Freddie's blog

Franchise cricket? It's a NO from me

Later this month senior figures at the ECB will be meeting with county chairmen to propose options for a revamped domestic T20 competition. Great news.


In recent newsletters a number of our contributors have put forward valid proposals on a way forward for T20 cricket, in England.


I’ve enjoyed many chats with fellow supporters, on the merits of franchise (or city-based) cricket, one option the ECB will be putting forward.


But, having watched the recent men’s T20 finals day on television, together with the recent exploits of Eoin Morgan and the limited overs squads, I have come to the firm conclusion that City-based franchise cricket is NOT the way to go in men’s cricket. I hope the county execs reject it. Women’s cricket – a different story. It’s the way forward.


I definitely respect the franchise arguments for men’s cricket, but I question the benefits of the option, money aside. I just don’t see why any benefits that could be achieved couldn’t be achieved from an 18 county competition.


We want our domestic competition to be entertaining, to produce world-class players, to bring in the crowds and to generate much needed revenue for the counties.


As much as we can criticise the Blast, our set-up is actually producing world-class players. Our limited-overs team is arguably one of the best in the world. Root, Stokes, Buttler, Roy, Hales didn’t develop their skills in the IPL or Big Bash, they were developed in English cricket. A couple might have had small stints on occasions in the IPL or Big Bash but they didn’t learn their games there. Their games were learnt in our structure.


We also have exciting youngsters coming through like young Ben Duckett at Northants – what an exciting talent.


One of my arguments actually stems from looking at Northants. What a fairytale. Against all the odds, they reach Finals Day (again) and win. We can’t lose these occasions. What will that win have done for youngsters in Northamptonshire? What will it do for the profile of cricket in that county?


What did the acquisition of Chris Gayle do for Somerset and cricket in that county?


Now, if the city-based franchises come in, what happens to the likes of Northants and Somerset then? Those stories will be no more. The power again swings to the big sides. How will city-based teams in London improve the quality of player in Somerset? We want kids to watch these games, so I can't see how reducing the teams will be beneficial. Are kids expected to travel far and wide to watch the nearest city team?


Our T20 competition attracts strong crowds – over the years it’s given county cricket a buzz. I love attending the Middlesex v Surrey games. Our tournament isn’t perfect, of course it isn’t and that’s why I’m pleased the ECB want to transform it. It needs an overhaul, but there are ways to keep all 18 counties involved, improve the competitiveness and attract the world’s best players.


It’s possible.


Last November I blogged my thoughts and re-reading that blog post, I think my idea still stands true. Click here and have a read.


What do you think? I think it still has merits. The future of all our counties will be safeguarded and county cricket survives.


Yes, I love the Big Bash, but I also love our counties and the traditions of our game. Traditions that continue to produce world-class players. The Big Bash is right for Australia. They have 6 domestic states and 8 teams in their competition. Our system needs to be right for cricket in ENGLAND. So let’s take the best bits from our competition, the best bits from competitions elsewhere and create something that’s right for cricket in England.


Let’s encourage more Northants’ stories in the future.


Freddie




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