Draft 2020 fixture schedule

Parkside

Midfield
THE GOOGLY: County Championship may have to be put down before it suffers any further indignity
HUW TURBERVILL: Draft schedule for 2020 sees 11 out of 14 matches played at pointless times

Huw Turbervill | 06/11/2019 at 17:14

When Eoin Morgan said “over the next few years, one of the formats will miss out – we can’t play with four formats”, he was probably right. He was just wrong to infer it would be the Blast.
That is the only conclusion to be drawn from the draft schedule for 2020, seen by The Cricketer.
With 11 matches out of 14 set to be played at the bookends of the season, it is the County Championship that is imperilled.
It will no longer be – to use a phrase favoured by former Home Secretary John Reid – fit for purpose.
Frankly, what will be the point of it?
Yes, yes, I know several hundred to a thousand or two fans attend the matches. And thousands more like me follow the scores online through the day. But one of its fundamental purposes – to identify and prepare players for Test duty – will effectively be nullified.
The schedule – sent to county CEOs – sees three Championship matches in April and four in May. Then the Vitality Blast enjoys a run (May 28-June 7). A Championship match pops up in mid-June. Then more Blast matches (June 19-26). Then two four-day windows (starting June 28 and July 5).
The Hundred is poised to start on July 17, the ‘development’ 50-over tournament commencing a day later. The Blast quarter-finals are from August 18-21, then it is two Championship windows (August 23 and 29).
Blast Finals Day could be on September 5 (with a reserve day). Then two Championship windows (September 8 and 14). The 50-over final to be on September 19 (with a reserve day). And finally two Championship matches (September 21 and September 27 – going into the last day of the month)... later than ever before.
Rumour reaches us that this is the precursor to an announcement that two Championship matches will be culled come 2021, to 12 per side. Which presumably means teams in both Divisions One and Two will not play each other home and away (this is already the case in the top flight next summer). How much longer will it be before the magic number of 10 is reached – in line with the Sheffield Shield?
 

Struts

Midfield
Probably going to get crucified for this but I think 12 is about the right amount of games for the Championship.
 

Aidan11

Winger
Every major cricketing nation has a first class structure. No first class cricket means no potential test match players which in turn means no test match cricket. At home England play to virtual full houses in tests. That means money coming in from up to five days revenue from gate receipts, merchandise, food and drink, sponsorship, TV rights etc. It adds up to quite a lot of money for the ECB and the counties also benefit from it.

They can of course generate sizeable income from 50 overs, T20is and (dare I say it?) Possible 100is in future. But will it generate enough to fill the gap left by test cricket?

Fast food cricket is ok but it could get boring if there isn't a choice. There has occasionally been talk of counties breaking away from the ECB but that has all it's been, just talk. At the moment it's even less likely to happen with the £1.3 million sweetener, but if first class cricket is backed right into a corner it may have no option but to fight back.

I don't think it will come to that. The strength of feeling about this new format is well known. It is despised and not just by the "dinosaur" spectators either. I think if any format goes it will be the 100. It is a white elephant and after 3 or 4 years of ostrich mentality the ECB will hopefully see that and for the good of cricket pull the plug.
 
Should have gone to regional cricket 10 years ago.
Domestic first class cricket is on its arse around the world..
It's a sickener as a long term Durham member but it's been coming and the success of T20 around the world has nailed it.
 

Bri

Striker
The ECB insists it is prioritising Test cricket - but all the evidence suggests otherwise


A reader emailed helpfully last month to tell me he had just attended An Evening with Aggers and Tuffers in Guildford. Inevitably, the subject of ‘The Hundred’ came up. Jonathan Agnew asked the audience how many planned to attend a match. "As far as could be seen,’ my correspondent wrote, "out of an audience of 1,000, nobody raised their hands."
Such an outcome is hardly surprising; when the England and Wales Cricket Board unveiled this ludicrous competition, which resembles cricket as Coca-Cola resembles Pol Roger, it specifically stated its intention of attracting to matches people who do not usually attend cricket. Most discerning cricket lovers who spend an evening with Aggers and Tuffers would probably rather put their head in a mincer than attend a 100-ball match.
Unfortunately, the ECB’s protestations of commitment to Test cricket sit increasingly ill with the introduction of The Hundred into the English season. According to The Full Toss cricket blog, one effect of the arrival of The Hundred next year will be to extend the domestic season until September 30. The blog also points out that this is partly because the season will not start until April 11, to allow players a longer run in the IPL.

The fag-end of the season, like the opening weeks, will accommodate the County Championship, or what the sort of people who go to listen to the wisdom of Messrs Agnew and Tufnell regard as proper cricket. Therefore it will mainly be played on pitches that favour quick bowlers, and make the England Test team more reliant on Ben Stokes coming in and making a pile of runs, provided some tail-end batsman can have the presence of mind to stick around with him while he does.
But apparently there is even worse to come. In 2021 it is possible Championship cricket will be de-marginalised to the extent that it will be played at the height of the season, as it always used to be. However: it will be played at the same time as The Hundred. This is unlikely to cannibalise attendances, for the reasons stated above: most people who would naturally attend a first-class match would not feel the urge to watch a game that mocks cricket. Although the ECB claims that the idea of The Hundred is to encourage people into the game, we still await with interest their plan to encourage patrons of The Hundred to move on to something less vacuous.

Players picked by the eight teams in the Hundred line up for a photocall on the evening of the draft CREDIT: CHRISTOPHER LEE/GETTY IMAGES FOR ECB
However, it would – if the plan were put into execution – do much to cannibalise quality. This will be apparent in 2020 when The Hundred is played alongside the one-day competition, and the quality of those 50-over matches will decline. This is because The Hundred is to be played effectively by teams of mercenaries rather than by traditional professional sides with well-established county loyalties, and those mercenaries have had to be ‘drafted’ from existing sides into those created for what the ECB hopes is this new money-making stunt.

It could take up to 95 county players away from what they would otherwise be doing: and that, in 2021, means they would not play in the County Championship. Not only do the demands of The Hundred mean that on average half a county’s regular players will not be available; it is also going to mean that the best half will not be available.
And, as 2021 is getting close to the 2023 World Cup, when 50-over experience will be considered more important for our best players, the Championship will have to take the hit – as if first-class experience bears no relation to the improvement of the Test side. Most of the players the selectors would want in an England side would not be available; any needing to maintain form in the first-class game, or to get back into it, would not stand an earthly chance of doing so.

Most discerning cricket lovers who spend an evening with Aggers, right, would probably rather put their head in a mincer than attend a 100-ball match CREDIT: PHILIP BROWN/GETTY IMAGES
And the Championship itself, already treated with contempt, would be further degraded. An associated rumour is that, if the Championship is played simultaneously with The Hundred in 2021, thereby wrecking the quality of the county sides in it, the number of points at stake in each such match would be halved compared with those played at other times. Final proof of the ECB’s contemptuous (and contemptible) attitude towards first-class cricket was hardly required; but if this plan were implemented, no possible doubt could remain.

The ECB and its senior personnel seem incapable of being straight about this. They seem to feel that if they continue to protest how much they support Test cricket, then any policy decision that might have the opposite effect either will not be noticed, or will not have the consequences that many fear.
Every decision the board has made in recent years that affects the first-class game has driven customers away from it, and its quality downwards; and England have only not done worse at Test cricket as a result because, for associated reasons and because of the state of the game in the individual countries, the first-class game is declining even faster elsewhere than it is here. The ECB knows it is a race to the bottom, but it consoles itself that England are going to the bottom slightly less precipitously than some rivals.
The dismal attendances at Tests in places such as South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand, except when England, Australia or India are touring (and not always even then, sometimes), reflect the rapid disappearance of Test cricket from public consciousness. In each case the shrivelling-up of the first-class game at state, province or island level preceded it. If county cricket diminishes further here, so too will our Test cricket. And, sooner or later, the appetite for endless forgettable, meaningless short-form matches will diminish too.

Empty seats at the Wanderers for South Africa's Test against India reflect the rapid disappearance of Test cricket from public consciousness CREDIT: THEMBA HADEBE/AP
The man who should look at himself in the mirror, and think long and hard, is Ashley Giles, England’s director of cricket. He is on record as saying that he intends to prioritise Test cricket; but he is doing nothing of the sort because of the proposed impact of The Hundred.

It was also Giles who hinted last week that in 2021 the Championship might have to be played alongside The Hundred. He had the gall to say that by playing Championship matches at the height of summer it would encourage spin bowlers; but it would merely encourage spin bowlers to thrive against a lot of second XI batsmen.
I have written before about the need to have two codes in cricket, if the ECB is determined to sacrifice everything under the existing system to promote and expand the short-form game, and to introduce a bastardised version of it such as The Hundred. Giles’s remarks ought to mean that an intelligent, sensible ECB would now set about doing just that.
Professional cricketers would have to choose, perhaps season by season, which code they felt they could thrive in more. But the ECB prefers to live in a land of make-believe where all is possible, and the people who take its shilling – such as Giles – grit their teeth and stick to the script.
The only hope is that individual counties will start to worry about the effect on their memberships and their businesses, and start to ask some difficult questions: and that is something perhaps only grass-roots action by county members, and by MCC members, will achieve. Otherwise, it will soon be too late to do anything.
That piece above at the end it kind of comes around to my opinion.

The Hundred will tend to kill County 1st Class Cricket -> this will tend to kill Test cricket -> and this will put all cricket under threat.
 
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Aidan11

Winger
The answer is simple...

Don't attend these 100 games and don't watch them on TV.

I suspect the majority of non-cricket fans won't be interested and those that do may watch a couple of games and decide it's rubbish.

Let's face it cricket is one of those sports you either like or you don't. We all know someone who when you mention cricket they say how boring it is.

Not that it will matter to Graves. This time next year his time is up. I just hope the person who replaces him is a proper cricket fan.
 

Struts

Midfield
Should have gone to regional cricket 10 years ago.
Domestic first class cricket is on its arse around the world..
It's a sickener as a long term Durham member but it's been coming and the success of T20 around the world has nailed it.
Sssoooooo

Durham
Yorkshire
lancashire
Warwickshire
Nottinghamshire
Glamorgan
Middlesex
Surrey
Scum
Sussex
Somerset-Gloucester merger
Derbyshire-Leicestershire merger
Northampton-Worcestershire merger
Kent-Essex merger
 
Sssoooooo

Durham
Yorkshire
lancashire
Warwickshire
Nottinghamshire
Glamorgan
Middlesex
Surrey
Scum
Sussex
Somerset-Gloucester merger
Derbyshire-Leicestershire merger
Northampton-Worcestershire merger
Kent-Essex merger
Might sound brutal but I would go the whole hog and get rid of all the counties and have 10 regions and every nook and cranny of the Shires is equally covered. There are big cricket areas which get neglected .
 
The answer is simple...

Don't attend these 100 games and don't watch them on TV.

I suspect the majority of non-cricket fans won't be interested and those that do may watch a couple of games and decide it's rubbish.

Let's face it cricket is one of those sports you either like or you don't. We all know someone who when you mention cricket they say how boring it is.

Not that it will matter to Graves. This time next year his time is up. I just hope the person who replaces him is a proper cricket fan.
The problem is you right, we do all know someone who when you mention cricket say it’s boring, the big problem is them people are becoming more and more, as more and more distractions and other things to do in the modern age,so do we do something to make it more exciting or stick our heads in the sand and do nothing?
 

Aidan11

Winger
The problem is you right, we do all know someone who when you mention cricket say it’s boring, the big problem is them people are becoming more and more, as more and more distractions and other things to do in the modern age,so do we do something to make it more exciting or stick our heads in the sand and do nothing?
I agree with your point but a new format with odd rules and made up teams is not the answer.

T20 is doing all right but could be improved. Putting this on the BBC would have been a start but the rights went to Sky because they offered more money.

Cricket became headline news twice last season - Our World Cup win And Ben Stokes turning the Headingley test around. Imagine if they were both on BBC at the time. Ok C4 showed the final but it's not really the same.

We are a cricket nation that had to compete for popularity with football and coming a distant second. This obsession that the County Championship is watched by only a few hundred spectators is misplaced. It's always been like that apart from just after the second world war. As for cricket fans there are many casual fans who watch on TV or follow online. It's not easy for many to go to a ground.

Cricket will never be a rich sport. In fact it's always been on the breadline although certain employees of the ECB are on ridiculous salaries. Despite all that it still survives to this day.

Money has damaged football. Let's hope it doesn't damage cricket.
 
Maybe if they stopped scheduling championship games to start on a Monday they might see a slight increase in crowds?

I will pop open a bottle of fizz when Colin Graves snuffs it and drink it whilst dancing over his grave in a Durham shirt.

He’s a very dangerous and damaging individual that looks likely to leave lasting, possible irreversible damage to our game in this country.
 
I agree with your point but a new format with odd rules and made up teams is not the answer.

T20 is doing all right but could be improved. Putting this on the BBC would have been a start but the rights went to Sky because they offered more money.

Cricket became headline news twice last season - Our World Cup win And Ben Stokes turning the Headingley test around. Imagine if they were both on BBC at the time. Ok C4 showed the final but it's not really the same.

We are a cricket nation that had to compete for popularity with football and coming a distant second. This obsession that the County Championship is watched by only a few hundred spectators is misplaced. It's always been like that apart from just after the second world war. As for cricket fans there are many casual fans who watch on TV or follow online. It's not easy for many to go to a ground.

Cricket will never be a rich sport. In fact it's always been on the breadline although certain employees of the ECB are on ridiculous salaries. Despite all that it still survives to this day.

Money has damaged football. Let's hope it doesn't damage cricket.
Yeah I agree about T20 been on bbc, but it would still need to be on in the middle of the summer the school holidays for example and really promote it big style to possible new fans.

We can’t just say some like cricket some don’t, otherwise the ones that don’t will and are increasing, then where does that leave the game.

Whichever where we look at it, imo whoever is in charge have to make attempts to improve participation of playing the game.

There is a lot of talk obout the county championship not been in the middle of the summer, and of course it’s understandable the frustrations of those fans.

But we have to be realistic, and I mean this with all respect, new fans are not going to be drawn to the game, watching a batsman bat all day, while people talk about good leaves and he knows where his off stump is, where there just might watching international stars hitting the ball out the park, and close tense exciting matches which the shorter format provides a hell of a lot more of.
Whether crickets traditional fans like it or not, cricket needs to be made more exciting!
 
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