Tuesday, 3 March 2015

County Cricket in 2016

There has been some speculation about the shape of women's "domestic" cricket in England over the last few days, following the recent CRICKETher tweets and blog. People have been asking what I know about the situation.

This is where I think we are currently at.

It was apparent during the 2014 season that the ECB realised that the current county cricket structure was too cumbersome (with 37 county teams in four leagues) and too poor to be the second tier of women's cricket (below international level). Clare Connor, the Head of Women's Cricket in England, announced to me in an interview at the Test Match at Worsmley in August that white ball cricket would be introduced in 2015 and that she "envisaged more significant changes in 2016". She also announced that the ECB was proposing to consult with the counties.

I understand that that consultation has now taken place. It took in the views of 20 counties and also involved conversations with other women's sports - eg netball and women's football. It also involved consultation with current players. It has now been concluded, but at this point in time no definitive recommendation has been made to the ECB Board. I also understand that the new ECB Chairman, Colin Graves, and Chief Exec, Tom Harrison, have yet to be consulted, so any proposals are still very much in the formative stages.

I suggested in a piece I wrote last September (click here) that I thought the ECB would try and follow the current Australian state cricket model in some form, with fewer teams, possibly in some form of franchise structure, rather than in a county structure. It seems that may be one idea on the table.

Certainly it seems that nothing has yet been decided, but it does seem that change is in the air for women's domestic cricket in England, probably from the 2016 season onwards.


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