A 5-Point Plan To Save English Cricket

I gave my own (rather simple) plan to revive our domestic game a couple of days ago. Today, it’s the turn of Billy Crawford. Does his comprehensive plan have legs? Let us know in the comments. Cheers.

Ashes series in Australia usually end in humiliation. My childhood was defined by late nights listening to England batting collapses on the portable radio under my duvet. This one feels different, however. It is not another pasting that we will bounce back from with runs and wickets in the following year. This time, something feels truly broken.

England won one of their six Test Matches in the summer of 2021, losing three. Arguably, if weather had not intervened, they could have lost five. The team in Australia looks absolutely broken. Batsmen are not capable of basic Test match technique; bowling has been inconsistent and selection utterly baffling.

If English cricket is broke, the logic is that it needs fixing. So here is my 5-point plan to save our national summer sport. Some of the conclusions in this plan may upset a few people but we simply cannot carry on as we are if we want Test cricket in this country to continue as a credible sport

1 Divide County Championship into three divisions of six

I will begin this by saying I love the County Championship as deeply as many of you do. It needs to be cherished and preserved, not thrown to side lines as Kevin Pietersen and others would wish. However, it is unworkable in its current format. Green pitches reward average bowlers and make it impossible for batsmen to develop sound long form batting techniques. Playing it in the Spring and Autumn means that players are not experiencing the same conditions that they will experience in Test cricket.

We have to accept, though, the reality of the world we live in. The Championship will never again be the centrepiece of the cricketing summer, it attracts such small crowds and so little revenue that counties would simply go bust if shorter formats were pushed to the side to accommodate a whole summer of four-day cricket.

The volume of games also dilutes the quality, and the convoluted fixture list makes it confusing to follow for new fans. The conference structure simply hasn’t worked and has led to months of meaningless games for the teams not involved in the battle to win the title.

The simplest solution to this would be to divide the Championship into three divisions of six teams, each playing each other home and away. That would ensure ten games of four-day cricket for each team, providing plenty of opportunity for players to hone their red ball skills.

These could easily be divided to suit everyone. There would be an opening round in April followed by three rounds in May. June would provide opportunity for two rounds of Championship cricket in good batting conditions with one round in July, all working around the counties’ fixtures in the T20 Blast. There would then be one round during The Hundred to provide fans of the longer form game an opportunity to watch some cricket and to give young players the chance to test their skills. There would then be a further round at the conclusion of the Hundred at the end of August with the final group of fixtures taking place in the first week of September.

The one-day cup would be redesigned as a straight knock out competition with the National Counties entering in the first round, akin to football’s FA Cup. Fixtures would be played in April, May and early June on the Sunday following completed Championship matches, as the old Sunday League was. This would mean that there would be four day and one day fixtures almost every weekend, giving parents ample opportunity to take their children to the cricket.

I can already hear the howls of protest from the members of counties that would be stuck in the third division, losing their best players to those in the higher leagues. My own county, Northamptonshire, could well be one of them. To this I would say that this is the reality of competitive sport. After all, we do not amalgamate the four divisions of English professional football so that Wycombe Wanderers can play Manchester United every week.

A system of two up and two down would give opportunities for counties to move between the divisions. The danger of course is that counties in division three would lose members and revenue and become financially unsustainable. There is a simple solution to this which brings me to point two…

2 Use the revenue from The Hundred to support the rest of the game

Whether we like it or not The Hundred is here to stay. As a vocal opponent of it, it pains me to say this, but so far it has been a success. More people are interested in cricket because of it and that is undeniable. Social media posts are getting more engagement as are clips on the BBC website. The women’s game has also been transformed. Without the Hundred it is hard to imagine 16-year-old Alice Capsey having the opportunity to play in front of 10,000 fans at The Oval and showcase her skills in such a spectacular manner.

I have seen the evidence of its success with my own eyes. Work colleagues who have never previously shown any interest in cricket are now buying Hundred season tickets and calling me over to their computers to show me the latest clips on social media. The big question us cynics still ask is will this translate to interest in the longer forms of cricket? I know it may be only anecdotal evidence but in my experience this is happening.

Normally I quietly follow Test match scores on my work computer knowing no one else will be interested in them. This summer the England v India Test series was a hot topic, with colleagues updating each other on the latest scores from Lord’s, The Oval or Trent Bridge. I had never seen anything like it before.

The question is, however, if The Hundred is to become a permanent fixture then how can we use it to the advantage of the game we all love? The answer is simple. Milk it for all it is worth and use the money generated to safeguard the rest of the game. The ECB must be willing to let go of their baby and open up to private ownership of Hundred franchises. The money generated by this sale must, and I cannot emphasize this enough, be split equally amongst all 18 counties, otherwise the three-division structure simply will not work and many counties may go out of business.

As The Hundred continues to grow, and hopefully becomes the second biggest franchise competition in the world behind the IPL, all revenue from it must be streamed directly to the counties. This way we can achieve the best of both worlds, a glitzy, exciting franchise competition to draw in new fans and the protection of the county system that so many of us cherish.

© David Morton

3 Reform the ECB

To do this we will need a complete root and branch overhaul of the ECB. The governing body as it is is simply not fit for purpose. The decision of Tom Harrison and his fellow ECB officials to award themselves £2 million in bonuses at a time when counties were struggling to stay afloat in the pandemic and England players were taking pay cuts was truly disgusting.

Put simply, English cricket will never work whilst its current leaders are at the helm. Those with the game’s interests at heart must replace them. How this could happen is another matter. Only a government takeover of the game could forcibly remove Harrison and co from their positions but, without wishing to make a political point, one can hardly be filled with confidence that they would do any better.

4 Harness the full power of the media

Cricket needs to be visible to be viable. The 18 counties have led the way in this area in recent years with live streaming of all matches on YouTube. This has been a huge step forward for the game, with the sizeable streaming figures for matches showing how much public interest there still is in county cricket. Somerset, for example, recorded 250,000 streams per match in the 2021 summer.

The ECB needs to harness the full power of the media going forward. The early social media posts from The Hundred were cringingly naff, akin to a stuffy teacher standing in front of a class of teenagers, trying to sound “down with the kids”. There are signs that it improved as the tournament went on and the addition of YouTubers and musicians for the live broadcasts is progress, but there is still a long way to go.

The in play clips of Test match runs and wickets on the BBC website are a significant step as well. Clips such as this are increasingly how young people watch sport these days, and cricket must be at the forefront of this if it wants to capture the interest of the next generation.

However, there has to be something for new fans to graduate to beyond social media clips and this is where my final point comes in…

5 Make the game accessible for all

Cricket has an image problem. Put simply, it is seen as a sport played by posh white boys. It has not always been this way. Of the 11 players who began the 2005 Ashes series, the last England team to truly capture the public’s imagination, 8 were educated at state schools. Of the team that played the second Test against Pakistan in 2020, only 2 were. Of course, these numbers are slightly skewed by players who were offered scholarships but it presents a depressing picture none the less.

Cricket has also disappeared from many state schools, despite the laudable efforts of Chance to Shine and other organisations. Not only is playing the game beyond the reach of many working-class families but watching it is also becoming increasingly inaccessible. The decision to sell live Test cricket in this country to Sky Sports in 2004 has had such obvious far-reaching consequences for the game that it is not necessary to state them again.

What is talked about far less, though, is the cost of actually going to watch a game of cricket. In 2002 when I attended my first live international cricket match, a ticket for the first day of the Lord’s Test against Sri Lanka cost £20 for and adult and £6 for under 16s in the Compton Lower Stand. Next summer a ticket in the same stand for the Test against New Zealand will cost £70 for adults and £20 for under 16s. That is a rise of 250 % in 20 years. The most expensive tickets are now £160 for a single day’s play.

Cricket is now the preserve of the rich and privileged, another playground that the working class are not invited to. The recent racism crisis in the game has its roots in this inaccessibility too. The work of Ebony Rainford-Brent and others to bring the game to ethnic minority children in inner cities is incredible but it is sad that it is needed.

Those that run our sport have played lip service to creating opportunity but lacked the will to leave their own privileged bubbles and enact policies that would give everyone the opportunity to enjoy cricket. Until this changes, the game will always struggle to have the mass appeal of football, or even rugby.

“Cricket for All” cannot just be a slogan on a T shirt, it must be the core of ECB policy, otherwise the game will become as irrelevant to the mass of the population as polo or fox hunting.

So, there it is, my five-point plan to fix English cricket. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. I may even send a copy to Tom Harrison. I won’t hold my breath for a reply though.

Billy Crawford

27 comments

  • Interesting article Billy.
    A fraction of the money wasted on the trashy 100 and paying off counties not to hold it, could have been used to improve the hugely successful T20 Blast. Interestingly you don’t even mention it, presumably because you favour the 100 out of the two? No other country has 4 Domestic competitions. One will vanish because both won’t survive. Indeed the women’s own T20 was deleted by the ECB to accommodate the 100 so that they could shout about how they were promoting women’s cricket! Bizzare. The 100 successful? Well if you include all the freebies then maybe it was. But it will be measured by how many pay this season. I don’t like franchise sport in any form, and it’s not the answer to England’s Test and red ball issues and crickets deep seated problems. I’m not sure how you would divert profits from a franchise like the 100 into supporting the counties? And you know it’s about time sport stopped promoting junk “cricket” to the instant society of the McDonald’s generation. There is a complete other side of it apart from money grabbing and betting shops like the IPL. And you know only a bunch of money grabbers like the ECB would effectively abandon the 50 over domestic game (we are World Champions) and play the final on a Thursday. Unfortunately from their point of view it didn’t go down the toilet as they wished, but crowds of up to 7000+ attended many of the games while the 100 was on.
    Two Divisions in the Championship works well, far better the when it was just one. I completely agree that it’s played at the wrong time, fails to develop red ball skills and allows our best players to just play the hit and giggle. But the 10s of thousands watching County Cricket on stream last season just shows that there is a big appetite for it
    ECB? Blow it up and start again. All this starts with dumping these ex financiers and supermarket managers beginning with Harrison. But yes cricket needs restructuring and redefining from the top down otherwise all that will be left is cheap crap like the 100, an insult to the great game. If that’s the future, I’m out!
    I’ve gone on enough and I’m sure otherwise will have much to say in other points in your interesting piece.

    • India has 4 domestic competitions. Competitions in T20 (Syed Mustaq Ali), One Day (Vijay Hazare), FC (Ranji) and the IPL. Add to that a bunch of smaller tournaments (Duleep Trophy), Irani Cup etc (the latter being the Ranji winners versus the best team India can assemble excluding the Ranji winners). Somehow that has not stopped India being successful in most formats.

      It probably helps though that their climate year-through is more suitable for cricket (depending on where in India you are).

  • The problems for the England batsmen are entirely predictable given the change in ECB policies to favour white ball formats. There’s no point discussing anything that doesn’t involve a wholesale change in direction. As the ECB has no obvious intention to change their direction under the present regime it all seems futile. The confetti that is the Hundred will not go away and as our recent test match record in this country is not yet as execrable as it is abroad, the public here can going on deceiving themselves things are ok for a while yet.
    The question is do enough people care enough about what’s going on down under to make a difference. The evidence the world over is that test matches do not attract the necessary public support to pressure the necessary changes. Look at the Melbourne Boxing Day test, only three quarters full when traditionally it sells out, and that’s in a cricket crazy country.

    • You can’t compare crowds this year with previous years, because Melbourne and Sydney are in the grip of increasing covid cases, restrictions, and isolation requirements. BBL attendances are down too.
      I’m not saying that the public hasn’t lost some interest, but maybe not quite as much as you seem to think.

      • Look at the crowds at Sydney. That’s wasn’t just a result of Covid restrictions. Pre Covid crowds for test matches have been declining for years. There’s no doubt this is an increasing trend. In 20 years I doubt test matches will be part of the international cricketing scene, such is the rise of white ball formats.

  • A really thought-provoking article Billy, so thanks for that – there are multitudes of people criticising everything right now, but not many trying to suggest ways out of the deep malaise. It’s a bit like Boycott’s perennial point: don’t tell me who shouldn’t be in the team, tell me who should…

    Stimulated by your article, three very imperfectly formed thoughts in response:

    1. Should the Country Championship be deliberately skewed towards younger players (perhaps a minimum number of U21 or U23 players in the starting eleven? This would mean that younger players have statistically more chance of playing first class cricket than they do of getting into the white ball team(s), so would encourage a focus on learning to bat ‘properly’ or to bat time, rather than ‘range hitting’ as I think slogging is now known. It’s a contrivance, I fully accept, but something has to change to encourage younger players to master the techniques of batting. It doesn’t preclude them from playing 20/50 overs, either in addition or instead, but some will see this as their best way to establish themselves in first class cricket.

    2. Clearly one of the Hundred or T20 Blast has to go, and given (a) that T20 is a global format and (b) already played by the counties rather than the artificially created franchises, it’s the Hundred that should and could go. In your model, I don’t see why the franchises would agree to having their profits siphoned off to the counties – what’s in it for them? The real success of the Hundred is that it was on free-to-air TV so people could actually see it, rather than stuck behind a paywall. The same is true of the county matches streamed on YouTube. So I believe that there is a public appetite for watching cricket (in any of its various forms) but it has to be easy for them to do so. Any marketing person will tell you that ease of access to your product or service is crucial – it’s hardly rocket science…

    3. I don’t have a particularly well-formed idea, but it seems to me that central contracts have possibly had their day. Many of the England players (across all three formats) are increasingly linked to their counties only very nominally, and rarely play for them. I can’t imagine the England football team existing with Harry Kane et al contracted to the FA and only turning out for their clubs sporadically. The England RU players turn out for their clubs most Saturdays, and the fans retain a link to and passion for these players in their club colours. Would a Durham fan want to watch a team with Ben Stokes and Mark Wood in the starting eleven, or not? Of course they would. There’s an obvious tension of club v country in this, and the risk of playing too much. But the current scenario is that few England players represent their counties very often and, relative to their forebears, my gut feel is that they play very little cricket. It would be interesting to see some data on the number of first class overs bowled by (say) Jimmy Anderson, Darren Gough and Fred Trueman in equivalent seasons. Likewise, how many innings do modern batters have relative to their predecessors? As I say, I don’t have a specific suggestion, but cricket seems to be an outlier with the central contracts approach….

    Thanks again for stimulating some thought.

    Rob

  • We’ve all been here often enough before to know how this works – when England win it’s down to the ECB’s genius, when England lose it’s down to the CC. James made the excellent point that the CC was in place when England were top-of-the-rankings (TM) in three formats as well as giving England a large pool of white-ball options and being praised by foreign players as a tough finishing school. Remember Starc played for Yorkshire? The question is what’c changed in the last few years.

    I’m afraid I can’t take the suggestions of someone who starts with the claim (based on anecdata) that the 16.66 is a success, he’s either a fool or a knave. I’ll just deal with the first point because it’s the most serious. Three leagues would reduce the number of f/c matches and the third division would be ripe to be turned semi-professional if not outright scrapped. The author claims to love the CC but he would destroy the village to save it (to borrow the old phrase from Vietnam).

    I’m not sure what the 16.66 is good for women’s cricket has to do with anything here. Women’s cricket can stand or fall on its own merits – which the author must feel are considerable and therefore he shouldn’t be worried. Burning down the grassroots of the men’s game to subsidise the women’s is madness unless there are other motives at play here.

    BTW Andy Bull has written a really poisonous piece on Ashley Giles. I’m no great fan of Giles – but why would Bull lay into him so nastily when he wouldn’t write a word of criticism of Clarke, Strauss or Flower? He even buries the criticsms of Harrison in the penultimate paragraph knowing that most don’t read that far.

    • For what it’s worth I think Billy has written a thought provoking article which is a realistic assessment of the current situation and contains some good ideas for the way forward. Gratuitously dismissing him as a ‘fool or knave’ adds nothing to the debate at all. Play the ball, not the man!

    • And frankly, given the badly-researched, inaccurate, sloppily-thought-out bilge you sometimes post on here Simon, it’s also both extremely arrogant and utter hypocrisy!

      In relation to what you oh-so-cleverly coin “anecdata”–well, Billy realises that. he’s said so in the article! Maybe it’s completely unrepresentative. Maybe it’s completely representative. But it’s interesting to hear. Personally I’m very sceptical that the Hundred has been a success–but your attacks on the writer don’t really advance the argument (and of course we also get hints of yet another of your bottomless well of conspiracy theories, surprise surprise! They really are the gift that keeps on taking).

      And , as with most keyboard warriors, I await the day when you pluck up enough courage to write a similar piece ATL and have people dissect it BTL!

    • Yes, I found Bull’s piece rather strange. Giles wouldn’t have been my choice and there are things great and small he can be criticised for during his term in office, but this was more of a generalised, rather vindictive personal attack which is not Bull’s usual approach.

  • I find myself agreeing with most of Billy’s article. The three tier championship in particular would maintain interest for most teams throughout the season. It is true that third tier teams would have to tighten belts to remain viable, but many counties are barely viable already.

    The idea that the franchises should contribute to the coffers of their supporting counties is an excellent one – though it may not appeal to the franchises…

    Sorry to repeat my comment on a previous article but I would reiterate my suggestion that The Hundred (which we are stuck with) be divided into three separate blocks – May half term, late July, late August. This would allow red ball and 50 over cricket to be more evenly spread. Overseas franchise players may not wish to come and go to fit this format, but could, as part of their deal, be subcontracted to counties in the intervening weeks, with obvious benefits for the championship.

    The cricket I enjoyed as much as any last summer was the 50 over competition, even in its devalued state. It successfully bridges the gap between serious and fast and furious, and offers spectators a complete experience in one visit to the ground. I would be truly sorry if this ever turned out to be the format to be ditched.

  • It says something about the differences between the two set-ups that Australia have a reserve batsman with nearly 3000 Test runs at over 40 and now 9 centuries. England’s entire top order outside Root struggle to muster 9 centuries. Khawaja had the class and experience to hang in there for a session while finding it tough knowing he could accelerate later.

    Some idiots are already putting Khawaja’s original non-selection down to racism. His problems against spin are why he hasn’t been selected more.

    England’s tactics were yet again bewildering. Stokes comes on to bowl a form of ‘bodyline’ with EVERY ball a bouncer which puts an enormous strain on the bowler’s body (apart from any other issues with the idea) and promptly has to go off clutching his hip. The field set for Leach doesn’t give him a prayer – he’s forced to bowl at the pads and LHBs can milk him for leg-side singles all day while England enjoy an illusion of control. When he creates a chance anyway the captain drops it. His figures end up looking rubbish and they can say, “see, told you so – he isn’t good enough. Now who to pick as fifth seamer…. “. I doubt we’ll see Leach again outside Asia. If they don’t believe in Leach, why not pick Bess – and if Bess is “unselectable” because of the yips why’s he in the tour party when Parkinson was an option?

    It’s an absolute shambles from top to bottom. Again, it isn’t the structure or the coach/captain/players – it’s both.

    • It’s commonly accepted that there is now one competition too many. The ECB will be loath to abandon the 100, and I believe that contracts were signed for 5 years, so presumably through to the 2025 season.

      We have good one day international teams, and don’t want them to decline when, hopefully, action is taken to improve the first class structure. This means that our top players need to play regularly in 20 and 50 over competitions.

      I therefore suggest that the current T20 competition be abolished and the 100 be relaunched as the 120. It should comprise a premier league and a championship, and the two together would comprise 18 teams, based on the current counties. Current franchises would presumably have to stay for the five years, and if they want to keep their current names (Oval Invincibles, Welsh Fire etc), they can. Other counties can choose their own names but, for example, Kent would probably be the Spitfires, Sussex the Sharks and so on. There would be promotion and relegation between the two divisions, although this might not be possible till after the initial five years due to current contracts. Every county/franchise would have a womens team and play double headers as at present in the 100.

      • Really there is no need to relaunch anything whether it’s 100, 120 or 80 balls. The T20 Blast would have been improved by a fraction of the money wasted on the 100. Why change a winning formula? Indeed the ECBs coffers are not exactly full anymore. The 100 is no more than an attempted cash cow and has nothing to do with cricket as we know it. It’s crickets version of HS2, no more than a huge vanity project set up by men with no interest in proper governance of the game. They are about as far away from a Sports Governing Body as Boris is in joining the Labour Party.
        The survival, at least long term, of the 100, doesn’t rely on how popular it is here, it’s selling the franchise overseas. With the increasing amount of T20 Leagues that looks very unlikely to happen.

    • Is your Khawaja point based on anything real or is it just another of your oh-so-controversial strawmen? Asking because I’ve googled him being left out due to racism and it doesn’t return anything.

      I’m not very convinced of your reason for his general omission, except in Asia (and certainly not for this series: I don’t think Australia respect England’s spin bowling that much!) He hasn’t been picked as an opener because he doesn’t usually open in the Shield and I suspect he hasn’t been picked at five because he’s several years older than most of the other candidates. And there are the usual “good jourmalism” murmurings about his character–some of which have been ascribed to racism, but that seems to come from Khawaja himself. Are you saying that you have more of a handle on his experience than he does?!

  • .
    Interesting piece Billy, but I think if the starting premise is
    “Whether we like it or not The Hundred is here to stay”
    then you’re not going to solve the Test cricket problem.
    First and foremost the Hundred is not about cricket it is solely about money. Specifically, it is about the ECB increasing its share of the cake vis a vis the Counties and ultimately about selling franchises internationally.
    When you say it has been a success, you are looking at it in a vacuum. How much better a return could the game have had had the vast amount of money spent on the Hundred been spent on the other forms of the game ? Don’t forget, we even lost an entire Test match because Harrison wouldn’t agree to India’s suggestion to bring forward the 5th Test, because it would have clashed with the Hundred.
    The starting point has to be a root and branch clear out at the ECB. The Hundred needs to be scrapped and a sensible (and perfectly possible) domestic schedule of T20, One Day and County Cricket introduced. Unless that happens talk of divisions etc. is irrelevant as there will not be the players to play red ball County cricket, just as there are few of the requisite quality now available to play Test cricket.

    • I’m also sceptical that the Hundred is here to stay long-term (and if it is, whether it should be!) but isn’t the point in the short-term (ie before 2026) that it would be difficult to scrap it without having to return large amounts of money to Sky?

      It’s possible that a way might be found around this in partnership with Sky (after all, they signed up for a certain number of matches, not specifically a new format or–at least not explicitly–a franchise competition), but it also seems to me that it’s probable that we’ll have to work round it for the next four seasons rather than simply abolish it, however nice that would be.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean giving it supremacy. the ECB rarely release players for the Royal London, say, so they could also apply the same logic to the Hundred if they think that it would hurt the test team to do so.

      • None of the stakeholders apart from the ECB has signed up for anything which couldn’t be replaced by a T20 competition. No one but the ECB has any great vested interest in the Hundred per se. A T20 competition – which would in all probability deliver a larger audience at a lower promotional cost and higher revenue – would be equally, if not more, attractive to them, as well as to the players.

  • Some excellent points Billy.
    Most of us accept that the Championship will never make money – the significant interest in following the CC online no longer translates into people watching it in great numbers. It still needs to be spread throughout the whole season, as you suggest, to give players the chance to play in a variety of conditions to prepare them better for Test cricket. Better pitches are also critical. 3 divisions may work – but to narrow the gap between the CC and Test cricket, the best players need to be playing in Division 1. This was supposed to happen when the CC was split into 2 divisions in 2000 – but never really did.
    I remember the days of the Nat West Trophy being a knock out competition – but that was when we also had the B&H Cup. If there is only one 50 over competition, making it a straight knock out could leave some players playing only one 50 over game per year against List A opposition. A better idea would be to go back to having the group stages early in the season.
    There just isn’t enough space in the season for both the Hundred and the Blast – four competitions is one too many. The attempts to do it last year resulted in the 50 over cup being effectively relegated to a second team competition – which isn’t acceptable as it’d give leading players no preparation for ODI cricket. The ECB need to decide which of them it’s going to back and ditch the other.
    I wholeheartedly agree that the ECB needs reform – but government intervention is unlikely. The key issue is that the current board are almost all business people – fixated on money. The board needs more people serving on it who have actually played the game.
    We have to accept that Sky aren’t going away, and the days of all cricket on the BBC are long gone. Rugby union provides a decent model for dividing up the coverage – BBC/ITV showing the 6 Nations and the World Cup, Sky have the autumn internationals and overseas tours, and BT Sport the Premiership and European club games. But whether the ECB will ever agree to it is a different matter.
    Getting cricket back into state schools might be the toughest challenge of the lot. Compared with other sports, cricket needs a lot more investment in equipment and playing surfaces, and the summer term is short and much of it taken up by exams. But there needs to be a way to do it – could clubs link up with schools to provide a pathway?

    • I see no easy way of reforming the ECB unless the Government did step in. Unlikely, but still a possibility as the Sports Minister spoke about intervention if they do not satisfactorily fix the Yorkshire racism scandal. That seems to have gone off the radar now, and even this season’s fixtures will not be out until the end of this month. Maybe they are going to spread the Championship across the season after this destruction of UK Test cricket that’s currently still going on. They may tinker but that’s all, because their only interest is the precious 100.
      So you have a sport governing body (or an excuse for one) that seemingly can’t be removed except by it’s own board. Why on earth the Counties abandoned the Ist Class Forum God only knows, must have been some sort of pay off I suspect. Open to ideas and I’d be first in line in storming the ECB offices, but short of violent action, how do we get them removed? Because until that happens cricket will go down the path of hit and giggle pandering to the instant society with little attention span I’m afraid.

  • England should copy the Australian number of f/c teams – but not this?….

    https://twitter.com/CricketAus/status/1481774930694131712

    Tells you all you need to know about how the “copy Australia” argument works – it’s a weapon for pre-existing agendas (like destroy the counties), not a serious solution.

    BTW Day 1 in Hobart after having Australia 12/3 has been “wheels coming off” atrocious and humiliating, the nadir of this tour and I’m well aware what a standard that is (unless Head really is the new Brian Lara which is how England are making him look).

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