Sir Andrew Strauss’ English men’s cricket review proposes overhaul with six-team County Championship top division

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The high-performance review’s recommendations for English men’s cricket include a six-team county championship top division from 2024 and a new national calendar, with the aim of sustained success for England “in all formats”; 12 of the 18 first-class counties must accept the structure changes

Sir Andrew Strauss’ high-performance review of English cricket has proposed a major national review, with a six-team top division in the county championship, an over-50 knockout competition and a reduced schedule for all teams and players. .

The review, led by the former England captain and backed by the ECB, includes 17 recommendations in total for men’s cricket and Strauss says they can help England be “the best team in the world in all formats in five years’ time, during a prolonged period.” of time”.

The most striking proposals refer to an internal reform.

The report recommends a top six-team county championship division, with two conferences below also six teams vying for a promotion spot. There is also a decline in matches, from the 14th to the 10th, while the schedule is fixed from May to September to allow for more cricket in the best conditions.

There are plans for the One-Day Cup to be played in its entirety in April, with six rounds and a major knockout element, while the T20 Blast would be from May to July with a focus on the “main slots” from Thursday to Sunday. .

The Hundred will remain in August.

The recommendations related to the national structure are for 2024 at the earliest and require the approval of two-thirds of the first-class counties (FCC), which means that 12 of the 18 must vote in favor.

“The current schedule is not working the way it should,” Strauss said. Sky sports news. “No one solution works for everyone. It’s a big Rubix cube and I think it’s the best solution for English cricket to move forward.”

“It answers some of the fundamental problems that have prevented England from achieving [sustained success] in the past.”

Strauss, also formerly the ECB’s director of cricket, said a top division of six teams would lead to a “higher standard”.

“It means the quality of the player will be higher, the quality of cricket will be higher,” he explained. “It bridges the gap between domestic cricket and international cricket. And there’s a little less cricket, so there’s more time to rest and repair.”

Asked if he was confident the FCC would approve it, he said: “I hope so. This is a package of recommendations that, if they work together, complement each other brilliantly.”

Strauss’s panel of experts for the review, established following last winter’s Ashes defeat in Australia, includes Sir Dave Brailsford, Dan Ashworth and current England men’s cricket managing director Rob Key, and the report released on Thursday points to a “thriving home game.” and for “England teams that inspire by the way they win”.

The review highlights England’s lack of success abroad compared to at home in international cricket, and recommends the pilot use of the Kookaburra ball in domestic first-class cricket to help players.

There is also a proposal for a ‘North vs. South’ overseas pre-season competition and better access to hot-weather training facilities abroad.

It is within the competence of the ECB to implement 15 of the 17 recommendations, the other two being related to the aforementioned national structure.

“I am delighted that we are able to publish the report today, which sets out the fundamental changes we believe are necessary to achieve sustained success for our England men’s team and enable the men’s domestic game to evolve in the face of rapid change.” changing environment for cricket globally,” Strauss said.

“The game must be united if we are to achieve those ambitions and we must be open-minded to change. The most consistent message we have received, from players, fans and coaches, was that the status quo is not an option.”

“I encourage people to consider our proposals as a package, and welcome the opportunity for an informed discussion of recommended changes to the domestic structure of men.

“There are no easy answers about the men’s domestic structure. Recommendations have prioritized a more consistent schedule that is more manageable for overworked players, coaches and ground staff, while also providing the quality and quantity of cricket that fans want to see and that meets our high standards.” performance goals.

“That includes playing first class cricket every month from May to September, increasing the level and intensity of the LV= Insurance County Championship and ensuring more opportunities for the best players to play in all national competitions.”

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