Glamorgan v Nottinghamshire, YB40 final, Lord's September 20, 2013

Unusual suspects for 40-over curtain call

So, farewell then, 40-over cricket (until you reappear at some point down the line). History will need to come with its notebook and pen to Lord's on Saturday, when Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire will contest the final of the Yorkshire Bank 40, the last time the competition is played in its current form before the return in England of 50-over domestic cricket next season.

The rise of Twenty20 has steadily diminished the presence of one-day cricket in the calendar - little more than a decade ago, counties would compete for three List A titles: NatWest/C&G Trophy, Benson & Hedges Cup and National League. The B&H was stubbed out as Twenty20 came into being and four years ago the remaining two competitions were amalgamated.

The change of sponsor this year from Clydesdale to Yorkshire Bank led some wags to dub it the Why Bother 40, but 40-over cricket, which began with the John Player League back in 1969, continues to be a draw for the public. The counties had stubbornly resisted attempts to revert to a 50-over tournament but, with team England increasingly flexing its financial muscle and protection of the Championship taking on a higher priority, an agreement with the ECB was reached.

Some argue that playing 50-over cricket in occasionally damp, seaming conditions doesn't really aid England's chances at global tournaments (unless they are at home). You can go further, and suggest that the added pressure of having to score at a higher rate for a shorter period has helped to create some of England's more destructive current players, such as Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Luke Wright.

That is just as likely to have been the effect of T20, however, and those that have played internationally are particularly inclined to espouse the benefits of reflecting the ODI template in England's domestic game.

"I've enjoyed it but I think it's key for young lads coming through, or anyone who gets an opportunity to play for England, that they're playing the right cricket," says Simon Jones, the former England seamer who is hoping for a winning send-off with Glamorgan at Lord's.

"Fifty overs is what they play at international level and I think that's what should happen at county level, just to prepare people. You're bowling ten overs rather than eight, the Powerplays are different, there are different strategies, it's a totally different game. I think they've made a bold decision to go back to 50-over cricket and I think it's the right one."

It is probably fair to say that the two counties who have reached the YB40 final do not have outstanding one-day CVs, however many overs are involved - which makes the match-up all the more appealing from a neutral perspective. For all their respective excellence this year, Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire are the unusual suspects, with just a few pieces of one-day silver between them.

Nottinghamshire are firm favourites, their impressive squad bolstered by the availability of two of England's Ashes winners, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, though it is 24 years since the club last appeared in a Lord's showpiece, when they beat Essex to lift the B&H Cup. Notts won their sixth Championship in 2010 but only have three List A titles in their history, the most recent being the Sunday League in 1991. However, as the captain, Chris Read, says "over the last few years we've been improving in this form of the game".

Having won Group A, Nott crushed Somerset by eight wickets in their semi-final. In James Taylor and Samit Patel they have two England internationals with over 500 YB40 runs this season; in Michael Lumb and Alex Hales, they have England's T20 openers; at No. 5, there is David Hussey, veteran of more than 100 limited-overs internationals for Australia.

Although a back injury has ruled out their joint-leading wicket-taker, Jake Ball, Swann and Broad are likely to provide a high-class sticking plaster. Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, has said they will play the "best eleven players" and that could see Broad make his 40-over debut for the county, with his only previous List A appearance coming in the 2008 FP Trophy. How well a bowler with 160 ODI wickets (out of 185 in List A cricket) makes the quick switch down from 50-over competition will be an interesting subplot.

For Glamorgan, who booked their place in the final by beating the reigning champions, Hampshire, on their own turf, there will be fewer selection issues. Marcus North, the limited-overs captain this year, has left to take part in Perth Scorchers' Champions League campaign but in Michael Hogan they have the tournament's leading wicket-taker and Jim Allenby a one-day allrounder fit to lace Dimitri Mascarenhas's (recently hung-up) boots. Ben Wright has been dismissed twice for 165 runs at a strike rate of 133.06 and Chris Cooke has also hit the 500-run mark.

Glamorgan's journey to London should also be a little less arduous, though Notts avoided having to fly down from Durham on the eve of the final by contriving to be heavily beaten inside three days. Whatever the result at Chelmsford, it is only an hour's drive up the A12. The Welsh county will doubtless be greeted by an armada of passionate supporters who have made a significantly longer journey from the west. It is 13 years since they lost to out in the B&H Cup to Gloucestershire and their only other final appearance, in 1977, also ended in defeat. There will plenty hoping Glamorgan can lose their white-ball cherry at Lord's.

On the 50th anniversary of Sussex lifting the inaugural Gillette Cup, another chapter in the story of domestic one-day cricket is about to come to a close.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Brian on September 20, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    Best wishes Glamorgan; at least you put up a fight in your last first-class match before the final.

  • John on September 20, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    @ anton1234 / markatnotts - I suppose it makes sense to change the format so it is similar to the international make up However , I think the 40 over format is good for England where you get weather problems. It also means you can start the games later giving opportunity for more fans to attend. I know there are only 10 extra overs but I find the 50 over game feels like it lasts twice as long. Maybe Eng being involved has something to do with that also

  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    I am thinking that if Ball is injured then Broad comes in for him and then Swann should come in for Wessels, I think that the batting of Mullany, Swann and Broad in the tail means Notts can afford to play one less batsman and put out a much stronger team.

  • anton on September 20, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Please reverse the decision and stick with 40 overs. The international ODIs should be 40 overs a side with an innings completed in around 2 1/2 hrs. These current 50 over matches last forever. You start early morning and finish some 8/9 hours after. There is a long period (the middle overs) where teams settle to just milking the ball around for singles and twos. The 40 over game nicely condenses it but still allows some subtlety.

  • Mark on September 20, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Although I am not a pro cricketer, I am not sure I believe the arguements above regarding the significance of the differences between 40 and 50 cricket. Englands results in recent years in ODI series have been better than previously despite playing 40 over cricket. It is often the case that new players for any country are still in the process of learning when they start their international careers anyway. 40 over cricket is a good format for crowds at the weekend. The mid week fixtures are also convenient for TV. With regards tomorrow, I can't wait and am pleased Notts will be able to select the Xl from the full squad. Mind you I expect this article will be a magnet for people angry that Notts have the cheek to play their very own England players.

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