County news January 23, 2012

Debate over Morgan review

The County Championship is set for an 8-10 divisional split after counties refused to ratify the Morgan review at a meeting at Lord's. The Morgan review recommended a reduction to 14 County Championship matches and retaining the equal split of counties.

While the reduction in four-day matches was accepted, counties favoured an uneven split in the County Championship to maintain a balanced fixture list. Maintaining equal divisions would mean some counties playing some teams in their division twice and others once.

The counties also objected to a return to 50-over cricket, as recommended by David Morgan, the former ECB Chairman, to mirror international cricket and to help the England team.

The meeting debated the benefits of playing one-day cricket on Sunday afternoons, with a move to Sunday morning starts for 50-over matches seen as less popular with spectators.

Counties did accept a switch to 14 matches for the Friends Life T20 - an increase from 10 which will be played in 2012 and two fewer than the 16 played in 2011.

Discussions at the meeting were "wide ranging and constructive" and feedback will be reported back to the ECB board at its next meeting in March.

The board had accepted the Morgan review in principle and announced the recommendations should be accepted in full or not at all. But given the opposition to some of Morgan's conclusions, the ECB may have to backtrack on their firm stance to accommodate counties' objections.

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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