County cricket: ECB puts off domestic structure change

Durham are the current holders of the One-Day Cup - domestic cricket's 50-over competition

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has decided that there will be no major structural changes to next summer's programme of domestic cricket.

New ECB chief executive Tom Harrison had told BBC Test Match Special in August that they were considering a reduction in the County Championship from the current 16 to 14 matches.

But it has been revealed that there will now be no such reduction for 2016.

The ECB will talk again over the winter to discuss possible changes for 2017.

"There have been a lot of valuable conversations across the game over recent weeks, and the time and feedback have been widely appreciated," said a spokesman.

"We've heard both a desire to look at the long-term interests of the game and an understandable need to have more detail on the impact of any future changes.

"Clearly, more discussion will be helpful for everyone - and these constructive conversations will focus on the long-term strategy as well as the domestic structure, to help us all make the right decisions."

English cricket's current domestic structure
This season, each of the 18 first-class counties are scheduled to play 16 four-day games in the County Championship.
There were also eight 50-over group matches, plus quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the One-Day Cup.
Each county also played 14 T20 group games, which were followed by the quarter-finals, followed by Finals Day.

The first county to respond to the ECB statement were Sussex, who say that they "had considered the evolving situation and had recommended that the ECB adopt a cautious approach to changing the current domestic schedule".

Some county members and traditional fans were opposed to any changes that would lead to them watching fewer four-day games.

But domestic players are keen to reduce the amount of cricket they play, according to a recent survey made among 240 members of the Professional Cricketers' Association.external-link

That attitude has been backed by two prominent members of the cricket media, former England coach David Lloyd and ex-England skipper Michael Vaughan.

Ryan Sidebottom
Yorkshire's deep squad overcame Test calls and injuries to claim a second straight county title in 2015

Former Lancashire and England opening batsman Lloyd told BBC Sport last week that there is too much county cricket.

And BBC Test Match Special summariser Vaughan tweeted his thoughts.external-link

"So the people put in charge to run English Cricket present change and nothing happens!!!?? Ridiculous," said the former Yorkshire and England opener. "What is the point of having a new chairman/CEO and director of English cricket if they can't implement change?"

Vaughan's TMS colleague and former England spinner Graeme Swann also took to social media to comment: "And so the dark ages remain..."

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