Compromise is key to overcome scheduling carnage

Teams in the Hundred are looking very different with players off to the CPL and international duty

Jake Lintott
Jake Lintott
Jake Lintott signs autographs at the Ageas Bowl, Southern Brave vs Trent Rockets, Men's Hundred, Southampton, August 25, 2022

Jake Lintott signs autographs at the Ageas Bowl  •  ECB/Getty Images

It's been a bittersweet week. We had two really good wins, against Welsh Fire and in a difficult game against Trent Rockets, and it's still special to win, even if you're not really in the running for the knockout stages. You want to play for personal pride through to the end, and to trip other teams up if you can.
It'd be great to finish with a win against Northern Superchargers on Wednesday, but we're still disappointed with the position that we got ourselves into at the start of the season. It'd be great for us to finish on a real high by winning at Headingley. It's crazy how tight the table is and if we win, we wouldn't end up missing out on the knockout stages by many points at all.
The atmosphere at our home games has been great and the fans have really got behind Southern Brave. That's not been the case at every venue we've been to so we're pretty lucky in that regard. It still feels like there's a real hype around the Hundred and it feels like the standard has gone to the next level this year.
When you look through the squads, they're much stronger than last season because of the number of top overseas players that have been involved. It's been awesome to go up against some of the world's best but some of the teams are looking very different in terms of personnel heading into the final stages with players leaving for international duty or other leagues like the CPL.
There's so much cricket being played at the moment, all around the world, and the schedules are carnage. I'd love competitions to try and work together a little bit more: when they go up against each other, you end up with worse availability in both, which obviously affects the standard.
There's been lots of chat about the schedule all summer and it has been interesting to hear about the high-performance review. I haven't played much first-class cricket but I look at the guys who are playing four-day cricket week in, week out and it makes me tired just looking at them. There's going to have to be some kind of compromise somewhere.
Personally, I think you could have three groups of six in the Blast and play 10 group games each, rather than 14, and you could have a three-division County Championship too. That would make Division One really strong and we'd still have 10 first-class games in the season - the same number they play in Australia, for example.
I don't envy Andrew Strauss having to make decisions on it because it is so hard to please everyone involved in the game, but ultimately, I think they will have to cut things back a little bit. There's just so much going on at the moment: if you play in the Hundred final this weekend, you might start a Championship game 36 hours later.
You have to try and find a way of looking after players. People don't always take travel into account and most of our training is geared towards preparation for the next game: finding time to do much technical work when you're playing so often is really hard. Volume is a big concern from the players' perspective.
I made my List A debut while playing for England Lions earlier this year and I'm desperate to play more 50-over cricket. It should be a big part of the schedule, for me: if you have 50-over World Cups to prepare for, you have to be playing one-day cricket consistently. At the moment, because I don't play much red-ball cricket for Warwickshire, I find myself training with them for most of the year, but I only play for them for about five weeks, in the Blast.
There are some very good players who have missed out on Hundred contracts this year and in future, you could have more than one wildcard pick per team. I got wildcarded last year because Southern Brave needed a wristspinner and I had done well in the Blast. It would be great for other players to have the same opportunity after breakthrough seasons for their counties.
We travel to Leeds on Monday and we have a team meal with our women's team there. We've got a great relationship with them and do lots of stuff together. They're a great team to watch and we always try to get there before we play to watch their games: it's really impressive how Charlotte Edwards has got them playing.
They've got all bases covered. Smriti Mandhana and Danni Wyatt are a pretty formidable opening partnership and Amanda-Jade Wellington's legspin has been huge for them. For me, they're far and away the best team in that competition, so hopefully they'll go all the way.

Jake Lintott is a left-arm wristspinner for Southern Brave and Warwickshire