Glamorgan chairman says city-based Twenty20 would 'rescue' cricket

Colin Ingram and Mark Wallace during Glamorgan's T20 Blast campaign in 2016
Glamorgan reached the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast in 2016

Glamorgan chairman Barry O'Brien believes a city-based Twenty20 tournament is "the only way" to stop domestic cricket from disappearing.

A new city-based eight-team tournament has been given the go-ahead to start in 2020.

Glamorgan was one of 15 first-class counties that voted in support of staging the proposed competition.

"We firmly believe that it is the only way in which we're going to generate a new audience," said O'Brien.

He continued: "The reality is that [cricket's] audience is getting smaller and smaller and more and more elderly by the day

"Unless we can engage a new generation of cricket lovers of any form of the game, cricket will simply disappear."

The proposals were approved by 38 of the 41 England and Wales Cricket Board members, with Essex and Middlesex were the only two counties to vote against the proposals, while Kent abstained.

O'Brien thinks the new tournament would be successful in attracting new fans to the sport.

"You're going to get best versus the best. I mean, you will be getting three overseas players per team and they are going to be the best overseas players," O'Brien added.

"If you see [Chris] Gayle and {AB} de Villiers performing the way they're performing at the moment in the Big Bash and IPL when you could turn up to the Swalec Stadium you are going to turn up.

AB de Villiers Virat Kohli
AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli are two of the stars of the Indian Premier League

"It's the equivalent of going to watch [Lionel] Messi or Gareth Bale. That is going to be an important part of it."

O'Brien said he recognises the "traditionalists' point of view" and that those who enjoy the longer form of the game "feel threatened by T20."

But he added that a city-based Twenty20 tournament "could rescue the game in the long form."

"If we can engage this new generation of kids that pick up the cricket bat and ball, some of them will be told that they are white ball, short-form cricketers and others are going to be told you're actually better off in the longer form of the game," O'Brien said.

O'Brien, Glamorgan chairman since 2011, believes Cardiff would be an ideal host for one of the teams if the tournament goes ahead.

"I think we're ready, we're set up, we have the facilities, we are a city centre, we are a capital city and we've got a great track record.

"We will be pressing the ECB very hard that we should be one of the venues."

"There are various meetings taking place at the ECB over the next couple of months to get stuck into the detail so there's a long way to go before we have the final terms of the tournament."

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