match, it's fast reaching the stage where I wouldn't bother crossing the street to watch most of the matches, let alone whisk out my passport. Just when I thought nothing would surprise me about county cricket, this proposal shows how badly out of touch with reality it has become.

  • 2.14istherunrate on June 4, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Would it not be easier,cheaper and more valid just to section the ECB board?

  • SirViv1973 on June 4, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    @Dr Vindaloo, Thanks for your witty reply, which by the way contained no points to back up your original suggestions or to question my counter argument. Ps I have been unable to watch my local county Glos over the last few days as they have not be in action!

  • on June 4, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    Make more sense to play the first 2 rounds in Spain. It's cheaper and quicker to get to and already has a large ex-pat community to bolster crowds. With regards to membership refunds, how on earth can you refund something that nobody watches anyway? It's laughable the counties try and charge £15-20 a day for a county championship match.

  • yorkshirematt on June 4, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    @Aditya Anchuri you know nothing about county cricket and It should be of no concern to you as most county followers especially here in yorks take more interest than yorks than eng so we have nowt against India. Just out of interest though how many bother turning up for domestic cricket in India (proper cricket not ipl) Anyway ridiculous idea

  • on June 4, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    Oh no! Think of the millions of young, fresh spectators who'll be missing out on the thrilling county action in England! Oh well, I'm sure they won't mind traveling halfway round the world to experience the thrill of watching their heroes face off in these titanic contests.

    PS - Expect an increase in the sale of deckchairs and osteoporosis medication in the UAE around March next year :p

  • brusselslion on June 4, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    George: I assume that you meant to say that the cost of county membership would be reduced? ("....the value of a county membership would be reduced if counties offered fewer matches ....).

    As an overseas member, the 'value' of my membership of Surrey has been decreasing on an annual basis for years - and not just as a result of pretty poor performances. Unless, Surrey decide that 'home' fixture(s) at Waterloo or, at a push Antwerp, are a good idea - bring your own wicket please - then this reduction in value will have reached the point whereby Surrey are, at least, one overseas member lighter next season.

  • judge9847 on June 4, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    How about playing the T20 competition in all those foreign places and leave the ENGLISH County Championship games to England? That'd free up the time needed for the primary competition.

  • sir-geoffrey-boycott on June 4, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    I thought that this idea had already beeb piloted in the YB40 when Yorkshire played their game against Unicorns on neutral / foreign territory when playing at Queen's Park, Chesterfield in the far flung land of Derbyshire. The match was watched by a smallish crowd - presumably all from the nearby frontier town of Sheffield - demonstrating, perhaps, that the preference for members and ad hoc supporters is to watch home games at the howm grounds.

  • 2.14istherunrate on June 4, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    T20 cricket started out as a laugh.It should always have stayed such. Now it is linked in with huge sums of money and enjoys a status quite out of keeping with proportionate worth. Commercialism seems synonymous with lack of quality and integrity-t20 is just another glaring example of this. Money is important but not worth completely selling an entire sport out to. Just ask yourself whether you would like to listen to a radio staiion with commercials or without even if for the latter you pay a small fee? Cramming t20 into the midseason space really has to outlawed as it really is a case of the rubbish taking centre stage.

  • on June 4, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    Just when you think there must be some limit to the barmy ideas that administrators can come up with for County Cricket - you find there isn't!

    Remember some peaches form the past:

    A) Compulsory declaration after 65 overs - later 100 overs - in the first innings

    B) Limited run-ups in the 40 over tournament

    Mercifully some other horrors have slipped from the memory!

  • Dr.Vindaloo on June 4, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    @SirViv1973: you obviously have plenty of time on your hands - get to your nearest county ground and support the County Championship!

  • Boothy20 on June 4, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    It strikes me as odd that Counties (Lancs) are considering no longer playing at outgrounds because of the logistics and cost of moving the game to Liverpool or Blackpool. (After spending £millions on OT) While the ECB are considering asking them to move it lock, stock and barrel across the Atlantic.

    And, you know what? The Lancs board will probably support the proposal.

  • on June 4, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    Have I slept through the rest of the summer and been transported to 1 April?

  • SirViv1973 on June 4, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    Although I think this is a pretty good idea I wouldn't like to see it's implementation just to free up time in the middle of the season for a franchised T20 event. IMO that ship sailed once the IPL started & the other major problem is our weather. I've said many times that I think the whole T20 domestic leagues thing has reached saturation point and I strongly suspect in 5 yrs time that only the IPL, BBL & SAF T20's will still be going & franchised tournaments. However from the ECB's point of view you can see the appeal. Such an event would allow Centrally contracted players the chance to top up their CC which might start to lessen the calls for them to be allowed to play a full IPL season or for the value of CC to be significantly increased.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 4, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    The simplest solution is to cut back on limited overs cricket, with the T20 competition that is run during July, being reduced in terms of the number of games, or stacking games on top of each other. such that a team plays 2 home T20 games in a day.

  • on June 4, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    How about canning the 40 over league, since its a waste of time when games of that length are not played at international level. You get great games, but when there are so many 20/20 games played something has to give.

  • Robster1 on June 4, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    Beyond barmy, but that's often the ECB's attitude to county cricket. Just play fewer games would you please.

  • Treidy on June 3, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    I've heard it all now. Let's just re name it the red stripe trophy or the Sheffield shield. The answer is to go back to 3 day cricket and have unlimited overseas players for each county. Decent food and drink at all grounds and people will come and watch. How can you propose to play the English county championship with no English fans watching? Insane

  • on June 3, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    Great idea - in the USA, baseball "spring training" is huge, mainly in Florida, but also Arizona, with lots of Northern (where most Americans live) retirees turning up.

    How about a couple of matches in the Malaga and Alicante areas - the expat pensioners would turn up in force (as remember it would only be 4 or 8 days of cricket, depending on 1 or 2 matches), and they'd make a festival out of it. UAE has a large expat crowd too, but they are of working age,a nd there's a lot of cricket there anyway.

  • SirViv1973 on June 3, 2013, 21:00 GMT

    Dr Vindaloo, Your comments suggest that you know absolutely nothing about Eng cricket. As much as us true cricket fans love the CC very few of us actually go to grounds and watch it. However far more of us will go & watch limited overs games. Under your master plan to restructure Eng CC some counties could end up getting drawn away from home in the 1st round of both limited overs competitions & getting beaten thus meaning they play no limited overs game at home for the whole season & only 2 matches in total, how do you expect the counties to survive on 0 income & how do you think fans who are used to going & supporting their team are going to feel when there is next to no games being played and how do we produce T20 & OD International cricketers if they play less than a handful of competitive games each season? Are you trying to say we shouldn't play international 1 day cricket & just play tests, seems like your advocating cutting those down too.

  • on June 3, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    How about doing it in developing cricket nations instead - Kenya? Zimbabwe? Namibia? Europe?

  • Bearded_Lefty on June 3, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    there's too much cricket, reduce the amount of 50/40/20 over cricket to the point where it is an event rather than a chore for all involved. I love my first class cricket and couldn't be more against this.

    However, I certainly do support bold and radical proposals so that's fine. I imagine this proposal is put out and talked up so that whatever is decided on seems sensible by comparison

  • MothMan on June 3, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    There was a consultation on what county cricket fans wanted last year and I'm not sure this would have suggested by the fans! Won't the fixture congestion be solved by the new proposals to revert the T20 to a Friday night competition or are they already revising their own changes before they have implemented them?

    On the reduction of counties - who would this be? Typical suggestions include Leicestershire (who provided England with Stuart Broad, Luke Wright and James Taylor), Northants (Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar). I think fans should be careful as to suggesting cutting the counties as a solution too cricket's ills as they be surprised who are the smallest contributors to Team England....

  • Herbet on June 3, 2013, 18:39 GMT

    Unfortunately cricket has sold out to Sky, they call the shots, they want T20, YB40, bright kits and just general jazz and fluff. Real cricket gets forgotten about.

  • 200ondebut on June 3, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    In answer to Angus Frasers question - us the punter. Everything comes from the public pocket in some way or other eventually. Surprised he does know this. One thing is for certain, overseas fixtures or not, county cricket certainly doesn't pay for itself. It has to rely on ECB handouts, paid for ultimately by Sky subscribers. Counties of course have to think about the three men and a dog who would have otherwise turned up.

  • SirViv1973 on June 3, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    @Maximum6, I think what your getting at starts next season. The T20 won't be shoe horned in to a 3/4 week period as we have seen before the idea is for the games tob be spread out from May until Aug on Fri nites & Sun afternoons this will then allow CC games to be played all through the season.

  • SirViv1973 on June 3, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    @Philrebbeck, Anyone think from your post that the proposal was to take the entire CC abroad not just a couple of games. In your first sentence you go on about fans having to take time off work to jet off to another country to watch their county play. Have you ever seen crowds at CC games in early Apr? there's hardly anyone there & virtually all of those that are would have retired from work years ago! In your 2nd sentence you talk about reducing the no of counties, but do you realize that some of these poor fans you refer to in your first sentence would no longer have a county to support!

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on June 3, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    There's your warning folks - too much pink gin goes for the grey matter. Just a little bit silly, this one. They'd have more success putting a pitch on the moon.

    (Actually - moon - how far could Chris Gayle hit a six on the moon??)

  • SirViv1973 on June 3, 2013, 16:57 GMT

    @Anthony Christopher Da Vall, We have had the debate countless times as to what format the CC should take. There is nothing wrong with the current format the 2 tier system is working fine, the counties the players & the ECB are all happy with it & at this point in time I don't see that there's a better more competitive FC competition in the world, which is a far cry from where we were 15 yrs are so ago. I don't see any need to go to 3 divisions what would that achieve other than reduce fixtures to 10 which probably isn't enough. I also don't get why the CC would have to mirror test cricket? no other country in the world plays 5 day FC. One of the things that makes TC special is that its the only format that lasts 5 days. The competition which I do think needs looking at is the YB40. I don't really mind if its 40 or 50 overs but the format doesn't seem right. To ensure more teams stay involed longer either play offs or a QF round needs to be introduced.

  • Dr.Vindaloo on June 3, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    Utterly insane - completely divorces the counties from their support base. The answer is to do away with all the meaningless limited overs cricket that litters the summer - for example, Worcestershire v The Netherlands which is being played today. We need one knock-out 50 over competition, one knock-out T20 competition, and the County Championship, all of which could be comfortably scheduled between May and September. And no more than six tests, with the first in early June the the last in late August.

  • SirViv1973 on June 3, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    I have to say I do quite like the idea of this. We have been moaning for years that our season is starting too early. With the first 2 rounds being played overseas in early - mid apr that would mean games here wouldn't have to start until late Apr which in my view is probably about the right time we should be starting. The Collier review a few yrs ago called for the CC to be reduced to 14 games due to congestion issues & in the end it was rightly rejected as teams would have played some teams twice & others only once. This way the additional 2 games can be played overseas which would mean everyone plays each other twice & the system is fair. It would also expose young potential international cricketers to different conditions which for me can only be a good thing. It certainly think this is worth trying.

  • 2.14istherunrate on June 3, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    God forbid! The reason why the county season gets congested is that too much county cricket (4 day) gets bookended while t20 has taken up great rafts of prime viewing in June and July. Move some of the CC back where it belongs-mid season,the real months of cricket, and then the season will feel less congested,as well as spreading t20 throughout the season. I think it would look like a bad fix to play English games in another country. The older style seasons were possible because so many B+H group games were played in April and early May.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 3, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    The T20 is the main revenue-earner for the counties. No way will they be willing to hold it abroad!

    There is also a practicality issue. 18 counties in 2 groups means 8 games per team minimum, plus quarter-final, semi-finals and final. That's at least 71 matches to be squeezed into a maximum of probably two weeks, with the winning side playing on 11 of the 14 days, quite apart from finding suitable grounds for so many matches that doesn't make a mockery of run rate calculations.

  • ben.p. on June 3, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    Another T20 competition? God help us! We need one fewer, not one more.

  • on June 3, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    I cannot adequately express in words how terrible this idea appears to me. It is bad enough that the curtain raiser of the season is now played in the UAE in front of 200 drunken expats and a few rich Emirati. Where will it end?

    I know that CC games are attended by a few hundred people at Lords and it is a great shame (more schools should be invited to attend during the week and given free tickets.) But this is a money spinning solution that will hurt the game in the long run.

    By not playing in England we further remove the game from the consciousness of the public at large and give an excuse for major media outlets to cut even further their already parlous coverage of the domestic game. For the love of all that is holy do not do this! Play more games at out grounds, (Middlesex just had 2,000 at Radlett) make a greater effort to improve the image of the game and don't worry about slow pitches, Compton nearly scored a 1,000 last year before the end of May there are runs to be made.

  • PhilRebbeck on June 3, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    It's a ridiculous idea and would signal the end of the County Championship as a meaningful competition. Apart from the fact that the conditions will be totally different, how do you expect fans to take time off work to jet around the world?

    There is too much cricket played and the answer has long been staring us in the face but no-one is prepared to countenance it-reduce the number of counties involved.

  • on June 3, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    Mike Mounsey is spot on...

  • Aussiesfalling on June 3, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    Perhaps these things need to be taken a step at a time. As a Sussex fan, I know that the club on the south coast would be happy to offer their facilities in March and April to the likes of Durham if they find that their own part of the country is not as conjusive to cricket at that time of year. At commercial rates of course.

  • on June 3, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    I agree with Anthony Christopher Da Vall. Your solution is a good one so that's the ECB taking no notice then!

  • countjimmoriarty on June 3, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    Absolutely ludicrous idea. I suspect that this unworkable and frankly stupid idea is the start of a concerted campaign to reduce the number of championship matches played, which is simply NOT acceptable.

  • on June 3, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    10 spare days in the county calender... that just screams "Quick, slip in a T20 franchise competition' to me.

    It's a daft plan. If they really want more space in the calender and to keep all the limited overs shenanigans going then then three divisions is the way forward.

  • on June 3, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    There is too much Cricket in the summer, we need a longer summer...we now have a longer summer, lets play some more cricket. *facepalm*

    T20 is desert cricket great is small doses, one good competition with few dead rubbers will be much better than two. I also support the idea of an FA Cup style 50/40 over competition, it would have a real community feel to it. The problem would be that if a County side was knocked out in the first round they wouldn't play much A-list cricket. So maybe if a second 20/20 was organised it could be around these lines

  • on June 3, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Even better idea - why not reschedule the T20 tip-and-run competition for a pre-season bash in Dubai and leave the rest of the season for 'proper cricket' here in the UK?

  • on June 3, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    Great idea, but why go so far? Here in the south of Spain we have the weather, some reasonable grounds, and getting here is a million times cheaper than getting to the Caribbean.

  • njr1330 on June 3, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    Brilliant idea, quite brilliant! People could save up over the winter and make a holiday of it. Any cricket conversation that starts with: 'Darling do you fancy a week in Dubai?' is bound to be a hit!

  • D-Train on June 3, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    Couldn't you just shorten the amount of matches you play?

  • jackiethepen on June 3, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    What about the members and the fans, the supporters, the spectators? What an idiotic idea. The beginning of the County cricket season is awaited with great glee despite the weather. At Durham we had a good crowd in biting wind, Arctic conditions, for the first game of the season. It was a cracking game too rewarded by sunshine and a win on the final day. What a load of softies. For goodness sake.

  • Jezinho on June 3, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Why not just finish the season later? Weather in late Sept invariably better than April

  • CricketingStargazer on June 3, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    It's an interesting thought, but how many grounds in Barbados, for example, are large enough for First Class cricket? There ae plenty of stories of tiny Caribbean club grounds with extremely short boundaries.

    What might be more sensible and feasible is to move the pre-season warm-ups abroad. Who wants to attend a March warm-up in Durham? If each county were guaranteed two one-day matches, two two-day matches and a three day match against a mixture of county and local opposition, they would have a guaranteed 8 days of pre-season competitive play. As these would be pre-season friendlies, the size of the grounds would not matter much, members would not be short-changed on the First Class season and a package like that might be more attractive to sell as a tour to members.

  • Harlequin. on June 3, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    This would be a good idea, guaranteed games and a chance for the English youngsters to experience some different conditions, although if it is to accommodate another T20 league then I am firmly against it.

  • on June 3, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    We all know that counties take far less in terms of revenue from county cricket than the other domestic competitions, lets face it it's time for a rethink. The county championship is meant to supply the England cricket team with players for Test Cricket otherwise what is the point in having a multi-day domestic competition.

    Here is my solution:-

    Change the current two divisions of 9 to three divisions of 6.

    2 up 2 down promotion relegation.

    Games to be played under Test conditions so 5 days instead of 4, Dukes ball in all 3 divisions, 90 overs per day.

    The result would be:-

    Counties would play 10 county games instead of what they currently play which is 16.

    Total county game playing days would be reduced from the current number of 64 days to 50 days or if you kept county championship games to 4 days then total number of playing days would be 40.

    There would also be more competition involving more counties making the county championship more competitive.

  • nathangonmad on June 3, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    NO NO NO! That'd be awful!

  • on June 3, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    We are in danger of losing the essence of County Cricket if we start playing games overseas.

    The Premier League was slapped down after their notion of playing overseas and I hope this is too.

  • itismenithin on June 3, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    It is good idea, not sure how practical it is. You hardly get to play quality cricket in the months of april and may due to poor weather conditions. Also players get to play in different conditions and could prove valuable experience to young cricketers.

  • Tumo on June 3, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    We don't WANT another T20 competition! Do ECB even ask their members what they want?! It's tedious enough as it is for those wanting to watch the County game!

  • Tumo on June 3, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    We don't WANT another T20 competition! Do ECB even ask their members what they want?! It's tedious enough as it is for those wanting to watch the County game!

  • itismenithin on June 3, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    It is good idea, not sure how practical it is. You hardly get to play quality cricket in the months of april and may due to poor weather conditions. Also players get to play in different conditions and could prove valuable experience to young cricketers.

  • on June 3, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    We are in danger of losing the essence of County Cricket if we start playing games overseas.

    The Premier League was slapped down after their notion of playing overseas and I hope this is too.

  • nathangonmad on June 3, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    NO NO NO! That'd be awful!

  • on June 3, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    We all know that counties take far less in terms of revenue from county cricket than the other domestic competitions, lets face it it's time for a rethink. The county championship is meant to supply the England cricket team with players for Test Cricket otherwise what is the point in having a multi-day domestic competition.

    Here is my solution:-

    Change the current two divisions of 9 to three divisions of 6.

    2 up 2 down promotion relegation.

    Games to be played under Test conditions so 5 days instead of 4, Dukes ball in all 3 divisions, 90 overs per day.

    The result would be:-

    Counties would play 10 county games instead of what they currently play which is 16.

    Total county game playing days would be reduced from the current number of 64 days to 50 days or if you kept county championship games to 4 days then total number of playing days would be 40.

    There would also be more competition involving more counties making the county championship more competitive.

  • Harlequin. on June 3, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    This would be a good idea, guaranteed games and a chance for the English youngsters to experience some different conditions, although if it is to accommodate another T20 league then I am firmly against it.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 3, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    It's an interesting thought, but how many grounds in Barbados, for example, are large enough for First Class cricket? There ae plenty of stories of tiny Caribbean club grounds with extremely short boundaries.

    What might be more sensible and feasible is to move the pre-season warm-ups abroad. Who wants to attend a March warm-up in Durham? If each county were guaranteed two one-day matches, two two-day matches and a three day match against a mixture of county and local opposition, they would have a guaranteed 8 days of pre-season competitive play. As these would be pre-season friendlies, the size of the grounds would not matter much, members would not be short-changed on the First Class season and a package like that might be more attractive to sell as a tour to members.

  • Jezinho on June 3, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Why not just finish the season later? Weather in late Sept invariably better than April

  • jackiethepen on June 3, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    What about the members and the fans, the supporters, the spectators? What an idiotic idea. The beginning of the County cricket season is awaited with great glee despite the weather. At Durham we had a good crowd in biting wind, Arctic conditions, for the first game of the season. It was a cracking game too rewarded by sunshine and a win on the final day. What a load of softies. For goodness sake.

  • D-Train on June 3, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    Couldn't you just shorten the amount of matches you play?