Monday, 4 March 2013

Crossing The County Line

When it comes to cricket, I am first and foremost an England fan; and though I do occasionally watch the domestic game, I do so with no particular team-affiliation.

This provides me with a somewhat different perspective to most of my fellow cricket enthusiasts; who have grown up with team loyalties rooted in the county system.

So when they start to think about how to drive women's cricket forward, they look at once to the county system to achieve this.

But the fact remains that county cricket is a historical anachronism; and if we were beginning again with the men's game, we certainly wouldn't choose a series of (largely) arbitrary, 1000-year-old kingdoms as the building-blocks for our modern competitive structures.

The problem is that too many counties leads to too much uncompetitive cricket; leaving the girls under-prepared for the greater rigors of the international game.

The manifestation of this phenomena is slightly different in the men's and women's games: in the men's game, talent is spread too thinly, which at least has the merit of the matches themselves being competitive. Conversely, in the women's game, talent is too concentrated among a couple of counties, meaning most matches are actually hopeless mismatches - case in point being last year's T20 final, which Sussex could have won in their sleep... with their bootlaces tied together!

The answer, instead, is to accept that the county structure doesn't really work for our game, and to build a new competition, based on an IPL/ Big Bash style franchise system.

Now, if only we had one of those already kicking around, in prototype form!

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