Throughout the reports about the ECB’s planned T20 league, there is the theme that the counties need to do this because of the money. If they don’t receive an extra £23.4m per year from 2020, they are in serious financial trouble, and the only way to get this is to throw away everything they’ve attempted to build and instead create a second-rate T20 competition. This, I believe, is patently false.
As new details about the ECB’s proposed T20 league have leaked, I think it’s well worth comparing it to the competition I proposed in my first post. To summarise, my proposal was this:
Instead of playing a franchise T20 league in England in August, play it in Dubai in October.
You can read about the full reasoning in the post here. Now at the time, my idea was basically opposing an amorphous IPL/BBL-style competition. Now there are specifics, I can go through point-by-point why I still think an overseas T20 competition is better for everyone.
Last September I was reading an article by George Dobell about the ECB’s plans for a franchise league. It contained a line which annoyed me so much, I’ve been turning it over in my head trying to think of all the ways it is wrong. The offending passage was this:
“The ECB currently ascribe a nil value to county cricket”
Whilst I have no doubt that the ECB consider championship coverage as worthless, I do not believe that accurately reflects reality. When the current TV contract ends in 2019, there are great opportunities for county cricket if they could only see them. I think I’ve come up with a solution that would revolutionise the coverage of county cricket, and massively boost the profile of England’s domestic game.
I don’t think it will have escaped anyone’s attention that the ECB are trying to start a franchise T20 league, over the strenuous objections of a large number of current cricket fans. There seems to be no solution to this impasse, both sides are entrenched and it seems like there can be only one winner.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe I have come upon the solution to all of the problems the new tournament faces, leaving all sides happy. And my solution is this: