England's professional cricketers calls for domestic T20 revamp
England’s Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) has called for a revamp of its domestic T20 competition along the likes of the IPL and the Big Bash, ESPNCricinfo reports. An overwhelming majority of the players has called for a number of changes that will be part of the final recommendations to be made by the ECB structure review group to the English county chairman on September 2.
Though the 18 counties are not in favour of changes being made to the current domestic structure, a survey conducted by the PCA reveals that the players feel otherwise. Out of the 240 professional players that responded to the survey, almost 80% of them wants the tournament to be played in one block, rather than over a prolonged period as is the case now.
This they feel will attract the best of international talent to play in the league while also allowing the England internationals to feature more regularly for their respective domestic sides.
"Whilst recognising the commercial and scheduling challenges of doing so, from a cricketing perspective, the T20 competition should revert to being played in a block - and it will significantly improve the quality of the product if England and other international players feature more regularly than currently," PCA chief executive Angus Porter said.
"Playing in a block would allow for better overseas players available, more England players playing and time to practice more skills,” said another player who responded to the survey.
87% of the players also suggested that they were not happy with the present playing conditions, especially the scheduling of matches.
"We must address the playing and travel challenges inherent in the current domestic schedule," the PCA said. "A reduction in the volume of cricket is probably necessary to achieve this."
The PCA, however, stated that changes will not be made to the County Championship, which 83% of the respondents consider as the most important competition.
“We must respect the County Championship as our premier domestic competition, and only change the format of the competition if the prize is a significantly better overall schedule,” the PCA said. "At a time when participation levels in grass roots cricket are falling, we need to be mindful of ensuring that any changes made in the structure of county cricket do not increase the disconnect between the professional and recreational game."
The PCA was also wary of the traditional values in England and stressed that any changes will have to be made after serious deliberation.
"We must recognize that while a key goal of domestic cricket is to create cricketers of international standard, it must also be respected as having great value in its own right. Any changes we make must consider the long-term impacts on the health of our domestic game.”