County news February 17, 2017

T20 league will hit 50-over cricket - Mitchell

"As a Worcestershire player, we really look forward to the T20 ... Now people are realising that only a quarter of us will play" © Getty Images

The proposed new T20 competition in England is likely to dilute the quality of domestic 50-over cricket and provide "another kick" to its future, according to new PCA chairman, Daryl Mitchell.

While Mitchell, the Worcestershire top-order batsman who was recently elected to the PCA role, regards the launch of the eight-team T20 competition, scheduled for 2020, as "inevitable" he has reservations about several aspects of it and promised to work hard to ensure the interests of all 400 PCA members are protected.

"The new T20 competition looks like a great opportunity for the 90 to 100 lads selected to play in it," Mitchell told ESPNcricinfo. "But the role of the PCA is to look out for the other 300 players, too.

"The plan at the moment is to play the 50-over competition during the window when the new T20 competition will be on. But if you take the best 100 white-ball players out of the tournament it is pretty inevitable there will be a dilution in quality.

"We're told players not in action in the new T20 competition may be made available to their counties, but 50-over cricket is probably already the format given the least priority by the players - something that is reflected in the prize money - and this will be another kick for it.

"Our role will be to ensure the money we're told will come into the sport trickles down for the benefit of everyone."

Mitchell's personal views would appear to conflict quite sharply with the ECB's approach in several areas. He believes a partial return to free-to-air broadcasting is essential if the game is to reach a new audience, he preferred the idea of a two-division solution (with promotion and relegation) in the T20 debate, and he argues for a need to increase the wages of young players.

He accepts, however, that the ECB has "an incredibly difficult job" in trying to "look after so many stakeholders" and that his role is to communicate not his own views but those of his membership. "It's about feeding back the views of the collective," he said.

"One of the challenging parts of the job is the need to balance the long-term health of the game with the short-term benefits to our current member. We have to remember that, if we don't look after the game, we might not have any future members.

"We appreciate that the ECB are trying to ensure the health of the game in the long-term and we appreciate we're one of many stakeholders. We know we have to balance our aspirations with the aspirations of everyone else and I'm looking forward to working with the ECB to that end."

But he believes the players may have been "a bit naïve" in their enthusiasm for the new T20 competition and that reality has "hit home in recent times".

"As a Worcestershire player, we really look forward to the T20 competition as it provides us with a chance to play in front of packed houses and on big grounds," he said. "As things stand, we go into that competition each year with a chance of winning it. To have that taken away from us is a bit of a blow.

"When the new competition was first talked about, I think everyone thought they were about to become millionaires. Now people are realising that only about a quarter of us will play. We're going to need quite a lot of info from the ECB.

"From a personal point of view, I liked the two-division idea and, from a personal point of view, I think we need to get some cricket back on free to air. I think the ECB recognise that, too, and they are very clear about trying to raise the profile of the game."

Responding to the ECB's reported attempt to change the mechanism by which the domestic salary cap is calculated, Mitchell suggested his attention was more on players at the lower end of the salary spectrum.

"The salary cap isn't relevant to many clubs," Mitchell said. "I'm more worried up upping the minimum salaries. There are players in county cricket earning around £15,000 a year, which I don't think reflects the skill and dedication required to be a professional athlete.

"I'm told that nothing is decided about the salary cap yet, but I think our main priority will be making sure some of the money coming into the game filters down to the lower ends."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan74822000 on February 18, 2017, 17:47 GMT

    Some of my favourite days attending cricket have been during our List A competition, and the turn out is usually good - especially at our out ground or when Yorkshire play - so I cannot agree with the comments pertaining to scrapping the fifty over competition and Cricket World Cup. The World Cup has provided some of Cricket's most abiding memories; it would be a crime to do away with it.

  • Nutcutlet on February 18, 2017, 17:14 GMT

    Jackie: quite so! When I first read your penultimate sentence I read 'ruin' for run! the sense still held up. It should be apparent to anyone with half a wit that business men should run businesses; sensible cricketers with organising capabilities should run cricket (thus ensuring that the game doesn't become primarily a business in which the interests of cricket are subverted to the profit motive and all the questionable ethics that come from the pursuit of mammon) and it wouldn't be a bad idea if people with a knowledge of the law, economics and an appreciation of diplomacy ran countries! Each to her/his own... Not a bad idea!

  • jackiethepen on February 18, 2017, 15:04 GMT

    We live in a crazy world - after the 2015 World Cup we were told England would make 50 over cricket a priority in order to build a team to win the 2019 WC. Since then Strauss and the ECB seem to spend all their time on furthering the cause of domestic Franchise t20 cricket which apparently will mean the diminution of 50 over domestic cricket. This is in order to make 'lots of money' - a business plan but not exactly a preparation for the WC plan. Does anyone think about cricket any more at the top level? Giles Clarke took us down the path of T20 cricket with Stanford who turned out to be a crook. Then we had the carve up by the Big 3 to funnel funds to themselves and to ignore the development and advancement of cricket as a sport. We have too many businessmen frantically trying to run everything - even countries. They are just not fit for purpose.

  • derekcolwell on February 18, 2017, 13:25 GMT

    I am a Worcs fan and have great respect for Daryll Mitchell as a player and a person,but i think he is missing something here.I dont think there will be 100 or so county players involved in the new T20. I think it will be filled with over the hill Kolpac mercenaries,which the ECB can do nothing about. You will get a preview of this in the coming season,hampshire will have 2 overseas players,plus the 2 Kolpac players they have signed,so thats only 7 places for English qualified players .

  • MaidstoneEast on February 18, 2017, 12:18 GMT

    Domestic 50-over cricket in England has no future because it is anachronistic, time consuming in a congested fixture list, poorly supported and largely irrelevant. It doesn't even serve as a convenient warm up for international fixtures because many of the better players aren't made available for selection by their respective counties. I'd rather see the 50-over competition scrapped altogether than witness championship cricket take any further punishment from the administrators in this country. Get rid of the long-winded and usually forgettable World Cup too and I personally wouldn't be in the least bit bothered.

  • cricfan39159222 on February 18, 2017, 9:24 GMT

    I believe more practice on t20 make 50 over more interesting. it is helping to create more entertainment on 50 over

  • Cricinfouser on February 18, 2017, 8:32 GMT

    Free-to-air broadcasting is essential to expand audiences. Not just one day games either. How about some county matches?

  • Cricinfouser on February 18, 2017, 7:24 GMT

    but the last 2 ODI world cup winners were the 2 teams who have the biggest t20 leagues

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