Counties oppose ECB’s proposed Twenty20 cricket league


Sydney: England’s proposed multi-million pound Twenty20 cricket league is facing stiff opposition from the counties, who have been left out of England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) plan of action.

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The plan, drawn up by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) chief executive Keith Bradshaw and Surrey chairman David Stewart, is for the creation of only nine-team league.

Bradshaw and Stewart consulted the MCC, Surrey, Hampshire and Lancashire in drawing up their proposals. However, response from the excluded counties was hostile.

“Our initial reaction is that we would be completely against this,” said Tom Sears, chief executive of Derbyshire was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.

“It would completely change the landscape. We would see the rich getting richer and the have-nots fall further behind. The only way it could work for a smaller county like Derbyshire is if the sum we received was astronomical. If it is not, then we would never consider it,” he added.

Called as the “New T20”, the England version will be based on the path breaking module of the Indian Premier League (IPL), with teams participating in a 25-day competition to be held in the middle of the domestic season.

Teams would be based at the nine international venues in England, with “icon players” such as Kevin Pietersen who plays for Hampshire allocated to each side.

Although the scheme came from Bradshaw and Stewart, both members of the ECB management committee, the news came as a surprise to ECB chairman Giles Clarke.

“It is not a document I have been involved with in the slightest,” Clarke said.

“Quite a lot of it is not necessarily going to receive a welcome from me. History and tradition is something only a fool breaks asunder. We need to ensure whatever is produced will be economically viable, will provide cricket people want to watch and the right format for our national side in all forms of cricket,” he said.