It is with delight i can for once say, that the ECB seem to have proposed plenty of positive and productive change. As a result of the Morgan review there is a significant amount of scheduling change, which will hopefully enhance the summer.
In terms of popularity and interest in the game, by far T20 brings in the most crowd. The ECB’s changes are primarily to try and maximise the number of games played and the number of people that would be able to go, and try to spread the risk with bad weather. It is fair to say they have actually done that.
The FLt20 last year was concentrated in an intense period, mid summer, which the rain heavily affected. The ECB have decided to alter the schedule and make the format of the game into a constant of the year i.e. every week instead of packed into a single period of the year. For T20 there will be 14 matches per side, mainly on Friday evenings but throughout the summer. This will maintain interest throughout the year, and is intended to give an opportunity for more people to go more regularly, and of course limit the risk of rain ruining a batch of games.
The creation of a T20 league spread across the calender is also intended to offer a wider range of opportunities in terms of players. Many players are now locked into contractual obligations with other leagues, and are often not able to compete fully due to these conflicting obligations. In this sense a year round competition gives greater diversity and opportunity.
The 40 over competition was a largely stale and uninspiring competition. It was characterised by empty grounds and low viewing figures when on the television. According to the ECB and their evidence from the Morgan review “There was no compelling preference from spectators for 40-over cricket rather than 50-over cricket and therefore the format from 2014 will replicate the 50-over format played by the national team.”
It is a clear intention to replicate the International schedule, which can surely only be a good thing in terms of aspiring to improve and adapting. When players enter International cricket they have acclimatised themselves to the format.
The change in the limited overs competition is quite dramatic in the sense the forty overs has been changed to 50 overs, in line with International standards. However most importantly it frees up more time in the schedule, reducing the number of games to 8 per side. The Unicorns, the Netherlands and Scotland will not take part. This will probably also raise the standards, as the Netherlands, Unicorns and Scotland were not of a significantly high standard.
The four day competition remains largely intact.