Trego suggests darts-style revamp for English T20

Peter Trego, the Somerset allrounder whose uncomplicated dedication to entertainment has earned him a cult following in Taunton, believes that the ECB could save itself a lot of time and effort in its revamping of domestic T20 cricket by copying the methods of another sport that has undergone a drastic image change: darts.

With county cricket on the brink of a radical overhaul that will usher in a new T20 tournament from 2020 onwards, Trego's exploits in the more bucolic environments of Taunton have helped to serve a reminder of the existing competition's merits.

And while he is not averse to changes that will place T20 cricket at the centre of the ECB's strategy for revitalising the sport in England and Wales, he did question the need to rip the competition up and start again.

Instead, he suggested, the stunning success currently being enjoyed by professional darts is proof that a product is only as good as the marketing that surrounds it.

"I think it's great that we are trying to move with the times and the other countries," Trego told ESPNcricinfo. "The one thing I would say is that our T20 competition is quite a strong competition viewership-wise anyway, so why not spend all that money and use all that marketing ability to make what we've got better?

"You look at what they've done in professional darts, they've made that sport into a phenomenon. And really, if you look at it as a spectator sport, you could be 100 metres away from a darts board the size of a dinner plate - but, because they've incorporated all the razzmatazz, it's going from strength to strength. The stag dos and the hen dos are all going to them. It seems a great time."

Trego's flamboyant personality, epitomised by a glut of tattoos on both arms, would not look out of place up on the oche, alongside such showmen as Peter "Snakebite" Wright. But, as a steadily growing number of fans would attest, the skills on show at the highest level of professional darts more than match the hype that currently surrounds it.

No event encapsulates this more than the annual PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace - a two-week extravaganza that spans Christmas and New Year, and unashamedly taps into the festive vibe. In 2015, the tournament attracted peak viewing figures of 1.5 million in the UK alone.

And, if Trego feels undersold as arguably the finest county allrounder never to have played for England, then he is entitled to cast envious glances at the glut of darts stars that are busy becoming household names as their sport rides the crest of a wave.

The current PDC world champion, Michael van Gerwen, is widely considered to be the most talented player of all time. And, in a far cry from darts' origins as a pub-based pastime, the event's most famous winner, the 14-time champion, Phil "The Power" Taylor, is these days a serious contender to be Britain's greatest sportsman.

County cricket, Trego believes, just isn't pushing its merits in the same way.

"My perception of our T20 is that it is always slightly hamstrung," he said. "I know in particular you play at Lord's and there are certain times when you can't have the lights up or the music too loud. It's time that cricket will hopefully banish those things, and really move with the times."

Amid all the uncertainty about cricket's future look and feel, however, Trego is confident that his home ground is well placed to thrive in the brave new world - and this summer's maiden T20 against South Africa at Taunton on June 23 will be a timely opportunity to showcase its merits.

"We get 2000-3000 to every day of championship cricket, which is quite unique, and we sell out virtually every limited-overs game as well," Trego said. "The ground recently got international status, so I'm hoping we'll get a fair share of this new T20 league, as and when it happens."