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Review Strauss urges counties not to miss opportunities to change cricket | Cricket


Andrew Strauss has urged first-class counties not to waste a chance to transform elite cricket when they vote to implement the recommendations of his High Performance Review, which was published on Thursday after weeks of heated speculation over its content.

Strauss, former England captain and chairman of the England and Wales team Cricket The board’s cricket committee has drawn up a list of 17 recommendations, all but two of which could be approved and imposed by the ECB.

He believes that ” ECB board and executive are unanimously in favor,” but the last two proposals, regarding the reorganization of the schedule, must be adopted by the districts.

Strauss admitted that his sentences include “elements that certain people [will] feel they are not in their best interest’ but have encouraged the game’s stakeholders to embrace them. “We can do a lot of good without those last two [recommendations]but these last two are a good demonstration of the tough decisions we have to make in the game and how serious we are about achieving that ambition,” he said.

“We need quality cricket, everyone knows the current schedule is not working, so we need to make those decisions now.”

Among the changes are a complete overhaul of central contracts — though Straus has yet to decide what that will look like — and a transformation of county funding to make it less equitable. “We are very keen to see counties receive rewards and incentives for outstanding performance on the field and for producing outstanding players who go on to play under-19s, Lions or cricket at England level,” he said.

“This is very much one of the main recommendations of this review – counties that play their part should be well rewarded for doing so.”

A new scoring system for the county championships will also be trialled: one point for a draw, three for a win and up to two bonus points if the winning team scores more than 325 in any innings. The county championships will see experiments with the Kookaburra ball to see if it forces bowlers who can’t rely on the more exaggerated swing and seam of the Dukes ball to develop new skills.

Strauss’ proposals failed to change next year’s schedule, and 2023 is likely to be a repeat of this year’s widely criticized format. “We’ve been in a race against time this whole review, and unfortunately we’re running out of time,” Strauss said.

“But it’s fair to say that these are important decisions and the last thing people need to feel is short on time. Sometimes you have to understand that it is better to go to the right decision than to jump off the edge of a cliff.

The revised schedule will see a 50-plus tournament starting in April, while a revamped county championship – with one six-team first division to sit above two feeder leagues – will start in May and finish in September. A break will be required in August due to the number of players involved in the hundreds, during which time first-class matches will continue “in a format determined by the competing nations”.

The T20 Blast will begin at the end of May and will run for two months, with most of the games being played on peak weekends. Overall cricket would fall by 15% as the Strauss committee found that on average the county plays 45% of the days during the season, compared to an average of 31% for first-class teams in other leading Test nations, and finding strong support such changes in player polls. Under their proposals, counties would go from an average of 79 days to 68 days.

“Everything is very controversial within our internal structure,” Strauss said. “I would say that the status quo is not optimal and people want a different solution. This is what we provide.

“We think it’s a very complete package, but there will be elements that some people don’t think are in their best interest, and we understand that. This is the reality of the internal structure – one cannot be solved without solving the other.”

Strauss said England’s success in Tests this summer had taken some of the urgency out of the review ordered after the team’s Ashes victory last winter, but that the goal of a team leading the sport in all formats remained a long way off.

“That’s why our job is not to react, but to step back and think, ‘What are the ambitions and where are we in relation to them?'” he said. “The emotional part of it was really useless.”


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